While the original Tom Baker 1980 serial was left incomplete because of a worker strike, BBC fortunately made a flash animation webcast of the story, reworked to star the Eighth Doctor. I have to say that is one of the best Doctor Who stories and it’s very clear that Douglas Adams is the author behind this magnificent adventure. Having seen the original incomplete version, I was impressed by how little was changed. All that was added was a prologue to explain why The Eighth Doctor was meeting up with Romana and K-9 and going back to Oxford. Everything else is essentially the same.
Like Adams other works (Doctor Who and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in particular), the humor is both intelligent and witty (especially with Romana), and many minute and seemingly mundane elements from early on in the story have important connections to the overall story. I thought Professor Chronotis was a fascinating character and I was surprised (although knowing Adams, I should’ve seen it coming) when he was revealed to be the escaped Salyavin. I also should’ve expected (but didn’t) that Chronotis’ home was his TARDIS.
Although Skagra and his mind stealing orb are common villains in science-fiction, I still found myself enjoying them (except for some Skagra’s incessant babbling towards the end), especially because I loved his logic centric computer, resulting to his ultimate fate at the end of the story.
I enjoyed the flash animation overall, my only real complaint was the constant head bobbing many of the characters (particularly Romana) do throughout the story. However, the animation allows for great visual effects like the Krags, the ship hologram, and the Doctor trying to travel from Chronotis’ TARDIS to his own TARDIS to name a few.
I also enjoyed the cultural references that were placed throughout the story. My two favorites were the Ford Prefect that one of Skagra’s victims was driving and the serial number (or whatever) on the Doctor’s mind device (or whatever) was NCC 1701 D.