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A low point in Who history,
This review is from: Doctor Who - New Beginnings (The Keeper of Traken/Logopolis/Castrovalva) [DVD]  (DVD)
Three whole Who storylines including a regeneration for around £20? Surely that's great value? Well... let's look at the evidence...
The Keeper of Traken.
Definitely the strongest story on display here. It's one of the rare occasions where John Nathan Turner and Tom Baker seemed to be working off the same page. The story grips you from the first appearance of the Keeper himself, and has all the Who trademarks including an excellent supporting cast coupled with a good amount of mystery and intrigue. Geoffrey Beevers is fantastic as the decomposing Master, Anthony Ainley gives a strong performance as Tremas (marks off for the lack of subtlety in the anagram there Johnny Byrne and JNT), and Tom Baker is back on form. The ending sets everything up nicely for the big revelation that is to come in...
Oh dear. What sort of thing is happening here? Tom Baker clearly can't wait to get these episodes over with... Logopolis is a real mess. The story doesn't flow at all, the plot is confusing and often disappears completely ie what exactly is the Master's plan and how did the Doctor actually foil it in the end? The script is poor too. Take Tegan's introduction to the TARDIS crew (of which there are way too many, but more on that later), she wanders into the hallowed machine, roams about for an episode and a bit, lands on a bizarre alien planet, but seems totally unmoved by the experience and by the end is acting like she's a seasoned time travel veteran. This is not a criticism of Janet Fielding's acting ability, she just hasn't got the material to work with. Only Anthony Ainley is on form here with his cheeky/ menacing character emerging brilliantly. The climax of the regeneration is a huge letdown, mainly because of some AWFUL special effects work that would have had the team behind the Web Planet wincing.
A new Doctor then, but a poor introduction for Peter Davison. Again like Logopolis, the fault lies with Christopher H Bidmead and JNT not the Doctor himself. For the first two episodes NOTHING HAPPENS. The only real interest lies in Davison's performance as the regenerating Doctor having flashbacks to his past incarnations - the man does do a mean Patrick Troughton. Other than that, the story really serves to illustrate what a ridiculous idea it was to have three companions, particularly when Tegan, Nyssa and Adric are frequently less interesting than the beige walls of the TARDIS. Almost makes you want to watch Space 1999 for some excitement. By the final two episodes one of those things called "a plot" has appeared, and the interest level rises slightly as it looks like we may get something of a grand finale. However, when the twist is revealed (spoiler alert! stop reading if you don't want to know the end) and the Master appears, he is reduced to no more than a pantomime villain. Again, a weak entry into the Who cannon.
The extras package on offer is a lot more interesting than some of the stories, with the documentaries highlighting the many tensions and conflicts that surrounded the relationship between Tom Baker and JNT, and admissions that having three companions was stupid. When you've finished enjoying Traken then enduring the rest, just watch Earthshock again to remind yourself that things did get better during the Davison era, and celebrate when Adric is disposed of.