The TARDIS, an interplanetary time machine that on the outside resembles a police call box, lands Doctor Who and his companions, the chirpy Dodo and forthright Steven, on a spacecraft called the Ark. They learn that Earth is about to plunge into the sun. The Ark contains all human, plant, and animal life and is bound for the planet Refusis. But Dodo has a cold, against which the Ark's Guardians and the slave race called Monoids have no immunity.
The Doctor is able to overcome the Guardians' fears and suspicions and finds an antidote. The TARDIS is allowed to take off, but it returns, seemingly seconds later. Actually 700 years have passed. The time-traveling trio is stunned to discover that a mutant strain of the fever has led to an evolutionary shift--the Guardians are now the slaves and the Monoids rule.
The Ark is disarmingly stagey (some of the actors step on each other's lines and others stumble over their dialogue), but it is a precious relic from television's longest-running sci-fi series, and one for which its devoted fans will gladly make time. --Donald Liebenson
As I write this review in July 2002, the BBC news has reported that scientists have managed to teleport a molecule across a room. Clearly the technology has someway to go before the creation of a trans mat but it is a first step. Others have postulated the hyper drive but so far the hard science has been against them. Obviously too, with social scientists having enough to do figuring out the problems of today's society, there has not been much research done on the practical issues involved with the slower than light speed travel to other worlds.
The first of the Doctor Who Ark type stories addresses that by the miniturisation of the majority of the human race and earth life and a life of luxury for the crew, served by a race of Monoids. This is particularly reminiscent of the 'Planet of the Apes' concept. The arrival of the Doctor and his companions brings an unseen enemy into the ark - that of the common cold to which the crew have no reistance.
The TARDIS leavs, only to return at journey's end, and as in 'Planet of the Apes' the Monoids have taken over and hold the humans as slaves. The treatment of the humans reflects the feelings of the Monoids for their perceived abuses in the early years. Happily, the Doctor, with a little help from outside reolves the situation to the mutual satisfaction of all concerned.
As a drama this particular episodes addresses a social issue which was gaining ground in England at the time.Read more ›