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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Definitely worth seeing
I had low expectations because The Web Planet seems to have its detractors but I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised. A very creative story with some unique aliens and some FX that shows that no matter how low budget the series was, the costume designers, set designers, DoP, directors and actors, all can pull together to make a riveting story.

The...
Published on 11 Dec. 2008 by Cab-art

versus
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good ideas, poor execution in one of Hartnell's weakest
When people berate Dr Who for its crappy special effects, wonky sets and awkward acting, this is the perfect example: a William Hartnell story from 1965 with some of the worst insect suits you've seen outside a school pageant, and acting to match. It's an interesting idea - the first Doctor and his companions get caught up in the middle of a war of insects waged on a...
Published on 14 Oct. 2009 by Trevor Willsmer


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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars my god, i'm sure he is the guv'nor of VAROS, 4 Jan. 2007
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Web Planet [DVD] [1965] (DVD)
i must admit, as i have already mentioned in another review, that tworads the end of Verity Lamberts time on Dr Who, the show had become a very slow paced plod. this story is one typical example of that. Vicky, a replacement for SUSAN was left in the TARDIS for the initial first episodes, i remember reading that the writer didn't know what to do with her, so he sent her off with a headache.

I think that despite the negatives that this particular story has, the story can be seen and appreciated for the 'art' of production. i think if there were better camera edits, and maybe reduced in episode from 6 to 5 or 4, then the pace and actual story would have picked up a lot.

I think it is very easy to look at this story and switch off half way through due to its lack of pace, but if you have spare time, please watch it, even if its over a few days, as it isn't really that bad. the menoptra when flying are very 'ballet' and, as i am studying script writing and stage/t.v. production, i can now see where they were coming from, but it didn't really hit the nail on the head, but well worth a buy for any collector of dr who
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Poor story; great extras, 10 May 2009
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This review is from: Doctor Who - The Web Planet [DVD] [1965] (DVD)
While the story (also known as Doctor Who and The Zarbi) is dated and poorly realised by our standards, this DVD is polished and well priced, and provides some insight into how much TV has changed in 40 years. The vaseline used on the camera lenses to give a fogged view is laughable now, but the innovation and professionalism of the cast rise above the tawdry set designs and frankly appalling costumes of The butterfly-like Menoptera and ant-like Zarbi. The six episodes mean this goes on far too long, and the character of The Doctor is largely peripheral throughout.

What makes this a decent buy for fans are the DVD extras. As well as audio commentaries, there is a 40 minute feature on how the story was made (Tales of Isop), an audio reading of a 60s annual story 'The Lair of Zarbi Supremo', read by actor William Russell (Ian), a comic-strip summary of the story, and the usual PDF files and photo gallery.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Antz, 20 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Doctor Who - The Web Planet [DVD] [1965] (DVD)
'Like staggering around with a single wardrobe on your back', said John Scott Martin. It's not a part I envy him, though the giant ants do at least look good to this day, but little else of this does.

The cutting edge VFX of 1964 have not aged well - what was cutting edge then looks terribly dated now - far more than does the story or the performances. (Check out a young Martin Jarvis as Captain Hilo)

The tale is good Menoptera over evil Animus and its servants the Zarbi, aided by very silly-looking venom grubs, with the proto-Optera bringing up the rear and doing stuff with mud, and I think one reason that I don't recall it terribly well is that I like stories with humans in, and there are only three in this one.

As the end title roll, it's rather like replacing a stone in he garden, leaving the bugs to get on with it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, But Risky Buy, 3 Nov. 2006
By 
DB (London, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Web Planet [DVD] [1965] (DVD)
After reading the reviews I decided that I would chance it to get The Web Planet. I was reasonably pleased with it and found it hard to see why people could complain about the costumes etc. It was not unconvincing, you just need to remember that this isn't from 2005, its from the 1960s, just accept that the costumes aren't as good. What did get me though, was throughout a lot of the scenes on the planet, the screen was smudged and this really annoyed me, surely they should have been able to do something about that. My only other complaint was that it took a while to get started. It was not until midway through the second episode that it even got anywhere.

Worth it, its good, enjoyable, accept its not state of the art HD graphics etc its good and if you will just take it for the adventure then you will probably enjoy it.

Good buy, not just for the ultra-dedicated who fans
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Brill Idea, weak execution, 21 Nov. 2006
By 
JA Fairhurst "johnfair" (Edgeley, Stockport) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who - The Web Planet [DVD] [1965] (DVD)
The idea behind this story, the dispossessed menoptra with their sub intelligent helpers suborned by an evil power, is fairly standard Doctor Who fair. Raising it above the standard was the implementation of the menoptra and the zarbi. OK, so the menoptra, were... less than convincing, shall we say, but the zarbi were largely well realised, particularly in their movements and the larva guns were just brilliant.

Even the menoptra were raised above their rather limited costumes when their invasion force was presented in flight - a wonderfully trippy effect of swirling 'moth' and spread wings.

As always, there were moments of sheer boredom, particularly with Barbara and Vicki in the TARDIS, though it was nice to see the domestic side of life in the TARDIS - usually overlooked.

Other people have commented on the poor quality of the tranfer in some scenes, which is a pity as it does rather distract from the story. However, it remains a worthwhile addition to the collection, particulary as there are so few Hartnell stories still around in aything like full versions.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An experimental tale, and a hard one to rate, 16 Jan. 2010
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This review is from: Doctor Who - The Web Planet [DVD] [1965] (DVD)
After my effective reintroduction to vintage 'Doctor Who' with Tom Baker's 'The Brain of Morbius' (see separate review), I decided to go back to the black and white era, and chose 'The Web Planet' to start with.

First broadcast in 1965, 'The Web Planet' was heavily promoted at the time as the creative team tried to come up with a new alien race that would match the phenomenal success of the Daleks. And as such, it was generally met with huge disappointment, and has long been considered a weak story amongst vintage 'Who' fans as a result.

The biggest gripe with many about this story, is the costumes - they are clearly people inside giant ant and moth costumes. But personally, I can live with this - at least they were aiming for something imaginative, and I rather like the concept of the ant-like Zarbi and war with the moth-like Menoptra, pulling off their wings (yes really!).
That said, the underground, centipede-like Optera, introduced later in the story, admittedly ARE terrible - they look like home-made costumes for a children's fancy dress party, and rank amongst the worst and most unconvincing alien costumes ever seen in vintage 'Doctor Who'!

But costumes aside, I really like what this story was aiming for. The first episode, with the Doctor (William Hartnell on fine form) and Ian investigating the strange planet, has a wonderfully alien appeal. But I find that, as with many Hartnell-era 'Who' stories, whilst having great concepts, the storylines themselves aren't the best, and it is the shaky story more than the dodgy visuals that ultimately let this one down for me.
Episodes 1-3 are reasonable, but I have to say that by episodes 4-6 the story was really being stretched, and much of the time I didn't have a clue what was going on. The story could have comfortably made a four-parter and still have room for padding; it is really stretched at six episodes.

Another problem is that all of the creature costumes look exactly the same, making it impossible for the viewer to tell any of them apart and engage with any of the alien characters. It was daring for them to try a story completely devoid of non-humanoid species, but they should have aimed to make each 'character' at least more distinct looking for sake of viewers trying to keep up with what was going on.

I should also mention an effect employed during production where Vaseline was smeared on the camera lens to try and give an 'alien' look. All this does is make the picture look horribly blurry and adds nothing; I really wish they hadn't bothered.

There are also some unintentionally amusing moments, such as one of the Zarbi running forwards and accidentally banging the camera as it goes past.

There are the usual array of extras on the DVD, including the in-episode trivia subtitle track, which are always my favourite features on 'Who' DVDs; cast and crew commentary, which I haven't had time to completely listen to but sounds to be the standard commentary fare; 'Tales of the Isop', a retrospective of the story; William 'Ian' Russell reading a Zarbi story from the first Doctor Who annual; and a PDF of said annual to view on your PC.

Although occasionally popping up in various other 'Who' media over the years, the Zarbi have never yet made a reappearance on-screen, and I would love to see what modern 'Who', with all of it's CGI effects, would make of them; it is a setting that I would really love to see revisited.

All-in-all... I'm not sure how to rate this one. I like what they were going for and that they dared try something different. I am quite willing to use my imagination to look past the dodgy costumes, but it is really the overall plotting that sadly stops this one from being as good as it probably should have been.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The good olde' days!, 30 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Web Planet [DVD] [1965] (DVD)
There are a few of the First Doctor's adventures which are truly compelling! This is one of them, Like a few others they would benefit being upgraded to blu ray quality and colorized! I've seen many colour stills from the Hartnell era (and yes Bill was right, it should've been filmed in colour!) The atmosphere that was created for this particular story was unique especially for the time, and the budget! Watching the adventures through time and space and looking at and remembers how the characters all looked back in the 60's was a real buzz! The original companions were almost like family and was at times hard to say goodbye! Even worse when the were killed, remember Sarah Kingdom! Perhaps the Doctor and Co could return to Vortis at sometime. It was also a time when we got to see more and spend more time in the Tardis, it was a wonderful set, much better than what was to come, especially up to the McCoy era! I've seen many of the models and creatures at various displays across the UK. Even the Mechanoid at Blackpool! This, and other complete stories would benefit and cross the great divide of time (sadly so many wont watch b/w, I don't see colour as a replacement, more as an option. These days the main characters complain they don't get enough lines if there are too many companions! Seemed to have worked just fine here! Raise your glass to the First Doctor, the original you might say!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More of an excellent adventure than bogus journey..., 26 April 2006
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Web Planet [DVD] [1965] (DVD)
The Web Planet is hardly the best Doctor Who story ever made, as the majority of these reviews reflect, but it is not without merit. Fan opinion tends to be firmly divided into two camps - those that appreciate the production teams attempt to produce something otherworldly and different and those that condemn the story as slow, cheap and occasionally laughable. There is something to both these arguments but I myself am very much in agreement with the former and cannot help but admire the time and effort that has gone into realising a vision that could never really be achieved successfully. As with a lot of the more 'high concept' episodes a huge suspension of disbelief is required, but look beneath the rather chaotic surface action and there is a very interesting and at times disturbing tale lurking underneath - the scene featuring a Menoptra having it's wings torn off by a couple of Zarbi being particularly horrific. There is genuine insight into an alien culture and their suffering at the hands (or tentacles) of what is essentially a giant space mushroom, albeit quite a menacing one (helped significantly by Catherine Fleming's creepy voiceover), and despite the Menoptra being mildly irritating, one can easily sympathise with their plight.

Bill Strutton's original concept is incredibly ambitious and obviously significantly different to the end product, but I can't help but wonder what this could have been like had it been made with a proper budget, an epic realisation of the mammoth Zarbi army and their impressive lair, the Menoptra invasion force or the planet Vortis itself could have been a truly memorable spectacle. As it is though even with it's apparent failings, there's much to enjoy here. I find The Web Planet to be no more slow-moving than most other Hartnell era adventures over four episodes long, and for me the only problems are the occasional piece of bad acting, unnecessary padding and the slightly shoddier than usual production values, not in how the planet and it's inhabitants are realised but more the Zarbi running headfirst into the camera and that kind of goof. But a success or not at least the programme makers tried to realise a believable alien environment, which they had already attempted in Doctor Who's second story The Daleks (or if you prefer The Mutants) and three other stories prior to The Web Planet, and this was only the shows second season! A lot more impressive than the lamentable 2005 series which to date hasn't even tried (New Earth doesn't count) and instead prefers pandering to the masses with juvenile humour and flimsy storylines, yet the new team now has the time, money and resources to actually achieve what The Web Planet never could. Well given the choice I'd much rather have an ambitious failure than a soulless success, and although TWP probably doesn't deserve a five star rating that's what I'm awarding it for effort alone.

Naturally this is not going to be to everyone's taste, and newcomer's to the series would be well advised to start elsewhere, but The Web Planet is nothing less than entertaining and a valiant effort from a bygone era.

There is also a satisfying selection of features on offer here, firstly I'd like to praise the restoration team on the superb sound and picture quality of the DVD transfer, which sadly also exposes some of the more stagier aspects of the production and as a result the story looses some of it's atmosphere as with The Mind Robber. The commentary is affectionate, enjoyable and occasionally enlightening and it's nice to hear from Martin Jarvis on a story which obviously means a lot to him. The featurette is not as great as some of the other docs we've been used to recently but is still perfectly agreeable. The give-a-show slides are a fun bit of fluff as is the rather amusing Spanish soundtrack for episode six, but I think my favourite feature is William Russell's reading of Lair of Zarbi Supremo, a gripping yarn brought to life beautifully by the always warm and likeable Russell. Really very little to complain about here especially since they accompany a feature that is now over forty years old.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A nice try, 25 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: Doctor Who - The Web Planet [DVD] [1965] (DVD)
This story is unique in early who in that it takes a concept of a TOTALLY alien world and tries to implement it. If this were done in 2014, it would be a fantastic effort, even in the 1970's the setting was dramatically improved (see Planet of Evil).

However, this was 1964, the budget was a pittance, and the producers didn't even know if the show would have been continuing much longer. For all these reasons, and the fact that they didn't just stay in their comfort zone is why it's a good attempt.

However, despite all of this, I was just bored. The story is spun out over six episodes and like a lot of early who, there's just not enough of an idea to keep it going that long. So, we get long swathes of time that's just walking through caves, or messing about with Zarbi.

I'd recommend any fan of classic who to watch it at least once, but I think my copy will stay on the shelf for a long time to come because it's just so tedious to watch.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Webbed Planet, 19 Dec. 2011
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Web Planet [DVD] [1965] (DVD)
1965's The Web Planet is odd, certainly for the production team creating the story, it must have seemed a most alien and perculiar serial. Writer Bill Strutton was new to the Doctor Who writing arsenal at this point, both himself and the producers were keen to create an alien threat that would rival the Daleks for the public's affections, also, the Daleks were becoming too used in the series. Producer Verity Lambert and her crew pointed out to Strutton that he should create a monster that would have merchandise appeal, just like the Daleks, Strutton created creatures that he believed would be financially exploitable. Anywho, the creatures in this serial never really caught on and so we have the only story written by Strutton and the only appearance of sed creatures.

The overall storyline is simple enough really, an alien being from a distant world comes to Vortis and starts to take control of it, for once the TARDIS crew arrive long after the damage is done and so if they can't prevent the events happening, they can help the natives reclaim the planet and drive out the evil Animus. Throughout the story, each of the characters becomes attached to a member of the strange planet, Ian and the Bee, Barbara and the clipped-wing Bee, Vicki and the newly-controlled Zarbi and finally the Doctor and his ego. I have always thought that the Web Planet was 2 episodes too long, I know its well said in fan circles that this feeling reigns true. It is too long and I sometimes have difficulty in sitting through all 6 episodes in one go, so its best if you space it out over a couple of evenings.

On to the DVD itself and well, its lavish, the cover artwork is beautiful and the DVD is well stocked with extra's, not many, but enough. The picture and sound quality on this 46 year old production is fantastic, the BBC has once again done miracles with todays modern television science. The main documentary on this release is interesting and insightful, the cast and crew {that are still will us} talk through the amazing and brave production of this classic tale. Its a lovely thing to see all the old faces back behind the cameras where they belong. I always love the doc's that the BBC put together for these Doctor Who DVD releases. Final note has to go to the price, to get all these episodes, commentary, documentaries and more for less than a tenner is exeptional value for money.

Overall then, The Web Planet could do with being a couple of episodes shorter, but on the whole this is a fantastic BBC DVD release and I am thoroughly looking foward to such future Hartnell era releases.

Many thanks for your time in reading this review,

M.B.
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