Andrew Smith kicked off 2017’s main range with The Star Men. It’s a Fifth Doctor story with companions Adric, Nyssa and Tegan — yes, Matthew Waterhouse hits the main range after many years of waiting.
How was it? Full of vivid imagination and some great moments for Adric. You want more? Read on…
Here’s how Andrew summed up the story on the product page:
Astronomical navigation is a tricky business. To help Adric with his studies, the Doctor sets course for Gallius Ultima – a planet on the edge of the Milky Way, housing one of the most impressive observatories ever constructed.
But the TARDIS arrives to find Gallius U in a state of emergency, tracking the return of the Explorer-class ship Johannes Kepler from its mission into the heart of the mysterious Large Magellanic Cloud. A mission that met with disaster…
To find out what overtook the crew of the Johannes Kepler, the Doctor and his companions must journey into the heart of the Cloud… and beyond, into the darkness of another reality altogether. The universe of the Star Men.
The TARDIS lands at Gallius U just in time to thwart the invasion of the Star Men. There’s some muttering about protecting the timeline, but given the Star Men don’t travel in time, this is a way of glossing over the Doctor putting history back on the course he wants, ie humanity thriving. It’s far from the first occasion the show has done this, and won’t be the last. As good an example as any us the Fire of London in The Visitation. Apart from that there’s plenty of galactic wonder and a complex alien force only overcome through a combination of characters all doing the right thing, and not just the Doctor moving things along.
Adric is the main focus here (and why not, Andrew first brought him to the screen and this is his maiden main range story). There are some great moments with Autumn Tace (Sophie Wu) and Sue Holderness is a success as Autumn’s mother Kala. Barnaby Edwards’s direction is tight, and it’s a welcome return for this TARDIS crew.
As Barnaby explains in the extras, this is the Adric story of the new trilogy, Nyssa and Tegan will get centre stage over the next months. Tegan had enough to do in this story to remind us of who she is and it is Nyssa who is short-changed by the need to squeeze into two discs. Oddly this story is slightly overshadowed by its title and being released at the first anniversary of the death of David Bowie. At least these Star Men didn’t get a chance to come and meet us except in the company of the Doctor!