It has taken me 3 months to watch this story. A lot has been going on, and I must have watched parts 1-3 about 4 times to try and watch it all, but then weeks would go by and I’d forget what had happened and watch them again. I finally sat down and watched all six parts of this story. So what did I think?
I honestly think that this is one of the stories that I have enjoyed the least so far. I don’t know what makes me different. As far as I’m aware, this is a very well received story, at least by Neil Gaiman and Peter Capaldi. I just didn’t enjoy it. I feel like The Sun when they gave Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, 5 out of 5 stars, and everyone else panned it. What did I miss?
The story features the battle between the butterfly people, the Menoptera, and the ant people, the Zarbi. Both of which captured the imagination of children after being featured on television. The Menoptera are kind people who have been bullied into hiding by the Zarbi; who themselves have been taken over by an intelligence known as the Animus.
The Tardis team have to split up to try to take down the Animus, which will allow water to return to the planet Vortis as well as plants and wildlife. They are of course successful in doing so; but it can’t help but feel like a poor man’s version of The Daleks.
It’s not that The Web Planet isn’t without merit, it just failed to be particularly engaging unfortunately. There are still a few things to enjoy here; the Doctor and Ian get to wear pretty cool spacesuits to assist their breathing, and the Zarbi are unintentionally cute. I wish that after 6 episodes on the planet Vortis, I had more to say. But I don’t. The story does just retread what we have already seen, but instead of the Daleks and the Thals, we get the Zarbi and Menoptera. These are two of the classic ‘monsters’ so far that I wouldn’t really appreciate seeing in the new series. As even if they were updated, I still think that giant ants with two human legs sticking out of it’s arse are inherently funny.
The design of Vortis itself is rather interesting too. I do love false perspective designs because they require such creativity. But they do have to be done right. For example the cliff tops in the background work very well, but when they look identical to the bits of wood that are supposed to represent rocks in the foreground, it sort of breaks the illusion.
Overall, I feel a little bit cheated that I took so much time to watch all 6 parts of this story and it didn’t really offer me anything new in terms of story or creativity. It has to be taken into account that at the time of these episodes being made, viewers wouldn’t be able to go back at watch these multiple times, so it didn’t really matter if stories seemed similar or not.
To conclude, I would have to give The Web Planet a measly three web-covered Doctors out of ten. It’s not a score that I enjoy giving, but I hope that if I revisit this story, I may enjoy it more.