Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Doctor Who: 008 The Reign of Terror

Our next stop to fill in the gaps for DVD releases is The Reign of Terror (aka The French Revolution), a six episode semi-historical story of which episodes 4 and 5 are missing. The exciting thing is that the BBC has undertaken an official reconstruction of these two episodes via animation similar to the treatment they gave The Invasion, although the animation style is different. The animation is being done by Theta Sigma and Big Finish Productions and the resulting product is expected to be released on DVD later this year. There are several clips on YouTube if you want to get an idea what the finished product will look like.

Since I'm filling in the gaps now, I can't wait for the DVD to come out later this year. I'm too impatient. :) The fact that the missing episodes are in the middle of the story makes it that much easier to get into the story and to make it past the gaps. You have three episodes to get into the story before you hit a missing episode. Then you have a couple of episodes missing followed by the final episode of the story which exists. Again, I watched the Loose Cannon reconstruction of these missing episodes along with the existing episodes from the BBC VHS release.

Loose Cannon had a few clips as well as telesnaps from the missing episodes to work with in making these episodes. In all, pretty good. The only thing I found slightly annoying is that there was a clip of a door closing that they kept using over and over every time someone used that door (i.e. snapshot of someone talking, servant enters so show the closing door clip, snapshot of servant speaking, servant leaves, so show the closing door clip, etc.). I guess that's a very minor nitpick and I know they were just trying to add some motion to an otherwise static slideshow, but I felt this clip was way overused... people kept going in and out of the door. :) Other than that, a very enjoyable story. I was kind of surprised to see the Doctor hit someone over the head with a shovel to knock them out. The Doctor is usually such a passivist.

As a bonus on the reconstruction, Loose Cannon included a short introduction with Carole Ann Ford, in which she relates her memories of filming this story and a couple of anecdotes. This was a very short segment, and personally I don't think it contributed much to the story. I think the reconstructed episodes stand pretty well on their own. I'm excited about the forthcoming animations and perhaps they'll get her to do a commentary on the DVD release when it comes out later this year.

BTW, I first thought the Doctor looked silly in that feathered hat, but I think Hartnell actually pulls it off with his pomposity. :)

This is the final story of season 1! So, that's nine episodes missing thus far... All seven of Marco Polo and two from The Reign of Terror. On to season 2...

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