Number : Season 6, serial 4 of 7.

Which One : Crystalline-based Robotic lifeforms rule, grow humans – like cattle.

Cast : The Doctor : Patrick Troughton
Jamie : Frazer Hines
Zoe : Wendy Padbury
Selris : James Copeland
Beta : James Cairncross
Thara : Gilbert Wynne
Eelek : Philip Madoc
Abu : Terence Brown
Vana : Madeleine Mills
Axus : Richard Ireson
Custodian : Maurice Selwyn
Student : Bronson Shaw

Written By : Robert Holmes

Produced By : Peter Bryant

First UK Broadcast : 28 December 1969 – 18 January 1969.

Length : 4 x 25 minute episodes.

Plot : The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe travel to a planet, where a humanoid race of ‘Gonds’ – are ruled over by a race of crystalline robots – known as ‘Krotons’. The Krotons select the most intelligent Gonds, through a series of I.Q. tests. They then spirit the most intelligent Gonds away, with promises of advanced learning and “companionship”; before murdering them with disintegrators. In an attempt, to keep the Gond race – under control through breeding.

Whats good : Interesting eugenics plotline. Robots created from vats of crystals. Philip Madoc.

Whats bad : Slow and boring. Not enough variety in sets and scenes. Some character motivation is suspect. Zoey is annoying.

Review With Spoilers : The Krotons, is the fourth serial of season 6 and features; The Krotons; a crystal based robotic life-form.

The Krotons rule over a race of humanoids, called “Gonds” – who have been intentionally bred to be ignorant and submissive – by selective eugenics.

They do this, by testing the most intelligent Gonds and removing them from the group; with promises of furthering their education. But then the Krotons secretly murder them, with a disintegrating ray.

It’s a scientist and laboratory-rat relationship, or to be more controversial; perhaps it has some undertones of Nazi death-camp about it.

The Krotons are different monsters – from the usual megalomaniac Who robots, in that these robots are crystalline based entities. Or to be more specific – ‘terrilium’ based lifeforms. Who rise out of huge vats of bubbling liquid and take their robotic forms. It’s definitely an interesting twist on the robot format.

The Kroton’s thenselves look a tad ridiculous – in retrospect, with their music juke-box bodies and huge diamond heads. They also carry huge hairdryer guns, which shoot deadly ‘dry-ice’.

Jamie is a bit out if his depth here – being of below average intelligence. So the Kroton robots, are not threatened by him. Zoey on the other hand, willingly chooses to take the Kroton tests – to be chosen as the next “companion”; as if consumed by her own ego, that she can beat the questions.

Which is a bit of an odd character trait, considering she witnesses – first hand what happened to a new companion called Abu – a painful death by disintregration ray!! It’s an out of place trait and equates to bad character writing. Why not just have Zoe forced to be a companion by the Krotons? At least that would be more believable – and not detract from her character.

“Yes, well, Zoe is something of a genius. Of course it can be very irritating at times!” The Doctor

The Krotons also has a decent role for Who regular Philip Madoc; who impressed so much as Dr Solon in The Brain Of Morbius. In this, he plays a senior Gond – called Eelek; a manipulative and cunning Gond – looking to placate the Krotons, whilst maintaining his own power-base.

The Krotons, aside from having the prestige of being one of the few remaining full Troughton episodes – to survive deletion. Is not a particularly memorable story. There are better Troughton examples out there; The Mind Robber, Tomb Of The Cybermen and Moonbase – spring to mind.

The useful-ness of the eugenics subplot, doesn’t transcribe The Krotons into a good story – on its own. For long periods, we just have a lot of talking between the Doctor and the Gonds, about their predicament on the two to three studio sets; -(featured in the show.

There is not alot of variety or cut-away from these setups. Which means The Krotons for long periods; is quite boring. The Kroton robots themselves, hardly feature at all – until the second half; apart from mostly just voices – on an intercom system.

Zoey comes across as really annoying – in this aswell. As if she has a point to prove about how intelligent she is. But infact, she is quite stupid for taking the “test of death” despite knowing fine well, what the outcome could entail.

It’s not a classic Troughton episode by any means and there were better examples, even from the same season. Overall, though – just the fact that The Krotons survived deletion is kudis enough for it. Even if the rest of it is lacking.

???⚪⚪ (2.5/5)

Old Doctor Who

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