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space war. In colour.,
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This review is from: Doctor Who: Dalek War (Frontier in Space / Planet of the Daleks) [DVD]  (DVD)Two Doctor who stories from 1973 in one box set. both are six parts long and the second follows on right from the end of the first. the first has a big reveal at the end that the daleks are involved but that wont come as a surpise now thanks to the cover and title of the box.
Frontier in space sees the doctor and jo caught up in the middle of a space war centuries hence when escalating tensions between earth and the draconian empire see the pair locked up under suspicion of being spies. but something is out there and it's causing the discontent.
Planet of the daleks sees the doctor and jo land on the planet spirodon and find daleks there trying to find how to become invisible via the native population who can do so. A group of thals, the enemy of the daleks are there, and the tardis crew join forces with them to defeat their mortal enemies.
Both of these are good and capable doctor who but they suffer from the problem of too many six part stories of the time in that they feel as if they were padded out to make them that length. frontier in space begins with the doctor and jo being shunted from one side to another with both thinking they're enemies. this is pretty much all that happens in part two and you could skip that and not miss much.
Delights are to be had later on, though. the return of the ogrons, the humanoid servants of the daleks. the return of the master.alas this was roger delgados final appearance before his untimely death, and he doesnt get a proper exit, but he's still great to watch. the draconians are reptilian aliens with some brilliant face masks but they dont get to do as much as they might have.
Planet of the daleks also has two rather slow opening episodes, but things do get going come part three. It is mentioned on the disc how similar it is in certain ways to the first dalek story back in 1963. both were written by terry nation, who was a good and professional tv writer. his work here doesnt break new boundaries but it produces solid tv.
all in all though these stories have their moments and whilst not being the best the era had to offer they're well worth a look.
extras wise both stories have the usual photo galleries, production information subtitles, english language subtitles and audio captioning and a trailer for an impending doctor who dvd release. one that has since been delayed.
they have oommentaries from cast and crew, including producer barry letts who sadly passed away shortly after this box set came out.
across both stories we have 'perfect scenario - the end of dreams', an extra that presents discussion about the themes in the writing of the stories in the guise of a science fiction drama with a man who writes entertainments for a future human society being guided through the two when he's looking for inspiration. a novel idea but it does take a while to get going and get to the point, although there are occasional good moments. This needs to be judged for itself so watch part one on frontier in space and if you like it watch part two on planet of the daleks.
Both stories have documentaries about them. neither looks too much at the making, more at the memories of those who took part. These both run about twenty minutes and are good viewing.
frontier in space has a documentary about comic strips featuring the third doctor, and planet of the daleks has one about the 1960s comic series that featured the daleks. the former shows how the strip changed over time from one that could have easily been second doctor stories to find its own identity, and it showcases some lovely artwork, but it may not grab anyone other than comic fans. the dalek one however highlights what was a well written and superbly drawn strip and should make anyone who's never read it dash out and find a copy. It really was that good.
Frontier has a thirty five minute long documentary about the life and work of roger delgado. Very comprehensive and containing some fascinating archive material this is superb viewing. the fact that barry letts appears at the end, and is now gone as well, will leave a lump in your throat.
planet of the daleks has an eleven minute long feature about how episode three, a copy of which the bbc only previously held in black and white, was restored to colour. quite interesting viewing this and something that won't go over the head of a layman. When watching said episode I realised midway through I'd forgotten it used to be in black and white. it really is that well done.
There's also thirteen minutes of archive footage from blue peter of the time in regards to a story of two dalek casings being stolen, and how they then turned up. a little overlong but watch for shep the dog's reaction to seeing a dalek. very funny.
easter eggs: there's one on each story that can be found by watching the disc on a computer and moving the pointer over the screen till a hidden doctor who logo lights up. on frontier do this on the audio options menu on disc one, and on planet do it on the main menu on disc two. the former is a different version of the theme tune that was going to be used for the season of the show in 1973 but wasnt. largely because it's not very good. the latter is an alternate take on the opening of the commentary for episode three done when they thought it would have to be in black and white on the dvd. and it's a good listen.
A good box set all in all. not perfect, but well worth getting.