Friday, March 23, 2012

Doctor Who: 026 The Savages

After the Doctor's brush with The Celestial Toymaker, he has a toothache from biting into a piece of candy given to Stephen and Dodo by Cyril. He materializes in America in the Wild West and goes looking for a dentist, who happens to be Doc Holliday in the second complete serial of season 3, The Gunfighters. This serial was released on DVD last summer and while intended to be a historical, it's more of a farcical account of the gunfight at the O.K. Corral and features a song commissioned for this serial called "The Ballad of the Last Chance Saloon" which is way overused. :) Since we're covering stories that I haven't seen, and haven't been released on DVD, we'll skip over that one and move onto The Savages.

Since all 4 episodes of The Savages are missing, again I had to turn to reconstructions. I had access to the older Loose Cannon reconstuction of this story (one of the first they did), but the telesnaps are blurry and only take up a small portion of the screen. The rest of the screen is filled with subtitles, both the dialog and action that you can't tell from the audio and telesnaps. Loose Cannon's production standards have significantly improved since this one was made and they have since revisited this story and made an updated reconstruction. I don't have the newer reconstruction and was unable to get a copy in time for this blog post. I tried watching this older version, but I had trouble, so I turned to the Elaphe reconstruction I had of this story. Elaphe takes the BBC audio track of the episode containing linking narration and pairs it with the existing telesnaps. Peter Purves did the linking narration for this. Being a "purist", I'd much rather have the unadulterated audio than linking narration, but I had to take what I could get for this one. :) Listening to the audio with linking narration while watching the telesnaps definitely improves the experience over listening to audio alone. I hope to get a copy of the newer Loose Cannon reconstruction and I'll revisit this story at that time.

After having seen The Gunfighters and the teaser for next time showing the TARDIS materializing while being watched by a couple of scruffy looking men (think Tom Hanks in Stowaway) peeking out of the bushes, with the overlay "The Savages", I wasn't expecting much from this story. After watching the first episode, I was still a little "meh," although it wasn't what I had been expecting. Once it really gets going in episode 2, it's a full-on science fiction story that's actually fairly good. I was especially amused by Jano's impersonation of the Doctor. :) I'm wondering if he took on any of his visual mannerisms as well. :) The Elaphe reconstruction was superior to the older Loose Cannon, but I'm looking forward to seeing the smoke effects, the bubbling vats and other things that Loose Cannon did to spice up their newer reconstruction.

This story is the first to have an on-screen serial title and not individual episode titles. This is also Stephen's last story as he is asked to stay to help rebuild society for these people. That leaves the Doctor with just Dodo as a travelling companion. They leave and head back to modern day London (1960's) for the next adventure The War Machines, the third complete serial and the final serial of season 3.

Again, The War Machines was released on DVD a few years ago and I watched it at that time, so I won't really be talking about it here. I will say that there is an interesting documentary on the DVD that explains how the episode was restored to be as close to its original form as possible using 16mm prints, Australian censor clips, Blue Peter footage, and the off-air audio recordings. The BBC pretty much had to do their own reconstruction to release this serial on DVD. :)

Counting the 4 missing episodes in The Savages, that brings the grand total of missing episodes for season 3 to 28 out of 45 total episodes... 62% missing. :( The grand total for the entire series is now up to 56 which is just over half of the total number of 106. :(

No comments:

Post a Comment