Sorry, you weren't expecting me to post about Who in any sort of order were you?
This also isn't a review of the DVD, more some random comments on the story. Mostly along the lines of "Well that got written out of continuity pretty damn thoroughly didn't it?"
Oh yes, I'm also not going to claim that these postings are particularly well researched or entirely accurate...
So anyway, having watched the DVD (great restoration) and actually watched it whilst in a vaguely concentrating mood, I've come to the conclusion that at some point this must have been pretty effectively written out of time. It's supposed to be set far into the future (yet not quite so far as Frontios which is at the limits of how far forward the TARDIS is allowed to allegedly go) yet the implication is that humans haven't ever really settled on other planets as they've not found suitable ones. The Earth is about to be destroyed by the Sun going bang (though it's not clear whether this is the change from main sequence to red giant* or some other solar activity) and so humanity has hopped into a spaceship (along with their ever so loveable Monoid chums, on which I'll comment in a bit) and is heading off for Refusis Two. Now, up to this point we hadn't seen loads of other human colonies. The Sensorites had humans trying to land on other planets but that was only the 28th Century and the planets were already inhabited and The Keys of Marinus had shown us planets that could, quite clearly, support human life but we hadn't had an indication of mankind only settling on one other planet. However, in future stories we've got things like the Daleks' Master Plan (where we even have penal colonies), Power of the Daleks (near future colonies on other planets) and Colony in Space where we have colonies. Out in space.
As fond as I am of The Ark, it's only really re-watching it this evening that I've realised it doesn't sit particularly well with the rest of the series in terms of what we know about Earth's future. Then again, very little of the series sits particularly well with the rest of it. Then along came Eccleston and all continuity went out of the window anyway.
Oh yes, the Monoids. I knew I was going to mention something else. One-eyed creatures with a wibbly walk and bad hair. One day I hope there's a Who story set in some distant space lab where mad scientists are trying to make the ultimate life form. All their trial runs get discarded and chucked into the time vortex where they get dropped on random planets, that's pretty much the only way something like the Monoid could have come into existance. You try living and working as a servant with no depth perception. Not to mention a low enough IQ to come up with the concept of a security kitchen.
So there, The Ark, a story that I am genuinely quite fond of but only when viewed outside of the context of the rest of Doctor Who. Sometimes I wish I could switch my brain off for the rest of Doctor Who as well. I'm sure, in coming months, you'll realise that all my brain ever seems to want to do is rip every story to shreds.