Sunday, September 18, 2011
I like Frontios, even though the Gravis & his Tractators are victims of the eighties Doctor Who lack of budget. They look like fish-headed woodlice but lack animation & suffer from the much-mentioned-in-this-blog problem of 'waddle'. The willing suspension of disbelief is tough in those circumstances, even for a 'Web Planet' loving Doctor Who geek like myself. However there's enough oddness & tension in the build up to their appearance to take a little edge of it.
Particularly praiseworthy is Mark Strickson's sterling work as Turlough dredges up a 'race memory' of the Tractators from deep in his subconcious & forces himself through his cowardice & out the other side. One of themes of this story - intended or unintended - seems to be 'coming of age'. It isn't really heavily pushed but this is the story when Turlough grows up. It is also the story of a boy king, Plataganet, who is forced to take up his responsibilities to a failing colony, even if he isn't ready for it. There's a hint of Henry IV-V about it if you're pretentiously minded like me.
Platagenet (played with a perpetual pained pride by Jeff Rawle) talks in speeches. He's acting the King, perhaps because he isn't one yet & it takes the events of this story to make him one. Or at least one more true to himself. Before this he's trying to hard to be his father, the semi-legendary Captain Revere. After this perhaps - to steal a West Wing episode - the people of Frontios will let Platagenet be Platagenet.
The presence of