Doctor Who: The Space Pirates
(6 episodes, s06e29-e34, 1969)
It’s the last reconstruction (yay!), but it’s a colossal let down (boo!).
Six torturous episodes short: Pirates are destroying Earth beacon stations for their argonite. Obviously, the Earth Space Corps wants to stop them, but can’t reason their way out of a paper bag. After a mess of a story that can’t decide if it’s a murder mystery, a heist thriller, or a western parody – and completely fails at reaching any of them – the good guys win and the bad guys lose.
Really, the western motif did not work for me at all, and I like westerns. Milo Clancey and the Old West-style accent were annoying, and that would be fine if it was the only acting problem in this one, but General Hermack’s character (portrayed by Jack May) makes the Shatner trope look Emmy-worthy.
The Earth Space Corps uniforms are absolutely ridiculous, as is their attitude on what makes a leader: “All this for an old man. You’re not taking any chances, are you?” gets a reply of “That is why I’m a general.” The Earth Space Corps isn’t worth a whole lot, is it?
At least the spacewalk scenes were convincing enough. They look like they were filmed with the actors suspended from wires in the studio’s ceiling with a rotated camera.
Final note: Recently, it seems that Jamie has been treating these adventures like some kind of pleasure cruise. If a place looks even vaguely inhospitable, he recommends immediately running away and going somewhere else. In his defense though, they would have been much safer during the station explosion had they hidden in the TARDIS instead of running through the station.
This was a badly executed parody of the western genre rather than a tip o’ the ten gallon toward it. I’m not keen to revisit it again.
Rating: 1/5 – “EXTERMINATE!”
UP NEXT – Doctor Who: The War Games
The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.