Nightmare Of Eden: Doctor Who: Season 17
Nightmare Of Eden SYNOPSIS:
The TARDIS lands on the passenger space liner Empress after it's been involved in hyperspatial collision with another spacecraft resulting in neither ship being dimensionally stable, risking the lives of all aboard. The Doctor, K-9 and Romana offer to help the Captain when a crew member is found dead, killed by an animal.
Something deadly has been released by the accident and it is confirmed that Professor Trysts CET machine which holds alien lifeforms in miniature is also unstable and the alien Mandrels could have escaped from the active crystal that contains a projection of their home planet Eden.
Another death is linked to the discovery that the killer drug Vraxoin has been smuggled aboard. The answer could be the savage Mandrels, who now rampage through both ships and the Doctor and Romana are rendered powerless to help fix the accident and find the culprits by Excise officers who believe them to be the drug smugglers.
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Nightmare Of Eden DETAILS:
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Nightmare Of Eden CAST & CREW
Tom Baker (Fourth Doctor)
Lalla Ward (Romana II)
David Brierley (K-9 Mk. II)
Lewis Fiander — Professor Tryst
Jennifer Lonsdale — Della
Geoffrey Bateman — Dymond
David Daker — Captain Rigg
Stephen Jenn — Secker
Barry Andrews — Stott
Geoffrey Hinsliff — Officer Fisk
Peter Craze — Officer Costa
Richard Barnes, Sebastian Stride, Eden Phillips — Crewmen
Annet Peters, Lionel Sansby, Peter Roberts, Maggie Petersen — Passengers
Production Staff for Serial 5K:
Writer - Bob Baker
Director - Alan Bromley (Graham Williams)
Script editor - Douglas Adams
Producer - Graham Williams
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Nightmare Of Eden REVIEWS
The camp factor is in full swing in Nightmare of Eden! The homages continue as this set of episodes pays tribute to the Batman TV series. All that's missing is a few "POWS" & "ZAPS" and the final punch up between the heroes and the bad guys. Let's break it down, a holiday space liner that has accidentally merged with another ship when both were preparing to jump to hyperspace at the same time. Interesting concept. Oh and there's an underlying drugs issue - guess what? They're bad!
Somehow this makes it possible for a machine containing all sorts of animals in miniature to resume their full size and go prowling around the ship. The machine sounds like a rip off of the one in Carnival Of monsters and although it also has heaps of species in it, only the big, unconvincing bear ones with bad flares, green eyes with visible zips on their backs manage to go for a wander around both ships. Sound wacky enough? Then to get wackier enter the dynamic duo and their wacky computer. They meet up with Commissioner Gordon...i.e. the Ship's Captain who looks spiffy is his spangly shirt and brown skivvy and try to sort things out.
There's various hi-jinks thrown in Nightmare Of Eden: villain of the week is a really badly "played for comedy" professor with an outrageous Germanic accent and the worst television actress in the world at that time in the U.K. who plays the professor's assistant, least she's cute though. Then there's a lank haired, disgruntled driver of the second ship who's getting cranky that no one's giving him insurance details from the crash and some shadowy figure that lurks in the Eden projection from the machine. Oh and a couple of idiot space policeman (space insurance investigators?) who want to kill the Doctor just because he's not carrying the equivalent of a driver's license with him.
There's the Point of View already in these reviews that the show is not meant to be taken seriously but there seems to be no explanations for any of the weird OTT science going on here and also no explanations for the a large variety of bad and camp acting on display. The monsters are bad and even the Eden jungle set is stripped down left over's of the previous story complete with a cardboard man eating plant. Tom doesn't help with his cartoonish antics at apparently being eaten by the Mandrels and staggering out of a doorway like wile. e. coyote with a tattered coat but no visible injuries. Holy projected jungles in a two space ship accident Doctor! Nightmare of Eden does have one good cliffhanger that I'm awarding the points to where the Doctor literally looks as if he's been vapourised. Can the season get any worse? 2.2/10
We had sex in the last story so its only fair we have one about drugs. As a STORY it isn't too bad when you think about it; drug runners shipping an addictive drug through customs that is in its pure form an actual living creature that is housed inside a projected zoo (ala Carnival of Monsters, the projected zoo bit). Then two ships collide and the monsters break out and someone gets addicted and pretty soon all goes to pieces faster than a Muslim with a backpack. What a pity the production side of Nightmare Of Eden let it down.
Lets look at the monsters - the Mandrells. They look like a cross between something out of HR Puff'n;Stuff, Marty Monster and something from Where The Wild Things Are. But the hilarity isn't in their flared fur pants or their headlamp eyes - its the fact that one of the monsters is much shorter than the others and is just hanging about in the background for no real reason. Its like one of the Mandrells was forced by his mum to bring his little brother along.
Then there are the spaceship sets - geez its all looking tatty now. No money in the kitty and it shows. Even the jungle sets of Eden look fake.
And finally, Tryst. The guy is the central character to THE WHOLE FUCKING STORY and he is played with this ridiculous German accent and funny glasses and is a total prat. Where is the menace, or the depth of character or ....well anything to make us invest 90 minutes of interest in this twat?? Still, I'd root his assistant Della.
The series is being played for laughs now with scenes like the Doctor playing the flute - ala the Pied Piper - to get the Mandrells back into the Eden projection, plus those two star cops straight out of Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy (guess why) that are so officious and stupid and bureaucratic that its simply not even remotely funny.
Can we draw from this that Baker was the one that wrote the crap bits from Baker and Martin stories?
There are a couple of things that work ok here - the ships crashing at the beginning works well to draw you straight into the story. Then we get the CET machine - imagine being able to walk inside your pictures... that would be fantastic! OK, far-fetched, but that's OK, it's a great idea.
However, somehow, they take these two things into a very boring drug running story.
Tryst could have been a great character. Not only is he the inventor of the CET, but he's also, eventually (and predictably) the main bad guy. And it's not that he does an awful job - it's just... who the hell decided to give him that awful accent? If it was his idea, then OK he did do an awful job! And is it just me, or does he look like Alexander Cabbot from Josie and the Pussycats???
I guess the next "main" thing in Nightmare Of Eden is the Mandrells. I don't really mind them... but they're nowhere near a menacing as they could have been... or as they were reported to be. Apparently at the time The Sun ran a story saying that these were going to be the scariest Who monsters of all time! Well, if you're scared of Muppets then maybe. The American Eagle was kind of a scary muppet... but these are more of a cross between Fozzy Bear and Dr Teeth.
I do like the way they turn into the drug when they get killed though - that little bit was cool.
And the guy who is the obvious red herring from the CET machine, he's not that bad either... and Tryst's assistant is kind of hot too.
Every other character is there to be a boring over officious keystone cop, another poorly written red herring or an overacting drug addict.
Production wise, well, you wonder if they did that chase scene in part 2 just to show us how crap it is. Running through the same set of passengers 5 times, the same set of stairs and the same lift - you can't not laugh. And the different signs they put on the same door to make it look like a different room... when K9 said "I've found the power room", and there's the same corridor that the Doctor was in a minute ago, with a sign that says "Power Room" instead of "Stairs"... hilarious!
A point for the opening / premise, a point for The Mandrells, a point for the CET and half a point for Tryst's assistant.