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Doctor Who: The Reign Of Terror DVD Review

Doctor Who- The Reign of Terror DVD

“The Reign of Terror” is a dull historical episode of “Doctor Who.”

The 6 part serialized adventure “The Reign of Terror” begins with the crotchety Doctor and his granddaughter Susan planning on dropping Ian and Barbara off back home. However, the ever reliable TARDIS does not arrive at their home. Instead, it arrives in Paris, France amidst the French Revolution. In typical “Doctor Who” fashion, the group gets into serious trouble. Not only is the Doctor nearly burnt to death and forced into labor, but his companions are faced with possible death by guillotine.

As some fans may know, “The Reign of Terror” is a partially complete 6 part story. Parts 4 and 5 have not yet been recovered, but they have now been animated so fans are able to watch all 6 parts together. Alas, I wish I could say watching this 6 parter was an enjoyable experience, but ir’s a rough one to get through.

First of all, there’s not much in the way of a story here. Sure, the French Revolution setting is of interest, but writer Dennis Spooner never truly explores the time period. Instead, he merely sticks to routine “Doctor Who” story elements.

Another issue with ‘Reign’? William Hartnell’s uneven performance. While it’s well known that the actor had health issues during his tenure, it’s a bit sad to see him fumbling lines and struggling to pretend to choke on smoke. The only time the actor seems to be enjoying himself in this one is when he is disguised as a Regional Officer.


Presentation: 4:3. How does it look? The episode sometimes looks blurry and fuzzy, but it’s not the worst looking First Doctor era episode. As for the animated sequences, they are certainly interesting. The animation is more stylized than the “Ice Warrior animation, but the environments look particularly impressive.

Audio Track: Dolby Digital Mono. How does it sound? It’s so-so. Scratches and crackles are noticeable at times.

* Trailers for “Doctor Who” Series 7, Part 1 and “The Ark In Space,” Radio Times Listings, info text, photo gallery, and an animation still art gallery.
* “Robespierre’s Domain Set Tour”- A 3D animated background tour.
* “Don’t Lose Your Head”- A making of containing cast and crew interviews, story discussions, discussions about director Henric Hirsch, set stories, Carole Ann Ford talking about her experiences in filming the 6 parter, etc.
* Commentary on parts 1, 2, 3 and 6 by Carole Ann Ford, Toby Hadoke, Neville Smith, Tim Combe, Jeffry Wickham, Caroline Hunt, and Patrick Marley. Despite the fact that there are several interesting tidbits here, this is a pretty dry track.
* Commentary on part 4 by Ronald Pickup and Toby Hadoke. Pickup has plenty of stories to tell about his career and his time on Who.
* Commentary on part 5 by Toby Hadoke, Philip Morris and Paul Vanezis. This track is quite a welcome departure as it doesn’t contain anyone involved with the production of ‘Reign.’ Instead, it’s about missing episode hunters (Morris and Vanezis) talking about their work.

Overall Thoughts: “The Reign of Terror” is for “Doctor Who” completists.

May 18, 2015 - Posted by | DVD review | , ,

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