A004 Phobos

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Doc and Lucie materialise in a Scooby Doo episode and wade through snow, battling fake monsters and avoiding holes of both the worm and plot variety.

Cowabunga! It’s time for a Scooby Doo episode, literally and it appears also intentionally, as it even includes an “And I would have gotten away with it, too”-type line of dialogue.

The Doctor and Lucie materialise on the Martian moon of Phobos, which in the future is essentially a skiing resort run by hippies and overrun by adrenalin junkies with questionable accents. Also on Phobos, atop a mountain, is a wormhole down which said adrenalin junkies (or “Drennies” as they prefer to be called) enjoy bungee jumping. For some time now, though, the camp “elder”, Kai Tobias (played by Timothy West) has been telling stories of monsters, aka Phobians, living in the wormhole and occasionally coming out and killing tourists. His partner, Eris (played by Nerys Hughes, see screenshot here below), however, thinks this is all a load of utter nonsense. Well, Eris, that’s something we have in common.

Doctor Who Phobos Nerys Hughes in Kinda
Nerys Hughes previously appearing on Doctor Who, as Todd in ‘Kinda’

In addition to The Doctor and Lucie we get to meet a few more of Phobos’ visitors, namely, the Githean Farl (a big, furry chauvinist played by Tim Sutton) and his presumably human girlfriend Amy (played by Katarina Olson, whom we’ve previously encountered in the form of The Headhunter, and *spoiler alert* whom we will encounter again as such in a short cutscene at the end of this one). We’re also introduced to Drew (Ben Silverstone) and Hayden (John Schwab, screenshot below), two bodacious dudes who are there to enjoy the thrills of Phobos, and who are, it transpires, “just friends”.

Doctor Who Phobos John Schwab as Bywater in Dalek
John Schwab previously appearing on Doctor Who, as Bywater in ‘Dalek’

Anyway, when Doc and Lucie arrive, a faux-Australian Drennie has just been brutally murdered, the above-mentioned tourists’ lives are threatened by the Phobians and something just ain’t right.

The Ratings-and-Reviews Sections of this podcast episode kicks off at:
1 hour 5 minutes 55 seconds

… and lasts for a good few minutes before we start congratulating ourselves
on being so witty.

Doctor Who audiobook Phobos

One Response to “A004 Phobos”

  1. Peter Zunitch

    It is clear to me that I liked this story a decent amount more than WBW. I didn’t love it, but it wasn’t THAT awful. It was just a bit of fluffy fun. Fun setting, fun characters, fun story, fun [non]monsters. There certainly were logic issues and character problems with the ultimate bad guy (and penultimate for that matter), it also had a total pants climax, but until that moment I was never bored and never dis-interested. That to me is worth something.
    I liked the incredibly varied themes it explored. The little threads that get played out as each group interacts with all the others give us just a taste of the diversity of this place. Then you take the same group and place them in different company and it feels altogether different. Personally, I never felt the main group were hippies, just squatters. They were colony builders who just never bothered to leave when the contract dried up.
    There are little moments that just shine scattered throughout the story. The doctor lassoing the monster, the exploration of incited bigotry, the amusement park moments, the description of the locations, Lucie taking on the monster, the intimate discussions, the screwdriver moment, all of these things are such fun little scenes, all enjoyable in their own little way. The problem is that they are indeed little moments, and never culminate to make the whole bigger than the sum of its parts. Most of them are meaningless to the story as a whole.
    To break from the review for a moment, I have to take issue with the WBW bungie cord discussion. The science is wrong, but not because of what was discussed. Terminal velocity would limit the top speed of the person jumping. The person wouldn’t be going any faster at 3Km than they would be at, say, 1/2Km, and bungie cords can be made to safely stretch and slow people down even at such speeds. Where I believe it would fall apart is that the weight of a 3Km rope would be too much compared to the person jumping that it would screw up the entire physics of their momentum. . It must be some really light futuristic rope. Carbon nano-rope perhaps? Additionally, the bounceback from any bungie jump would only return the jumper to less than ¾ of their height. That said, the person jumping would still be at least ¾ of a kilometer away when shouting “okay pull me back”. I doubt they’d be heard. This wormhole indeed must have some really crazy physics going on inside it.
    The only other thing I can say about the story is that if the character behind the service robots that insensitive to the killings he himself caused, he wouldn’t be the kind of person to give two horse puckies about some alien killing people either, and just wouldn’t make the effort to stop it to begin with. This interpretation of “the needs of the many…” logic would make Mr. Spock vomit. His logic, the fear monster logic, the cramming of previously un-hinted exposition into the climax and the defeat of the monster does indeed constitute an ending that is so Scooby-Doo it must be quoted as such by the characters. No, scratch that, Scooby-Doo had better written endings. Oh and I despise the way they shoe-horned the headhunter into the story. That’s just lazy un-planned for writing garbage.
    All that said, I still maintain it’s a story that is worth a listen. The soundscape is truly a driving force for the imagination, the location is fully realized, and the individual scenes are very nice as standalone themes. I would however recommend stopping the story after the Doctor rescues Lucie and making up your own ending without the inclusion of any fear monster. Whatever you can think of would be so much better. For this reason, Phobos gets a dramatis interruptus rating of 2.3


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