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Mixed Bag

By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Saturday 25 April 2015
Rating:   7

This is another of the anthology series, with four individual stories of one part each. As can be expected with such things, the results are very up and down. First up is "The Demons of Red Lodge" by Jason Arnopp. This is a witches of the 1600s story, except the witches are alien body snatchers. The compression of the story means that things are rather obvious and ideas that should develop do not. Next up is a story from newcomer Rick Briggs, winner of a contest for the opportunity. His story, "The Entropy Composition" is the worst of the bunch. This is a very Paul Magrs kind of story, taking potshots at past pop culture and getting facts wrong to do so (psychedelic rock and progressive rock are not the same thing, and 1968 was just the earliest days of progressive rock, when there was not even such a term). It is also needlessly jokey with large parts of the story designed to be setups for the jokes. "Doing Time" by William Gallagher is the best of the bunch. This story has the Doctor in prison, Nyssa trying to get into prison to rescue him and failing (she just can't be bad no matter how hard she tries), and an intriguing concept of a time barrier to keep the prisoners in. This story is one of the two that feels comfortable at the 20-minute length. The villain, however, is a rather stock character and not very convincing. The last story is "Special Features," which contains the interesting idea of taking place entirely while recording DVD extras commentary. The story also ties back to the first of the four. It is an interesting idea that can work only in the limited time format.

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