Doctor Who Vengeance of Varos
When I first saw it I thought that Vengeance on
Varos had one of the best starts to any Doctor Who episode I had
seen up until that point. The Tardis suddenly stops in mid flight. There
is no power. So in one way it harkens back to Death to the Daleks.
There is immediately a mystery to solve. But then it all takes a
philosophical turn as the Doctor assumes that he will have to live the
rest of his life out in the Tardis. It will be ok for Peri because she
will be dead in a few decades but he will have to live on for centuries
without even her whining to keep him going. I must admit, however, that
looking at it now the Doctorís almost immediate glib acceptance of his
fate seems not only out of character but downright weird. Fortunately,
Peri makes the Doctor read the Tardis Manual; a large paper book that
tells the Doctor that all hope might not be lost. So off they go to
Varos to get some Unobtanium or the Mcguffin for this episode. Not
realizing that not everything is good on Varos.
The system of government on Varos, however, where the
governor has to put each decision to a vote and each no vote means
torture for the governor is pure wish fulfillment. Damn good idea though
if you ask me. Can the Doctor prevent Peri from being turned into a
bird? Is watching people watch television self-reflexive or just boring?
Will the Governor live long enough to get a good price for the ore that
Varos makes and defeat the annoying Sil? Why does Varos only have one
corridor? All these questions are answered on the DVD.
On a repeat viewing almost 25 years since I last saw
it, like most of Collin Bakerís tenure itís not something that inspires
me to repeat viewings. The fact that this gets constantly pointed to the
high point of the 6th Doctorsí run makes me a little sad.
Audio: Audio quality is
acceptable but you do get to hear that terrible Mark Ayres music.
Video: Video quality is
There is a commentary of course, much of it revolving around how good a
villain Sil is, which if you donít agree, you wonít find illuminating.
Nice or Nasty: Where itís revealed that Phillip Martin who wrote
Vengeance on Varos was a very well respected playwright and that
Eric Sward wanted to ask Harold Pinter to write for Doctor who but he
was too scared. The Idiots Lantern: A look at how Television has
featured in Doctor Who over the years. Sure why not. Tomorrowís times:
Nope, no-one liked Collin Baker at the time either. Nearly 15 minutes of
superfluous deleted scenes and various other ephemera.