Per Script Editor Terrance Dicks, The Krotons is... “not a bad show, except it has possibly the worst monster in the history of DOCTOR WHO.”  “They couldn’t do anything. They couldn’t walk. They couldn’t talk. They couldn’t hold their ray guns. About all they could do was stand there and look menacing.” A not altogether unreasonable assessment. While I didn’t mind the hapless Krotons quite as much as Dicks apparently did, the notion that they looked like ice cream machines in skirts did cross my mind on a few occasions.
Ice cream machine...
The Krotons is a tale for which many fans don't seem to harbor a great deal of enthusiasm, although I rather enjoyed it on several levels. More on this shortly. But first...
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT EARLIER THIS WEEK...WHOVIANS WILL SOON BE ABLE TO CONTROL THEIR VIDEO DEVICES IN A VERY COOL WAY!!
Yes, this is Geeky as hell. And yes, I want one. And any self-respecting WHOvian would, too. A press release from BBC tells us about a forthcoming remote control fashioned after the Doctor's iconic Sonic Screwdriver.
It sounds all kindsa nifty...here's a pic of the item, followed by the press-release mentioned above. Stay tuned for whatever news may be coming out of this Sunday's DOCTOR WHO panel at Comic-Con.
TIME LORD TECHNOLOGY IS FINALLY UNDER
The Wand Company and BBC Worldwide Reveal
Sonic Screwdriver Universal Remote Control
San Diego Comic-Con, BBC AMERICA Booth #3629
New York, NY – July 11, 2012 - The Wand Company - known for developing the World’s first infrared remote control magic wand and BBC Worldwide today reveal a must-have accessory for Doctor Who fans – the Sonic Screwdriver Universal Remote Control. Join BBC Worldwide in the North American unveiling of the remote control at the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con, in BBC AMERICA booth #3629 starting preview night July 11 through the end of Comic Con.
Ever since Patrick Troughton, the Second Doctor, first produced it from his jacket, the sonic screwdriver has been the Doctor’s most trusted tool. Now, for the first time, Doctor Who fans have the opportunity to bring the Time Lord’s extremely cool and iconic gadget into their own homes.
A high quality metal replica of the Mark VII Sonic Screwdriver currently used by the Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith, the new Sonic Screwdriver Universal Remote Control is a gesture-based universal remote control that utilises infrared (IR) technology to manipulate almost all earth-based home entertainment systems - from TVs and iPod docks to DVD/Blu-ray players and beyond.
With a green flashing tip and an impressive four operational modes – including a practice mode – and three memory banks, a total of 39 commands can be stored in the Sonic Screwdriver Universal Remote Control, giving the option of operating multiple home entertainment devices with just a different flick of the wrist.
Control is straightforward – even for humans. The Sonic Screwdriver Universal Remote Control works through a series of 13 short gestures, such as rotating, flicking or tapping, while a guided set-up procedure uses spoken prompts to match gestures to commands learned from existing remote controls.
And, for those fans who wish to transport a little more of the Time Lord into their own homes, the FX operational mode features a range of authentic Doctor Who sound effects.
All unauthorized alien usage of this device can be avoided as the Sonic Screwdriver Universal Remote Control comes with an inbuilt security setting - a three digit PIN set by the primary user - offering ultimate human control of the ultimate alien device.
As time travel is not readily available to most humans, Doctor Who fans will have to wait until August 31, 2012 to own a Sonic Screwdriver Universal Remote Control, when it goes on sale exclusively for the first 60 days at ThinkGeek and the BBC America Shop in the US, and Forbidden Planet and Firebox.com in the UK.
From award-winning lead writer and executive producer Steven Moffat (Sherlock, The Adventures of Tintin) and starring Matt Smith (Going For Gold – The ’48 Games), a new season of Doctor Who premieres later this year on BBC AMERICA. Steven Moffat and executive producer Caroline Skinner will join stars Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill for a Doctor Whopanel and Q&A at Comic-Con in the massive Hall H on Sunday, July 15 at 12:30pm.
“It is not patriotism to lead people into a war they can not win!” - Selris (James Copeland) - The Krotons, Episode Three
On unnamed world, Abu (Terence Brown) and Vana (Madeleine Mills) receive the highest honor of their people (the Gond) - they are selected to become “companions of the Krotons.” The opportunity initially appears joyous to tall, but we quickly learn the entire populous does not share enthusiasm regarding such selection. The tension worsens as the Gond’s uncertainty about the Krotons rises to civil unrest, and when the Krotons inexplicably target the Doctor - newly arrived on the scene with companions Jamie (Frazier Hines) and Zoe (Wendy Padbury)...
One of the first qualities one may notice when watching The Krotons is its decided sense of expedition, a purposefulness which runs the duration of this 88(ish) minute adventure. The Krotons feels very carefully considered and balanced, and deliberately designed to move along briskly without the stalling out - a shortcoming often befalling classic WHOs of this ilk (The Sensorites being a roughly similar tale which didn’t work nearly as well, and wasn’t nearly as brisk or consistent).
The TARDIS arrives in The Krotons' unnamed setting, and is later attacked. It is here that we get to see the vehicle's HADS (Hostile Action Detection System) in action.
This is due, in large part, to scripter Holmes’ self-assured decision to allow The Krotons to appear deceptively simple. At face value, there isn’t a great deal of meat on this bone - and its pacing doesn’t dissaude this assessment But Holmes’ work on DOCTOR WHO was never without substance - and in this instance, he merely built a breezy tale on top of a substantive subtext, in much the same way director John Carpenter would approach his own storytelling in subsequent decades.
Here, challenging notions like the control and enslavement of a civilization via the hoarding or distribution of knowledge very much beats at the heart of a relatively direct adventure, as does an examination of loyalty/patriotism in the face of a clearly more advanced enemy. I.e. where does “patriotism” and courage become suicidal and irrelevant? At what point is it better to step back and re-consider, than to act brashly, proceed recklessly, or even make any stand at all? All bundled within a straight-forward saga in which a subjugated people decide to rise against their technologically superior “oppressors” - although to what extent they’re actually oppressed, rather than choosing to remain ‘oppressed’, is left open to debate. Another example illustrating how, thematically, The Krotons is rarely as easy at it seems.
Has there EVER been a Science Fiction story in which a glowing tenticle was in any way a good thing?
One moment of genuine tension - in which Troughton’s Doctor more or less whigs out when companion Zoe is unintentionally selected to join the Krotons - plays with utterly believable sincerity. His panicked Doctor scrambles to, at the very least, accompany her when she meets the mysterious adversaries - in the hopes that he might find some way to protect her (it had been previously established that meetings with The Krotons don’t work out so well in general). The sequence evokes some of the very best dramatic tension of both classic and current WHO, and is a powerful counterpoint to Troughton’s often whimsical characterization.
In one of Holmes’ more savvy moves, there’s a stretch of time in this story in which adversarial Krotons are shown to be as in the dark regarding what is happening as The Doctor and Company. They have a plan...an established way of things...and the Doctor’s involvement has thrown them out of their groove for reasons they do no fully grasp.
(l - r) Zoe (Wendy Padbury) and the Doctor (Patrick Troughton) mull a mysterious device which needs brains and drives spaceships.
Whereas audiences would, traditionally and conventionally, be privy to one ‘side’ or the other being ‘in the know’...and suspense would then rise from how the opposite side would react to whatever obstacles are thrown their way by the more enlightened party...Krotons is a journey of discovery for all involved, resulting in a richer and more well rounded experience than I expected going in. And, certainly, than it might easily have been otherwise.
A newly restored DVD of The Krotons is available HERE in the US and HERE in the U.K.
Second Time Around: The Troughton Years (52:25)
-- Anneke Wills (companion Polly Wright)
-- Robert Shearman (Writer)
-- Gary Russell (BBC Drama Script Editor 2006-2011)
-- Christopher Barry (Director, Power of the Daleks)
-- Frazer Hines (companion Jamie McCrimmon)
-- Deborah Watling (companion Victoria Waterfield)
-- Victor Pemberton (Writer/Script Editor 1967-68)
-- Derrick Sherwin (Story Editor)
-- Terrance Dicks (writer/Script Editor 1968-83)
-- Wendy Padbury (Zoe)
Discusses the decision to “replace” DOCTOR WHO’s lead, rather than ending the show - a development which established a critical narrative and dramatic template for decades to come. Says the “regeneration” gag didn’t initially have a name and was intended as something of a one-off to move an ailing William Hartnell off the playing field...
Discusses origins of the second Doctor’s signature recorder, the frequent use of “base under siege stories”...
Development of “Time Lords” concept by Derrick Sherwin (per Sherwin,“...it’s one of the things that developed out of a desperate writer’s brain”...)
Discusses BBC’s blanking of many Troughton-era episodes....
Assesses the long-lasting influence of The War Games (Troughton, Story #50) on DOCTOR WHO as a whole...
DOCTOR WHO Stories - Frazer Hines [Part One] (17:58)
Hines (companion Jamie McCrimmon) recalls his time on the show and offers interesting insight. Reccomended.
The Doctor's Strange Love: The Krotons
An examination and defense of this oft-lambasted story.
Photo Gallery (5:25)
Radio Times Listings
Coming Soon (1:05)
A look at the forthcoming DVD issuance of The Greatest Show in the Galaxy (McCoy, Story #151). HERE in US, HERE in UK.
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And, above all...
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