So remember the other day when I said there weren’t many Doctor Who serials I didn’t like?  That was before I watched The Ark in Space (1975)

I’ve actually fallen behind in writing up my tallies because of this serial.  I’ve been at a loss to adequately describe my feelings towards it in an honest light.  And I guess the above statement is still technically true: there aren’t many Doctor Who serials I don’t like.  This just happens to be one of the few.    

I suppose I may have never given it a fair chance.  As soon as I saw the word “Ark” in the title, I knew what the story would be: a ship of refugees, the last of a species, escaping some apocalypse or another and waiting in stasis until the preordained time when they would awaken and return and start anew on their fresh clean planet.  Being a child of sci-fi, I’ve seen this idea played out time and again, at least thrice on the Stargate series alone.  And it’s not Doctor Who’s fault that it happened to be the last one I saw.  So I do feel a bit unfair for faulting it in that area. 

I also feel a bit unfair for faulting the really awful effects in this particular serial; god knows that every other 70s sci-fi show had some pretty silly-looking effects, and we just chuckle and chalk it up to technology at the time and let it go.  But something about the giant foam-rubber ant creature just put me off…or it’s foamy-looking larvae who use their goo to take over your body and turn it into green-painted bubble wrap. 

What I don’t feel unfair for faulting is the uncharacteristically whiny bitch that Sarah Jane became.  From the moment they stepped on board, everything became cause for alarm or tantrum or childishness.  The giant (dead) ant-creature seemed like the most disgusting thing imaginable.  Crawling through a vent became an atrocious ordeal.  On the other hand, they had brought along Harry on this trip, so he was there to assist the Doctor and do the difficult jobs and be manly about it all.  As much as I hate to say it, it all felt very misogynistic; normally Sarah Jane can do anything necessary to assist the Doctor, including being heroic in her own right.  But when Harry’s around…well then it isn’t necessary, and she can act like the snivelling girl that she really is.  I hate saying that, but it’s one way of looking at it. 

Overall, let’s just say I won’t be revisiting this one or adding it to the list of favorites any time soon.