A DVD review for DWM
One potato, two potato, three potato, four… If there‘s one thing you can count on with Sontarans, it’s that no two members of the race will ever look, sound or act the same. Odd that – considering they’re clones. But it means this box set of their 70s and 80s adventures offers plenty of variety.
It all starts well. 1974’s The Time Warrior is a little masterpiece, because Sontaran Linx – struggling to return to his fleet but constantly pestered by dimwit humans and a nosey Gallifreyan – is a very funny character. Through this impatient and irritable individual, we see the Sontarans as beings utterly convinced of their own superiority, even if the rest of the universe is sniggering behind their backs and poking twigs in their probic vents. It’s the whiff of Captain Mainwaring and Victor Meldrew about Lynx that makes him seem so real.
Sadly, this entertaining aspect of the Sontaran psyche is then forgotten about until General Staal’s petulant bellyache about not being allowed to play in the Time War, 34 years later. The other stories here bring steadily diminishing returns, with the Sontarans often just stomping and shouting. And as time passes, their looks fade along with their spirit. Linx is sensational – give him a Radio Times cover shoot and he would still turn heads today – but by the time we reach The Two Doctors, Group Marshal Stike appears to be an orange balloon with a face drawn on it.
So clones? No chance! Perhaps this is just a fib Sontarans hide behind because they get embarrassed discussing – y’know – s-e-x. (“Well, Steev, what happens is… Daddy touches mummy’s thorax in a special way, and nine months later a clone is delivered. Honestly.”)