Doctor Who: Carnival of Monsters (Story #66)

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7.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 6/10

Fun characters, has aspects that reminds me of Lost

Typical bad Doctor Who visuals

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Oh no! We’ve fallen into a Salvador Dali painting!!!

The Doctor (Jon Pertwee) is on the loose again and now free to travel in time and space.  Travelling with Jo Grant (Katy Manning), a planned trip to Metebelis Three is diverted to what appears to be an Earth ship called the SS Bernice.  The Doctor and Jo discover that the people on the ship appear to be caught in a time loop that erases their memories and that the ship is menaced by monsters.  The Doctor finds he and Jo are trapped within a Miniscope and that the Miniscope is breaking down.  The Doctor and Jo must escape the Miniscope, stop the creatures called the Drashigs, and free the prisoners of the Miniscope.  The Doctor however is unaware that the Miniscope is part of a travelling show led by Vorg (Leslie Dwyer) and Shima (Cheryl Hall), and the people of Inter Minor are planning to use the Miniscope to plot a coup.

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Jo, let’s just go back to UNIT

Doctor Who:  Carnival of Monsters falls in the tenth season of the popular long-running British serial Doctor Who and aired in four parts between January 27, 1973 to February 17, 1973.  It follows the events of Doctor Who:  The Three Doctors and has been collected in The Jon Pertwee Years as Story #66

This was a fun Doctor Who serial and seemed to keep moving which is a bit of an issue with many of the stories.  This is the first time that Jon Pertwee’s Doctor has been able to fully control the TARDIS (the 2nd Doctor was grounded on Earth in Doctor Who: Wargames (Story #50), and it opens up a lot of new storylines for the characters.  Like a lot of early Doctor Who episodes, there is a little too much going on however, and the story could have been pared down more to make it more concise and even better.

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I hate it when Drashigs attack ships…

The Miniscope stuff is fun.  I like the idea of Jo and the Doctor being puppets of the “puppet masters” Vorg and Shima.  This isn’t fully explored, and the idea of a zoo where creatures like the Drashigs and Cybermen (there is a small cameo) are trapped with them is fun…I think it would have been interesting if the whole season was trapped in the Miniscope and the characters tried to figure out what was going on…then of course, it would just feel like Lost, and there are a lot of aspects of this serial that remind me of that series.

The rebellion stuff is where the series could have been toned down.  I didn’t really care about the other aliens and what they were doing and would kind of phase out when they showed up.  I wish that the really weak (and failed) rebellion had just been left on the cutting room floor.

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We’re totally kooky!

I like Leslie Dwyer and Cheryl Hall.  I wish they had returned for another go around with the Doctor.  I particularly felt Cheryl Hall was good and fun and thought she would have made a fun companion for the Doctor.  It turns out she was considered for Jo’s role (along with Jenny McCracken from the Bernice) and I think she would have made a good companion…Too bad the Doctor didn’t take her on too in this serial.  It is also interesting to note that one of the people on the Bernice is played by Ian Marter who joins the Fourth Doctor as Harry Sullivan.

I think Doctor Who:  Carnival of Monsters is a fun entry into the series.  Sure it gets a little sidetracked, but there are few Doctor Who episodes that don’t get sidetracked.  Doctor Who:  Carnival of Monsters is followed by Doctor Who:  Frontier in Space.

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Preceded By:

Doctor Who:  The Three Doctors (Story #65)

Followed By:

Doctor Who:  Frontier in Space (Story #67)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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