Doctor Who episode 336: Carnival of Monsters – Episode Three (10/2/1973)
You could do a reading of Carnival of Monsters as a meta satire on television, with Jo appalled at the idea of being watched for vicarious thrills:
JO: And outside there are people and creatures just looking at us for kicks?
THE DOCTOR: Very probably.
JO: They must be evil and horrible.
THE DOCTOR: No, not necessarily, Jo. Thoughtless, maybe.
If so, though, it’s a reading that suggests TV can change the world – the adventures of the little characters inside this particular idiot’s lantern inspire a political revolution on Inter Minor, as Kalik plots to use what he’s learned from watching to overthrow the government of Zarb.
All this is wrapped up in a genuinely funny episode that has some great visual jokes (Vorg’s hand reaching down, like God in a Monty Python animation, to shoo away the fearsome Drashigs), funny one-liners (‘One has twinges,’ says Kalik when he’s accused of compassion and mercy), and a wry awareness of some of the conventions of Doctor Who (Jo’s reaction to another round of the old capture/escape routine: ‘Here we go again’). The parallels between Vorg and Shirna and the Doctor and Jo are at their most obvious as Vorg struggles to control his magical box (having thrown away the manual) to Shirna’s complete lack of surprise, and being the only other character besides the Doctor who crosses between the interior and exterior worlds.
This is another really good episode: the relentless pursuit of the kaiju-like Drashigs through the circuits of the miniscope propels the story, while the Doctor and Jo act as rogue elements that bring together two different zones and then, at the cliffhanger, crossing the micro world into the macro.
Next episode: Carnival of Monsters – Episode Four