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Doctor Who: Spearhead From Space Blu-ray Review

Doctor Who- Spearhead From Space Blu-ray

Classic “Doctor Who” hits Blu-ray for the very first time with “Spearhead from Space.”

In the Third Doctor’s premiere episode, the story begins right where “The War Games” left off. We find that the newly regenerated Doctor has been exiled to Earth with a broken TARDIS and that he’s still a bit off from the regeneration. The Doctor doesn’t have much time to rest, however, when he discovers that the Nestene are plotting to colonize Earth. Now, with the help of the Brigadier and the Doctor’s new companion Liz, the Doctor has to stop the Nestene from carrying out their plan.

The first episode for a Doctor is always a bit odd. Not only are fans still adjusting to the fact that the previous Doctor is no more, but now they have to become attached to a new Doctor. On top of that, the actor portraying the Doctor has to figure out how to play him while (usually) acting strange from regeneration issues. Thankfully, there’s nothing awkward about “Spearhead from Space” as it’s arguably the best first episode for a Doctor to date.

While some may argue that the Doctor doesn’t have much to do here, I disagree. I think the episode perfectly establishes Pertwee’s Doctor as well as his chemistry with Liz Shaw and the Brigadier. The chemistry between the characters is really what made Pertwee’s mostly Earthbound era so memorable.

Characters aside, it doesn’t hurt that Robert Holmes screenplay is just a flat-out fun DW romp as it contains fan favorite villains the Nestene and the Autons. Who doesn’t like seeing the intense and downright creepy scene of the mannequins killing people on the streets? It’s arguably one of the best and most effective moments in classic Who.

Video/Audio:

Most of you are probably reading this review to find out how the video and audio quality is. You’ll be happy to know that ‘Spearhead’ has never looked better thanks to a brand new HD restoration. The serial adventure (which is presented in 4:3 1080p) has sharper colors, less grain, and more clarity (look at the title sequence and costume details for examples). Watching ‘Spearhead’ in hi-def is really like watching it anew. I don’t know cost effective it is for future Blu-ray releases of classic episodes, but I really hope we see more down the line.

In terms of the audio, we get a brand new DTS-HD MA 2.0 hi-def audio track! From the TARDIS materializing to the echoes of the Auton gunfire, there’s so much more depth to the audio here than ever before.

Extras:
* Trailers for “Doctor Who” Series 7, Part 2 and “The Green Death.”
* “Restoration Comparison”- A short piece about the new HD restoration.
* “Title Sequence Material”- A soundless look at various stages/versions of the Third Doctor title sequence.
* “Carry On: The Life Of Caroline John”- A touching and intimate tribute to the last actress. This piece covers her stage work, family, “Doctor Who” work, and career and contains interviews with her family and friends.
* “A Dandy And A Clown”- A 42 minute featurette on the life of the wonderfully charismatic actor Jon Pertwee. This extra is loaded with archival footage (and photos) of Pertwee as well as facts about his life and career. Friends and co-workers are interviewed here. Hands down the best extra on this disc.

Summary: Releasing “Spearhead from Space” on Blu-ray is the perfect 50th anniversary gift to Whovians everywhere. Buy it.

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August 26, 2013 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , , , ,

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