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Doctor Who The Reign of Terror
Reviewed by
Chris Tyler
on
Doctor Who The Reign of Terror DVD Review Unfortunately The Reign of Terror is not one of those times, a fairly pedestrian retelling of the French revolution where our hero’s are dropped into it and neither the loyalists nor the revolutionaries trust them.
Rating:
2.0

Feature 4.0
Video 4.0
Audio 6.0
Special Features 5.0
Total 4.0
Distributor: BBC
Genre: Sci-Fi
Running Time: 148 Minutes
Reviewer: Chris Tyler
Classification
: PG

4.0

 
Doctor Who The Reign of Terror

We doctor who fans have to face up to something. Not every episode of the series is great. Not that there aren’t great episodes, when Doctor Who is good it can be amazing. Episodes like The Daleks, Tomb of the Cybermen, Spearhead from space, The ark in space, the talons of Weng Chiang, The pyramids of mars, the city of death, The Caves of Androzani and so forth don’t just vie for best doctor who stories, they vie for the best examples of genre television ever. And the evolution of the format has meant that they all vie for different reasons. The Daleks was groundbreaking as was Tomb of the Cybermen. But as much as you might love these stories or have your own favorites there are other stories that are harder to love. Time flight always springs to mind when I think of those stories…. Reign of terror might be one of these. In the early days Doctor Who seemed determined to try to be all things to all people. Sci-fi, modern drama, accurate historical (albeit with time travelers thrown in) everything but a musical.

And yet it was to go on to prove that with a little tweaking the Doctor Who historical could become something great. The Time Meddler is an excellent example of how the historical story could be a great backdrop for a good solid sci-fi story.

Unfortunately The Reign of Terror is not one of those times, a fairly pedestrian retelling of the French revolution where our hero’s are dropped into it and neither the loyalists nor the revolutionaries trust them. If you’re a big fan of the French Revolution you will recognize some of the key players here. Robespierre makes an appearance as does court intrigue and a sense of the upheaval of a France torn in two by revolution. Provided you can suspend you disbelief with the wobbly sets and limited studio space.

Making matters worse is the fact that episode’s 4 and 5 are missing from the archive and so not wanting to put out an incomplete serial BBC worldwide have animated which is fine the second Doctor’s story “The Invasion” showed that it can be done to great effect. Once again not here.

The animation on show here is frankly terrible. It’s simplistic and runs straight into the uncanny valley. Facial movements are strange and the Doctor’s face kind of like the face made of hands from Labyrinth.

I realize that the animation studio that did the Invasion wasn’t available (because Cosgrove Hall went under in 2009) but surely there was a spare child with a full set of Derwents that could have done a better job than this?

Adding insult to injury the sound in the animated episodes is terrible.

Audio: Aside from the above mentioned issue sound is fine, mono two channel.

Video: Video aside from the terrible animation is surprisingly good from a program of this age.

Special features:

Audio Commentary: Sure why not.

Making of documentary: I have the same problem that I have with all recent first doctor releases and that is that most of the major players have passed on and the remembrances of the second lighting technician isn’t that interesting.






 
 



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