Doctor Who - Revisitations 2 Box Set DVD Review - -

Feature 7.0
Video   *
Audio   *
Special Features 4.5
Total 5.5
Distributor: Roadshow
Running Time: 780
Classification: M15+
Chris Tyler

* See end of Review

Doctor Who -
Revisitations 2 Box Set

Revisitations 2 is a Box set released by the BBC; the second in a series of sets which contains three stories at a time which try to remedy some of the early Doctor Who DVD releases that may have been released with inferior quality sound/picture or a lack of special features. The first set provided The Talons of Weng Chiang, The Caves of Androzani, and the 1996 telemovie.

Whilst the first set remedied some lacklustre releases of two very popular stories (and the 1996 telemovie), this set has some frankly puzzling inclusions - “The Seeds of Death”, “Carnival of Monsters“ and “Resurrection of the Daleks”.  One of which (The Seeds of Death) already came in a deluxe two disk special edition. When you think of the much loved stories that are crying out for the royal treatment like “Spearhead from Space” or “The Robots of Death” it makes you wonder what they’re putting in the tea at the BBC centre. Not to mention that there are many stories from the classic series that have yet to be released at all. So is this just a cynical grab for cash?

This being a re-release it lives and dies by its Audio/Video quality and the special features, but let’s have a quick look at the stories it contains:

The Seeds of Death is a Second Doctor outing involving the once popular Ice Warriors;  Martins who live on ice cold Mars and always have their eyes on Earth as a summer home. This six-parter sees their second outing as Who monsters and their plan to use T-Mat (the new all pervasive human transport teleportation system to send spores that release a fungus that will suck all the oxygen from the atmosphere thus making it uninhabitable for humans and nice for Ice-Warriors, somehow.) The script isn’t bad, the sets and costumes try really hard and the set up for the invasion is quite good, the idea that the invention of the teleport quickly made all other forms of transport obsolete is great and the kind of speculative sci-fi that we just don’t see much anymore.  The Ice Warriors themselves exhibit an air of quiet menace but copious amounts of foam standing in for spores gets a little ridiculous after a while.

Carnival of Monsters sees Jon Pertwee’s Third Doctor landing his TARDIS in what appears to be 19th centaury earth on board a steamer headed for the Bahamas, but all is not what it seems. The TARDIS has in fact materialised inside a “scope” an electronic zoo that miniaturises and transmits the exploits of its inhabitants for the entertainment of paying customers. The scope itself is sitting in customs on the planet Inter Minor where political machinations threaten the Doctor and all the inhabitants of the scope. This is a good story, not brilliant, but good. Some strong dialogue and interesting performances from actors such as Ian Marter; who went on to play Harry Sullivan opposite the Forth Doctor’s first appearance in Doctor Who.

In Resurrection of the Daleks the Daleks have become the victims of a virus that only targets their kind.  In an effort to cure themselves, they try to spring Davros from space prison but he has plans of his own and the Fifth Doctor has to stop him... well I suppose he doesn’t have to but if he didn’t at least try it would be fairly boring. If you can ignore bad music and very silly hats this Fifth Doctor offering has a lot going for it. Plenty of action, a decent storyline, some fine twists and genuine horror in places (Dalek gas really makes a mess of you) all add up to not only one of the best Dalek story since Genesis of the Daleks but one of the better Fifth Doctor stories full stop. 

* Video/Audio/Special Features

As I said, since these have been released previously, the Audio/Video transfer had better be a lot better and the Special Features had better be pretty special.

Well the problem is that try as I might I can’t see much difference between any of the original releases and the new editions. If they have been remastered since they were released then even a side by side doesn’t show the difference.  Only Resurrection of the Daleks shows any difference at all; where it gets a slightly wider frame than its original release.  As for audio, Resurrection of the Daleks has a surprisingly good 5.1 mix of the audio, but then so does my original copy.  The option to isolate the music score is available on Resurrection of the Daleks but frankly the only reason to isolate this score would be to punish it (and I won’t let you rejoin the others till you’ve stopped being so 80’s). Other than that it’s business as usual.

But what about documentaries? Surely there are some cool new ones?

Well cool is debatable, but there is some extra stuff on Seeds of Death,

Lords of the Red Planet looks at the creation of the Ice-warriors and the filming of the Seeds of Death and is one of those documentaries on the making of a Doctor Who episode where they really struggle to find anything of interest to say, so much so that an entire segment is devoted to whether or not a woman ran her bicycle into the back of a police car during filming. There’s a Monster Master class with director Michael Fergison, a documentary on recurring monsters with special features slut Nick Briggs and Peter Ware. Other than that you get the same commentary, the same documentary SSSoooowwwinng the Seeedsss about the design of the Ice-Warriors, the same photo gallery and for some reason a different TARDIS Cam (whoot! Wait. Does anyone actually look forward to TARDIS Cam?) The baffling inclusion of “The Last Dalek” on the original release has been rectified and that’s slightly more fittingly on Resurrection of the Daleks.

The Carnival of Monsters fares rather better as its original release was fairly thin, with only commentary, a behind the scenes feature from 1972 on CSO, extended and deleted scenes and the obligatory TARDIS Cam.  Now we get a second commentary by cast members, a different edit of episode two, a different ending to the story, the same CSO documentary, a new making of documentary featuring Katey Manning, Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks, a documentary on Ian Marter featuring Tom Baker and Liz Sladen and a strangely out of place documentary on the Marie Celeste which while interesting, makes for rather baffling viewing.

Resurrection does it best. Two commentaries, the original two part version, a four part version, cast interviews, extended scenes, and a period interview with Janet Fielding and John Nathan Turner that warns against the perils of 80’s fashion. That Last Dalek feature that’s been kicking around for ages now finally finds a logical place is there  and a fairly good and honest retrospective looking at Peter Davidson’s tenure as the Doctor, hosted by David Tennant with the requisite amount of John Nathan Turner bashing.  Another TARDIS Cam and “Walrus” a Dalek vignette without explanation and possibly the most pointless five minutes of anything that I have ever watched. Easter Eggs and the radio times listing rounds out a fairly comprehensive list of additions.


So is it all worth it?

Well if you have the original releases, then frankly, no.  It’s possible that I might have re-bought Resurrection of the Daleks based on the strength of its features but not the others and I’m sure as hell not buying three stories that I already have for the one documentary I really want.  However, if your new to Who or just don’t have these stories then JB already has this set marked at $55 and that represents pretty good value.

Audio Quality:

Seeds of Death:  2/5

Carnival of Monsters: 2.5/5

Resurrection of the Daleks: 4/5

Video Quality

Seeds of Death:  2.5/5

Carnival of Monsters: 3/5

Resurrection of the Daleks: 3.5/5



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