Doomwatch Winter Angel

This 1999 TV Movie was an attempt to revive the series some 27 years after it had ended. Intended as a pilot for a potential series, `Winter Angel` looks slightly awkward as it tries to stay faithful to the core of the original yet also relevant to viewers in 1999. While it is certainly more in tune with the tenor of the series than the 1972 movie was it chooses to tackle a topic that strays into the realms of science fiction and no doubt its science would amuse actual scientists. In an old nuclear power station a team succeeds in creating a black hole as they try to generate unlimited energy. Only matters go awry when environmentalists get footage of an accident and are pursued aggressively by secretive agents. The narrative, whatever the scientific inaccuracies- and let’s face it most of us don’t care too much about them- has possibilities but seems to take a large amount of time to get going. Despite ample running time it seems foggy about some things and lacks much in the way of interesting characterisation. 

Of course it doesn’t help that the production miscasts Trevor Eve as the clever clogs to whom Quist sends cryptic postcards. Why? Oh because that’s the sort of thing clever people do! Eve’s character bumbles about on the edges until the final fifteen minutes when he walks in and takes over. It’s typical of the lazier aspects of the production. The big accident for example just looks like they deliberately bang two cylinders together. Later the whole place is wreathed in plumes of supposedly toxic blue smoke but nobody so much as coughs! Funniest of all a metal door is enough to resist considerable forces capable of dragging people to their deaths. The government agents behave like criminals and you never know who they are so they start to resemble people sent in to kill off characters the plot no longer needs. And the movie’s favourite thing of people climbing up the outside of buildings keeps being re-used.
The re-casting of Quist, necessary as John Paul had died four years earlier, works ok- Philip Stone does not look like him but he does get some of the vocal mannerisms down. That the story then proceeds to kill him off seems rather harsh though by this point the viewer may well be numb to anything much. It is a real stretch to sit through; the combination of unlikely plot, dull characters and unbelievable scenes doesn’t even have the good grace to be in any way funny. Neither does it have a message that the viewer might understand relates to them. A bit of a wasted effort all round.

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