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This review is from: Doctor Who - The Twin Dilemma [DVD]  (DVD)
It has been forty years since I last saw this - it was the last Who before I got a video recorder, so the only contact I have had since was through an audio tape. In general I would have been of the opinion that this was a really bad story, like everyone else.
I must admit however that it is not as bad as I remember. Certainly it is more watchable than Warriors of the Deep from the same season. I'd even go as far as to say it is not the worst post-regeneration story (Time and the Rani now has that award). On the whole it is probably better than Timelash too.
This is not to say that it is good Who, on the contrary it is average in every way, which means that it doesn't stand out even for being SO BAD that you love to hate it.
Somehow I also think that this is NOT a regeneration story so much as a story with a regeneration in it. Perhaps we were spoiled with Spearhead and Castrovalva where the regeneration was weaved into the whole story.
Anyway here goes on my assessment:
Plot: There is not enough plot here to sustain four episodes. The first two just seem like padding where nothing much happens, the Doctor does not even get to Jaconda until the third episode (this happens a lot in the following season where the Doctor arriving on the scene does not happen until well into the first episode). If it weren't for the regeneration, nothing would have happened in the first two episodes. This would have been better as a two parter.
Another aspect is the similarities with Frontios. Gravity being used to move planets around sounds very Tractator-like and money could have been saved if Tractators had been used instead of Gastropods.
Script: Not particularly awe-inspiring. There is nothing quotable or of note. The best bits, are given to Colin, or perhaps he makes the most of them.
Design: Some of this is good, the spaceship effects are brilliant. The Jacondans look different, but their bird-like nature is completely lost. I'd have thought claws (like eagles) rather than hands or vestigial wings (something like the Menoptera). Instead they have horns (?). Likewise the Gastropods. Given that they seem to use mind powers, the fact that Mestor has hands just seems strange - they serve no purpose whatsoever. The mask also looks rubbish, no life in it and a reliance on the actor's jaw underneath.
Acting: None of the acting is bad, even the twins are far better than I remember. In fact the worst acting on show here comes from Nicola Bryant, where it constantly feels as though she can't believe how bad the show they are making is. On the plus side Colin's performance shines out, particularly in the first two parts where he is unstable. He is the main redeeming feature of the story.
Direction: Peter Moffatt's direction is his worst in the show's history. It is possible that there were budgetary restrictions, but in general this seems like Doctor Who-by-numbers rather than anything innovative. It might have been received better had it not followed the excellent Caves.
DVD: The extras for this are quite sparse, there is no making-of, nor someone attempting to defend it. There is Colin doing a retrospective of the various Doctor's costumes and bemoaning his own, but this doesn't cover the Real Time costume change and major's on Colin's own Ecclestone-style costume, which I think would have been unsuitable too.
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Initial post: 20 Apr 2016 00:38:42 BDT
Take No Prisoners says:
Forty years? I think you're out by about ten years.
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