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Reviews for The Savages

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Strong Finish for Steven

By:Doug, Pocono Summit, PA, USA
Date:Wednesday 29 August 2007
Rating:   7

I'm not entirely sure why, but I found The Savages to be a very satisfying, engaging story. On the face of it, there isn't really anything particularly spectacular about the story. I think the attraction here has to do with a few different things that worked really well, including the fact that the story is a tidy four episodes in length, and that it features Frederick Jaeger in a leading role (Jaeger is later seen during the Fourth Doctor's era in leading roles as Sorenson in Planet of Evil and Marius in The Invisible Enemy). It also features something rare for the aged First Doctor - the threat of technologically induced torture and bodily injury to the Doctor. Whereas getting strapped to a machine and zapped in some way was somewhat commonplace for, say, the Fourth Doctor, we really didn't see it with the First Doctor, who was much less physically involved with such things, most likely due to William Hartnell's (and thus, the Doctor's) aged state. And so perhaps this lends more gravity to the episode 2 cliffhanger, in which the Doctor has been forcibly placed into the humming machine that is getting ready to suck his life essence out of him. And finally, this is Steven's final story, and he has a very strong role that is fairly well-written. He gets sent off nicely here, staying on to be the new leader of the Elders and the Savages, and it's really sad to see him go. I realized that I had come to see him as being by far the best male member of the TARDIS crew of Hartnell's tenure, and quite possibly the best of the First Doctor's companions, period.

While perhaps not one of the more memorable Hartnell stories, The Savages does feature some rather interesting elements.


By:Matthew David Rabjohns, Bridgend, United Kingdom
Date:Thursday 7 October 2010
Rating:   7

This story does have a lot going for it. Peter Purves for one gets to bow out in very fine style, remaining to be a leader for the elders and savages. He always was a good and solid companion, an excellent lead on from the brilliant William Russell as Ian. But in some instances Peter was right in saying the character brief he had been given at the start wasnt always realised well, but at least here in his last story he gets a grand exit that is believable and memorable all at once.

The plot again is simple and easy to get your head round, and it is quite well presented. The labratory use and the effects on the female savage are particularly well done. One can feel the deep impact this evil machine has had on the savaged just through her. But with all the other rather blandly charecterised savages it falls badly, and isnt quite so readily believable. Its like only the female savage has anything nearing real fear of the Elders in the perfect city. And with regards to the Elders too, only Jano has a resounding voice and the others are barely even noticeable in audio format. Flower may also be a bit better charecterised than the rest, and for once its good to see Jackie Lane really getting her teeth into the action for once and wandering off and having a mind of her own.

And from the limited shots of footage still available from this story, it is obviously one with very good production values too. The scenery looks very realistic. The story also keeps to a steady but not bland rate.

Jano's absorbtion of the Doctor's essence though is a very potent and strong element in this tale. And as he is embued with the Doctor's moral centre, he becomes an even stronger character than when we first meet him. Frederick Jaeger does an excellent job in presenting Jano as a not totally evil, but just misguided man. His change around at the climax of the story is also well handled.

Steven's farewell to the Doctor and Dodo rounds the tale off a high note, although as I said the poor charecterisation of the other savages somehow lets the story down a bit in some areas. But despite this, the story is still a very enjoyable and very moral tale too. A lot better than Pyramids of Mars and The Brain of Morbius for a start, thats a dead cert.....

William Hartnell deserves to be far better remembered for the great character he brought to our screens first. If you want to see him at his moralising best, then this is one of the stories to start off with....

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