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Doctor Who: Vengeance On Varos- Special Edition DVD Review

Doctor Who-Vengeance On Varos-Special Edition DVD

“Vengeance On Varos” is one of the best episodes of the Sixth Doctor era.

Requiring an element (Zeiton-7 to be exact) for his TARDIS to function, the Doctor and Peri venture to Varos and become stuck in a dangerous televised trap amidst tension filled negotiations between Varos and the Galactic Mining Corporation over, you guessed it, Zeiton-7.

I’ve made it no secret in past reviews that I’m a big fan of Colin Baker and the Sixth Doctor (especially his work on the Big Finish audios). I find Baker’s darker, egocentric Doctor persona to be a refreshing change of pace. I liked that he wasn’t as accessible or as friendly as past Doctors as it made him stand out more. Moreover, you can tell Colin Baker was a real fan and that he was having a blast (even with the dreadful clothing he was made to wear).

Now, when it comes to the Sixth Doctor era, I will say that he wasn’t blessed with the best stories. Some fans will claim that some of the worst Who episodes were in his era, but I don’t personally agree with this. If anything, his era has some of the more underrated episodes. Many of them were wildly ambitious (even if they didn’t always fully work). However, I think many fans will agree that one of the highlights of his era was “Vengeance On Varos.”

While ‘Varos’ may suffer from a slow pace, an annoying Peri, and some truly dreadful sets, the story is undoubtedly rich and ahead of its time. It’s a dark political story that dives into reality shows before reality shows were even a major genre. The concepts of violence, voting, torture, freedom, television and greed are fully explored here which makes ‘Varos’ a surprisingly heady story. It also boasts one of the best endings in Who history, but I won’t go into that because I don’t want to spoil it for those who have yet to see it.

‘Varos’ is also notable for having one of the all-time best Who characters in Sil (played by Nabil Shaban). The slimey, rich, sadistic alien made a great villain as he was both personable and loathsome. Shaban’s ability to become this character (voice and all) was certainly impressive to say the least.

Video/Audio:

For a special edition release of a more recent classic episode, I’m a little disappointed by the fullscreen picture quality. While the episode does look better than some, the colors often appeared blurred and faded. Granted, it’s a pretty dark episode visually, but I expected a little better.

Viewers have the option of playing a Dolby Digital 5.1 or Dolby Digital Mono audio track. The Mono track is, well, a typical Mono track, but the 5.1 track is great. From the lively music to Sil’s voice, the 5.1 track simply has more depth.

Extras:
* Isolated music score (also available in 5.1), Radio Times Listings, BBC Sales Sheet, photo gallery, “Doctor Who” series 6, “Ambassadors Of Death,” and two “Vengeance On Varos” trailers, info text, and continuities.
* Commentary by Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, and Nabil Shaban. A really fun track with some nice moments of humor, cast trivia, behind-the-scenes information, “Doctor Who” clichés, etc. There are several quiet spots, but it’s not too distracting.
* 17 ½ minutes of extended and deleted scenes.
* “Acid Bath Scene With Alternative Music”- Title says it all.
* “Behind The Scenes” contains a little more than 4 ½ minutes of different takes and footage of the actors for a scene.
* “The Idiot’s Lantern” is an interesting featurette about how television has been featured in “Doctor Who” throughout the show’s history.
* “Nice Or Nasty”- A better than usual making of featurette explores the controversial episode while also containing cast and crew interviews and discussions of the episode’s themes and ideas.
* 3 minutes of outtakes.
* “News”- A short news piece about Colin Baker becoming The Doctor.
* “Tomorrow’s Times- The Sixth Doctor”- Another installment of this ongoing series of extras which covers the press reaction and media coverage of the Sixth Doctor’s era.
* “Breakfast Time”- Footage of Colin Baker’s appearance on the show.
* “Saturday Superstore”- Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant’s appearance on the wacky show.
* “French And Saunders”- A comedic sketch from the popular show.

February 10, 2013 - Posted by | DVD review | , , , ,

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