DVD Corner's blog

News, dvd and blu-ray reviews

Doctor Who- The King’s Demons and The Creature From The Pit DVD Reviews

 

“The King’s Demons” is one of the best Peter Davison era episodes.

Tom Baker and Lalla Ward shine in the otherwise forgettable “The Creature From The Pit”

“The Creature From The Pit”

The plot: The Doctor, Romana II and K-9 arrive on the jungle planet Chloris where they encounter a race of beings ruled by the evil Lady Adrasta, a group of bandits, and a GIANT alien being known as the Erato that dwells in a pit below the surface. What is this alien being? Why is it on the planet in a pit? What does it want? That is what the Doctor hopes to find out.

“The Creature From The Pit” is very much a mixed bag. On one hand, you have Tom Baker and Lalla Ward in top form. Baker is absolutely delightful here as the ever eccentric fourth Doctor who constantly rambles to himself and even randomly pulls out a “Teach Yourself Tibetan” book at one point. Likewise, Ward as Romana II shines as the strong-willed Gallifreyean woman who isn’t afraid to take command of the bandits or use K-9 as a gun. On the downside, the story is unnecessarily stretched out and the production values are cheesier than usual. I think I can speak for most fans in saying that the giant rolling balls known as Wolfweeds are incredibly goofy and that the Erato itself just doesn’t work visually. Additionally, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, David Brierly is a poor substitute for John Leeson as K-9.

“The King’s Demons”

The story begins with King John and his champion visiting the castle of Sir Ranulph Fitzwilliam. While the King and Ranulph are watching a joust match, the Doctor, Turlough and Tegan arrive in their TARDIS. Naturally, everyone is freaked out by the TARDIS, the Doctor and his companions, except for the King who embraces them as “demons.” Of course, something seems off about the King to the Doctor because history shows that the King should be in London at this point in time. Are the King and his champion impostors? If so, who are they and why are they attempting to change history?

“The King’s Demons” is a fast-paced 50 minute episode that works primarly because it’s both straight forward in its storytelling and doesn’t contain many filler scenes (aside from the obligatory capture scenes and Tegan whining). Additionally, ‘Demons’ features some stand-out character moments with both the Doctor and the shape shifting android character Kamelion (who is introduced in this story). As many fans know, Davison was always a pretty mellow and low key Doctor, but in this episode he has to do some dirty work by engaging in a sword fight and deciding someone’s fate (without realizing it’s a trick). Like in “The Caves Of Androzani,” Davison seems to be at his best when his Doctor character is placed in very dangerous, high-stakes situations. As for Kamelion, I was always intrigued by this character and wanted to see more of him, but alas, production complications limited his role to only 2 episodes. Still, his character is certainly a nice change of pace.

Summary: “The King’s Demons” is worth picking up while “The Creature From The Pit” is only worth a mere rental.

Video/Audio:

The 4:3 fullscreen picture quality for “The King’s Demons” is some of the best remastered work I’ve seen on classic Who episodes. It has been cleaned up nicely as evidenced by the noticeably crisp and clear colors. While not as impressive as ‘Demons,’ “The Creature From The Pit” has a good quality transfer.

The Dolby Digital Mono audio tracks are about what you’d expect- adequate at best.

“The King’s Demons” Extras:

* Isolated music score, photo gallery, info text, Radio Times Listings, a trailer for “The Dominators,” and the dreaded “Doctor Who” series 4 trailer. I think it’s time for a series 5 trailer!

* “Magna Carta”- A history featurette. History buffs will be interested by this. 
* “Kamelion- Metal Man”- A featurette about the Kamelion character. Among the topics discussed are how the character came about, the technical aspects of Kamelion robot, the problems that occurred with Kamelion on set, etc. Cast and crew interviews are included.
* Commentary by Peter Davison, Eric Saward, and Isla Blair. The trio talk about the story, the characters, Kamelion, set stories, Anthony Ainley’s “disguise,” etc. This is a very laid back and lively commentary that is worth listening to.

* A solo commentary on episode 1 by director Tony Virgo in which he talks about his experiences. Some interesting stories here, but listen to the above mentioned commentary instead.

“The Creature From The Pit” Extras:
* “Doctor Who” series 4 trailer, photo gallery, Radio Times Listings, info text, and a trailer for “The King’s Demons” and “Planet Of Fire.”
* An extended scene with bandits.
* “Animal Magic”- An on-set segment with Tom Baker (in character) talking about animals.
* “Team Erato”- A featurette on the Erato blob creature containing interviews with the visual f/x team.
* “Christopher Barry: Director”- An interesting, personal interview with “Doctor Who” director Christopher Barry in which he talks about his life, his family, his career, and of course, “Doctor Who.” Easily the best extra on this set.
* A rather dry commentary by Christopher Barry, Myra Frances, Lalla Ward, and Matt Irvine. This track lacks Tom Baker.

September 12, 2010 - Posted by | DVD review | , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: