This has been a thoroughly terrible season so far, but thankfully Dragonfire tries its best to pull it back from the brink. The setting is a lively shopping district on the imaginatively-named Iceworld, populated by the hustle and bustle of aliens coming and going. While it still has a slightly silly feel with a sprinkling of slapstick here and there, Dragonfire is a good old-fashioned adventure, going after a mythical dragon and his treasure, exploring caves with a old map, and uncovering a three-thousand year-old mystery. It has a good sense of fun and even Sabalom Glitz returns for some more mischief.
Kane is a cool villain (quite literally) with a heart as cold as ice. He casually murders a whole bunch of people after chasing them into a boobytrapped spaceship. It’s strange that no-one comments on that afterwards. Kane’s death is unexpectedly brilliant as he melts in front of an unfiltered window, in a scene eerily reminiscent of the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. I wonder how that got through in a kids’ show!
Dragonfire introduces new companion Ace, a 20-century Earth girl who got pulled into some sort of time/space vortex that landed her a waitressing job in Iceworld. Appropriately her real name is Dorothy – perhaps she should have tried clicking her heels together? I’m not convinced she’s that much better than Mel just yet – their scenes together are a bit “Grange Hill” for my liking, and I reckon her catchphrases could grate. Brill or naff? It remains to be seen. Still, I’m definitely glad to see the back of Mel, but her exit comes out of the blue. She’s just… had enough? If she actually had some character in the first place, it might make more sense. A total non-entity, purely there to fill a void and scream. Good riddance.
Dragonfire has a few issues, certainly. The actual ‘dragon’ monster itself is decidedly ropey, looking like somebody cosplaying the alien from Alien. The literal cliffhanger at the end of part one is inexplicable, but McCoy does good physical comedy and the expressions on his face are priceless. It’s a solid story overall, if a little rushed towards the end, and shows some genuine promise. A shining ice crystal amongst a season of tepid water, then.