22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Changing opinion
It's perhaps appropriate, given this adventure's underlying message, that The Mutants seems to have changed in the near-40 years since its first broadcast - and only for the better. Long-vilified by seasoned fans, here it emerges on DVD (and immediately after fellow miserable outcast Meglos) looking slightly mad, very spangly and all rather good fun.
Published on 2 Feb 2011 by Don Kepunja
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars treading water.
I have a lot of time for Jon Pertwee. Like Peter Davison, he is a moral and serious Doctor with a humane and caring quality I always enjoy. He also shares Davison's heroic streak. And as one of my favourite Doctors, I find I can happily watch most of his stories, and enjoy them, even the most derided efforts, like The Time Monster or Monster of Peladon. But The Mutants is...
Published on 31 May 2004 by Adrian Sherlock
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sojourn To Solos.,
During the 25th century setting of "Frontier in Space" we saw the rise of the Earth empire, here in the 30th century setting of "The Mutant's" we see it's fall. Earth can no longer afford it's empire, so is withdrawing from it's acquisitions and giving them independence.
But here on Solos, the Marshal regards Solos as his own personal empire, and will not willingly, give it up!
As most of the early reviews concentrate on the storyline, I'll concentrate on the design.
The Marshal, (all bluff and bluster) is well played by Paul Whitsun Jones who obviously went to the same acting school as Brian Blessed.
There is some good set design used in this story, Jaeger's lab for one, and a more realistic method of transmat into booths, not just anywhere which is usually depicted in some sci-fi shows. Unfortunately there's also some dreadful acting by the black actor Rick James which does spoil the story somewhat.
Looking at several stories from this era one can't help but noticing the superb imagination of the designers of the show, like Roger Murray Leach, sculptor John Friedlander and costume designer James Acheson.
Some design's like the Draconians, Sea Devils, original Davros mask, and my favourite the Mutants, made for me the early 70's a design golden age.
On reflection I must say that I find this is a most interesting story in which it's not just the life-forms mutating but the planet too in a way, as it goes from being a part of an empire to independence.
One can never be disappointed with a Bob Baker and Dave Martin script, as they put so much into them.
I've been enjoying this show for so long I think of it as a friend rather then a TV show, as I grew up it was always there for me like a reliable old friend, so long live the Doctor in all his incarnations - and the whoniverse.
00:02:55:18 The Mutants - photo gallery
00:20:36:21 Mutt Mad - the making of the mutants
00:01:35:07 (Blue Peter) (Clip from Blue Peter 1970's)
00:27:03:13 Dressing for Doctor Who - James Acheson (Featurette)
00:37:36:10 Race against Time (Featurette)
18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Super 70s space adventure!,
I watched "The Mutants" again recently and I loved it. This is Pertwee era doing a rare full-blooded space SF adventure, with no UNIT, no Master or Daleks. Instead it's cool spaceships, barren planets and really well done insectoid aliens. The plot is intelligent and thought-provoking and it's nice to see Jo and the Doctor away from dreary 1970s England and by themselves on an adventure. It starts with the mystery of a Time Lord gift and opens up into an intelligent critique of South Africa and British colonialism. I even enjoy the 70s vision-of-the-future sets.
Sure it's long at 6 episodes, and as per usual a few of the performances are a little wooden, but I don't care. Pertwee in space!
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dr Who - The Mutants,
Viewing the DVD of The Mutants confirms, once again, my suspicion that Who fans who seem determined to rubbish certain stories usually don't know what they're talking about; so I'm looking forward to the release of Planet of the Spiders plus, hopefully, The Daemons. As far as I can see the only dud Pertwee stories are Death to the Daleks (tedious and unexciting) and The Time Monster (an excruciatingly badly acted ****-about). The Mutants has itself been described as tedious, but it's not that dull really once you start to follow the story. And if it needs a saving grace, it's got one - the Mutts. They're excellently realised and it's a pity we don't see a bit more of them. The novelisation and TV version of The Brain Of Morbius makes clear that if the mutation is allowed to take place at its proper pace, the insectoid Solonians are a highly intelligent, advanced, dignified, peaceful race of space travellers. I've always found it ironic that Salman Rushdie, who's spent quite a bit of time moaning about how racist white British people are, missed the whole point of the story and thought it was actually encouraging racism by portraying something as ugly and evil purely because it looked different! An example of how people often misunderstood and underappreciated Doctor Who in the old days.
It may not be the best Dr Who story ever, but it's certainly far from being the worst.
3.0 out of 5 stars Have You Got Your Oxy Mask?,
It's not the most clearly focussed of scripts, but as usual from the Bristolians it's packed with ideas, and most of them work, it's just that they're not all tied together particularly well.
On the plus side, Paul Whitsun Jones is doing sterling work as the Marshall - all porky, black uniformed megalomania - a walking, talking statement of how being an Overlord gets you big dinners, and he's corrupt, cruel, homicidal, cynical and wildly deluded - an unhappy mix of megalomania and psychosis. It's not the most subtle performance, but very watchable. Meanwhile George Pravda seems to be trying to wring some interest out of the little that the script offers him - his one good line 'Your regime should give him plenty of scope'. It's not Mr Pravda's finest hour.
Meanwhile the Marshall's two sidekicks both decide to be good guys instead, and the one played by Christoper Coll is very effective, but the one played by Rick James isn't. Some have accounted this to the way the lines are written, but I'm not sure that I can see any great difference in style between Cotton's lines and Stubbs's. It just sounds to me that Rick James isn't delivering them very well. I can't see any narrative reason for Stubbs to die when he does - if it were me, I'd kill off the one with the dodgy delivery.
But the rest of it is well-played - Geoffrey Palmer is particularly good - and the design is very effective, I like Skybase particularly, inside and out, and the costumes are good pretty much across the board, Overlord and Solonian alike - the only exceptions being the Investigator and his two aides in their copper coloured hoods, which look like they've just come from investigating Flash Gordon (possibly in silver underwear).
And the zap effects look good too, and the Hyperion in space, and even the CSO isn't that bad, so why do I hesitate to give it even three out of five?
OK, in the first place, while Skybase looks great, the surface of Solos is dull - Buddleia and a smoke machine - it's a considerable relief to see a bit of blue sky at one point.
Then there's the story (as mentioned above); it doesn't hang together particularly well, and the Dr's own place in it is far from clear; once he's delivered the box to Ky, he then has to decode the tablets for him - without any help at all from Sondergaard, who's supposed to be the expert - then he has to help repair the damage done by Jaeger, then make a report to the Investigator... It's rather as if he comes to Solos and does odd jobs.
The cliffhanger to Episode Four is stupid. If you blow a hole out of the side of a space station, all the air gets sucked out of the room and all the people inside are sucked out too and they suffocate. They do not lie on the floor, struggling half-heartedly until they decide they can get up and go out through the door.
And then there's the Mutants themselves, and I think this is probably the biggest problem of them all; while they look great, and took a good deal of hard work to play (John Scott Martin described it as being like 'a life sized scampi and rubberised, so it's devilish hot inside'), they don't do a great deal as they don't get used enough; very simply, there are not enough Mutants in The Mutants.
And yes, that first shot; since Monty Python had already established 'It's...', perhaps they might have done it a bit differently.
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice Collection,
2.0 out of 5 stars acting classes please!,
actor or the dr who crew just grabbed him off the street and said read these lines- he is a shocker, i just wince every time he opens his mouth, how no one running the show said " hold on this guy is rubbish lets get someone else" is beyond me. compared to the sea devils- claws of axos-planet of the daleks and the daemons this story falls way behind...
5.0 out of 5 stars The mutants,
5.0 out of 5 stars Another winner!,
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting extras, fairly good story,
This is a story which, with its anti-racism message, sets out with good intentions. However, you know what they say about the road to hell. As a story it's fairly entertaining with some good ideas, and the Marshal makes a memorable villain. The final part, however, resembles a bad episode of 1960s Star Trek with a 'super being' flitting about solving all the problems just like that. Another problem is that this is one of those tales of morality which shoots itself in the foot by having the token black character played as a dreadful patronising stereotype. And who thought calling him "Cotton" was a good idea?
The extras make this purchase well worth it if you're a fan of the series. There are three documentaries including a 'making of', a look at the role of black character throughout Dr Who's history and a feature about one of the show's designers.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Mutants,
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Dr Who - The Mutants [VHS]  by Christopher Barry (VHS Tape - 2003)