This is a fan-made production whose storyline may be invalidated by later official studio productions.
A Sontaran, a Draconian, and a female human pilot are kidnapped from their respective sectors of the galaxy and are subjected to the mental and psychological manipulations of another alien creature who is attempting to determine which race’s territory to invade next. However, the three prisoners manage to turn the tables on their captor, trapping him momentarily. But doing what any researcher would do with a tainted experiment, the alien escapes, setting his vessel for self-destruct. Now the Sontaran, the Draconian and the human must work well enough together under the threat of death to find their own escape route.
written by Terrance Dicks
directed by Keith Barnfather
music by Bug Music Productions
Cast: Sophie Aldred (Human), Miles Richardson (Draconian), Toby Aspin (Sontaran), Bryan Robson (The Alien)
Notes: The dialogue for Sophie Aldred’s human character is written not unlike Ace’s dialogue, with one major hint (“Wicked!”) at the very end of the episode; if one interprets this to mean that the character is Ace, it’s possible that this could be the first on-screen portrayal of Ace from the New Adventures era (namely, between leaving the TARDIS in the novel “Love And War” and rejoining later in “Deceit”). However, the sequel production Mindgame Trilogy may invalidate this interpretation, indicating that this is not Ace.
Review: It’s very easy to have high expectations of this Reeltime independent video from 1998. The script, after all, was written by Terrance Dicks, Doctor Who’s script editor for much of the late sixties and early seventies. The alien makeups were some of the more credible and well-crafted work I’ve yet seen in what is, essentially, a fan production. And the cast featured Sophie “Ace” Aldred and Miles Richardson (who has made the odd appearance on such shows as Highlander). How could they go wrong?
Dicks unfortunately steers the whole ship into an iceberg by falling back on a clichèd, overused, predictable, and nauseatingly Trekkian plot device. Not that the “two people from clashing cultures must cooperate to battle a mutual enemy” plot was originated with Star Trek – I believe that honor goes to, if not “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, then at least “Enemy Mine”. But the various Star Trek series have recycled this basic storytelling staple so often, one could be forgiven for thinking that it originates in Roddenberry’s universe.
Doctor Who itself is guilty of borrowing some of the most famous plotlines in science fiction and horror history: huge chunks of the series’ now-missing golden years of the late 1960s were lifted liberally from classic Universal monster movies. But at least there were uniquely Who-ish touches that justified the near-plagiarism. Not so here. The story is utterly unoriginal, with little in the way of style to distinguish it from similar stories.
And that’s not the final insult. The actual program itself is terribly short – just over half an hour. The run time of the program is dwarfed by the mammoth-length special on the making of Mindgame, which, while it’s nice, is a very lopsided way to get the fans’ money. Maybe the tape should’ve been advertised as “The Making of Mindgame – featuring the exclusive bonus movie, Mindgame!” instead of the other way around. From a purely financial standpoint, I felt cheated. I don’t mind behind-the-scenes specials…but when they’re longer (and even more boring) than the actual meat of the proceedings, I have to object.