The Doctor is aided by a space yokel from the Wild West while a pirate in a medieval spacesuit and a lady in a metal wig try to trap him
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The Doctor and his companions, Jamie and Zoe (aka JayZ), materialise aboard a satellite, or a space beacon, just as space pirates space blow it up. They survive, of course, locked inside one of the isolated compartments of the beacon. In the future, you see, space beacons, among other things, are made of Argonite, the most valuable mineral in the galaxy, and the space pirates steal space beacons and then space melt them down to get the precious mineral.
Enter stage left, The Interstellar Space Corps, a law-enforcement organisation in hot pursuit of the pirates.
Enter stage right, Milo Clancey, a Wild-West prospector and space yokel, whom the Space Corps suspect of being the mastermind behind the pirates.
Enter through a trapdoor centre-stage, Madeleine Issidri, a lady who wears a giant metal Nefertiti wig, and who runs one of the largest Argonite mining companies in the galaxy, and who also just happens to be the sworn enemy of Milo Clancey.
Holy Smokes. Excitement coming up, right? Well. We’ll see.
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The epic scale of this story is ultimately betrayed by the simple storyline, and the little bit of action is overwhelmed by an epic amount of dialog. The space shots are great, but there’s just too many, and the rest of the sets were stark and uninspiring. While the recon is outstanding, the recycling of the same telesnaps dulls enthusiasm even further. If there were a story that truly would benefit from more recovered footage, this would probably be second on the list. The opera music was fine at first… then it wasn’t. Finally the climax of the story is way too drawn out to be exciting.
The characters are acted well enough, but were written with little depth. Only two have any real backstory and there’s little interpersonal relations with which to engage the viewer. Further, the Tardis crew are reduced to merely being bystanders with little to do.
Most missed footage is anything with Dom Issigri. It sounds like he put on a good performance. Retro rewrite is easy, a third storyline with flashbacks to the early days of Madeleine, Dom and Milo so we have something to make us care about these characters.
Where this story does succeed is costuming and scope, and despite all the negatives it’s really not a complete failure. Yet it could have been something worthy of a TV movie. Ultimately though there just wasn’t enough engaging material to span the length of the serial. This story earns a Jimmy Stewart impersonation rating of 2.2
I always go into a Doctor Who serial wanting to like it, but I knew it was a bad sign when I had no memory of this particular story. I also try to give the reconstructed episodes some extra leeway, since it’s harder to get into the action. I actually kind of enjoy the still-photo-plus-audio recons, but I just could not care about this tedious story.
Random Bullet Points:
-this story seems to carry on the theme of old, obsolete men showing themselves to be unexpectedly clever and useful around spaceships.
-it may be the future, but Zoe still has to make the gents a pot of tea.
-the high point of this entire serial is the varied and highly original headwear everybody seems to have.
-is it just me, or did Madeleine’s helmet have a part line? Was that a helmet, or weird fake metal hair?
-Poor Milo the space yokel. I don’t understand why everyone is so sure that he’s smart enough to pull off multiple heists of unobtanium or whatever that stuff is.
-so the baddies supposedly kept Madeleine’s father for years in a sealed-up room right under her nose, while they were often away doing their space pirating, and no one was the wiser? Ugh.
Oh well, at least War Games is up next.
This is the one starring Don Knotts as Captain Malcolm Reynolds. At least that’s the impression I got from “The Space Pirates” secondary character Milo Clancy when listening to him in the audiobook.
Joking aside, it probably won’t come as a surprise to learn I enjoyed this serial. I tend to be biased in favor of any story that has continually changing locations instead of just going back and forth between two or three points. From a space beacon to the discount Millennium Falcon to the underground tunnels of Tar, the action stayed on the move. If I had any real gripe, it would be about how long it took to get the TARDIS Troupe into the action. Much of the first episode is spent developing the setting before the TARDIS even lands.
One little detail I found interesting is that one of the main people trying to resolve the situation, General Hermack the V-Master (and I can not wait to see what, if anything, Ponken can do with that one), never actually meets the Doctor face to face that I can recall in the story.
Finally, am I the only one who found it amusing to hear Jamie, of all people, say “Candles, in this day and age?”
I’ve heard most of your classic podcasts and thought I’d summarize the next story for you. Thanks for reminding me about Loose Canon.
Here we go:
General Hermack and Major Ian Warne are in charge of the Space Corps. They guard the space lanes against marauding space pirates targeting space beacons in order to extract valuable Argonite used in the structures’ construction. Unfortunately, despite Space Corps’ advanced fleet of spaceships, the pirates are always too far ahead of them to prevent the disappearance of beacon after beacon. The General, therefore, orders a team to each beacon to defend it and alert is fleet of impending piracy.
The Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe arrive aboard Beacon Alpha Four as chaos ensues. The Space Corps traps them. mistaking them for the pirates, who kill of ambush the team that sends an early warning to Space Corps. Shortly thereafter, an explosion rocks the beacon. The Doctor realizes the pirates blasted the beacon to pieces so it drifts through space to their hidden base and that he and his companions have been separated from the TARDIS.
As Space Corps arrives, despite Jamie’s heroics, he; the Doctor; and Zoe are rescued by the rascally old miner Milo Clancey, whom Space Corps suspects of being the head pirate after he and his ancient spaceship evade the authorities’ attack. Clancy founded the Issigri Mining Corporation with his old parter Dom, for whom the company was named. He then founded his own company after declining to be bought out by Dom’s daughter, Madeline, after Dom mysteriously vanished.
General Hermak was coordinating Space Corps operations from Madeline’s headquarters on the nearby, mined out planet Ta, where Zoe has worked out the floating beacon parts were headed. He suspects Clancey is the pirate leader and heads for the planet Lobos to wipe out his enemies. Meanwhile, pirate Captain Caven orders his henchman Dervish to divert the beacon sections to Lobos while Clancey takes the time travelers to Ta so he can hide from Space Corps.
The Doctor, his companions, and Clancey discover the pirates base is in the mines on Ta and Madeline is in league with the Caven. The pirate captain, though is a murderous master strategist with leverage over everyone. Despite becoming the pirates’ prisoners, the Doctor’s party learns Dom is also the pirates’ prisoner to be used as leverage against Madeline, who will not go along with Caven’s murderous plan. The pirates booby trap the landing pad, Clancey’s ship, and the mining company’s generators. He also controls Clancy’s ship remotely. It’s up to the Doctor to save everyone and free Clancey’s ship. Meanwhile, Space Corps saw through Caven’s ruse, learned the truth, and was racing back to Ta. Will they arrive before Caven escapes?
Robert Holmes’ second story employs a mournful score and lots of impressive model work. These elements account for its slow pace until the final episode cranks up the tension to fever pitch. Each member of the main cast has a moment to shine as we wend through the twists of the plot. I relied on the Loose Canon reconstruction of the five missing episodes and have heard the BBC Audio narrated by Frazier Hines, who played Jamie. Only the second episode remains in the BBC archives to give the flavor of this enjoyable, space operatic diversion.
Well, that’s my initial effort on your behalf before hearing you talk about the story.
Hello once again, podcast land! I’ve returned once more to review “The Space Pirates”.
Okay, let’s get to the biggest problem with this serial. It is extremely forgettable. I seriously watched the serial several times for this review, and I can’t remember a single thing about it. Well, there are a few things I remember. For example, in episode one it takes our heroes fifteen minutes to actually show up. And that’s all I really remembered.
But that’s not the only thing, Pat Troughton, the producer, heck even Robert Holmes, the writer himself, remembered nothing about this serial. I’m having trouble writing this because it’s so forgettable. It doesn’t help that this serial only has one episode in the archives. The only reason it was saved was because it was filmed with new cameras or something like that, so the BBC deemed it “historically important” to the company. Meanwhile, the rest of this serial is missing.
So, what will I give this serial? It gets a 2.5/5. I can’t properly judge it due to how much I’ve forgotten about the serial. So, a 50% is the most I’m giving it. Ponken, since this is a solo, I pity you for going it alone. I also commend your bravery for doing it alone, too. It’s unfortunate that this serial is missing so much, but would it make it better if it were complete? We may never know for sure.
Also, fun little fact, this serial had a floor manager by the name of John Nathan-Turner. Yes, that John Nathan-Turner. So this was the genesis of the fall from grace Doctor Who would go through in the late 80’s. And oh, we’ll get to that. But not for a very long time, I suspect.
Next time, the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe land in the trenches of the First World War, but all is not as it seems. Action, adventure, round and round captures and escapes, and the Second Doctor’s final stand, join Ponken and the gang as they review the Second Doctor’s swansong, “The War Games”. Hopefully, I’ll be taking part in that review, as I want my chance to be part of a Troughton review episode instead of being trapped in the mini-review-verse.
Quick Pros and Cons:
It is a decent piece of television – not necessarily of Doctor Who
The plot was ok, albeit could have be carried out a little better
It was still better the Underwater Menace – which I realize is my standard for a score of <1
It was hard to keep track of which character was which
It felt poorly acted, but that may have been to the horrible accent work and lack of full episodes
This ends Zoe's streak of being useful and continues Jaime's streak of being useless and nearly adds the Doc into that category.
Major Ian Warne's helmet is way to big for his head and made production look shotty.
I can go on all day. It is one of the few serials that I would recommend skipping.
1.0 – I'm happy to not watch it again until they animate or find it.