Saturday, September 15, 2012

Doctor Who: 047 The Krotons (DVD Review)

I know the title says this is a DVD review, but in addition to reviewing the DVD release, this is my first time seeing this story, so I'm going to give my normal comments about seeing the serial for the first time, as well as giving a full DVD review. First, I'm going to begin with a summary and a few comments about the season leading up to this story, which unlike, the previous season, mostly exists and has been previously released on DVD, other than this story.

Season 6 begins with The Dominators, written by the same team who wrote the two Yeti stories (under a pseudonym) and is partially an attempt to find a replacement for the Daleks, who were still off limits due to Terry Nation trying to sell a series based on them. I watched the DVD when it came out and wasn't overly impressed. The story is blase and the robots are a bit silly and not at all scary like the Daleks. :)

Following The Dominators, we have The Mind Robber, a psychological trip, somewhat reminiscent of Hartnell's The Celestial Toymaker. Frazier Hines got chicken pox during this one and was replaced in one episode and that replacement was worked into the story. :) I also watched this one when it came out on DVD, and enjoyed it.

Next up, another encounter with The Cybermen as they invade London in The Invasion. This story is one of the seminal Cybermen stories and features a scene of the Cybermen marching down the steps of St. Paul's Cathedral (almost as iconic as the Dalek coming out of the Thames in The Dalek Invasion of Earth). It also features the return of Nicholas Courtney as Brigadier Gordon Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart of U.N.I.T., previously seen as a colonel in the regular army in The Web of Fear, where he'd previously met the Doctor. This also marks the first appearance of U.N.I.T., which would play a large role during Pertwee's time as the Doctor. Sadly, 2 of the 8 episodes of The Invasion are missing, although the BBC animated the two remaining episodes and released the serial on DVD a few years ago. I liked this story very much and was glad to be able to watch it despite the missing episodes.

Which brings us to The Krotons, which was recently released on DVD, just in time for my little project since I hadn't previously watched this story. This is the last complete Troughton story to be released on DVD. I thought it was fairly decent: I enjoyed it better than the Dominators. ;) A mysterious alien race known as the Krotons is subjugating a lesser race called the Gonds, taking away their best and brightest people to be "companions," but actually killing them. The Doctor and Zoe manage to get to the bottom of things and break the Krotons influence over the Gonds.

This is the first submission to Doctor Who by Robert Holmes, who would have a long association with the program both as a writer and a script editor and would be responsible for many of the best stories in the classic series. This story also features Philip Madoc who has appeared many times in Doctor Who and even appeared in the second Peter Cushing film, Dalek - Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D.

The DVD release has a number of special features:
  • Full length commentary with several of the cast and crew
  • Second Time Around - a nice retrospective on Troughton's tenure as the Doctor
  • Doctor Who Stories - Frazer Hines (Part 1) - from an interview with Frazer Hines originally recorded in 2003 (begging the question of when/where part 2 will be released)
  • The Doctor's Strange Love - fans' point of view with writers Joseph Lidster and Simon Guerrier, which is amusing
  • Photo Gallery
  • Popup Production Notes
  • Radio Times Listings as a PDF
  • Coming Soon trailer for The Greatest Show in the Galaxy
With the 2 missing episodes from The Invasion, that starts the missing episode count for season 6 at 2. This brings Troughton's totals to 4 missing stories, 10 incomplete stories, and 57 missing episodes. Next time, The Seeds of Death Special Edition DVD Review, followed by The Space Pirates, the last Troughton serial that I haven't seen.

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