Mindwarp:Doctor Who:Season 23
The Valeyard presents his second piece of evidence to prove the Doctor's guilt by his and Peri's activities on Thoros Beta. The Doctor and and Peri arrive on Thoros Beta to track down who supplied the warlords of Thordon with advanced weaponry. There they find both conquered Thoros Alphans and warlords of Thordon in cryogenic suspension.
Earth scientist Crozier is currently in the employ of the Doctor's old thoros betan enemy Sil and is conducting genetic experiments in the hope of fiding a way to directly transplant the mind of Sil's Leader Kiv into another body before Kiv's impending death. Thordon King Yrcanos, escapes the laboratory shortly after the captured Doctor is subjected to the Mindwarp device.
The Doctor's mind is affected and he now sides with Sil and the Mentors in hunting down Peri, Yrcanos and his men. Peri is Captured and interrogated by the Doctor who reveals his allegiance to Sil is a ploy to gain time. Yrcanos and his men are captured for execution and Crozier elects to put the dying Kiv's mind in the body of Peri unless the Doctor can offer an alternative.
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Mindwarp CAST & CREW
Colin Baker (Sixth Doctor)
Nicola Bryant (Peri Brown)
Lynda Bellingham — The Inquisitor
Michael Jayston — The Valeyard
Brian Blessed — King Yrcanos
Nabil Shaban — Sil
Christopher Ryan — Kiv
Patrick Ryecart — Crozier
Thomas Branch — The Lukoser/Dorff
Gordon Warnecke — Tuza
Alibe Parsons — Matrona Kani
Trevor Laird — Frax
Richard Henry — Mentor
Production Staff for Serial 7B:
Writer - Phillip Martin
Director - Ron Jones
Script editor - Eric Saward
Producer John Nathan-Turner
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From the foresty wastelands of Ravelox to the watery weirdly coloured rocky expanses of Thoros Beta.
Ok the first glimpse of Mindwarp for me as a kid was part 4 and I didn't really understand what was going on what with people dressed as Aztecs running everywhere intermingled with nurses dressed like Marta Hari, big fat guys dressed like a cross between samurai warriors and American Indians and human slugs, one resembling Mike from the Young Ones. Then there was this big freak out scene at the end where everyone was going crazy, the Dr. looks like he's going to dash to the rescue and then and gets sucked away into the TARDIS and disappears and Peri has her head shaved and mind taken over by the slug thing becoming totally evil and soon after is shot to death by a mad warrior king. The series looked like it had become cool again! Or at the very least…risk taking...
But first I mention my score - it's a 0/10. Why Mindwarp deserves one - more than the shit house Timelash and the appalling Twin Dilemma is due to several elements that erupted mainly due to the production team falling apart behind the scenes. First of all the script - it makes no sense. Ok so some Earth scientist has been brought to Thoros Beta 'cause he's good at brain transplants and the planet's leader has a headache. Then you have a lot of Thoros Alphans on ice for what? For nothing? To be experimented on? Then you have the warlords of Thordon. How do they fit into the picture? Hired by the betans so subdue the alphans? The Alphans don't look hard to subdue, their leader is a skinny guy in a headband and poncho...
Then the Doctor and Peri turn up, Colin Baker goes from the likable Dr of the story before to an evil, ranting, overacting buffoon and the rest of the cast follows suit. Thing is no reasonable explanation is given to why he's acting in this way after the Mindwarp machine thingy, you just have to guess. The incidental music grates, the lighting effects make it look like a night at a circus and funnily enough the costumes on everybody resemble the same.
Have to agree with Grob here because most of the guest cast, lead by OTT Brain Blessed totally go OTT maybe to cover the woeful script so you really don't give a toss about them, even Sil's return is badly handled and he's gone from a slimy character with potential in a really good costume to a unfunny comic foil in a naff version of his costume. The paintbox effects are a good attempt to create an alien planet with pink seas and purple green skies but not enough to award a single point to. Plus the interjection of the courtroom scenes come quicker than TV adverts on channel 10 these days. So there's no real flow to the story. It's no excuse that the production team became unprofessional enough to let this get as bad as it did. Poor Christopher Ryan as Kiv must have wondered what he blundered into.
Ron Jones did seem a very good director before this churning Frontios and Varos and a couple of other Davison stories but he seemed not to know what was going on in the script. Eric Saward was pissed off and blamed Phillip Martin for the story, Phillip Martin was pissed off at Saward and JN-T's alterations to his story (many ideas from Waly K Daly's unused Ultimate Evil were lifted and thrown into this) Eric Saward was pissed off at JN-T's crappy commission of this script as well as Colin's acting and ended up quitting as script editor halfway through. Colin was pissed off at Saward and Martin because no one would tell him what was really going on with the Doctor in the script...but his final choice wasn't too good.
Nicola Bryant has no idea what was going on and was probably happy to leave...but she does give a really good creepy performance at the end when Kiv's brain is put into her body and she's become evil...now that's a shocking way for her to end but can't even give a point for this as JN-T ended up subverting the ending at the series conclusion. It's really bad yep I stand with the extremist on this one, because I squirmed watching these mish mashed episodes - again for the record it's Zero out of ten.
Step one: Open four bottles of pink food dye. Step two: Open four bottles of green food dye. Step three: Drink all eight bottles of food dye. Step four: Eat a whole packet of chocolate laxetives. Step five: Climb up on your desk. Step six: Drop your pants. Step seven: Squat over your typewriter. Step eight: Push out the entire contents of your bowels over your typewriter. Step nine: With your bare hands, collect the entire waste matter and place it in an A4 envelope. Step ten: Hand it into the Dr Who production office and call it your script for "Mindwarp"
Here is what I hate about Mindwarp; Once again the Doctor is portrayed as an unlikeable, evil, snarling, overacting thug. Phillip Martin is incapable of actually writing any characters with any real depth. Ron Jones has no idea how to get any sort of atmosphere or tension into his direction. Those special effect shots of the planet surface in green and pink are just hideous. Who gives a fuck about Crozier, or Ycarnos, or ANY of the other characters in this? Sil is a crap alien, badly acted by Nabil Shabin and he is NOWHERE near as funny as he thinks he is. Peri is so bland and dull that I couldn't give a rats arse if she is killed or not. The humour (if that what you call it) is forced and childish. That scene where the Doctor is torturing Peri on the beach is just unwatchable - mainly due to Colin Baker being thoroughly unwatchable anyway. All the aliens look fake, crap and cheap. Oh, and those trial scenes.... yeah; where is the fast forward (or "eject") button when you need it?
Finally, there is just a total lack of DEPTH here. Why should anyone care about the lives of the people in Mindwarp? Russell T Davies is 100% correct when he said that no one would give an arse about the Zogs on the planet Zog. Christ knows I don't give one about the half a dozen badly acted pieces of wood on the planet Thorus Beta.
Mindwarp is unwatchable. Zero out of ten.
PS: Sure its a brief review, but something as bad as this season doesn't warrant any further attention.
Well, how great were the sets in Mindwarp hey!
I watched this again last night and I don't think it stinks as much as say Nimon or Timelash - but man it's so confused and messy that just leaves you shaking your head.
There's just so many mistakes.
You'd think they'd have learnt from Twin Dilemma... when you make the Doctor bad and more over mean towards his assistant, it ain't gonna work... so what do they do here? OK, so this could be more the fault of the trial, as we never really find out if the Doctor was a) acting like this to infiltrate, b) acting like this because of the effect of the mindwarp or c) not acting like this at all, and the Valeyard did something to the alter him. Whatever the case is, it's a big fault of the story that we never find out. It's such a problem that I was looking forward to the trial bits to see what was going to happen there next cos the changes in Mindwarp didn't make sense... and then by the end, for no reason, the Doctor seems to be OK again (as he is during the trial)... why? Did they just change it so much from the original story to fit it into the trial, or is it just poor?
But that's not the worst bit.
Varos left you thinking that Sil was a pretty shrewd operator, using his disgustingness (it might be a word!) to make deals on behalf of his planet... so there's always going to be some intrigue as to what goes on on his planet. BUT - there is no way that the Mentors could be the stereotypical "evil dictators" of a country. They've got nothing except for loud mouths! They don't move, they don't have any deadly weapons (other than a stinger in their tail, that, once shot is gone), and they have no powers... so how have they got all these people working for them as slaves, and more over how have they got Scientists the caliber of Crozier working for them?
OK, maybe it could have happened - but we need to have more explanation. We get nothing form Ycarnos or his mob. We get nothing from the great Crozier. We get nothing from Sil or Mike from the Young ones. We get nothing from whatever the fuck that President muppet thing was that appeared for no apparent reason towards the end?
Basically, we get nothing.
There's a reasonable story built around the mindwarp device, but there's just no ends to the means... it's like the middle of a story that gives us no beginnings (a similar fault to Mysterious planet), and certainly gives us no end... OK, so Mike's in Peri and that's bad... but so what? He wanted a new body cos his brain was too big... but why? What does he do that requires the new body? etc etc... it's not worth going on... as I'll just get back to the whole "how are they in power" problem.
So anyway, Mindwarp does have one redeeming feature (other than nice sets, and a reasonable "means" - although this does make it that 7 of the last 8 stories revolve around some kind of genetic experimentation)... Nicola Bryant is very very good as Peri. She has some pretty dodgy dialogue in places, but she does a great job getting across that she's kind of had enough... and she also gets across that despite the fact that the Doctor is being an ass, she still really cares for him... I like that. She also does a good job of becoming Mike from the Young Ones at the very end too. She also has nice feet, and looks great tied to a rock getting soaked by the waves.
Other performances though aren't so great. Brian Blessed is obviously a great actor... but the hell was going on with Ycarnos? He was obviously being played for laughs - but wow, he made Colin Baker look like Mike Yeats! And Peri fell in love with this guy??? Apparently in the novel, they get married, move to earth and he becomes a boxer!! The guy playing Crozier was very very forced, and hard to watch, and Nabil Shaban was, well, he was the same as before, so he was fine. I guess Colin Baker was fine too - especially in the trial bits, as his Doctor was likable there - to the point that I guess made me want to see more of the trial... maybe that would explain the mess on the matrix!
So Mindwarp is a hugely wasted opportunity... whether it's from the original script, or the bastardisation process of getting it into the trial (although I think he wrote it specifically for the trial), it's a shocking effort at building a promising race.
2 points for Nicola Bryant and 0.5 for the sets and 0.25 for the nice coloury things at the start.