It's a love story, it's a war story, it's got stunning music and awesome makeup. It looks the 80s equivalent of a million dollars and I can't begin to say how much I adore "The Leisure Hive". Yes, it's stupidly short. Out of the four episodes (three of which only just break the twenty minute barrier) there's about an episode's worth of recap (along with nearly two minutes of audacious panning shot across Brighton beach). The Doctor doesn't really get involved in any meaningful way till about 17 minutes in to episode one. Yes the foamasi are a little ridiculous but I don't care.
This is a true triumph of style over substance. I just wish I could have been a fan when this was first shown, to see the stunned look on other people's faces when the music slammed its way through a starfield. To see how others responded to the glorious computer effects (I don't really remember much Who after this ever looking so wonderful). To witness the rising madness of Pangol first hand. Every performance is glorious. Tom isn't too insane (his "Arrest the scarf then" is delivered brilliantly, a season or so previous and it would have been so over the top), Lalla oozes charisma and every guest artist seems to really believe in what they're doing. Did I mention the music? Not just the high energy opening theme but the drum heavy score that lifts this story from being just plain wonderful to being simply gorgeous. The science in the story is openly presented as being beyond anything we could possibly understand and therefore makes brilliant sense within the story itself. The randomiser from the previous season has a purpose. We get fat aliens in thin bodies with no fart jokes. K9 blows up at the slightest drop of sea water and guards are defeated by high mathematics.
I adore this story. I love every daft fleeting moment of it and, the sign of a truly wonderful Who in my opinion, I want to go back. I want to see how things turned out. I want a sequel. I already want to watch it again.