Ok, so I didn’t publish two reviews in one day.
Mainly because if I had, I wouldn’t have been able to write this as an introduction, and I was struggling otherwise.
So with that in mind, here’s The Midas Plague review.
Out of the Unknown – The Midas Plague Review: What’s This One About?
It’s about a future society (that looks an awful lot like 1965) where free energy and robot labour result in an over abundance of goods that need consumed. The lower you are on the social ladder, the more pressure there is for you to consume these products by law.
But one man – who believes that giving robots emotional circuits would result in them wanting to consume and therefore take away some of the burden put on the ‘working class’ – rebels against the order of things.
Thoughts – What Am I Watching Here?
It seems that usually my summation of an episode of Out of the Unknown is “It’s a good idea, but it’s let down by execution or running time”.
I can’t say that about The Midas Plague.
Why? Because it isn’t even a good idea, it’s just daft.
If there’s an overabundance of supply, then stop supplying it. Episode finished.
Instead, we’ve got to put up with this ludicrous notion that is bizarrely presented as some kind of pantomime-like comedy.
Maybe that’s the point, and if it was actually funny I’d give it some credit, but it’s not; it’s horrendous.
It could be that this type of humour just that hasn’t aged well and was actually popular at the time, but it does absolutely nothing for me.
Moreover, the general presentation is shonky, from the over the top mannerisms and expressions of the actors to the played for laughs dialogue and whimsical, screwball-esque incidental music.
Overall, it was terrible.
And People Criticise Doctor Who’s Budget?
People say classic Doctor Who looks cheap. But what is cheap? If you’re comparing The Keys of Marinus to Star Wars, then yes, it does look cheap, but what’s the point of making such a comparison?
Doctor Who from the 60s should be judged against a show like Out of the Unknown. And while from time to time Out of the Unknown has looked ok, generally it looks pretty bad in comparison, with actors wearing
cheap rubber/tinfoil outfits, wandering around sets that look like they belong on the stage of an amateur theatre.
The Midas Plague takes things to a whole new level of cheap though.
If I was going to defend it, I’d say the robot costumes are deliberately made to look bad because of the ‘comedic’ nature of the episode, but even then they’d still be crap. It’s the sort of thing you don’t laugh with, but laugh at, and that’s never a good thing.
Then, despite being set in the ‘future’ there’s no effort whatsoever to make it look like it is, which is bizarre because the show usually goes out of its way to make things look ‘Space Age’.
I can honestly say this is the worst looking piece of television I’ve ever seen from the BBC. It’s horrific.
The Old British Actors Checklist
Apart from Richard Davies (Burton from Delta & The Bannermen), the main attraction here is the guy who played the Empire State Building Tour Guide in the Chase who was a lot like Columbo.
Out of the Unknown – The Midas Plague Review: Final Thoughts
Like my last review, I can’t really think of much to justify a Random Thoughts section.
In part this is because I watched these episodes a week or so ago, and my thoughts have faded.
But it’s also because there’s just not much to comment on beyond what’s already been said.
The Midas Plague is crap. It’s a bad idea for a story, it looks pitiful, it’s acted terribly and it goes on for too long.
Maybe I’m missing the point or maybe it’s just a form of entertainment that has been lost to time. As much as we talk about what TV was like by then, the TV we do talk about tends to be the stuff that is timeless. There’s plenty of crap that likely was forgotten about a week after transmission.
And this could be an example of that.
Hopefully things improve with the shorter episodes of Season 2, because really, if this first season is anything to go by, it’s a mystery to me why Out of the Unknown is remembered with as much fondness as it is.
Calls to Action
b) Read about my books – focussing on reviews of Doctor Who from the very beginning – here
c) If you appreciate my sense of humour, go ‘Stuart’s Exciting Anecdote of the Day’