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Doctor Who- The Time Monster and Doctor Who- The Space Museum/The Chase DVD Reviews


“The Time Monster” is one of the worst “Doctor Who” episodes.

 “The Space Museum” contains a lot of filler, but the script has a few intriguing ideas.

 “The Chase” may be short on plot, but it’s full of adventure.

“The Space Museum” begins with such promise. The episode opens with the Doctor, Vicki, Ian and Barbara coming across a museum filled with spaceships, gadgets, gizmos, and yes, even a Dalek. Things become even more interesting when the 4 find themselves in glass display cases. One would expect the story to take off after that, but alas it never really goes anywhere. Instead, it becomes a rather routine story about the Morok Empire (the people in charge of the museum). We learn that the Moroks have taken over the planet Xeroes from the original inhabitants (the Xerons). The rest of the episode basically finds the Xerons trying to stage an uprise and the Doctor and company trying to avoid becoming display pieces for the museum. Story shortcomings aside, this was a visually interesting episode (considering the budget limitations) that had several unique ideas. It’s just a shame that the episode featured too many foolish characters and far too many scenes of the Doctor and his companions being chasing around.

Speaking of chase, the episode “The Chase” is about just that. The episode is a simple 6 parter in which the Doctor and his companions are chased through time by the Daleks. Their epic chase leads them to an alien desert planet, the top of the Empire State Building, a sailing ship, a creepy castle (containing Frankenstein and Dracula), and a jungle world filled with robots called the Mechnonoids. Despite being a rather cheesy story, this is a fun episode. Personally, I found it refreshing that the production crew went all out in this episode. It was a blast to see a variety of locations in this episode as it really kept the viewer engaged from start to finish. Additionally, the episode itself also boasts some truly memorable ‘Who’ moments such as the Android Doctor and a rather heartfelt companion departure sequence at the end of the episode. All in all, this is easily the best of the 3 episodes.

The third Doctor era episode “The Time Monster” is sadly one of the worst episodes of the entire series. The plot, which involves The Master, time control, Atlantis, and time eaters, is literally all over the place. The story is completely unfocused and relies far too much on exposition and gadgetry. It doesn’t help that the tale runs an unnecessary six parts and is as slow as molasses. As if the episode couldn’t get any worse, we also are subjected to distracting circus esque music, the Brigadier being frozen in time for half the episode, and the Master escaping harm’s way with ease. The only redeeming quality of this episode is the chemistry between Jon Pertwee’s Doctor and his companion Jo Grant (played by the charming Katy Manning), but not even they can save this turkey. Skip this one.

All 3 episodes are presented in 4:3 fullscreen. ‘Space’ and ‘Chase are in B&W and both are in fairly good shape. I did notice that the picture quality of ‘Space’ was a bit fuzzy in parts. As for ‘Monster,’ the colors looked a bit faded, but overall the restoration job was well done.

The Dolby Digital Mono tracks for all 3 episodes are expectedly flat, but they do their job.

“The Time Monster” Extras:
* “Doctor Who” series 4 and “The Creature From The Pit” trailers, photo gallery, Radio Times Listings and info text.
* “Restoration Comparison” between the old tapes and the restored versions.
* “Between Now…And Now!”- A featurette about the science/physics of “The Time Monster.” Interviews with the cast and crew are also included.
* Toby Hadoke moderates the commentary track that features John Levene, Susan Penhaligon, Barry Letts, Marion McDougall, Graham Duff, Phil Ford, James Moran, and Joe Lidster. This particular commentary is a bit strange because each part has different guests on the commentary. Personally, I prefer when everyone is together at once, but it’s nice to get a variety of stories from different people on each part.

“The Space Museum” Extras:

* “Dr. Who” series 4, “Underworld,” “The Time Monster,” and “The Horns Of Nimon” trailers. 
* Photo gallery, info text, Radio Times Listings,
* “A Holiday For The Doctor”- A weird comedic short.
* “My Grandfather, The Doctor”- An interesting interview with William Hartnell’s real granddaughter Jessica Carney.
* “Defending The Museum”- Robert Shearman provides an interesting analysis of “The Space Museum.”

* Commentary by William Russell, Maureen O’Brien, Glyn Jones, Peter Purves. Not the most exciting track, but there are some interesting conversations here about the script and characters.

“The Chase” Extras:

* Info text, a 16 story “Give-A-Show” slidehow, Radio Times Listings, photo gallery, trailers for “Being Human,” “Underworld,” “The Time Monster,” and “The Horns Of Nimon.”
* “Cusick In Cardiff”- Former production designer Raymond Cusick visits the new “Doctor Who” series studio.
* Commentary by Richard Martin, Maureen O’Brien, William Russell and Peter Purves. Much like the commentary for “The Space Museum,” this isn’t one of the best tracks, but it offers some interesting behind-the-scenes production info.
* “Follow That Dalek”- An 8mm film made outside the Shawcraft model company. An info text option is included.

* “Shawcraft- The Original Monster Makers”- A featurette/documentary on the prop and model maker company.
* “Daleks Beyond The Screen”- A neat little featurette on the massive amounts of Dalek merchandise. This is my favorite extra on the set.

* “Daleks Conquer And Destroy”- A featurette on the various designs, the history, the voice, and popularity of the Daleks.
* “Last Stop White City”- A featurette about the Ian and Barbara characters.
* “The Thrill Of The Chase”- A short making of featuring an interview with director Richard Martin chatting about the script and behind-the-scenes stories.

August 9, 2010 - Posted by | DVD review | , , ,

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