Planet of Evil

In a change of scene, we now head into space, far in the future, at the very edge of the known Universe. A remote mining mission is being investigated by the military after it failed to report in. Most of the team is dead, killed by a mysterious creature, but one survivor remains.

Vishinsky meets a gradually unhinged Sorenson.

Vishinsky meets a gradually unhinged Sorenson.

There’s an intriguing “dual reality” theme in this, at least initially. As the creature kills, the victims literally disappear, only to reappear later as dehydrated corpses. Since the creature only attacks at night, I was hoping there would turn out to be some night/day duality at work, but this doesn’t turn out to be the case. Instead, the plot evolves into a more standard monster story, with it infecting the crew and running amuck. The disappearing/reappearing trick doesn’t happen anymore and isn’t questioned again. Disappointing.

The Doctor and Sarah are brought aboard the ship.

The Doctor and Sarah are brought aboard the ship.

The monster does avoid the usual “obvious rubber suit” problem by being largely invisible (using a clever visual effect). Elsewhere, general production values are quite high. The rayguns use a nice practical glow effect. The ship interiors look good, but the uniforms are unflattering. There’s also a lot of grisly deaths/bodies and a sense of dread and terror, which is appealing.

The antimatter creature emerges from the pit of nothingness - a void between our Universe and its anti-matter equivalent.

The antimatter creature emerges from the pit of nothingness – a void between our Universe and its anti-matter equivalent.

I think the main issue with the this one is that the threat of suspicion from the space officers is greater than that of the monster itself. The Doctor and Sarah often find themselves being accused of bringing danger with them, just because they conveniently find themselves amongst it. Here, they are almost executed, whereas the monster barely threatens them. Only a level-headed commander (Vishinsky) saves them from pointless death.

The Doctor and Sarah are almost ejected into space.

The Doctor and Sarah are almost ejected into space.

Overall, this wasn’t bad. I did enjoy the sciency elements, and antimatter made for a good McGuffin of the week, but the plot could have been more ambitious instead of falling back on clichés.

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