Invasion of the Body Stealers

Posted in Audio by - March 17, 2024
Invasion of the Body Stealers

Released March 2024


For its first release since July 2022, Classic Doctors, New Monsters returns with four more adventures blending the heroes of the classic era of Doctor Who with the foes and storylines of the modern. To begin Broken Memories, Jonathan Morris with ‘Invasion of the Body Stealers’ surprisingly revisits one of the lesser-known entities to cross paths with the Twelfth Doctor, the Harmony Shoal, as the Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane race to find survivors on a crashed spaceship while visiting the crystal forests of Systalzn.

Visually, the Harmony Shoal is quite a striking race, the disembodied brains with eyes that place themselves into the bodies of other species while leaving a characteristic diagonal slash across their new receptacles’ faces making for a uniquely parasitic and insidious threat. Unfortunately, this does rather limit them to fairly traditional body snatching or controlling stories, that being the case here as they look to slowly take over all of humanity. There are, of course, some intriguing horror moments as the truth behind swapped brains is discovered, but without the visuals of the slash across the face, the change in persona is more down to subtle shifts in the actors’ performances which are generally achieved fairly well. However, while it is obvious that the Fourth Doctor cannot fall victim to the Harmony Shoal even as he is taken to become a host for one of their elite, the lack of any change in the Doctor’s mannerisms after the procedure all but eliminates any potential drama stemming from this. In fact, this is just one example of how utterly inept this race that should be able to fairly easily impose their will and mindsets on those before them ultimately is, neither able to recognize when one of their race truly has taken residence in another life form nor able to see past a simple makeup job to present the semblance of a procedure completed. It seems improbable that a fake slash could so completely confound a species capable of such atrocities, but such is the case here which leads to an ultimately uninspiring climax and resolution.

Still, the characterization of both the Doctor and Sarah Jane is superb with Tom Baker and Sadie Miller showcasing a wonderful chemistry that perfectly evokes that between Baker and Elisabeth Sladen in the 1970s. The nod to the Doctor’s personal future is nicely incorporated, and his determination to uncover the truth as he follows his suspicions with characteristic charm and flippancy perfectly fit within this story’s intended era. Likewise, Sarah Jane is very much at her most inquisitive and insistent, using her own charm and investigative instincts to ensure that she can navigate any hurdles put up before her as the Harmony Shoal look to continue their plan unabated. Of course, with personalities in question of these people the Doctor and Sarah Jane have just met, there isn’t much time for this setting to truly develop; nonetheless Morris and the supporting cast do well in the brief time allotted to create a sense of community and impact as a human supply ship and the opportunities it affords these sinister creatures nears. As it is, ‘Invasion of the Body Stealers’ is a technically sound story that is filled with strong performances and that certainly does justice to its two charismatic leads, but it’s a bog standard possession story that far too bluntly highlights the extreme short-sightedness and profound weaknesses of a race that is already hardly among the most formidable the Doctor has confronted despite the immense potential its members inherently possess.

This post was written by

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.