The Tardis has brought the Doctor, Romana and K9 to an alternate unvierse, E-Space, where huge poisonous spiders, space vampires and gateways between past and future are commonplace.DVD Features: — Deleted Scenes — Featurett... more »e
""One good solid hope's worth a cart-load of certainties..." well, any fan worth their salt will certainly want this set...
The on-again-off-again blocks of tight continuity and multi-episode story arcs of the new Doctor Who series has already primed fans for the return of this string of CLASSIC Doctor Who stories and some of the best of Tom Baker's final season as the 4th incarnation of the Timelord. This set comes not only at a peak of the show's popularity, but during the restyling of the shows look (and sound). Producer John-Nathan Turner, retooled, the theme and graphic for the 80's, even the Doctor's threads, JNT introduced his appropriately somber plum gear. This set contains the finest examples of all of those changes, end for the Timelady Romana and K9, also the beginning of the end for the 4th Doctor.
"Full Circle" is the first of this arc featuring not only an introduction E-Space, a smaller universe with a universe, but the Doctor's questionable next companion, Adric. Adric is a sortof smarter-version of the 2nd Doctor's Highlander companion Jamie, crossed with Dickens' "Artful Dodger." Will Sci-fi writers never learn, the arrogant oversmart teenager is never appealing on screen, just as poor ole' Weasley Crusher. "Full Circle" for it's faults contains some great moments for Baker to chew-up the scenery, and some superb costuming, the Marshmen ala' creatures of the Black Lagoon. "Full Circle" is a tale of a culture apparently stuck in endless preparations for a "return home" with several dark secrets which further delay their journey. Determined to get "back to the basics" and have the Doctor solving problems without any quick fixes, the producers planned to remove K9 from the series. Already, opening the season with him exploding in saltwater, the assault on K9 continues having him spend much of this 4 parter with his head off.
The next story "State of Decay" is the best of the three...finally VAMPIRES in the Doctor Who Universe (or in this case an E-Space universe)...The Doctor tells in hoarse whispers how "every known planet has legends of vampires" and reads ancient tales of the early Timelords and the war with the Great Vampire and his minions, he reveals how after the bodies were tallied, he remained unaccounted for. Before Steven Moffat's episodes aired, State of Decay was surely the creepiest of the long running series. An ancient rocket, it's fuel tanks filled, not with fuel, but BLOOD!! Hoo, hoo! Genius! An the superb attention to atmosphere in "the village," even Romana's wardrobe to the Hammeresques trio of kingly vampires...Genius, I say again.
Finally, the escape from E-Space in "Warrior's Gate." Featuring a strange and interesting use of a virtual environment, while fairly common now was less successful in past attempts when the series worked "set-less." Here I feel it works well achieving the "nowhere" effects (much like the 2nd Doctor's visit to the Land of Fiction), although much of this episode is overcomplicated and artsy. The cat-people make-up, of the Thrails and the neat Gundan robot warriors all add the high-concept effort of this unique story. In some early moments two of the crew of the Slaver ship indulge an homage to "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead" even including the coin. The story follows a cat-like race that while once cruel masters themselves, are currently in need of liberating, the Doctor's prime hobby. As always more great dialog, gems like the Doctor's, "We'll burn that bridge when we come to it." and from Romana, "Astral Jung!" The final farewell to Romana and K9 is brief and less moving than many departures in the show's history, although the Doctor assures us that she will be more than just alright...she'll be SUPERB.
The E-Space Trilogy is a really good set of DVDs to own at a pretty good price.
E-SPACE DRINKING GAMES...Drink whenever:
...the TARDIS Monitor shows an exterior shot of someplace they're not.
...you see a technacothaka or any other quirky turn of phrase like the "Three Who Rule," "the Wasting" or even "Mistfall."
...K9 is broken, abused or otherwise written out of the story.
...the Doctor misquotes Shakesphere...like 'He who outlives this day and comes safe home shall stand a tiptoe when this day is named and rouse him at the name of E-Space!"
...the Doctor says, "SWARMED" ...what? "Swarmed."
...Adric seemingly or actually betrays Romana to gangs or vampires.
...a character melodramatically utters the title, example. "...we've come Full Circle!"
...we see an establishing shot that is a model or a matte...like the STARLINER, The Tower, the Warriors Gate or the long shots of the SlaveShip.
...the Doctor shows off his (architectural) expertise and misses the mark like in the Tower of the Lords in "State of Decay" he says the decor is rococo when actually it's late Saxon/early Romanesque...oh snap!
The extras....in case you are wondering.......
L. Hazard | Southwest Virginia | 02/25/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These Classic Who stories from the Tom Baker years stand up well on their own,
(I'd give each story 3 1/2 - 4 stars - the main weakness for me being the character of Adric - although I'd take the character of Adric over the character of Peri, of the Peter Davidson and Colin Baker eras, any day),
but what makes this set really shine are the extras. Elsewhere on the web you can find folks enjoying or dissing various aspects of these extras, but I enjoyed them all (having watched the region 2 releases.)
My one main disappointment with this set is the absence of Tom Baker in the Commentaries or interviews.
Since Amazon US has not yet added a full description of the Extras included with this set, here they are (as posted on Amazon's UK site)......
Disc 1 - Full Circle
Commentary - with actor Matthew Waterhouse, writer Andrew Smith and script editor Christopher H. Bidmead.
All Aboard the Starliner - cast and crew look back at the making of this story.
K-9 in E-Space - a look at the robot dog's role in the E-Space arc. With actors Lalla Ward, John Leeson, script editor Christopher H Bidmead, writers Andrew Smith and Terrance Dicks.
Swap Shop - Noel Edmonds chats to Matthew Waterhouse and takes calls from viewers of the Saturday morning entertainment show after Waterhouse's first appearance as Adric.
E-Space - Fact or Fiction? - Could E-Space really exist? A look at the science behind the concept of Exo-Space featuring script editor Christopher H Bidmead, visual effects designer (and Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society) Mat Irvine, authors Stephen Baxter and Paul Parsons, planetary scientist Dr Andrew Ball and astronomer and television presenter Sir Patrick Moore.
Continuity - BBC continuity announcements from the original transmission. Photo Gallery Isolated Score Coming Soon PDF Material Programme Subtitles Subtitle Production Notes
Disc 2 - State of Decay
Commentary with actor Matthew Waterhouse, director Peter Moffatt and writer Terrance Dicks.
The Vampire Lovers - cast and crew look back at the making of this story. Film Trims - mute 35mm film trims from the model effects filming for the story, featuring alternative takes of the Tower and the scout ship staking the Great Vampire.
Leaves of Blood - a history of Vampires in literary fiction featuring authors Ramsey Campbell, Stephen Gallagher, Kim Newman, Pete Crowther, Simon Clark, Alison L R Davies, Chris Fowler and vampire specialist Dr Tina Rath.
The Blood Show - a fascinating insight into the use and meaning of blood in society and culture.
The Frayling Reading - cultural historian Sir Christopher Frayling looks at State of Decay with reference to the vampire stories of film and literature.
Continuity - BBC continuity announcements from the original transmission. Photo Gallery Isolated Score Coming Soon PDF Material Programme Subtitles Subtitle Production Notes
Disc 3 - Warriors' Gate
Commentary with actors Lalla Ward and John Leeson, director Paul Joyce, script editor Christopher H Bidmead and visual effects designer Mat Irvine.
The Dreaming - cast and crew look back at the troubled making of this story.
The Boy with the Golden Star - actor Matthew Waterhouse looks back on his time on the show.
Lalla's Wardrobe - a trip through Romana's time on the show via the medium of the many costumes actress Lalla Ward wore along the way. It's a one-off Frockumentary like you've never seen before.
Extended and Deleted Scenes - missing scenes from an earlier edit of ep. two.
Continuity - BBC1 continuity announcements from the original transmission. Photo Gallery Isolated Score Easter Egg - Mat Irvine talks about the Gundan axes and his own on-screen role in Warriors' Gate. Coming Soon PDF Material Programme Subtitles Production Notes
Some of the best Who stories
N. Brimelow | 04/12/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I got the R2 release of this set because I could not wait for the BBC's lethargic USA release schedule. Its ironic, Dr. Who has always been more popular around the world (and especially in the USA) because of the relative non-stop playing of the episodes. Those in the UK most likely never have seen these episodes because they only aired ONCE, and were previously on available on VHS, if you could find them.
Anyhoo, the primary reason why I purchased this set, was for the episode "Warrior's Gate," which has always been my favourite Dr. Who episode of all time. As other reviewers have stated, the extras in this release are some of the best extras I have ever seen in a dvd release. The extras are of a "documentary-level" quality, and are very thorough. What I did like especially was the interviews with the crew and directors of Warrior's Gate. Its amazing that after almost 30 years, the director is able to speak of the episode and its problems, like it was yesterday.
These three stories represent the Apex of Dr.Who, as far as I'm concerned. The episodes captured a point in time of Science-Fiction that is now long gone."
A solid set of episodes from one of Who's best seasons
Michael Hickerson | Smyrna, TN | 05/26/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Answering a summons to return to Gallifrey, the Doctor, Romana and K-9 find themselves trapped in a parallel universe and struggling to find a way out in the latest classic "Doctor Who" box-set, "The E-Space Trilogy." The trilogy was one of the few box-sets released in the original VHS range, so the fact that the BBC would choose to release these three fairly interconnected stories in a DVD box set isn't really that much of a surprise.
Produced during John Nathan Turner's first season and the only season under the helm of Christopher H. Bidmead as script-editor, "The E-Space Trilogy" sits squarely in the center of season 18 and the loose story arc of the season. The season was Tom Baker's last in the role and, arguably, one of his best and each story tried to be a bit more scientifically grounded under the guidance of Bidmead. It was an era when John Nathan-Turner clearly took the series forward and it's one that is clearly designed to be watched multiple times in order to pick up exactly what's going on in the stories (and to see the overall arc of the season).
The season arc is one of closed systems that are stuck at some point in their development or, most often than not, in a slow, inevitable decline. Each story finds the Doctor arriving on the scene and acting as a catalyst for change in many ways-whether by his direct intervention or not. It's also a season that finds the Doctor himself inevitable making the ultimate change from the fourth to the fifth Doctor. But that's another box-set...
"The E-Space Trilogy" is a collection of three, solid, inter-connected stories. As with most classic "Who" it's not required that you watch them in order, but this is one of those rare instances where watching them in order will make for an overall more rewarding experience.
The trilogy begins with "Full Circle," which holds two big distinctions in the show's history. It a story commissioned by Bidmead from a spec script from fan, Andrew Smith and it features the introduction of one of the more controversial companions, Adric. For a fan-written story, it's actually a fairly solid entry in not only the trilogy but the series as a whole.
Falling through a time and space distortion, the TARDIS becomes trapped in E-Space, a universe that is like ours only greener and with negative coordinates. The Doctor and Romana land on a planet called Alzarius, which is undergoing a change. The change is known as mist-fall and finds strange creatures rising from the swamps and a bunch of (poorly visually achieved) spiders hatching. There's a link between the creatures in the swamps, the spiders and the humans on the planet who are endlessly repairing a space-ship for its eventual departure-and it's one that works fairly well if you don't invest too much deep thought into it (as several of those involved with the story point out in the various extras on the set).
"Full Circle" is a fairly interesting change of pace for the classic series in that while it does feature the typical standards of the plucky rebels and a firmly entrenched government, it doesn't have the Doctor entering the scene to overthrow the established rulers. Instead, the Doctor and Romana enter the story to serve as a catalyst for change in the society and facing a threat that comes from the biology of those involved. It's a nice tweaking of the classic "Who" formula and one that works well, again provided that you don't think too much about the central twist in the story. It also provides a nice showcase for Tom Baker as the fourth Doctor, whose performance is a lot more restrained than in the previous season. A scene where Baker confronts the ruling council of the starliner over their involvement in ethically questionable experiments on one of the Marsh-creatures is among the highlights of not only this story, but the era.
Next up is "State of Decay," by long-time "Who" veteran Terrance Dicks. The story itself was commissioned by Phillip Hinchcliffe but was then shelved by the BBC because it featured vampires. As is often-repeated in the extras, the BBC decided to do their own production of "Dracula" and wouldn't allow "Who" to do their own vampire story at the time. The script was shelved until Nathan-Turner found it and had Dicks update it for season 18. Of the stories in the season, it's the one that feels most like the hey-day of "Who" under Hinchcliffe with lots of Gothic elements including a shadowy castle, Gothic vampires and a sense of dread and horror that permeates the whole affair. About the only let-down is the much-referred to Great Vampire, who is built-up spectacularly only to be little more than a poorly-realized visual effect in the final episode. It's a shame because the build-up is so strong and there are some nice links to Time Lord mythology in the story.
Beyond the story itself, "Decay" also is one of those fun stories to watch within the context of knowing the series' history and backstory. Tom Baker is in poor health during filming, looking visibly thinner and having to wear a wig (the illness took a toll on his famous curls). There's also a lot of on-set tension between the regulars with Lalla Ward and Matthew Waterhouse clearly not caring much for each other (though that lends well to the tension between the two characters in the story). It's also during a particularly combative period in the off-screen relationship between Ward and Baker. (Referred to at length in the extras). So you can have fun figuring out how bitter the argument was during filming as you watch to see if the two will make eye-contact during scenes together.
Finally, there's "Warrior's Gate," which may be the strongest story from the trilogy. It's one of the prime examples of a story that needs multiple viewings to scratch the surface of what exactly is happening here. It's not quite as dense as "Ghost Light" would be later, but it's still complex enough to keep you engaged during its four episodes and almost demands you re-watch it again as soon as it's over. It's visually quite stunning with a very minimalist set-all studio bound and large chunks taking place on a white background.
The story is set at the crossroads between E-Space and N-Space and involves a gateway between the two, a telepathic race of aliens being kept in slavery and a spaceship crew of mercenaries trapped there in a ship that is slowly causing the constriction of the area. Yes, it doesn't make a lot of sense on paper, but it does within the story itself. It also features a lot of jumping about back and forth among various eras in the history of the slave-race which serves to grey certain aspects of the plight of these beings.
It's a strange, odd and utterly compelling story that is unlike anything else in the "Doctor Who" canon.
Taken as a whole, these are three prime examples of exactly why season 18 worked as well as it did-and why it's so divisive among fans.
As always, the "Doctor Who" DVD line shows why they are the gold-standard when it comes to TV on DVD releases. The picture and sound are all remastered, meaning the stories have never looked or sounded better. Even better is each story features an incidental music only track. While some may not like the music of this era, I find each story in this set has some of the most memorable incidental music in the series' run and it was a pleasure to sit back and just enjoy it on the separate tracks.
Each story features a commentary by various parties involved. Matthew Waterhouse features on two of the three commentaries-his first story and "State of Decay." Interestingly, we find that Waterhouse nearly declined commenting on "Full Circle" because of negative memories of working on the story itself. He also admits he didn't review the story pre-commentary, so we do get a lot of honest reaction from him to the story itself and about his own work on the show.
He's joined by Bidmead and writer Smith on "Full Circle," which is a fairly interesting commentary about the script's history and development, as well as some of the process of bringing the story to life. The "State of Decay" commentary is decent enough, those Terrance Dicks and the director do take some potshots at Bidmead's script editing.
The one commentary I was most looking forward to, "Warriors Gate" is something of a mixed bag. It features the director, who talks about the technical difficulties of shooting on the stark background and his being fired and then re-hired the first day along with a host of others. The problem is that are almost too many cooks here, leading to Lalla Ward being talked over by an overly enthusiastic Matt Irvine, the special effects coordinator. It might have been nice to hear more from Ward on her final story on the show...
As for the rest of the extras, they're hit or miss. The hits are the documentaries devoted to the stories themselves. Each story gets an in-depth look at its creation and background, though there is some repetition between these and the commentaries. There is one glaring absence-that of Tom Baker. I know that given their off-screen difficulties, getting Baker and Ward into the studio together would be next to impossible. But it would still be nice to get some reaction or thoughts from the man who played the Doctor as part of this set. Also "Who" related are some short features on Romana's choice of fashion (fun and light, nothing Earth-shattering) and Matthew Waterhouse's time on the show.
Then there are the extras that can only be classified as tangentially related to the stories themselves. The strongest is the one on parallel universes from "Full Circle." Then there are the exploration of vampire mythology on the "State of Decay" disc and the head-scratching one on the use of blood in such myths and a history of it. Both are a bit of a stretch, but sort of tie-in to the stories. They're not what I'd call essential viewing and they're no where near as interesting as those related to the background of the stories themselves. It might have been nice for a documentary more on the decision to create this trilogy or its place in the overall theme/arc of the season. Given that we've only got one more season 18 story to release on DVD, I'm not expecting to see such an extra any time soon.
While the extras aren't as solid as those on "The Key to Time" box-set from earlier this year, the stories themselves are, on the whole, better. This set isn't necessarily the best entry point to classic "Who" for new fans, but the stories are still satisfying and accessible enough to allow new fans into the fun and are definitely worth a review by classic series fans who haven't seen them lately."
The Doctor and Romana trapped in another universe, E-Space!
Jero Briggs | 02/06/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is certainly a wild adventure. The Doctor and Romana are on their way back to Gallifrey when they encounter some kind of anomaly that sucks the TARDIS into another realm, E-Space. Now they find themselves trapped with seemingly no way out. Trying to escape this other universe, the Doctor and Romana have many exciting adventures involving a group of stranded space colonists and deadly marsh men in "Full Circle", a group of intergalactic vampires who threaten not only this universe, but both universes in "State of Decay", and finally you have a slave ship run by a group of ruthless humans who have found a way to inslave an inter-dimensional species in "Warriors' Gate". And in their travels, they encounter a young new companion named Adric who is native to E-Space. It's great fun! The only sad thing is that at the end of "Warriors' Gate" we see the departure of two beloved companions, Romana and K9. Goodbye lovely Romana. And goodbye you faithful tin dog whose "a dead-shot with a nose laser".
"Full Circle" gets five stars from me while "State of Decay" and "Warriors' Gate" gets four. In all, "The E-Space Trilogy" is truely epic and is highly recommended!"