The Monster of Peladon
|The Monster of Peladon|
|Air date||23 March - 27 April 1974|
|Written by||Brian Hayles|
|Directed by||Lennie Mayne|
|Death to the Daleks||Planet of the Spiders|
Peladon 2: Electric Boogaloo is a remake of The Curse of Peladon with even more weird-looking aliens and future hairdos. Jon Pertwee reprises his role as the Velvety-Smooth Doctor, but Jo Grant is replaced by Sarah Jane Smith, while Alpha Centauri is still a walking penis.
The Doctor returns to Peladon to try to pimp Sarah Jane out to King Peladon (because Jo turned him down), but he shows up 50 years late. The King's daughter is now running things, and her name is, surprisingly, not Peladon at all, but Thalira.
Meanwhile, the Galactic Federation has gone to war with Galaxy 5. The war effort needs lots of raw materials, so the miners of Peladon are being exploited, while the nobles are getting rich off their labor.
Oh yeah, in addition to the 12 Peladonians who are exact parallels of the 12 from the last story (King Peladon=Queen Thalira, mute King's Champion Grun=mute Queen's Champion Blor, High Priest Hepish=Chancellor Ortron, Unnamed Guard Captain=Unnamed Guard Captain, etc.), there are also 8 working-class miners. And we see 3 of them get killed—one of them twice, in fact—and yet they're all still there at the end, but for some reason nobody ever mentions that they're immortal.
For the rest of the story, go back and read The Curse of Peladon, because, despite being an entirely different situation, they basically recycle the whole plot. However, subtracting the mystery story that threatened to distract viewers from the wigs and captures-and-escapes that were the real point of the serial does allow them to add some Doctor-death fakeouts, a plot device that the original had been lacking.
In the end, after the same palace coup from last time happens again, twice, it turns out that Samsung Galaxy S5 was behind all of the disputes, and once their ploy to disrupt mining operations on a single planet is exposed, they unconditionally surrender their entire galactic war, and everybody lives happily ever after.
Things are a bit more nuanced than the simple "EU good" message of the prequel.
The left-centrist wing of Labour is good, while the radical wing of Labour and the Conservatives are both evil, because they're both probably working for China.
Union workers, and especially the coal miners whose strike caused an episode of Curse to get the worst ratings in the history of Doctor Who, should not be blamed, they should be pitied for being stupid and easily exploitable by radicals and/or right-wingers.
Unrestrained capitalism is inherently bad because it means ghostly monsters will eat people, but revolution is not the answer Mac Hulke, inter-class solidarity is, as expressed in Venusian lullabies.
Superstitious people who believe in gods are stupid, even if their god is real and walks around eating people.
I think the coal miners also represent the Welsh and the guards the Scottish, or something like that, because Welsh and Scottish Nationalism was also a big issue in 1974, but I can't figure out what the message is there.
Meanwhile, Sarah Jane gives a speech on women's lib to a Queen who rules over her people (who are all men) with absolute power.
And there are ruthless Ice Warriors in the story to teach us that even though modern Germans are good guys and not Nazis, there are also bad guys in even the best country.
The bad guys are using fake apparitions of the monster to kill people, but the monster himself kills people too, and only the Doctor's singing to it can make it stop. In the end, it kills one of the bad guys and dies and the Doctor is sad, because even mindless beasts need a redemption arc.
The Love Story
This time, the Queen wants the Doctor, not the companion, and Sarah Jane even tries to turn things around by pimping him out, which is entertaining.
Since going bizarre with the aliens worked pretty well last time, they double down on it here.
Which, sadly, means they couldn't afford new Ice Warrior costumes, so each actor gets whatever 60s costume he can struggle into, meaning they're all from different stories that don't match up, and none of them fit very well.
Aggedor's costume is also falling apart, but he's still the cutest 70s monster.
The traditional opinion is that this sucks because it's just a pointless rehash of its predecessor. But nowadays, there's a contrarian faction within fandom that loves it. So, who's right?
In some ways, it actually is better. We get to see that there are more than 12 people on Peladon. Despite having more factions, they all have believable motives. And the Ice Warriors unsurprisingly work even better as believable villains than they did as surprise heroes. The production is more polished. The pacing is pretty good for the era (as long as you don't bingewatch it and realize that they're just repeating previous scenes to trick you into thinking there's enough plot for six episodes). Only one of the aliens is named after his home star or planet instead of almost everyone in the story. And Sarah Jane is Sarah Jane.
In some ways, it's worse. A political allegory for a single issue is one thing; a political allegory for a whole lot of barely-related nuanced issues, not so much. And Pertwee is basically phoning it in, except for the bits where it's not even Pertwee but Terry Walsh, who's now doing his acting as well as his stunts.
In most ways, it really is just a pointless rehash.
It's still a reasonably enjoyable runaround, but there's no particular reason to watch it unless you're running out of Pertwee.
Well, actually, a friend of mine loves this story because of the butch guards in leather microskirts, so I guess if you're gay and that's your thing, there is a particular reason to watch it. But otherwise, no.
- The Ice Warriors, having been turned good and then bad again, basically used up all their plot functions and didn't reappear on TV for 39 years, until someone had the brilliant idea of "what if we show them out of their armour?"
- Even though there were only two "of Peladon" stories on TV, Big Finish gave them at least two more. Still no "of the Daleks", but then there's no "Bride of the Daleks", is there? (There really should be.)
- For some reason, Gary Russell was obsessed with retconning Galaxy 5 from an enemy galaxy to a terrorist organization within the Federation, so he crammed that into all of his novels, even though nobody else gave a shit about Galaxy 5.