Ten Thoughts About Doctor Who: Empress Of Mars – “There’s A Lot Here That Doesn’t Make Sense”

Posted by June 10, 2017 Comment

We’ve just seen Doctor Who: Empress Of Mars on BBC 1… and on at 9pm ET on BBC America

1. Mark Attacks


This is not the first time Mark Gatiss has sent Victorians to other planets. He made the TV adaptation of HG WellsThe First Men In The Moon. And much of his work has reflected classic pulp sensibilities, from Nebulous, to Quatermass to League Of Gentlemen to Sherlock. He’s been wanting to do this particular story for a very long time… this could be the most Mark Gatissy episode to date. It even a certain John Carterness to it.

2. The Red Pelmet

You know it’s not going to work out well for a bunch of men landing on a planet all in red shirts. Okay, okay, that might be Star Trek, but it seems to apply across franchises.

Doctor Who has given us Boy’s Own adventures before, here that gets ratcheted up with stock character to fill those red shirts – the traitor, the sneak, the jobsworth, the layabout, the kid, and all of them at risk of being, well, turned into their own puffed up shirts. These are the only Doctor Who corpses that might double as stress balls. Christmas merchandise anyone?

3. Time For Tea


We’ve had Daleks serving tea to the British, now the Ice Warriors are at it. Shame the Weeping Angels would be terrible. No matter how long you stared at them, they’d never get the sugar. And the Friday reference to Robinson Crusoe is as much pulp as anything.

4. Buried


We’ve had plenty or tombs this series, Missy’s Vault, the pyramids and now the Ice Warriors hive which more than anything reflects that very first Tomb Of The Cybermen story. It’s all foreshadowing for those damned Mondasians to come.

5. Oh Vicky, You’re So Fine


First, we have a painting of Queen Victoria, but as portrayed by Pauline Collins, as in Tooth And Claw. Shame that the undiscovered message in the polar caps of Mars referred to a different queen.


Though not too far off.

6. He Only Has Eye For You


And then we have a certain the Alpha Centurai from Ice Warriors stories The Curse of Peladon and The Monster of Peladon, with  Galactic Federation court that had Ice Warriors in it, turning tonight’s episode into a prequel. Better Call Doctor…

7. It’s English…Ish.


Rhino = Money

Puff = Life

But as for why the Ice Warrior Queen speaks English when there is no TARDIS around to telepathically do the translating… yeah, no ideas on that one.

8. Don’t Ever Have Ambition


Never ever talk about the woman waiting for you at home if you expect to see here again, even if you are on another planet. Isn’t that right Punt and Dennis?



9. Doctor Zulu


So are the Ice Warriors the Zulu? Or, in reversal, are the British soldiers the Zulu? And what wouldn’t you have for a bit of budget to have shown hordes, of either. Anyway, the usual moralising, valuing jaw-jaw over war-war, and at least the soldiers are just sexist, instead of racist and sexist. Until you get to the bit about upright crocodiles and subjugation of the indigenous.

10. The Look Of Lust


That was one hell of look up and down the body – is Missy hot for The Master? And do we now have The TARDIS Four?


(Last Updated June 10, 2017 3:15 pm )