Rewatch Doctor Who: The Robots of Death

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Servorobot
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Let’s all rewatch the Robots of Death.

Sadly my blu-ray didn’t come in time so I guess it’s boring old DVD for me. :(
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LizR
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What's the story regarding the Two Doctors? Is anyone planning to watch that as well, or has it been cast away like an old sock?
I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year’s fashions -- Lillian Hellman

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Servorobot
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Abandoned like an unwanted Christmas present I’m afraid.

You can watch it as well if you want to though Liz.
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Servorobot wrote:Abandoned like an unwanted Christmas present I’m afraid.

You can watch it as well if you want to though Liz.
Should have done it as a double bill with Revelation, I suppose.
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LizR
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"We used poisonous gases - and we poisoned their asses!"

Oops, sorry, wrong "Kill all humans" quote. Try again.

"Please do not throw hands at me!"

Almost perfect. It's hard to find anything wrong with this, although needless to say I'll have a go. Basically a murder mystery, with a small cast in an inescapable situation with a killer on the loose - and the butler(s) are, of course, not suspected. So Agatha Christie crossed with Isaac Asimov's "The Naked Sun" and "The Caves of Steel" (both classic SF murder mysteries involving robots).

It has some interesting characters, some nice subplots and backstory, some quite dark moments, a nicely not-too-comfy relationship between the Doctor and Leela (who have just teamed up, of course) in which she frequently knows what's going on better than he does, thanks to her hunter's instincts. The design is very nice, with those wonderful impractical-looking costumes that actually seem quite futuristic, especially when compared to jumpsuits, not to mention the face makeup that perhaps just gently hints that subconsciously humans feel inferior and want to be more like robots. The sandminer is quite well done, although it would have benefitted from being filmed at high speed and slowed down - when they're supposedly sinking at two metres per second, you can see it's a lot faster than that (having seen how huge the thing is supposed to be from the close up of the bridge from outside). Plus rocks fall very, very fast on this planet, again going by the suggested scale. (I guess the internal gravity is set to Earth normal, while outside it's far higher... :D ). The class structure sounds interesting but is just a throwaway line or two in the end - this and the sandminer itself both hint that the writer had read "Dune" at some point.

Plus the part in which the Doctor discusses what's now known as "Uncanny Valley" - the way people feel unease around things that seem almost like people, but subtly give the wrong body language signals - seems rather insightful. Perhaps this was old hat in 1977, but it seemed quite prophetic to me.

Also, this story has a supremely Doctorly moment:

LEELA: So what happens if the strangler is a robot?
THE DOCTOR (offhandedly): Oh, I should think it's the end of this civilisation.

Throw in the Doctor's sudden possession of a snorkel, one (count them!) use of the sonic screwdriver, some easily-constructed bombs, a fortuitous helium canister, Toos' go at being a helpless screamer (I mean, come on, she doesn't even run away, never mind kick her assailant in the, er, nuts) ... and our heroes' exit with unseemly haste - and you've more or less run out of (very minor) points that the script editor might have tweaked. This one works perfectly - a well-oiled machine, you might say.
I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year’s fashions -- Lillian Hellman

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Ten Little Indians Doctor Who style.

Great story in a terrific season.

My only quibble really is the dodgy acting from Cass and Zilda and Toos’ crazy head gear.

Excellent performances from Russell Hunter, David Collings, David Baillie and Pamela Salem.

The performances of the main robots give them an appropriate air of creepy efficiency.

Great stuff.
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Robophobia, an irrational fear of robots, is at one point referred to as 'Grimwade's syndrome'. This was an in-joke reference to production assistant Peter Grimwade (later to become a director and writer on the series) who had bemoaned the fact that the stories on which he was assigned to work almost always involved robots.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/classic/ ... tail.shtml

:lol:
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Servorobot wrote:Ten Little Indians Doctor Who style.

Great story in a terrific season.

My only quibble really is the dodgy acting from Cass and Zilda and Toos’ crazy head gear.

Excellent performances from Russell Hunter, David Collings, David Baillie and Pamela Salem.

The performances of the main robots give them an appropriate air of creepy efficiency.

Great stuff.
This sums up my feels. It's great, with just bits of naff acting dragging it down from perfection. Leela, as Liz has pointed out, is excellent here. She's much sharper than she was to become, and it makes her more fun to watch. Those robots are a great design, too.
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Only watched the doco so far and tried to watch the thing with that Haddock bloke, but quite frankly, he's sh*t. VAM? Vomit more like.
Servorobot wrote:Excellent performances from Russell Hunter, David Collings, David Baillie and Pamela Salem.
I've yet to see a bad performance from any of them, especially Russell Hunter. David Baillie will of course turn up in Blake's 7 - Project Avalon, along with location filming at Wookie Hole, directed by Micheal E. Briant.

StarQuake wrote: This sums up my feels. It's great, with just bits of naff acting dragging it down from perfection. Leela, as Liz has pointed out, is excellent here. She's much sharper than she was to become, and it makes her more fun to watch. Those robots are a great design, too.
She's sharp here because she's being written for by her creator. Boucher should have written for Who more often, but that would negate his work on turning Terry Nation's scribbles into workable scripts. Nation's name is plastered over Blake's 7 but really, it's Boucher who deserves the credit more.
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Just watched episode one. There's so much world building going on with just a few lines from the crew, with the Doctor filling in a few gaps. Moves along at a fair pace too.

Productionwise, the whole thing feels supremely at ease with itself. It looks like it's had money spent on it and there's a lot of robots.

The only thing I spotted so far that's a flaw is one of Louise Jameson's contacts has fallen out - her right eye is blue in one scene in the crew quarters after they've been escorted there. She looks so much hotter with brown eyes. And those legs...
"It's basically a cure... for not being an axe-wielding homicidal maniac... the potential market's enormous!"

"Please dial *617 at this time"

"We're the Sweeney, son, and we haven't had any dinner!"

"Don't be told what you want. Don't be told what you need." - John Lydon
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Great story with good quality production values and effects for their day. The robots themselves are fantastic, with a memorable design and consistent, single-paced movements. Marks lost for some terrible acting by Tania Rogers as Zilda and the tin foil around the robots' feet!

As has been said, the world-building in this story is beautifully done. It's a really different environment to the standard base-under-siege ones and you get a clear understanding of the society and the characters' motiviations.

I prefer these slower-paced 90 minute stories where they have time to breath so much more than the mostly frenetic run-arounds of 45 minute Nu Who.

This is quality all round.
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Watched the other three episodes in one fell swoop t'other night.

There's nothing wrong with it at all. Okay, some minor quibbles - the villain is clearly obvious if you're quick enough to spot Taren Capel wearing the same stripey trousers as Daask, or if you look closely enough at the screen with Dask's face when he's reprogramming SV7. Okay, Zilda's a bit... not as good as the rest of the cast, but when you've got three strong leads in Russell Hunter (miles away from Lonely), Pamela Salem and David Collings (who had appeared in OOTU's adaptation of The Naked Sun as a robot detective), it doesn't matter. Even Brian Croucher's shouty acting is believable, because his character's scared and being accused of murder.

Everything here is evidence of a team that's at the top of their game - writing, casting, design, direction. Soon, they'll need a plan B.

"And on, with luck, to Star One!"
"It's basically a cure... for not being an axe-wielding homicidal maniac... the potential market's enormous!"

"Please dial *617 at this time"

"We're the Sweeney, son, and we haven't had any dinner!"

"Don't be told what you want. Don't be told what you need." - John Lydon
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