The Catacombs Episode Critics
Compiled by Martin Willey

8. Guardian of Piri

The nadir of the season. If I have ever stated that another episode was the worst of the season, I was lying. This episode isn't even worth it for the large amounts of Catherine Schell which is on display for most of the episode... For once Clifton Jones gets a fair share of the script... Koenig decides to go and investigate the planet alone, on the usual grounds that as star he gets all the heroic jobs... Although remembered by many fans of the series for Piri's surreal foliage of white balls and balloons growing from a glossy multi-coloured floor and Catherine Schell's skimpy costume, the plot is childishly simplistic and the direction is uninspired. The most interesting thing about the episode is that the scenes set on Piri are reminiscent of Barbarella. Rating 3/10 (Anthony McKay, DWB, 1992)

The story showcases some superb design work by Keith Wilson. Again, the plot is not desperately original (bearing more than a resemblance to Star Trek's This Side Of Paradise) but the visuals are good enough to hold the viewer's attention. (Richard Houldsworth, TV Zone, 1992)

A haunting tale of betrayal and paradise lost with an exciting climax and images that remain long after the closing credits have faded. The design of the planet Piri is a masterpiece of the bizarre. A (Chris Bentley, SFX 20, 1996)

A good if not terribly original story, one that is enhanced by wonderful production values, an arousing guest appearance by a future co-star, and by a theme reminiscent of Greek mythology. (John Kenneth Muir, Exploring Space: 1999, p42)

Schell has an early 1999 role as a seductive alien woman who promises the Alphans the perfect life on her computer controlled world. Predictably, things aren't quite as they seem in this Star Trek-like entry. ** (fair) (James O'Neill, Sci-Fi On Tape, p271, 1997)

Guardian Of Piri is a visually stunning episode with a powerful anti-conformist theme. Of utmost commendableness is the planet Piri itself, depicted in a stunning, surrealistic, utterly other-worldly set. Catherine Schell is brilliant in her portrayal of the robot, conveying an outward warmth combined with an underlying coldness. 9.5/10 (Bob Wood, The Future Is Fantastic, 2001)

A well handled, tense episode, again exploring the Alphans' desperate plight. 3/5 (Alasdair Stuart, SciFiNow #10, 2007)