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Daleks across the universe,
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Space Museum/The Chase [DVD] (DVD)
Two Doctor who stories from 1965 in one box set. The Space Museum, a four part story on a single disc, sees the First Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Vicki arrive in a museum on an alien world. Where time is behaving rather strangely. They get a nightmare vision of their own future, and then in addition to helping rebels fight oppressors, have to fight to prevent it from coming true.
The first episode of this plays tricks with time and deals with the concept of time travel and is astonishingly inventive and quite surreal at times. Alas it becomes a very standard and cheap looking doctor helping alien rebels story for the next three parts. But there are interesting things to be had from those. The villains of the piece are a little different to the norm, being bored soldiers on a backwater world in a huge empire, and for once there's a real sense of threat to the proceedings. You know the Doctor and friends will beat the monsters, but can they beat time itself? It does create an interesting atmosphere.
The next story the chase is a six parter and has the daleks send out a hit squad in a time machine to chase the doctor and friends down. A chase between the two time machines ensues, and they battle through many locations.
This follows the anthology format that writer terry nation used on earlier story the keys of marinus by using a different location and sub story for each part, and does it with varying results. Starting out rather well it does sag in the middle thanks to rather silly moments. And the Daleks are played for laughs a lot of the time as well. But things do pick up immesurably in the last two parts. The final one sees a battle between the Daleks and villainous robots the Mechanoids which gets past the technical limitations of the time via great direction and editing to create a memorable set piece, and then follows with one of the best companion departures ever. No rushed depature here this is great drama in some long scenes and very very moving.
Both dvds have the usual:
subtitles language track and audio captioning in english
Production information subtitles.
Coming soon trailer for the next release in the range.
A commentary on each from some of the cast and crew.
Radio times billings as PDF Files.
The rest of the extras though are really pretty good, and a real feast of 60's nostalgia. If you don't watch extras then you're missing out.
On the space museum there's defending the museum, with new series writer Robert Shearman sticking up for the story. He makes points that are worth considering.
My grandfather, the Doctor: with William Hartnell's granddaughter talking about her memories of him. She's a good interviewee and there's lots of rare photos of him so it's an excellent watch.
A holiday for the doctor is the one weak link here as it presents a look at how they would write cast members out for a week - which is quite interesting - in a comedy format with an 'actress' talking about it. None of which is very funny, but as mentioned it's interesting, and it is worth watching because in addition to that part it manages to tie into the new series right at the end in a very clever and very funny manner.
On the chase disc one, with the episodes of the story, also has a twelve minute long feature with ray cusick, designer on the original series, visiting the set of the new show. An excellent look at how it was done in both eras.
On disc two there's: the thrill of the chase. An engrossing ten minute long chat with the director of the story about it's making. A remarakble warts and all account.
Last stop white city: a look at Companions Ian and Barbara with thoughts from a writer and readings from actor william russell.
Daleks conquer and destroy and daleks beyond the screen: two excellent approx twenty minute long documentaries about the popularity of the daleks and their merchandising down the years. glorious nostalgia, especially in a look at a book that reveals some hitherto unrevaled facts about the daleks that are lost to continuity. And probably just as well.
Shawcraft - the original model makers looks at the work of the company who built the Dalek props, and follow that dalek is a 1960's film tour of their premises. I recommend watching it with the information text on otherwise you won't recognise half of what you see.
And for a real nostalgia treat: give a show slides. Slides from a projector that tell short doctor who stories. There's at least a dozen of them, and the images and the writing and the weird sound effects that have been added do create a great atmosphere. This runs for about twelve minutes in total. You have to watch them all at once, there being no option to do one story at a time, but it's just the right length to avoid getting too repetitive.
For an easter egg watch disc two of the chase on a computer, and on the first screen move the pointer over it till a hidden doctor who logo lights up. Click on this for a three minute long feature on the mechanoids. And learn why they didn't become the next big thing as was predicted.
Not the best stories ever, but an excellent set all in all and well worth getting.