Doctor Who- Dalek War DVD Review
Both “Frontier In Space” and “Planet Of The Daleks” would have been stronger stories had they been four parts instead of six.
The “Dalek War” set starts out with “Frontier In Space” which was the last episode to feature Roger Delgado as the Master before he tragically died in a car accident. The story concerns the Master and another mysterious party purposely creating problems between the human and Draconian empires in the twenty-sixth century in order to start a war. The Doctor and Jo Grant are caught in the middle of this crisis and must try and stop the war from occurring. The second episode, which starts directly after ‘Frontier, is titled “Planet Of The Daleks.” This episode finds the Doctor and Jo Grant arriving on Spiridon where they discover that the Daleks are cooking up a killer bacteria and attempting to find a way to become invisible like the local inhabitants (the Spiridons). It’s up to the Doctor and Joe (with the help of a group of Thals) to stop the Daleks from carrying out their evil plan.
Both ‘Frontier’ and ‘Planet’ have involving stories, but unfortunately, they are marred by some weak writing by Terry Nation and Malcolm Hulke. To be fair, it’s not entirely the writers’ faults. The fact that each episode is a LONG 6 parts really hurts the overall story as the writers are forced to pad the story with lots of walking, running, and in the case of ‘Frontier, lots of scenes of imprisonment. I wish I was joking about the imprisonment aspect, but the Doctor and Jo are literally imprisoned for nearly a full four parts in that story.
On the plus side, there is much to savor here for Whovians. First and foremost, Jon Pertwee (the Third Doctor) and Jo Grant make a great team Doctor/Companion team and their chemistry on screen drives the slow moving stories. Additionally, fans are sure to be pleased to see the appearances of notable aliens and villains such as the Draconians, the Ogrons, the Daleks, and the Master. The Ogrons and Draconians in particular are superemely well executed on screen considering budget limitations and the time period. It’s a shame that we didn’t see more of those two species. Maybe they will appear in the new series sometime?
Summary: “Frontier In Space” and “Planet Of The Daleks” aren’t the best Who episodes of the Pertwee period, but hardcore fans and completists will definitely want to own these titles.
Both episodes are presented in 4:3 fullscreen and they both are in good shape for classic Who episodes. The colors are surprisingly pretty clean looking.
As for the Dolby Digital Mono tracks, they are both sufficient. Granted, it would have been nice to get Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks instead, but the original Mono tracks do their job well enough.
Planet Of The Daleks Extras:
* Commentary by Barry Letts, Katy Manning, Prentis Hancock, Tim Preece, and Terrance Dicks. A solid commentary track full of recollections about the episode and discussions about experiences in working on the show.
* Photo gallery, easter egg, Radio Times Listings, and Production Design Drawings.
* A “Blue Peter” segment about stolen Daleks.
* “Multi-Colorization”- A featurette about part 3 being colored.
* Stripped For Action: The Daleks”- A featurette about Daleks in comic books.
* “The Rumble In The Jungle”- A brief making of that contains set stories, interviews, etc.
* “The Perfect Scenario: The End Of Dreams”-A bizarre study of “Doctor Who” containing interviews, clips, etc. I have no idea what this is all about.
Frontier In Space Extras:
* “Doctor Who” ad, photo gallery, and a trailer for the upcoming “Planet Of Fire” and “The King’s Demons” DVD releases. DVD-ROM extras: Radio Times Listings, production design drawings, BBC Enterprises Sales Literature.
* Commentary by Katy Manning, Barry Letts, Terrance Dicks and moderator Clayton Hickman. Lots of chat about the recollections, script, sets, etc.
* “Stripped For Action: The Third Doctor”- A featurette on the Third Doctor comic book stories. As I haven’t read any of them, it was interesting to hear about them.
* “Roger Delgado: The Master”- An informative and touching biography on the actor.
* “The Space War”- A making of docu containing interviews, stories about the production, etc.
* “The Perfect Scenario: Lost Frontier”- Another odd segment of this “Doctor Who” ‘study’ on “Froniter In Space.”
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