The Keys of Marinus

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Writer: Terry Nation

Director: John Gorrie

Producer: Verity Lambert

No. of Episodes: 6 (“The Sea of Death”, “The Velvet Web”, “The Screaming Jungle”, “The Snows of Terror”, “Sentence of Death”, “The Keys of Marinus”)

Season: 1, ep. 5 (21-26)

Companions: Susan (Carole Ann Ford), Barbara Wright (Jacqueline Hill), and Ian Chesterton (William Russell)

Summary: The Doctor and companions arrive on the planet Marinus. There, they discover a machine that has eradicated all evil thought. That is, until the Voords came and removed six micro-circuits, or keys.  The Doctor and companions must travel between zones located on the planet in order to recover the keys if they want access to the TARDIS again.

Review: This is a unique story for Classic Who in that it’s the most episodic of the serials.  Each “fetch quest” almost feels like a separate story within the main story.  The different sets are nice, especially the one used for the first episode (the DVD includes an extra about the construction of each set.) The Voords look kind of silly and don’t seem nearly as iconic as the Cybermen or the Daleks, but I still like the idea because the writers know that they want the show to be known for more than just the Daleks.  Each of the different zones has its own unique culture, something you don’t normally see in science fiction.  Terry Nation really was one of the best writers on the show, and this is a good example of that.  I can’t recommend this story enough.

Overall Review: 8/10

Continuity: Ian is wearing the same robe he wore in the preceding serial, “Marco Polo”.

Trivia: This is one of two stories by Terry Nation that do not feature Daleks. (the other one is “The Android Invasion”.)

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