Viewing posts tagged web planet

Skulltopus 4: Attack of the Plot-Device Monster

The tentacle was already well established as a staple of monsterology long before Doctor Who was even a glint in Sydney Newman's eye.  When Who selected the tentacle as its semiotic method of evading/signifying capitalism  - as I'm going to argue that it did in the 70s - it selected it from a pre-existing toolbox full of potential signifiers.  But it didn't suddenly stumble upon the octopoidal.  It had encountered tentacles before, albeit only occasionally.

On the whole, the show's early years are pretty thin on tentacles... but there are quasi-tentacular manifestations in 'The Keys of Marinus' (the Brains of Morphoton have stubby little almost-tentacles), 'The Dalek Invasion of Earth' (the Slyther) and 'The Web Planet' (the Animus).  The only proper octopus monster in this era is the Mire Beast from 'The Chase'.  It lives underground and exists solely to provide a way for our heroes to escape from the Aridians without deliberately sentencing them all to Dalek-death.


Oh look... bar the Animus, those were all written by Terry Nation.  Hmmm...

By this point (the early 60s), the 'novum' of the tentacle had passed, but it had entrenched itself in the grammar of Western ...

Hartnellical Materialism

Gallibase has relaunched 'Timelash' as a story-per-day affair. Along with others, I've managed a review (ranging from a terse comment to a bloated essay) for every story. It goes without saying, I don't have a girlfriend.

Anyway. Today, we got to 'The Tenth Planet' and so I thought I might post my comments here - or the more interesting ones anyway (everything being relative) - and make it a regular thing every time we finish with a Doctor. Basically, I'm very bored.

As you will see, my view of the Hartnell era is much influenced by the work of V. Gordon Childe, Walter Benjamin, historical materialism in general, the wobbly 'permanent arms economy' theory, William Morris, Shakespeare, Marlowe, Edward Said and lots of thinly veiled class hatred. There's also some stuff in here that might remind you of the About Time books... but, with all due respect to Miles and Wood, I'd already thought of it all before I read them. When I mention something that I got from them, I acknowledge it.


'An Unearthly Child'

It's been said before but its true: the first episode is amazing, the other three are disappointing... but only by ...

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