Monday, 25 May 2009

Doctor Who - New series. new species part 19

Half Term for me so a chance to sneak in a bit of content while I can. I've a number of things I want to write about, but as the last special was quite a while ago now (in the UK at least) I think I should probably write about the Easter episode of Doctor Who and the new alien species it introduced. I thought the bus teleporting into the desert war rather reminiscent of Jumper and the rip-offs and references just keep coming on and on after that...


Humanoid flies have been a staple of Sci-Fi TV and movies since the '50s so I was hardly bowled over when these creatures showed up on set. I thought maybe they'd at least have an interesting background, but the crew managed to rip themselves off by reusing a concept from the animated series - a fly species that live by consuming the waste of other species - clever, if they hadn't already done it. The bugs then managed to top even this by forgetting how their guns worked - they were vaguely entertaining it must be said, but like the rest of the episode, they could have been so much more.

Tritovores were a spacefaring active in galactic culture by the early 21st Century. They had their own spaceships and weapons adapted to their physiology and had advanced translation technology for communication with other races, who couldn't often comprehend their clicking and whirring dialect - this technology could even detect lies in a users voice. They obtained or funded this technology by entering into a mutually beneficial agreement with other sentient species - they would take away organic waste, which they could consume, in return for the goods and services that planet could offer. This worked well for most of the traders, except for a ship that was headed for the planet San Helios...


I found the monsters to be somewhat a rip-off of Pitch Black's beasties, though nowhere near as terrifying or as cool. They might have been intriguing if it weren't for the fact that they were such and obvious copy of that film's plot - trapped on a desert planet, must escape before we get eaten by a merciless swarm of creatures - yep, definitely seen that one before, the Doctor even wears shades, though admittedly they weren't goggles. I did like the fact that they were a monstrous swarm, not an enemy the Doctor could defeat by talking, just mindless beasts - the wormhole concept was interesting if a little unbelievable. They did provide a good sense of peril, and the showdown with UNIT was cool, but I wasn't particularly bowled over.

'Stingray' is the code name given by UNIT to these deadly creatures, based on their resemblence to the Earth shark subspecies of the same name. They are a massive swarm of flying creatures that travel from world to world consuming all they come across, they engulf a planet swarming round and round it until all matter, organic or otherwise is consumed and only sand and waste remains. Their strength seems to be their sheer mass as they are susceptible to heavy weapons fire and vulnerable to coldness but in their large numbers few things can stand against them. As an additional defence any metal they consume is carefully digested and extruded to form a tough exoskeleton. Once all matter on a world is consumed they circle it repeatedly until their momentum and mass opens a wormhole to another world they can lay waste to. By this method the creatures arruived at and destroyed San Helios a bustling, cultured world and were about to breach Earth until the Doctor close their wormhole and redirected them to uninhabited worlds where they could keep living without destroying others.

I hope you've enjoyed this forray into the Doctor's world - more from their adventures when the next special 'Waters of Mars' airs.

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