Doctor Who #5: The Keys of Marinus

Title: Doctor Who: “The Keys of Marinus
Year: 1964
Network: BBC
Episodes: 6, at 25 minutes; the fifth story (of 8) from season 1
Creators: Sydney Newman, C.E. Webber, Donald Wilson
Director: John Gorrie
Writer: Terry Nation
Starring: William Hartnell, William Russell, Jacqueline Hill, Carole Ann Ford
Music: Ron Grainer (theme); Norman Kay

My reaction
Synopsis: a well-meaning mad scientist forces the Doctor’s companions to retrieve four “keys” which he’s hidden around his world
How I saw it: on video (rented from Netflix), yesterday
Concept: Indifferent.
Story: Terrible. Oh my goodness, so very terrible.
Characters: Bad.
Dialog: Indifferent.
Pacing: Bad. On the one hand, it’s boring because it’s so badly written. On the other hand, it moves too fast to have time to bother with covering up plot holes.
Cinematography: Indifferent.
Special effects/design: Terrible. Don’t let the awesome still of Gary up there mislead you, this story looks like crap. There’s a bonus feature on the DVD which basically consists of the set designer apologizing for ten minutes about how bad this story is. (He also happens to mention some evidence of how appallingly clueless both the writer and director were.)
Acting: Bad.
Music: Bad. It’s good music when it’s there, but much of the story takes place in an awkward silence.
Subjective Rating: 3/10 (Bad). Possibly the worst story I’ve seen yet from Doctor Who outside of the 1980s.  It doesn’t help any that the Doctor’s only in three of the six episodes (with no explanation as to why, naturally – Terry Nation doesn’t go in for that whole “making sense” thing).
Objective Rating: 1.1/4 (Bad).


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