End-of-year Countdown is over. Time to get back to some Season Reviews and other such nonsense.
MAKING THIS EVER-SO-SLIGHTLY LIKE A BOOK OF LISTS
The last few Reviews of this nature were just me going through each story of the season and expressing my feelings on them. I feel that might actually be getting a bit boring so I decided I might try to spice things up a bit.
However, I do still think a story-by-story review works best for this period. Or perhaps I just lack creativity and can't come up with something new and different (I'm betting on the latter!). Whichever the case, I'm going to still adhere to the format but implement a slight variation in its execution.
Thus far, I was reviewing the stories of the last two seasons in chronological order. This time, I will be ranking them from best to worst. Hopefully, that will keep things fresh and interesting.
All right, then. Let's start with what I feel was the best story of Season Eleven:
1. Death to the Daleks
Yup. You've read that right. This is the story I enjoy most from this season. After some serious thought, I realised this was the most tightly-written and entertaining tale of the year.
Death to the Daleks is far from perfect, of course. The Dalek self-destructing after realising that Sarah Jane and Jill have escaped is, perhaps, one of the silliest things I've ever seen a Dalek do (and this is the same monster that patrols the bottom of a river for no readily apparent reason!). Another super-silly moment occurs when Part Three ends on an almost baffling cliffhanger ("Oh my God! A checkered pattern on the floor!").
You also need to, sort of, view the story in a vacuum. Otherwise you notice that it engages in certain trends that the show repeats a bit more often than it should. Death to the Daleks, for instance, uses a fairly-cheap time-filler that we will see a few more times in Pyramids of Mars and Hand of Fear. When a writer needs to fill an episode or so, they make the Doctor assail a whole series of traps. In Death's defence, the convention is justifiable. The city would probably have defences of this nature. Also, this is the first time we see this writing trick used. So, at least, it's not getting tiresome, yet. By the time it pops up again in Hand of Fear, I've had more-than-enough of it.
You also need to pretend that you've never watched Planet of the Daleks from the previous season. Nation does re-use a few plot devices from that adventure, here. Once more, however, we can defend Death a bit. What he does re-hash works much better this time. I especially like that he maintains a fairly constant sense of peril throughout the four parts but doesn't do so at the expense of realism. We don't get stuff like the TARDIS running out of oxygen because it's covered in spores!
What it all really boils down to is that the flaws of this tale are pretty minor. Otherwise, I find it to be very engaging from beginning to end. Some interesting things get done with some of the supporting cast. Particularly Galloway, of course. He is a jerk throughout the four episodes but then goes out as a hero. A sentient city was also a very neat concept that we hadn't really seen before in the show. Nor has it been explored that much in science fiction, in general. Very inventive on Nation's behalf. It's quite cool when the Doctor mourns its passing at the end.
Having just done my Top Five Dalek Stories, you can tell this is not the best tale we've ever seen that has featured the Skarosian Tyrants. But it still holds together quite nicely. There are some other decent stories this season, but I find this one the most enjoyable. Certainly the least problematic.
2. The Time Warrior
Most of you would have, probably, made this Number One on your list. I do think it's a fairly strong story, too. Particularly in the way it introduces the Sontarans. It fills out so many interesting details about them that it would have been moronic not to give them further appearances on the show. In fact, until War of the Sontarans, I'd rank this as the best story ever made that featured them (War, I feel, beats this one. The Vanquishers ties it. Any other Sontaran Adventure is inferior).
Things go great for the first two episodes. Then it starts suffering the same fate as Carnival of Monsters. Robert Holmes seems to be having problems with creating enough plot to fill his four-parters. Once more, we get some really unnecessary runaround to pad things out. The Doctor and Sarah break in and out of Irongron's castle over and over. To the point where one wonders why Lord Edward is so frightened to attack. My garage when I forget to lock it is a more impenetrable fortress!
There's also that incredibly ludicrous sequence where the Doctor dodges bullets at point-blank range for the better part of five minutes. Quite possibly, the biggest stretch of credulity in the whole history of the show. By this point, Time Warrior has lost most of its steam. Hal killing Linx at the end with an arrow to the probic vent (even though he wasn't actually aware of the weakness - just a lucky shot, I guess!) is pretty cool. But I'm still just not that particularly interested, anymore. The whole thing just kinda fizzles out.
I absolutely adore that first half, though. Enough to get me to still consider this to be one of the best Sontaran stories ever made. Much praise to Kevin Lindsay for really fleshing the creature's personality out. Great prosthetic work, too. Linx actually looks better than several other versions that came after him. It even beats the New Who design that we got up until Chibnall re-did them.
3. Planet of Spiders
Sadly, this story should be at the top. A tale seeing off the latest incarnation of the Doctor should be the best of the season. We would see this for Doctors Four and Five, at least. But not so much for this one!
There are some things that I do really enjoy about Planet of Spiders. It's central message of conquering your fears being more important than life, itself, was certainly illustrated quite beautifully. Particularly, of course, in that final scene where the Doctor stumbles out of the TARDIS and regenerates right in front of Sarah Jane and the Brigadier.
I also quite like everything that was going on with Cho-je and K'anpo. Finally meeting the Doctor's Mentor was quite nice. And how he was capable of projecting his future incarnation was massively cool.
A lot of fans find Tommy's inclusion in the story a bit distasteful. I can see their point. Having an actor portray someone with special needs is always tricky ground to stand on. But I quite enjoyed the whole journey Tommy goes through. Not sure if that makes me insensitive or something of that nature. But I thought Doctor Who Does Flowers for Algernon was quite fascinating.
The extended chase scene is, actually, somewhat entertaining most of the time. It does, ultimately, go on for far too long, though. What makes it even more ridiculous is the fact that Lupton and the Spider teleport out as the Doctor is finally about to capture them. Why didn't they just do this when they were first trying to flee the UNIT base? Why run around for the better part of 20 minutes and then teleport out?! The whole thing was, in the end, a pointless indulgence that brings the story to a pretty big screeching halt. It has a few fun moments, admittedly. But it's mostly just pointless.
Here's a complaint I never hear about Planet of Spiders: Doctor Who Producers, please keep your religion out of my show! This really is, pretty much, a recruitment video for Buddhism. Like, people should have been turning towards the camera on a regular basis and saying: "Hey kids! Doesn't Buddhism look cool?! You should join!" I don't mind religious imagery in a Who Story. Kinda does that a bit. As does Doctor Who - The Movie. But this really does feel more like Letts is foisting his beliefs on us. It's strange how, because it's Buddhism it doesn't bother us as much. I guarantee you if he had gone on as much as he did about his faith but he was a Christian, fans would have grumbled This isn't me trying to sound like one of those "Put Christ back in Christmas" -types. I'm just trying to give some perspective. Too much time is taken in the plot to just explain Buddhism to the audience. Almost as if a religious belief is being sold to us. I don't think Doctor Who should ever be a place where anyone does any kind of evangelising. No matter what the religion is.
The other major problem is a complaint you've heard me make about Pertwee Six-Parters several times, already. In defence of Spiders, the padding is less obvious (except, of course, for an extended chase sequence that eats up most of Part Two!). But it still feels like we just don't have enough story to fill the episode count. A great amount of time is spent getting to know some villagers that have been enslaved by the Eight Legs. Which almost wasn't too bad of a way to fill the plot. Except that their whole thread is brought to this very abrupt end in Part Six and we really don't get a particularly clear idea of what becomes of them in the aftermath. Which makes the whole subplot feel strange and disjointed. Revealing it for what it really is: fairly pointless filler.
Planet of Spiders is, at best, a mixed bag. There's some things I really enjoy about it. But then there's also stuff that I greatly dislike. Which makes it not a very good story for a Doctor to go out on. End of Time - Parts One and Two is probably still the worst. But this might just come in a Close Second.
4. Monster of Peladon
And now the quality starts to dip into something genuinely bad. I wouldn't quite call Monster of Peladon an absolutely terrible story. But I can't call it good, either. Slightly below average would probably be the most accurate way to describe it.
I really haven't complimented Brian Hayles adequately in these reviews. He's written some extremely solid stuff over the years. Curse of Peladon was even strong enough to merit a sequel. He did some very good world-building in the first tale that left plenty of room for expansion.
The direction he takes his sequel in was a good one. Curse was a tale that took place mainly in Peladon's Royal Court with aristocracy and ambassadors. It was nice to delve into what life was like for the lower classes. In this sense, I do find Monster enjoyable.
I'm not sure why Hayles falls prey to the Plight of Properly Filling a Six-Parter. He's written stories of this length before and done just fine. Done excellently, in fact. You don't feel any real sag in either The Ice Warriors or Seeds of Death.
But Monster of Peladon definitely drags in places. To Hayles' credit, he comes up with something slightly more clever than the capture-and-escape formula. Instead, he gives us "coup attempts that succeed for a bit and then fail". It works the same way as capture-and-escape. It eats up a bit of time but then restores the plot to exactly where it was before. Hayles doesn't incarcerate a few significant characters and then have them break out for a bit only to get re-apprehended shortly, thereafter. Instead, he has the miners attempt an uprising that makes a bit of headway before it's nipped in the bud by their oppressors. It amounts to the same thing, of course. Time still gets eaten without the plot really moving forward. Just look at how the miners have to attack the Federation armory twice during the first two parts. But, even when they get their hands on more advanced weapons, their situation doesn't really change. And that's because a miner's revolution isn't a true plot thread in the narrative. It's just there to mark time.
The general plotting of the whole tale gets very troubled, sometimes. There are elements to the story that Hayles just drags out for so long that things start feeling preposterous. Ettis stealing the sonic lance and pointing it at the palace is one of the better examples of this. He swears he's going to use it to destroy the aristocracy but then doesn't finally get around to it til an episode-and-a-half later! I would think that if you were that bitter with your government and had the means to take it down that you would pull the trigger right away. Not sit around for a while with the weapon at your disposal until the Doctor can come along to try to stop you.
The other major problem with this tale seems to lie in how it was directed. It has the same sort of "flat" tone that The Mutants had. Although it doesn't seem to be the fault of the actors, this time. Most are doing a great job. Eckersley, in particular. He gives the sort of performance that telegraphs his hidden agenda all over place but you don't notice it at all the first time you see the story. Only in the re-watch do you spot the clues.
If a TV show feels flat even though it's populated with good actors, then you have to look more closely at how the whole thing was shot. Monster of Peladon is completely studio-bound. There are a few scenes that appear to have been recorded with a proper film camera. Otherwise, it's all done with the three-camera system that was in popular use at the time. It can be very easy to just keep those cameras in, more-or-less, the same spots for every scene. Giving us a repetition of angles that can become quite monotonous after a while. This is what appears to be happening, here.
With both the writing and the directing suffering, it's hard to lift the story. No matter how good the cast is. Because of this, I find Monster of Peladon largely disappointing.
5. Invasion of the Dinosaurs
The last of the Great Pertwee-Era Messes. There had to be one more, I guess, before he went.
I'm usually quite merciful the first time I watch a Doctor Who story. I'm just so excited to enjoy something I haven't seen before that I'll, happily, sit through that initial viewing. Even if I'm not enjoying a lot of what I'm seeing.
I came very close to giving up on Invasion of the Dinssaurs. It's just such an uninteresting, ill-constructed script. Malcolm Hulke had disappointed me quite badly with The Sea Devils. But this one sank to even greater depths. If I were to list my Five Least Favorite Doctor Who Stories (and I just might, someday), this one would make it in.
There is a publishing company that specialises in producing anthologies that review every episode of a cult series. They commission me from time-to-time. Not just for Doctor Who but other TV shows that I have a working knowledge of. A few years ago, they asked me to review Invasion of the Dinosaurs. "Give us something really unique." they requested. So I did my best to deliver.
If you really want a clear idea of why I'm not fond of this story, I'll paste the review at the end of the entry.
The only thing I don't mention in that particular review is the largely extraneous quality of Episodes One and Five. Five is another prime example of one of those later sections of a six-parter where the plot has run out for a bit so they just stall for an entire episode. Sarah Jane Smith does an extensive "escape-and-get-re-captured" routine. The Doctor, meanwhile, participates in another awful chase sequence. Many like to complain about the big one that takes place in Planet of Spiders, but I think this one is far worse. Pulling into a garage to escape your pursuers and then finally abandoning your vehicle and standing in some nearby bushes while they conveniently don't go in your direction is one of the most boring, unimaginative action sequence I've ever had to sit through!
To add insult to injury, however, we also have Part One. Another one of those episodes that is trying to just kill time til a big, exciting cliffhanger. So a whole lot of nothing happens. The cliffhanger isn't even all that special. We're supposed to be shocked that there are dinosaurs in London but they show a nice big T-Rex halfway through the episode. Thus rendering the shock at the end of the episode rather ineffective. The Doctor and Sarah are still in danger from the T-Rex, of course. But why go to all the trouble of changing the name of the story so as not to ruin the cliffhanger and then ruin the cliffhanger anyway?! It's all quite silly.
For years, they didn't show Part One because it was only in black-and-white. The fact that we had no real problem understanding the story without it shows just how useless the first episode was.
Anything I like about Invasion of the Dinosaurs? Some interesting developments with Mike Yates. But, even then, those developments are poorly-handled. His involvement with Operation Golden Age should have been kept a secret from us for much longer so as to make it a major shock when his hand is, at last, revealed.
Incidentally, working out who is secretly involved with Operation Golden Age was not a great test of our deductive skills. It was, pretty much, any supporting character except Benton and the Brigadier. And that goofy private who shows up for a few scenes. But, even then, I wonder about him....
SOME ASSORTED NOTES:
There are a few more things worth noting about this season beyond just a story-by-story analysis. So let's go through it.
Sarah Jane Smith
This season is pretty significant to most fans as it sees the introduction of one of the most-beloved companions in the show.
I have said it before in here (so, hopefully it's not too much of a shock!) I'm really only so fond of Sarah Jane Smith. There are far worse companions, of course. But I don't think I would even put her in my Top Ten. I think Elisabeth Sladen does a great job in the role but, most of the time, the writers really don't give her much.
I will say: I think the character gets its best treatment in this season. Unlike many female companions before her (and even a few after), she doesn't just speak out against chauvinism but still prove, pretty much, useless without a man to help her. She actually does get some things done all on her own and can prove useful to the plot beyond just asking the Doctor what's going on and creating complications by getting into trouble and needing rescuing.
She's even good for, occasionally, saving the Doctor's life. Or, at the very least, she flings herself at someone who's about to harm him and extends his life ever-so-slightly until something else can happen that saves him properly!
Pertwee Bowing Out
I have not always been kind when discussing Jon Pertwee's performance in the role. By no means do I believe him to be a bad actor. I don't really think he would have had such an illustrious career if he had been without talent. I especially don't think he would have gotten a part like the Doctor if he wasn't good at his craft.
I am very happy with how he does during Season 7. At the time that he started as the Doctor, he had worked mainly as a presenter rather than an actor/ So he lacked confidence in his abilities as a performer playing a "proper" role. This ended up serving to his advantage, though. It made him work that much harder to get his character to look convincing and feel as three-dimensional as the part would allow.
From Season 8, onwards, he gets a boost of confidence. Which I felt works to his detriment. There are times where it definitely feels like he's walking through the role. Or "phoning it in" as they like to say in the Biz! It really does feel, sometimes, like he's just going through the motions rather than being in the moment. There are other nuances to the performance that are going on that still make it look pretty good. But "being present" is a very important thing for an actor to be doing when he is in the middle of a scene. And there are occasions when it feels like Pertwee isn't doing that.
Having said all that, I do feel Pertwee starts putting in a stronger effort during this season. He knows he's on his way out and wants to make sure he goes out on a high note. I still think he's at his best in Season 7, but he also does quite well, here. Which gets me to enjoy his final year more.
Those Darned Six-Parters!
I have grumbled several times about six episode adventures during the Pertwee era. But I do think they do the most damage during Season Eleven. You can see, quite clearly, in my story rankings that the four parters were the most-appreciated. Things don't begin to really flounder until we move into six episode tales. Other seasons still had decent six-parters among the bad ones. But even Planet of Spiders barely holds its head above water. Monster of Peladon is sub-par. Invasion of the Dinosaurs is terrible.
What makes matters worse is that this is Pertwee's final season. You want things to go out with a bang. But most of the strong content was done with mid-way through the season. So, instead, the whole era closes on twelve continuous episodes that are quite poor. I can't help but think that Monster and Spiders would have worked better with two episodes trimmed off of each of them and another four parter put into the line-up.
I get why six-parters get commissioned. Production is just trying to help a writer out. The author makes more money off of a longer story. But if they can't provide us a plot that requires six parts to tell it, then I don't see a point in paying them the extra cash. Spread the wealth a bit and give us three good stories rather than two long, crappy ones. Especially when you're seeing your lead off.
While I've made it abundantly clear that I'm not fond of most of the Pertwee Era, I will say that Season Eleven is, at least, my second favorite season from this period. Much of this is owed to two traits that I've already discussed. I do find Pertwee is putting out a better performance than usual, here. And Sarah Jane Smith is a definite improvement over Jo Grant. These two developments boost my enjoyment of this season considerably.
It also seems that the production team have figured out that they have, pretty much, milked the UNIT Family for all its worth. Aside from Invasion of the Dinosaurs, the Doctor only spends portions of a story on Contemporary Earth. Which is good. When he gets away from UNIT, we are less likely to be subjected to all those tropes that have been driving me nuts.
I do also like that a bit of ongoing drama was created with the regular cast by having Mike Yates go through a whole arc over the course of the season. I wish more of this sort of thing had occurred. Even the Brigadier's character tends to lack depth. Nicholas Courtney, more often times than not, manages to mine things out of the scripts that weren't really put there by the writers.
Having said all that, I'm still not entirely sure why the Doctor goes near the 20th Century at all during this season. He spends so much time resenting his exile.in earlier years that it makes no sense that he's still going back to UNIT so much. Three talks endlessly of how much he loves to travel. But we really don't see much of his actual wanderlust in action. I do think I would have enjoyed this era much more if there had been a greater amount spacebound stories once the exile was rescinded. Instead, it almost feels like he is still trapped on Earth. Both seasons where he's meant to be "free" see him on Modern-Day Earth quite a bit. Season Nine, in fact, has him away from the 20th Century nearly as much as Season Eleven. And he was still serving his exile in Nine.
But, at least it's finally over. Three regenerates into Four during the final minutes of Planet of Spiders. A new era is upon us. Not only is the Lead changing, but there will be a major shake-up behind the scenes, too. I know many fans adored Letts and Dicks. But, judging by their output and how it relates to my own tastes, I'm only so fond of them. I welcome the change that's about to come with open arms.
How much better will I actually like it, though? Change does not always produce improvement. The new era might be something different, but I might still find it just as displeasing.
One might almost be tempted to say: "No way! He's gotta love Tom Baker! Everyone loves Tom Baker!" But I am the Great Contrarion. So you never know....
As promised, here is that Review I wrote of Invasion of the Dinosaurs:
Excerpts from the minutes of the Board of Directors meeting for Operation Golden Age:
PRESIDENT: Ladies and Gentlemen of Project Golden Age. I wish to announce that this is, without a doubt, the most crucial of all our Board of Directors meetings. For tonight, my Brothers and Sisters of the Environment, we shall reveal our ....Ultimate Plan!
(SECRETARY'S NOTE: several audible "ooohs" and "aaahhhs" can be heard from those sitting around the conference table)
PRESIDENT: We are gathered here because we are sick of what mankind has been doing to the planet. We've considered many options to reverse these effects and have come up with what I believe to be the best one. Here it is:
(SECRETARY'S NOTE: The President seems to be pausing a moment for dramatic effect)
PRESIDENT: We're going to roll back time.We're going to make the entire planet temporally reverse itself so that we can go back to the prehistoric era and start things over again. This will have a huge effect on everyone currently living in the Present. I'm not sure how - you'll have to consult the science team on this - but this will cause everyone but our special little group to have never existed. By reversing all of Time, we will, essentially, be wiping out the entire population of the world. Except our chosen elite, of course. Again, not entirely sure how we're excluded - talk to the tech guys. But when we have re-set the planet to prehistoric times, we will be able to create an Earth devoid of pollution. We will make a better world.
(SECRETARY'S NOTE: more audible "ooohhhs" and "aaahhhhs" from those assembled)
JENKINS: Excuse me!
(SECRETARY'S NOTE: This time, there are audible groans from the Board of Directors. No one likes Jenkins)
JENKINS: Rather than rolling back time across the entire planet, wouldn't it be easier to just open up a small rift in time that takes us back to the prehistoric age? We can then just step through it and go into the past. This way, we're not wiping the current population of Earth out of existence forever and ever. We're just going back and setting things up in a new way so that all these people will still exist. They'll just be living in a more environmentally-friendly version of reality. Doesn't that seem more ethical?
PRESIDENT: Thankyou for your suggestion Jenkins. But that's not the option we're going with.
JENKINS: Wouldn't it also prove less taxing on our energy resources and be, overall, more practical?
PRESIDENT: Again, thankyou Jenkins, with your suggestions. I'd like to carry on now, please!
JENKINS: Okay. Sorry.
PRESIDENT: In order to do this, we are going to need to evacuate London so that we don't accidentally take people with us that we don't want.
JENKINS: Excuse me, again...
(SECRETARY'S NOTE: More groans from the rest of the room)
JENKINS: Couldn't we just go out and do this at a remote location? That seems like less work.
PRESIDENT: But we already have this secret bunker ready-made for our purposes.
JENKINS: This organization is made up of all kinds of rich and influential people, isn't it? Surely they could set up a secret bunker far away from any civilization and we can conduct our plans from there. I know that will take some work but it's still got to be more practical than trying to evacuate all of London. Especially when you consider that there will still be all kinds of people hanging around. People we definitely don't want to take with us when we roll back time. Like looters and thieves.
PRESIDENT: Thankyou Jenkins.
JENKINS: Alternatively, of course, if we go with my time rift idea those looters and thieves definitely wouldn't be able to follow us cause we'd just close the rift behind us after we've sent all the good guys through it.
PRESIDENT: The decision has been made, Jenkins!
JENKINS: Right. Sorry.
PRESIDENT: We've come up with a most ingenious plan to cause the evacuation. We call it .... The Invasion of Dinosaurs!
(SECRETARY'S NOTE: The Board expresses awe over the name)
JENKINS: Okay. That doesn't even make sense.
JENKINS: The term "Invasion" implies a strategically-organized occupation of a territory and the planned subgigation of a group of people. Dinosaurs have brains the size of peas. They can't organize or plan.
PRESIDENT: Jenkins. This is hardly the time for semantics.
JENKINS: Of course not. Sorry.
PRESIDENT: We shall do this by scooping up dinosaurs from the past and unleashing them on the city. This will, no doubt, cause the mass evacuation we need.
JENKINS: Wow! There has got to be a thousand more practical ways to evacuate London!
PRESIDENT: What do you mean?
JENKINS: Well, it seems to me that this whole "rolling back time" thing is going to require tremendous energy, right?
PRESIDENT: That's correct.
JENKINS: Although, I'm guessing that just creating a rift will require a whole lot less.
PRESIDENT: Seriously, Jenkins. Enough with the rift, already! It's tired.
JENKINS: Fine. I'll let it go. But I'm just guessing that pulling dinosaurs out from the past will sap a lot of that much-needed energy that we need for the rollback, right?
JENKINS: So let's come up with another means to evacuate London that doesn't put a drain on our power needs.
PRESIDENT: Such as....?!
JENKINS: Just about anything, really. I mean, we've got politicians and military personnel involved with this group. You guys could easily create a false crisis if you wanted to. Claim a lab experiment unleashed a deadly virus or there's been a horrible toxic spill. It wouldn't be hard for you to spread that kind of propaganda with the positions you hold. And it would expend no real energy to accomplish it. Even those looters and thieves wouldn't want to hang around if you come up with the right kind of cover story.
(SECRETARY'S NOTE: Jenkins has now caused the President to reach a boiling point. He is muttering incoherently in frustration. It is impossible to properly record his words)
CAPTAIN YATES: Excuse me Sir President. If I may intercede....
PRESIDENT: What is it, Mike?
CAPTAIN YATES: If it's all right with the Board, I'd like to take Jenkins out back for a private conversation.
JENKINS: Uh oh....
(SECRETARY'S NOTE: Motion is quickly passed to have Jenkins ejected. All except Jenkins voted unanimously. A brief recess is called to allow the President to calm his nerves. During that recess, a gunshot is heard in the distance. Captain Yates returns a short while later without Jenkins. He seems deeply satisfied. Meeting resumes shortly thereafter)
PRESIDENT: Right then. We're back. It has come to my attention that a lot of our membership is going to object to what we're doing. So here's how we're going to deal with that: First, we're going to put them all into suspended animation. Then, we're going build a fake spaceship and wake them up on it and hope that they don't clue in to the fact that the spaceship is totally fake.
(SECRETARY'S NOTE: The room is flooded with "Oohs" and "Aaahhs")
GENERAL FINCH: It's weird but I can almost hear Jenkins saying something like: 'That seems largely impractical! If we're putting them into suspended animation, why do we actually need to build a fake spaceship to wake them up in? Especially if they might actually work out that the spaceship is fake? Why not just put them to sleep here and then wake up them up in the New World and tell them that they were in a spaceship in between? The fake spaceship seems like an awful lot of unnecessary work. Won't everything kinda fall apart, anyway, when they go through the airlock and find themselves in a sub-basement rather than emerging from a sophisticated interplanetary vehicle?!"
(SECRETARY'S NOTE: Room is silent for a moment. Everyone just stares at Finch with daggers in their eyes)
GENERAL FINCH: Or something like that....
(SECRETARY'S NOTE: More silence and daggers from eyes)
GENERAL FINCH: You know what else is weird? I have a feeling that, someday in the future, I'm going to wear an awful prosthetic around my eyes and do a very racially-offensive Asian impression....
(SECRETARY'S FINAL NOTE: As loathe as we were to admit it, the points of the late Jenkins were extremely valid. While many may look upon the plot of Operation Golden Age with great nostalgia, closer inspection reveals that it is full of massive holes and inconsistencies. One might even say that, aside from the surprise betrayal of Mike Yates - which comes far too early in the plot and would have had more impact near the end - the whole thing is a pretty big piece of nonsense. The Lesson to be Learned: when putting together a plot, always listen to the Jenkins in the room)