Every once in awhile “The Blarg” gets stuff sent in for review consideration. I’m not always the best person to review said material, so occassionally I’ll find an appropriate person (i.e., close friend) to write a review for me.
I get a post out of it. They get some free stuff. Everyone is happy!
This time, my good friend Kevin Kittridge reviews three Doctor Who DVDs. Enjoy!
A FOUR AND TWO SEVENS
By Kevin Kittridge
Doctor Who: Nightmare of Eden (BBC)
(AKA Doctor Who: The Dark Side of Sid and Marty Kroftt)
Okay, so Sid and Marty Krofft didn’t actually have anything to do with this episode, but with all the drugs and people in big ugly monster suits you definitely wouldn’t be scoffed at for making the connection.
The Special Features
In The Nightmare of Television Centre, we get an extremely candid behind-the-scenes discussion on the technical aspect of making this episode. During the filming of the extra, even those responsible for the creation of the silly-looking monsters were realizing how goofy it all looked.
There’s an interview with writer Bob Baker who discusses the opportunity he had to write this episode. (How would you like to write a cheap Doctor Who?) He goes on to talk about the intricacies of writing a Doctor Who episode that deals with the illegal drug trade.
The Doctor’s Strange Love featurette documents three fans discussing the episode on the set of The Sarah Jane Adventures (BBC)… while sitting in front of Mr. Smith!
The commentary features Lalla Ward (Romana) and Toby Hadoke (among many others), who is best known for his one man show Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf.
Doctor Who: Dragonfire (BBC)
Mel —> Ace
Dragonfire shows one of those rare special moments where we witness the current companion (Mel) sharing her last episode with the new companion (Ace), essentially passing the torch to her replacement.
The Special Features
The disc features plenty of interesting, insider information in Fire and Ice (The Making of Dragonfire). Sophie Aldred (Ace) discusses how she got the part (which initially wasn’t supposed to be a recurring role) without ever actually having been on television before. Two huge things make this worth checking out:
1. Finding out what Ace’s name was supposed to be (I won’t spoil it), and…
2. …audition footage of Sylvester McCoy for the role of the Doctor, during which the role of “Assistant” is played by Janet Fielding (AKA the former Tegan Jovanka)! Very cool to see!
It’s also interesting to note that Sylvester pushed for certain elements of the audition (in which the assistant tells the Doctor that it is time for her to go) to be included in the real exit scene for Mel.
We get deleted/extended scenes, another discussion by fans in The Doctor’s Strange Love, a look at visual effects in the series, and a commentary track headlined by Sophie Aldred.
Doctor Who: The Happiness Patrol (BBC)
Three words: The Kandy Man.
The Doctor and Ace arrive on a planet where it is illegal to be unhappy.
The Special Features
Happiness Will Prevail (The Making Of) discusses the not-so-thinly-veiled political turn in the show. Helen A was well known as a caricature of Margaret Thatcher. Sylvester McCoy has been quoted as saying, “Our feeling was that Margaret Thatcher was far more terrifying than any monster the Doctor had encountered.”
Politics aside, there are some short (but extremely telling) clips that show McCoy offering suggestions on set as to how to improve the scene. Also, the guy playing the Kandy Man had an absolutely miserable time inside his costume.
When Worlds Collide examines the infusion of politics in the show throughout its history, and debates whether or not the show is the appropriate place for pushing political agendas.
Once again we are treated to audio commentary from Sophie Aldred and moderated by Toby Hadoke. Also included are an impressive photo gallery, as well as numerous extended and deleted scenes.
Check out Kevin’s first batch of Doctor Who DVD reviews here!
Also be sure to visit Kevin’s blog, Don’t Panic!, here!