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Doctor Who: The Caves Of Androzani- Special Edition and The Android Invasion DVD Reviews

 

“The Caves Of Androzani” is an emotional swan song for the 5th Doctor.

“The Android Invasion” is a highlight of the 4th Doctor era.

The Caves Of Androzani

“The Caves Of Androzani” sees the Doctor and Peri arriving on the planet Androzani Minor where they encounter gunrunners, a magma beast, militant capitalists (as well as their miners), and a crazed android creating genius (Sharez Jek) out for revenge against the greedy capitalists. As if that wasn’t enough to deal with, the Doctor and Peri become poisoned by a drug called spectrox. Now, the Doctor has to find a way to find a cure for he and Peri and to avoid the clutches of Jek and everyone else who thinks they are a threat (AKA just about everyone).

While ‘Androzani’ boasts a rich, conflict filled story, it’s really secondary in the grand scheme of the story. The heart and highlight of this story is about the Doctor trying to save his companion Peri and that’s where the strength of the story lies.

Throughout the history of “Doctor Who,” few stories have had the emotional weight that ‘Adrozani’ does in regards to the bond and friendship between a Doctor and a companion. This story really showcases the lengths the Doctor is willing to go to save his friends. In this case, you see the Doctor sacrificing his life to save Peri. It’s as touching a moment as we’ve seen on the show. It’s also arguably the best regeneration sequence in Who history. It’s worth seeing the episode just for the ending to be honest.

Video/Audio:

For those wondering if this double dip release is worth a buy, I would say it is if you are a completest. The exterior shots definitely look sharper than the previous release which is nice to see.

The Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track also seems sharper than its predecessor. Bravo to the restoration team for making this serial adventure the best it has ever looked and sounded.

Extras:
* “Doctor Who” series 6, “The Seeds Of Doom,” and “The Caves Of Androzani” trailers, photo gallery, isolated music score, Radio Times Listings, info text.
* Various news briefs and interviews about Peter Davison departing “Doctor Who.”
* 4 minutes of extended scenes with optional commentary on the first scene.
* Commentary by Peter Davison, Nicola Bryant, and Graeme Harper. An informative, funny, and charming track. Expect lots of set stories and moments of the three pointing out on screen mistakes (or goofy moments).

*”Behind The Scenes- Creating Sharaz Jek”- Narrated information about the look and creation of the Jek character over clips and behind-the-scenes footage.
* “Behind The Scenes- The Regeneration” (with optional commentary)- Behind-the-scenes footage of the classic sequence.
* A lighthearted interview between show host Russell Harty and Peter Davison and Colin Baker.

* “Directing Who: Then And Now”- An interesting technical featurette about the differences between directing modern Who and 80’s episodes of Who.

* “Chain Reaction”-An in-depth featurette about ‘Androzani.’

The Android Invasion

“The Android Invasion” is a season 13 adventure in which the Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith arrive at what appears to be a town outside of London. They soon discover that this town isn’t exactly ordinary as they find black pods, people in white space suits, android U.N.I.T. soldiers, townspeople vanishing and reappearing, and an astronaut that was presumed dead.  Add in the fact that the TARDIS has vanished, and the Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith find themselves in deep trouble. Are the Doctor and SJS even on Earth? Who is beyond these strange happenings and for what reason? Those are the real mysteries.

I wish there were more episodes like “The Android Invasion” in the classic Who era because it has the perfect story structure. The story grabs your attention from the get go by making the viewer say to themselves, “what is going on here?” As the story unfolds in each part, answers become apparent and, by that point, you are sold on the story. There are no repetitive, overdrawn conflicts here or dull, laborious plot set-ups. This is a tightly paced adventure with a mystery that deepens as the story progresses.

As an added bonus, this episode has plenty for Whovians to fall in love with. First off, the chemistry between the Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith is spot on here. For many fans, the Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith were the ultimate Doc and Companion combination and it’s hard to argue with that after seeing them in this again. Secondly, the episode features the last two appearances by fan favorite characters Harry Sullivan and Sergeant Benton. As a fan of both characters, it was nice to see them for one last time. Without getting into spoiler territory, they get to play different roles here as well which makes it more exciting for the viewers.

Summary: “The Caves And Androzani” and “The Android Invasion” are well worth buying.

Video/Audio:

Once again, I am impressed by the picture quality with “The Android Invasion.” The episode is in great shape and this is a stand-out transfer.

The Dolby Digital Mono audio track may not be the best around, but it does the job which is all you can ask for a classic Who episode.

Extras:

* “Doctor Who” series 6 and “The Sensorites” trailers, photo gallery, Radio Times Listings, info text and a Weetabix food ad.

* “Life After Who- Philip Hinchcliffe”- Philip’s daughter Celina Hinchcliffe interviews her father about his career. A great little extra.

* “The Village That Came To Life”- A making of that contains footage of the locations the episode was shot at, interviews, discussions about the script, episode clips, etc.

* Commentary by Milton Johns, Toby Hadoke, Martin Friend, Philip Hinchcliffe, and Marion McDougal. Hadoke does a fine job of guiding the interview, but this track could have really used Tom Baker.

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February 20, 2012 - Posted by | DVD review | , , , , , , , ,

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