TV Club: Planet of Giants

I clearly need to start a fan club for Hilda and Bert - I love how ordinary they are and how they’ve basically stepped out of a cosy 50s TV drama.

6 Likes

I enjoyed this serial, for the most part. I appreciated the setting of “the familiar as strange” that the story tries to evoke in the reader. Doctor Who tries to achieve this type of storytelling in some eras more than others, I think that it stands out more in this serial because it is not a format that the Hartnell era goes into as much (with the notable exception of the first part of “An Unearthly Child.”)

I also think that this is a good serial to thank the set designers. I know that they do good work on most Doctor Who stories, but this story reminds me that I do not appreciate their work enough. Thank you, set designers.

I was also especially intrigued by how this serial puts the science into science fiction. Although the A-Plot with the TARDIS crew shrinking is quite fantastical, the B-Plot about the pesticide seemed to be based more firmly in reality. Although some may argue that the A-Plot and the B-Plot are separate from each other, I think there is a fair amount of interdependence between the two. I think that the serial utilizes a classic escalation of tactics to demonstrate the dangers of the pesticide. We go from some bugs that nobody cares about particularly, to a cat, to a beloved regular. The interdependence of the serial mirrors the interdependence of the natural environment, where the microcosm can be affected by items that are bigger than itself.
I’m in favor of this serial, even if I think the pacing and resolution could have been a little bit better. 7/10

8 Likes

As many have said already, the set design is amazing for the time and I think it’s a really fun story. There are some wild climbing parts that got a bit repetitive as I remember it, but other than said the story is compelling. The storyline with the pesticide proves, imo, that doctor who has always been political too.

What I think is really interesting is the way stories in new who and (possibly only early, I haven’t watched that far yet) classic who differ when it comes to how the TARDIS seems to operate. When it breaks in classic who, we get things like this or the land of fiction, while new who seems to be a bit more ordered in a way. Sure, there’s timey-wimey ness, but that’s in paradoxes or meeting out of order and less this really out there stuff that these early episodes have.

9 Likes

Just watched episode 1, and I think I remember not liking this serial but I’m wrong - the sets are amazing, the whole concept is, as @RandomJoke says, deeply charming. I had fun and I’m excited to finish the rest tomorrow.

Also Susan looks so cute in this one <3

8 Likes

This is a story I have mixed feelings about—I love the premise and the way it’s executed with all the sets/effects/props, and I love the actual plot back in the normal-sized world, and I also think this is one of the stories that serves Susan best, but parts of it feel really slow, and as a big Barbara fan I get really frustrated by her refusing to tell anyone what happened to her, it comes off as out of character and lazy writing to me more than anything else. It’s definitely one of the lower-rated Hartnell stories for me, but one I still find a lot to love in.

8 Likes

And I counter this again by saying that, okay, it might be slightly out of character for Barbara but I still see it as a very human, relatable response. Lots of people hide illness from loved ones for fear of causing upset and hoping it will ‘go away’.

In a weird way, this is a very ‘normal’ story. This isn’t about aliens or history or space or bug eyed monsters. This is about a man with a plan who is willing to murder to get his own way. It’s very contemporary.

And as for the cat cliffhanger - I’m sorry, would you not be shitting yourself if a giant cat appeared in front of you? I know I would.

9 Likes

lol you’re preaching to the choir with the cat cliffhanger, I don’t have a problem with that

It’s not that Barbara’s actions aren’t understandably human, it’s that they don’t feel to me like her

7 Likes

This is how I feel as well. @deltaandthebannermen is right in pointing out the humanity of Barbara’s actions (most, if not all, of us, have done similar things sometimes), they simply don’t feel like something that Barbara specifically would do, especially at this point in her travels with the Doctor.

5 Likes

I don’t know that I agree they are as out of character as many of you feel. Can anyone explain what it contradicts from earlier (I think I know what sort of things people will say, so I’m trying to formulate my counter to it).

6 Likes

I can see where people are coming from with saying Barbara holding back information of her illness doesn’t fit in with what has been presented before, but I disagree.

Barbara has been presented, at times, as a strong and stoic character. Her concealing her illness makes sense through that lens. Why bothers others when there is work to be done? They need to alert the authorities and get back to the TARDIS. I see it as her knowing that if they worry about her, she will become a distraction.

I will also add that when people are presented with their own mortality, they can act different that you think. Hiding an illness while they process it isn’t uncommon.

Also for a snarky answer. It was like that because the writer decided to use it as drama/suspense.

8 Likes

This is what my brain was saying but I hadn’t quite formulated enough to write down.

3 Likes

After watching Episode 1, I didn’t think I was going to like this story. Susan seemed to have regressed to being nothing but a screamer after all her previous character development, and the real-world plot seemed cliched & melodramatic.

But how wrong was I? Susan got plenty to do in the other two episodes, and the way the TARDIS crew helped to resolve the pesticide plot without actually interacting with the other characters was ingenious. I also thought the sets were great, especially for the time-period.

I did get a bit frustrated by Barbara, but I think at first she was in denial & hoping her symptoms were psychsomatic, and also incredibly embarrassed at her own stupidity. And later, not wanting to be a burden. I do think Ian should have worked it out though after she had asked him for something to wipe her sticky hands on!

5 Likes

Doctor Who trying to do something different and experimental is mainly a good thing in my book.
They really play with the “being shrunk” situation and for inexplicable reasons throw in a murder due to too high toxicity levels of pesticide that means it cannot get an official stamp of approval. Except Barbara falling prey to the poisonous nature of the chemicals it does next to nothing for the story of our main cast, but nevertheless I find myself enjoying what is on my screen :grin:

A 3,5/5 :star: seems like a fair rating for this three parter :slightly_smiling_face:

7 Likes

Doctor Who & his friends get miniaturised! & just for the kids we have a subplot about…dodgy dealings with a new insecticide.

I enjoyed this a lot more than I remember. All the sets & props are great, the way the gang deal with their predicament & the problems it creates are enjoyable. A fun three-parter.

8 Likes

I had a much more “mid” reaction that some others in this thread towards Planet of Giants. Perhaps I should give it another chance at some point in the future!

6 Likes

Always give Doctor Who stories another chance.

5 Likes

Apart from RTD2 :wink:

7 Likes