Rewatch Doctor Who: Inferno

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Rewatch Inferno

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Total votes : 10

Rewatch Doctor Who: Inferno

Postby The Ginger Cat » Sat May 09, 2020 12:14 am

Thread for your thoughts, observations and wotnot from this weekend's (or whenever) Inferno rewatch.
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Re: Rewatch Inferno

Postby LizR » Sat May 09, 2020 1:21 am

This won't be me this weekend:

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Re: Rewatch Inferno

Postby shuzbot » Sat May 09, 2020 10:54 am

"Yes, of course, of course.... An infinity of universes.... ergo, an infinite number of choices.... So free will is not an illusion after all!

The Time Lords may have conquered Time and Space, but they still have something to learn about freedom of choice. "Inferno" makes a pioneer out of the Doctor, as he leads this exploration of a new frontier. And ultimately he is a much better hero because of this new philosophy.
So, to disagree with Susan's dissertation to her science teacher in "An Unearthly Child" (story no. 1), the fifth dimension isn't "space". "Space" is already covered in the first three dimensions, thank you! If the fourth dimension is "time", as measured by clocks and calendars the way any normal person would think of it, then the fifth dimension is most easily described as "CHOICE", that which can slide us across parallel universes to any imaginable outcome. Every choice and deciding thought creates a small movement through that fifth dimension. The pattern can be chosen!


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Re: Rewatch Inferno

Postby Cygnus Prime » Sat May 09, 2020 11:35 am

For anyone who wants to join in the rewatch, but who currently doesn't have access to the episodes, here they are*... :)

*(The only bad news is that the only copy I could find of Episode One has subtitles, but the other episodes are fine.)


___________________________________________________________________________________________________



Episode One:

https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x5uvz4r


Episode Two:

https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1bdkg4


Episode Three:

https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1bdl08


Episode Four:

https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1bdlpa


Episode Five:


https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1bdmhv


Episode Six:


https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1bdnay


Episode Seven:

https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1bdny2




___________________________________________________________________________________________________


I couldn't help but notice the studio countdown clock at the start of episode seven, complete with someone chattering away. :?



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Re: Rewatch Inferno

Postby LizR » Sat May 09, 2020 11:42 am

On the one hand, this is a powerful story in which for once the Doctor can't save the world - even if it is some sort of fascist dictatorship (or at least, the UK is).

The parallel universe trope is great, a perennial favourite of SF shows - they're generally a lot worst than the original (if it was actually better in the universe next door that wouldn't let us feel so smug), with the characters getting to play their evil twins, and everything is slightly off kilter - but not entirely, as might be the case if we were dropped onto a planet with a dictatorship, say. And that worls a treat here. The only thing that is missing is airships, but they hadn't become the inevitable mode of transport for all parallel worlds in 1970 (Michael Moorcock's "Warlord of the air", the origin of this trope and indeed Steampunk, wasn't published until the following year).

Even more powerful is that we get to see what happens if the Doctor fails to save the day (Russell T Davies did this again, to rather lesser effect, in "Turn Left"). And the results are genuinely horrific. Suppose the Doctor didn't manage to blow up the Daleks as they were approaching the colonists with the baby in "Power", or the bomb wasn't stopped in "The Invasion", or... well, you get the idea. We very rarely get to see this ("Pyramids of Mars" being another exception). So, suppose the Doctor didn't manage to step in at the last moment? We see all the characters' alter egos - who we've come to care about in some cases - facing their inevitable death in a flood of lava, and it isn't pretty, it's gritty and nasty and perhaps one of the few times in Who that the cliffhanger turns out exactly the way it looks like it will. This is a kids' show? Yeah, right.

On the other hand, we also have lots of swarfega and some risible second rate wolfmen lurching around the place. This is, surely, the very definition of bathos - from the sublime terror of the world about to be destroyed and everyone being roasted by a wave of lava to ... a few guys with fake teeth grunting and being repelled with fire extinguishers.

And then there are a few plot holes, and just plain incongruities. So the Doctor can take a car back and forth between dimensions, but not people. O....K, I'll give you that one. But why does Stahlman escape the effects of the green gunge for several episdoes, while most of the victims sprout hair and silly teeth almost at once? Why does the Doctor start smashing up controls back on Earth one, which is guaranteed to get him dragged away and not stop the drilling, when a bit of cunning sabotage might have the desired effect (it's only stopped, in fact, and the world saved because in our world Stahlman decides to pop back out of the room he's sealed himself in - for no obvious reason, that I could see, when staying in there would mean his project "succeeded"). Plus there are fire extinguishers in odd places (on top of a storage tank?) And how come the Primord in the cell can bend one set of bars, but then appears to be locked in?

There are, however, lots of nice touches. Stahlman mark two looks very like a Bond villain, while version one is a bit of a proto-Master. The settings are quite impressive, the coloured filters mixed with volcano footage give quite a doomy feel, the contrast between the characters in the two universes is nicely done. The Doctor is the same as usual - the story really belongs to the other characters, and in particular the alter egos, who have mostly become genuinely sympathetic by the time they're engulfed in lava.

The worst thing about the whole story, unfortunately, is the background noise. Did we really have to have the sound of the drilling throughout most of the story, with volcanic eruptions added towards the end? Aside from being headache inducing, it often made it hard to hear the dialogue. When we got into the cells or the Brigade Leader's office and peace fell (aside from barked orders and shouted questions - not that they actually got onto, or even hnited at, anything nastier, like Room 101 and rats) it was something of a relief. And I did quite like the music during the car chase when the Doctor first finds himself being shot at, they could have had more music and less noise.

And ... Liz Shaw leaves, rather summarily and after being criminally underused for most of her tenure, to be replaced in the following story - an egghead replaced by an airhead. That really was the End of the World. :evil:

Starting with 10/10 for the great premise, wonderful atmosphere of doom, and delightful portrayals of the regulars' dark sides. But unfortunately I have to knock off a couple of points for the stupidity of the Primoids and the relentless damned background noise. (Plus the Doctor's comments about free will are philosophically untenable, by the way*.) So the final score is 8/10.

*...if anyone wants to argue, please start a separate thread in the "Science, Miss Hawthorne!" section. But I wouldn't bother if I were you, I've thrashed this out with scientists and philosophers and I know all the tricks. :geek:
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Re: Rewatch Inferno

Postby shuzbot » Sat May 09, 2020 12:06 pm

Nicholas Courtney plays two characters in this and Brett Vyon, can anybody think of somebody who has played four distinct characters in the series apart from people that may have been Cybermen or Daleks?
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Re: Rewatch Inferno

Postby StarQuake » Sat May 09, 2020 12:18 pm

shuzbot wrote:Nicholas Courtney plays two characters in this and Brett Vyon, can anybody think of somebody who has played four distinct characters in the series apart from people that may have been Cybermen or Daleks?

Philip Madoc (Eelek in The Krotons, The War Lord in The War Games, Solon in Brain of Morbius,Fenner in Power of Kroll).

Edit: I think Michael Sheard was actually in six Doctor Who serials, though I wouldn't have known he was in The Ark if IMDb hadn't told me.
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Re: Rewatch Inferno

Postby shuzbot » Sat May 09, 2020 12:46 pm

Hurrah! Good spot
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Re: Rewatch Inferno

Postby StarQuake » Sat May 09, 2020 12:47 pm

I'm two episodes into my rewatch and enjoying it. It's played very straight, which I like; I don't mind a bit of camp, but too much playing for laughs or winking at the audience undermines the whole thing. I think seeing this right after watching The Daleks really makes me notice that Pertwee's first season might be the most consistently serious attempts at Who as serious drama aimed as much at adults as children. I also notice the parallels between the Hartnell Doctor's single-minded pursuit of knowledge in The Daleks, and Pertwee's Doctor duping Liz in order to carry out his (dangerous) test on the console; of course in Inferno, the Doctor's recklessness in this regard is shown to be mild, only endangering himself, and is in contrast to Stahlman's obsessive pursuit of his drilling project which has catastrophe written all over it.

(Plus the Doctor's comments about free will are philosophically untenable, by the way*.)
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Re: Rewatch Inferno

Postby Black Orchid » Sat May 09, 2020 1:06 pm

StarQuake wrote:
shuzbot wrote:Nicholas Courtney plays two characters in this and Brett Vyon, can anybody think of somebody who has played four distinct characters in the series apart from people that may have been Cybermen or Daleks?

Philip Madoc (Eelek in The Krotons, The War Lord in The War Games, Solon in Brain of Morbius,Fenner in Power of Kroll).

Edit: I think Michael Sheard was actually in six Doctor Who serials, though I wouldn't have known he was in The Ark if IMDb hadn't told me.


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Re: Rewatch Inferno

Postby Servorobot » Sat May 09, 2020 3:45 pm

Time for another of my boring anecdotes.

This story was banned in Australia so it never got a showing when we got the other Pertwees.

It finally got broadcast in 1986, but I missed it then because the TV we had in the shared house I lived in had packed it in. We got another one a few weeks later, just in time to watch Mind of Evil, another story previously banned (the censors hated Don Houghton didn’t they). The old TV was b&w, but one of us splurged and got a colour TV. Ironically Mind of Evil was in b&w.

Anyway my first experience of this story was the final episode as found on The Pertwee Years video.

I had to wait a couple more years to see the whole story when it finally got a VHS release.
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Re: Rewatch Inferno

Postby shuzbot » Sat May 09, 2020 4:12 pm

I am watching it, with the commentary on, and, in all honesty, this is really making me want to watch Ambassadors of Death.

Does explain the drilling sounds, though; apparently, it was to provide tension for the actors. Personally, I like the drilling. I also like the way the music suddenly stops when the Doctor interupts Stahlman trying to smash the computer part.
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Re: Rewatch Inferno

Postby shuzbot » Sat May 09, 2020 4:16 pm

Did you edit you post Black Orchid? I thought it was informative as it was.
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Re: Rewatch Inferno

Postby Black Orchid » Sat May 09, 2020 4:24 pm

shuzbot wrote:Did you edit you post Black Orchid? I thought it was informative as it was.


Yes I did, I kept on thinking of new names to add and then thought the post was becoming too long winded.

I've created a separate thread for them.
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Re: Rewatch Inferno

Postby LizR » Sun May 10, 2020 1:06 am

StarQuake wrote:
(Plus the Doctor's comments about free will are philosophically untenable, by the way*.)
Have you watched Devs?

Not yet, but I may get around to it eventually. It looks interesting, but I've run a projection modelling the attitudes of the rest of my family towards it and decided that they'll only be interested in seeing it in a small subset of the multiverse. (Specifically, one in which my other half actually enjoyed Jed Mercurio's "Invasion Earth" rather than refusing to watch past the second episode because it was "too silly and too confusing".)
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Re: Rewatch Inferno

Postby Servorobot » Sun May 10, 2020 1:16 am

Watched the first episode so far.

Ian Fairbairn is in it. He was also in The Macra Terror, The Invasion and later The Seeds of Doom. A bit of a favourite of Douglas Canfield.
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Re: Rewatch Inferno

Postby shuzbot » Sun May 10, 2020 1:28 am

There's a great line in this where Pertwee says "I can withstand a great deal of this childish nonsense" when he is being tortured. It always makes me laugh.
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Re: Rewatch Inferno

Postby Servorobot » Sun May 10, 2020 3:14 am

I used to think the idea of some scientist ruling the roost on a government project was pretty fanciful until recent events.
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Re: Rewatch Inferno

Postby LizR » Sun May 10, 2020 3:49 am

shuzbot wrote:There's a great line in this where Pertwee says "I can withstand a great deal of this childish nonsense" when he is being tortured. It always makes me laugh.

Actually they're shining lights at him and shouting, which is nasty but hardly counts as torture. What they needed was one of those fiendish machines used by Davros in Genesis, which can "create in their bodies all the torments and agonies ever known" - that way they get around objections from Mary Whitehouse (and me) about showing fake torture on a kids' show, or having the "favourite uncle" Doctor get knocked about (who'd wish that one him?) while still convincing the audience that their victim is suffering. That was actually the least convincing scene for me, after the Primords. I'm sure the Brigade Leader, Section Leader Shaw and Platoon Under Leader Benton wouldn't have hesitated to use a bit more force, given that they were living in what appears to be a police state.

So despite not wanting to see the Doctor get beaten up, which would undermine his mystique, I felt they should have made that side of things a bit more convincing. Some sort of "pain inducer" a la Davros could surely have been in their repertoire. That would also have made the line about withstanding childish nonsense more convincing, IMHO, because otherwise he just was withstanding childish nonsense.
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Re: Rewatch Inferno

Postby Servorobot » Sun May 10, 2020 8:03 am

God we’re good here at Planet Mondas.

We manage to pick this story on the weekend of the 50th Anniversary of its first broadcast.

Happy 50th Inferno. :Drunk:
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