Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Target: Vengeance on Varos

The opening scene of Jondar being tortured is being watched by a technician, Bax, who's choosing the best shots for the viewers of Varos. He does this throughout the story whenever the action is in the prison areas.

The awful line about Peri's cold supper is omitted. She has just said that she'd like to return to America to finish her studies when the TARDIS breaks down.

Arak does his talkin' in an annoyin' phonetic representation. The unpleasant food doesn't come from a dispenser, but from the 'food-dole'. Etta gets paid for doing her viewer's reports.

The guards' patrol car in the tunnels runs on a monorail.

Sil can submerge in his water tank.

The Doctor's vision of Peri in the desert is actually holding a green bottle of water (such as Perrier comes in). The real Peri isn't in the control room at this point, she's still on her way there from the Zone.

The Governor has a dome, a car and a bath - there's a scene where he has to get out of the last and take a towel being offered him by the Chief Officer.

Quillan and the Chief Officer are old enemies.

Arak's clever 'they always do that - it's to show the acid is highly corrosive' line is sadly omitted.

The acid bath scene is quite different - the Doctor deliberately sidesteps so that the guard falls into it. There's no business fending him off with the screen and no final quip. Incidentally, he survived the death by hallucination thanks to his ability to suspend animation.

Peri asks the company in the control room 'What kind of vermin are you?'

Sil's translator explodes after the hanging scene - he gets a new one which makes 'humorous' mistakes and corrects them. ('february of science - march of science'.) He announces a takeover of Varos, enforced by his attendants' guns, but this doesn't make any material difference to the rest of the story.

The transformed Peri grows 'vulpine' feathers. She's turning into a bird not a fox, so I assumed this must mean that the feathers are red, but no, they're glossy black. Philip Martin must think that vulpine means vulture-like.

Peri describes the selection process for Governor as 'daft' - not a word I'd expect an American student to use. When they escape, he takes her by surface car to the outside of the safe exit - it's rather atmospherically half-buried in sand and hard to open. Anyone who actually made it to the exit would die of asphyxiation on the open surface of Varos.

The Chief and Quillam are riding in pursuit in cars at the point when they're killed by the poison tendrils.

There's a wrap-up scene for Sil on board his spacecraft: he's to explain his failure to Lord Kiv.

Arak actively turns off his television rather than just watching it go blank. And then there's a Doctor/Peri departure scene which isn't nearly as good as the ending of the screen version.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Target: Attack of the Cybermen

We join the story with Charles Windsor Griffiths as he makes his way to the 'job'. The sewermen are completely omitted.

When Griffiths meets Russell, we find that the latter has a manner that occasionally reminds Griffiths of a policeman. Gustave Lytton is known as successful criminal - the narrator tells us that he's been at it for two years, committing component thefts. (Much in the style of the plot in Robot.) The Met actually supplied the explosive for the diamond robbery, because they think that when he uses it, his identity will be unmasked.

The pre-blag conversation doesn't take place in the car. The weather is wet (not fine as on screen).

When we do join the Doctor and Peri in the TARDIS, there's a long digression about the regeneration process, Peri's college relationship with someone called Chuck and an unseen adventure on Vespod Eight. Halley's Comet doesn't show a tail on the scanner, Peri asks why not and the Doctor explains that it doesn't form until the comet nears the sun. Peri knew that, it seems, and was just checking his memory. (She asks so that she can bore us?)

The address of the scrapyard isn't mentioned, so presumably it isn't 76 Totters Lane. The Doctor does not play a tune on the organ exterior of the TARDIS.

Peri knows how to handle a gun in the garage scene because she was taught by her father. (The Planet of Fire novelisation suggests she was only a child when Howard was her stepfather, so either there's a conflict here, or her father taught her when she was very young indeed).

The disarmed policeman turns out to be carrying an assortment of weaponry including two grenades and a canister of tear gas. Good anticipation of New Labour policing there. The Doctor tells Peri that he recognises both coppers from his previous visit to Earth, but that his memory is still too scrambled from regeneration to remember who they were accompanying.

Lytton said he came from North London, not Fulham. It's a shame to lose this very funny line in the adaptation.

Russell holds a knife to the Doctor's throat, then threatens to shoot him and Peri with the gun he takes off him. Again we have here a policeman who's 20 years ahead of his time.

There's no 'Shoot him, Peri' and no business about prison sentences.

The Doctor knows Lytton's first name is Gustave, but when Peri asks him how he knows that, he can't remember.

During the TARDIS scenes, Griffiths gets annoyed with Lytton's rudeness, and is about to stick one on him when Peri intervenes to calm things down.

The narrator explains that Briggs and Stratton are the former crew of the time vessel that Lytton hopes to steal. They crashed on Telos and were captured by the Cybermen. Their Cyber-conversion failed, which is why they have only the prosthetic limbs.

When they arrive on Telos, a shivering Peri plunges her hands 'deep into the cavities of her armpits'.

The reason the Cyber-controller has the Doctor locked in the fridge is to humiliate him, and soften his will to resist. When the Doctor meets Flast, he notices that she's grotesquely disfigured.

After delivering the 'we should have killed her' line, the not very bright Varne twiddles her moustache 'like an Edwardian paterfamilias'. What a strange place Mr Saward's mind is.

As the Doctor runs through the tombs after escaping, he sees many dead Cybermen. They've been systematically poisoned in hibernation by the Cryons - this has been threatening the survival of the Cyber-race, and it's implied that that's the motivation for the Controller's plan to change history by preventing Mondas from being destroyed.

Griffiths has a smile on his face when he's dead, because at least he went out in style, on an alien planet with millions of pounds' worth of diamonds in his pocket.

The Doctor's final line about having misjudged Lytton has a narrative purpose: it shows Peri for the first time that his new personality is able to display compassion.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Doctors and Kirk

Based on something someone said in a forum about the Second Doctor and Kirk. Suppose we have a typical crossover scenario where the Doctor and companions are interrupted in their investigations of strange doings by the Enterprise crew, and that the initial escape/recaptures have led to a bridge scene where Kirk attempts to deal with the common threat behind said doings, with the help/hindrance of the Doctor.

First Doctor. Suggests that Kirk is being impetuous and foolish, then allows Kirk to prove himself wrong. Then slips in a backhanded compliment - 'You're an intelligent young man, Captain, if only you'd think' - then suggests the winning strategy.

Second Doctor. Slily allows Kirk to try the mistaken approach - 'If you think that's the best way.' Spock recognises what he's doing. The Doctor then supplies a solution which doesn't quite work ('Oh my giddy aunt!') and then, as the threat grows ever larger on the viewscreen, Ben/Zoe has an idea which Spock refines to save the day.

Third Doctor. Rounds on Kirk for improper behaviour, invoking his friend Admiral Rowlands, naming some galactic convention which the Captain has violated, or saying that even the Brigadier has more intelligence. Then he's just suggested the winning strategy when the saturnine Admiral di Maestro appears, has him locked up again, and takes command of the Enterprise. They're on the way to somewhere sinister when McCoy sees through the Admiral and releases the Doctor. One quick bridge argument later, and the Doctor and Kirk join forces to defeat the threat.

Fourth Doctor. Having been ignored/insulted, displays enormous contempt for Kirk - 'you human paramilitary commanders are always so insular' - until Kirk has to swallow his pride and start listening to him. Probably lashes together an ingenious technical solution with the assistance of a wondering Scotty - 'Och, it's either genius or it'll blow us all to kingdom come!'

Fifth Doctor. Two possible courses here: in the first one, spends 40 minutes telling Kirk that there must be another way, 1 minute reluctantly destroying the threat then 1 minute saying there should have been another way. In the second, tells Kirk that there is another way until he listens, then successfully communicates with the threat and shows that it didn't mean to attack them. Meanwhile, Adric stuffs his face in the recreation area (both plots).

Sixth Doctor. Clash of egos sees him quickly back in the brig while Peri hangs round on the bridge looking miserable. Eventually, for lack of any other solution, he has to be released and flattered a bit before he solves the problem by blowing the threat up.

Seventh Doctor.
Same lines as the Second Doctor really, except with less slyness and more quiet, dark hints. Again, his solution doesn't initially work until he hangs off his umbrella in a Jefferies tube for a bit fiddling with some vital component. (Alternative plot where it turns out he summoned the threat in the first place to teach Kirk a lesson).