Despite a gap of fifty years since the Doctor’s last visit, The Monster of Peladon definitely suffers from “sequelitis”, as we meet some old faces in some old settings, wander through some old caves again, uncover a plot again, and generally get bored with the whole ordeal.
There’s a communication blockage, Federation forces sent in, a plot to capture the queen, and a comic relief alien with an annoying voice – it’s like watching ‘The Phantom Menace’ but without the cool jedi fights and John Williams score. Pretty bloody dull, unfortunately. I do like a bit of world-building in sci-fi, but this was of little interest – one trip to Peladon was enough for me. Additionally, many of the alien effects don’t hold up well. The Alpha Centauri costume frequently has a visible gap under its headpiece, and at several points I could definitely see the actor’s hair sticking out from under the Ice Warrior costume. I’m not normally that picky, but I was bored.
This story does turn a group of Ice Warriors back into villains, however, successfully flip-flopping expectations. Having watched ‘Cold War’ at the weekend, it’s fun to compare the new depiction of the Ice Warriors with the old ones. It’s difficult to reconcile their old appearance with the armour suit in the new series, particularly when their leader (in the slim version of the costume with the Darth Vader helmet) gets killed by a stab wound to the belly. Hmm?
Evading death this time is the Doctor, who escapes an explosion and brain damage, and is thought to be killed at least twice before miraculously revealing the opposite. I think it’s fine for the Doctor to have a lucky escape now and again, but when it happens twice in one story, it’s pushing it.
Overall, then, this wasn’t particularly interesting, and six parts was too long to spend in a setting that outstayed its welcome already. I do hope the next story is a good one, as it would be a shame if the third Doctor’s adventures ended on a downer.