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Doctor Who: Tom Baker- Season 7 Blu-ray Review

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Watch Tom Baker’s final season as the Doctor on Blu-ray!

Whovians rejoice! You can now watch the entire 7 episode (each 4 parts/episodes) seventh season of Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor era (AKA the 18th season overall) in a massive new 8-disc set loaded with new extras (you can read up on those below).

The season kicks off with “The Leisure Hive” which finds the Doctor and Romana getting caught up in a situation involving a criminal group known as the Fomasi and the inhabitants of Argolis (who have a heated history).

Having seen every episode (many multiple times), I can honestly say I remembered very little about this one. Upon revisiting it, I know why. It’s a very forgettable start to producer John-Nathan Turner’s era. Only the opening tracking shot and the sequence with the Doctor aging stands out here.

“Meglos,” which is set on the planet Tigella, revolves around two factions, an energy source dubbed the Dodecahedron, and a villainous shapeshifting cactus creature named Meglos who covets the energy. Story wise, this is a formulaic DW tale, but the inclusion of Jacqueline Hill (who played companion Barbara) and The Doctor facing off against himself (a cool visual sequence with Baker showing off his acting chops) does at least make it memorable in parts.

Next up is The E-Space Trilogy which is comprised of “Full Circle,” “State of Decay,” and “Warriors’ Gate.” ‘Circle’ finds the Doctor and Romana winding up in an alternate universe known as E-Space. They arrive on the planet Alzarius where they encounter humanoids (Alzarians) trying to fix their ship the Starliner and 2 seemingly hostile species known as the Marshmen and Marshspiders. The episode also sees the introduction of the companion Adric. While Adric is a divisive character to be sure, the plot of this episode shines as we learn more about Alzarius and its inhabitants. This is the type of episode that becomes more compelling as it unfolds.

“State Of Decay” tells the story of 3 vampire lords who rule over villagers and hope to resurrect The Great One (a powerful vampire). Viewers can also expect bats, sacrifices, and resistance fighters. It may be a classic episode, but I appreciate the blend of horror and sci-fi as it feels like a nice change of pace tonally for the show.

“Warriors’ Gate” concludes the E-Space trilogy with a story that finds the Doctor, Romana and K-9 looking to free the Tharils from slavers. From a story perspective, it’s pretty standard stuff, but the ending of this particular tale is an emotional one as it sadly sees the departure of two of the very best companions- Romana and K-9.

“The Keeper of Traken” brings back The Master (two versions of him in fact), introduces a new character and soon to be companion Nyssa, and includes a rather popular villain with the Melkur. The story itself finds The Master venturing to Traken to try and receive new regenerations from the planet’s power known as the Source. Anytime The Master is an episode, I’m on board, and this one is an easy watch. It also sets up the final episode which is…

“Logopolis” is Tom Baker’s swan song as The Doctor. The convoluted story essentially involves the Universe unraveling and The Doctor and The Master having to work together. Other key elements include the introduction of new companion Tegan and, perhaps best of all, The Watcher (a vital part of the Gallifreyan mythology). Much like “Warriors’ Gate” this is an emotional one as we see Tom Baker’s era come to an end. Luckily, he goes out with a bang as his scenes with Anthony Ainley’s Master are as good as it gets for classic DW.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 4:3 1080i. How do the episodes look? This is definitely a step up from the DVD releases as there is much more clarity here but many of the same video issues are still present.

Audio Track: Dual Mono for all episodes and 5.1 Surround for ‘Leisure’ and ‘Warriors’’. How do they sound? Any audio option you choose is legitimate. Crisp tracks all around.

Extras:
* “K-9 And Company”- The biggest extra here is the inclusion of the pilot for “K-9 And Company.” This was never made into a series, but we did end up getting the underrated “The Sarah Jane Adventures” down the line. It’s a pretty dopey pilot but its not without its charms.
* PDF material for scripts, documents, etc.
* Isolated music scores for each episode, info text, clean opening and closing titles for Leisure, BBC1 continuity for 3 episodes, photo galleries for all episodes, “Doctor Who” ads, “Blue Peter” segments on “The Leisure Hive”, raw studio footage for “The Leisure Hive,” “Full Circle,” and “Logopolis,” BBC News Reports on Tom Baker, Tom Baker and Lalla Ward’s marriage, and Peter Davison, “Swap Shop” segments with Matthew Waterhouse, Sraah Sutton, and Mat Irvine, a “Nationwide” news segment with Peter Davison, 2 “Science Featurettes” on the science of DW with Christopher Bidmead among others, a 60 minute abridged version of the “State of Decay” audiobook, film trims for “State of Decay,” extended and deleted scenes for “Warriors’ Gate,” a featurette on Lalla Ward’s wardrobe, prime computer ads, optional updated FX for “Logopolis,” a “Tomorrow’s Times” newspaper archive piece, a feature on the audio remaster of “Logopolis,” an ad for “The Five Faces Of Doctor Who,” an ad featuring Tom Baker, a Blu-ray trailer for this set, a trailer for “Scratchman,” studio clocks for the episodes, a “Pebble Mill At One” segment with K-9
* A costume featurette on “The Leisure Hive.”
* “Synthesizing Starfields”- A featurette about the score complete with interviews.
* “Behind The Sofa”- A series of extras for each episode with cast members watching episodes/parts on a sofa and commenting on them. Fun new extras that are well worth watching.
* “From Avalon To Argolis”- A featurette on David Fisher’s script.
* Making-of documentaries for “The Leisure Hive,” “Full Circle,” “State of Decay,” “Warriors’ Gate,” “The Keeper Of Traken,” and “Logopolis” which contain interviews, episode clips, behind-the-scenes stories, story and character discussions, and more.
* 2 commentaries on “The Leisure Hive” by Lalla Ward, Lovett Bickford, Chris Bidmead and another by Matthew Sweet and Tom Baker. Commentary on all 4 parts of “Meglos” by Lalla Ward, John Flanagan (on parts 1, 3 and 4), Christopher Owen (on part 1, 3 and 4 only), Paddy Kingsland (on the first two parts), Peter Howell (part 3 only). Commentary on “Full Circle” by Matthew Waterhouse, Christopher Bidmead, and Andrew Smith. 2 commentaries on “State of Decay” by Matthew Waterhouse, Peter Moffat and Terrance Dicks and another by by Matthew Sweet, Lalla Ward and Rachel Davies. Commentary on “Warriors’ Gate” featuring Lalla Ward, John Leeson, Mat Irvine, Christopher Bidmead and Paul Joyce. Commentary on “The Keeper Of Traken” featuring Sarah Sutton, Matthew Waterhouse, Johnny Byrne and Anthony Ainley. Finally, there’s the “Logopolis” featuring Tom Baker, Janet Fielding and Christopher Bidmead.
* A touching tribute to actress Jacqueline Hill.
* “Meglos Men”- The writers of “Meglos” chat about their experiences.
* “The Scene-Sync Story”- A featurette on camera tricks/techniques.
* “A Weekend With Waterhouse”- A laidback and insightful 40 minute extra in which Toby Hadoke interviews and hangs out with Matthew Waterhouse. The best extra on this set in my humble opinion.
* “K-9 In E-Space”- A featurette on K-9.
* “Leaves of Blood”- A featurette on vampires.
* “The Blood Show”- A featurette on blood.
* “The Frayling Reading”- Cultural historian Christopher Frayling talks about vampires
* “The Axe Man”- A quick piece on the axes fetaured in “Warriors’ Gate.”
* An overrun of part 4 of “The Keeper Of Traken” commentary.
* “The Return Of The Master”- A featurette on The Master’s return in “The Keeper Of Traken.”
* “Doctor Who Stories”- Tom Baker and others talk about behind-the-scenes stories of the series and certain episodes.
* “Stripped For Action”- A piece on “Doctor Who” comic strips for the 4th Doctor era.
* “A New Body At Last”- A documentary on the Fourth and Fifth Doctor’s regenerations.

* Trailers and continuity, a photo gallery, a Happy Christmas trailer for “K-9 And Company.”
* “The Fourth Doctor Revisited”- A near half-hour special on Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor.
* “50th Anniversary Archive”- An interview with Matthew Waterhouse from the event.
* “The Panopticon Archive”- A 60 minute panel with Tom Baker from a 1993 convention.
* “The Writers’ Room”- 4 DW writers talk and drink at a pub.
* “A Dog’s Tale”- An interview with K-9!
* “Brendan And Company”- An interview with Ian Sears from “K-9 And Company.”
* “The K-9 Files”- A featurette on K-9.
* Commentary on “K-9 And Company” by Eric Saward, John Leeson, Linda Polan and Elisabeth Sladen.

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March 24, 2019 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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