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Doctor Who : Ghost Light [DVD] [1989]
Doctor Who : Ghost Light [DVD] [1989]
Dvd ~ Sylvester McCoy
Price: £6.98

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review, 12 Nov 2010
Leaving aside my pro-Mccoy bias, this serial is incredibly good. This was the last classic Dr who to be recorded and it shows in many ways. Mccoy and Aldred are in brilliant form, complementing each other wonderfully both as partners and when they argue over being in Gabriel Chase. The supporting cast is also brilliant, with no weak links at all. Particular mention must go to Sylvia Syms, with a performance that manages both creepy roboticism and (in part 3) wonderful human regret, and Ian Hogg, who manages a great balance between cold scheming and internal torture. Leaving aside the performances, the production values are superb. The 19th century victorian feel is evident, and, in tandem, with Alan Wareing's direction, gives the story sense of underlying menace. The best part about Ghost Light, however, has to be the script. To quote another reviewer: it is "Good Weird, Brilliant Weird". Some critics have commented that the plot is nonsensical/silly/too many holes etc, and to this I shall say only two things. First, the story makes perfect sense IF you pay close attention to what is going on. It is a story where missing one or two lines of dialogue might make you confused (not helped by the original audio), not a story that is confusing because of bad writing. Second, as with a lot of Mccoy stories, the structure is as much created by overall theme as it is trad narrative. In other words, the plot is not as linear as something like Remembrance because it is about a central theme as opposed to a story (Full Circle is similar in that the planet environment takes precedence over the story's "plot"). Aside from the story itself, the extras are also pretty good. The making of documentary is very good, as is the question segment with Marc Platt (author). The most valuable extra has to be the audio options- the new sound option gives a score which complements the story, as opposed to drowns the dialogue. Altogether a very good DVD release of one of the very best Dr Who stories. Fully recommended


Doctor Who - Resurrection Of The Daleks [1983] [DVD]
Doctor Who - Resurrection Of The Daleks [1983] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Peter Davison
Offered by WorldCinema
Price: £14.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice Concepts, Shame about the narrative, 28 Oct 2010
Watching Resurrection is akin to watching the 96 FA cup Final. It has a brief moment of magic (several) but everything surrounding it is just very grim to sit through. This is a serial which could have been outstanding (yes I do mean that!). Davison's performance here is brilliant- matched only by Maurice Colbourne's cold and callous Lytton. Davison's character range here is a wonderful prelude to the Caves of Androzani. Moreover, this is a serial which re-establishes the Daleks. These are bad Daleks, very bad Daleks; Daleks which will kill you for no reason other than they can. For the first time in a long while the Daleks have a sadistic edge to them which has not been seen since the 60s (I leave out Genesis purely because the Daleks don't feature in it much, though they are badass in that one too). Davros is also a well played balance of quiet and ranting, and the staredown in the final episode is brilliant. On the production side the serial can rank fairly high as well. Robinson's direction is majestic in places, and the set designs are good- the grim warehouse, the dalek ship, the old space station. The story itself is also not devoid of merit, there are some very good ideas floating around: the duplicates, the Movellan Virus, the double-crossing (and double-double crossing). The problems can be summed up in 2 words: narrative, characters. The story falls apart drastically in episodes 3 and 4- too many built up points are left unexplained, and quite a few elements are nonsensical (the Companion duplicates, Stein's character personality, Turlough's meandering around the Dalek ship). More importantly, the number of ideas and their combination with a companion departure means that the narrative itself is swamped by its own ambition; each idea is sound, but putting all of them together makes the serial unwieldy- in a similar way to Army of Ghosts/Doomsday. The other big weakness, which helps the collapse of the narrative, is characters. The narrative may have been more palatable had Saward written some solid, and well acted characters. As it is the story is crammed full of apathetic ship crew, voiceless mercenaries, and canon fodder soldiers- only Lytton and Stein really stand out aside from Davison and Davros. Furthermore, the wooden ciphers written by Saward translate into wooden performances. None of them seem excited by what they are playing and as such they generate no conviction in what they are doing, helping to weaken the story in the process. On the extras side, since it is an early release, the extras are fairly sparse. The location documentary is informative, but a making of documentray would have been preferable if limited to one or the other. With sparse extras what is needed is a cracking story, as it is all that is there is a frustrating one. If you are a fan of Davison, or concentrate on the good things that the story does, then get this DVD. If not, then you might be better off borrowing it off a friend.


Doctor Who - The Masque Of Mandragora [DVD] [1976]
Doctor Who - The Masque Of Mandragora [DVD] [1976]
Dvd ~ Tom Baker
Price: £6.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good slice of salami, 28 Oct 2010
Simply put, this is a very very good piece of Dr Who. The production values are superb, particularly the set design and costumes. Added to this is a uniformally strong cast. The Tom and Lis combination is marvellous, having watched the Seeds of Doom recently before watching this it really feels as if they are "starting from where they left off". Moreover, the chemistry extends to the entire cast- The Count/Hieronymous, Marco/Giuliano, and- especially in episode 1- the discussions between the count and the doctor; Baker's sombre mood flips to comedy with particular ease in these scenes (as it does for the whole of this serial). In fact the Masque of Mandragora feels fairly similar to the Ribos Operation in its focus on characters rather than action. In the same way that Ribos is remembered for Graf Vynda-K, Garron, Binro etc the Masque is memorable for Hieronymous, the Count, the cult of Demnos. With this in mind praise must be given to Rodney Bennett. The direction is wonderful; the feel is that of a period stageplay and this helps illuminate the characters. Bennett is aided by the fact that all of the principal cast go for the drama with both barrells. As the plotting, sneering Count Jon Laurimore is superb, as is Norman Jones as the fanatical, slightly unhinged Hieronymous. Tim Piggott-Smith makes the most of a slight role as Marco, and Gareth Armstrong gives a controlled performance as the young Duke. With all these positives it is hard to find fault with the story, and the only fault really is in the effect of the Helix. It is not so much that the Helix is a bad idea, but more that the pressure is placed on effects to make something out of an abstract idea; and since this is 70s who this is never going to pack as much of a punch as it might have done if the story were to be made now. Hence the fourth episode feels slightly anti-climactic after the sumptuous build up that precedes it. The extras are very good, and the making of documentary is particularly well put together- very much like the story itself. Often forgotten amongst the wealth of classy hinchcliffe productions this is an overlooked gem and well worth purchasing. But for the limitations of the Helix this would probably be a "Classic", as it is though it is merely great- buy it!!


Doctor Who - Remembrance Of The Daleks - Special Edition [DVD]
Doctor Who - Remembrance Of The Daleks - Special Edition [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sylvester McCoy
Price: £6.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review, 26 Oct 2010
OK, so I'm biased. I'm a huge McCoy fan, and he was the Dr that first got me watching the show. That said, even if you are not a McCoy fan, this story is stunning: easily one of the most watchable Dr Who Stories I have seen. The plot is more accessible than many other McCoy stories and the script is crammed with great characters (Gilmore, Jensen, Ratcliffe) and dialogue (the first set of exchanges between Gilmore and the Dr). McCoy himself is class in this one, and the Cafe scene is justly famous. The only snag, from a personal perspective, is Ace. This story sees Ace in a transition stage between the kid of season 24 and the woman (Battlefield excepted) of season 26 (and later 25), and so for every wonderful scene she has there are a few that jar horribly. Her scene with mike in part 3 is a long way from the kind of portrayal she would achieve in the greatest show in the galaxy with Bellboy. The Daleks in this story are, perhaps, slightly less deadly than the Saward daleks, and Davros seems more of a ranter than in the Davison/C.Baker doctor; but both these elements seem more to do with the dynamism of the story itself than a huge change of direction(Davros gets far less screen time than in the previous 2 stories), and the Daleks themselves are still the killing machines we know them as. Add on some good extras missing on the original release and you have a great DVD. Plus Ace beats up a dalek with a baseball bat- Fantastic!


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