A thoughtful story for a great season!
David Cole | Oak Pk Heights, MN USA | 07/14/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The second adventure of Colin Baker's first spectacular season as Doctor Who is, as a whole, breathtaking.The plot is centered around Varos: A planet originally set up as a penal colony, but grew to be a planet of its own accord. Problem is, its citizens are treated like prisoners by the government. They are forced to mine for slave wages and rations and those who rule live in power. And to keep the citizens quiet, forms of punishment are broadcast live or taped. There is a third party, Sil, manipulating events to gain more wealth for himself...A great story and frighteningly ahead of its time, considering how TV is like these days, yet criticized unfairly and wrongfully for being violent.The story itself is well-written, excellently paced, daring, and best of all are the shakespearean concepts such as a character talking *to* the camera to help convey the plot along and the characters of Etta and Arak who are showing we, the viewers, how they live - they are the citizens and we get to see how the citizens live along with the other events which in turn makes this story extremely well-rounded and multi-dimensional. But the only problem is with the acting - solely by Jason Connery (yes, Sean's son and proves he's as much of an actor as daddy). Jason comes across as a mannequin at many times, as does his 'girlfriend' (played by Geraldine Alexander), and it's a shame since everybody else, particularly Martin Jarvis and Forbes Collins steal the show.Still, I'm being harsh. There are far worse actors out there and their acting could have been worse. The story is indeed a classic and proves that Colin Baker's era is not devoid of compassion and morals as one might think. (they're merely presented in an unconventional point of view)"
"Seems he needs a little more than water, Peri, eh?"
David Cole | 07/14/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Vengeance on Varos" might be the most violent and sadistic Who adventure ever. It's also written wonderfully. Ultra-Black comedy runs amok as citizens of Varos are forced to watch torture, acid baths, canabalism and cell mutation. A grim satire of TV and video sales, with lots of voyeurism. Sil is a great villian with his tongue laugh. Colin Baker excells, and we all know why Nicola Bryant was hired. "Carnival of Monsters" of the 80's?"
One of the best Sixth Doctor stories
Sean Brady | Victoria Australia | 10/29/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The sixth Doctor era is one that is often criticised by Doctor Who fans, and this criticism is justified in my opinion. The majority of the stories starring Colin Baker ranged from mediocre to poor, with the exception of Revelation Of The Daleks and this story.Vengeance On Varos is a story that is more relevant now than it was when it was first broadcast due to the current glut of reality tv shows that clog the airwaves. These two episodes show a populace that gets to vote on government policy through interactive television broadcasts. Rather than a simple yes or no vote, the voting involves torture of the Governor which the population gets to watch. They also get to see public torturing and executions of "terrorists" as part of their daily intake of television "entertainment". This satire of television and government rings all the more true as time goes by.The sixth Doctor is still rather an unlikeable character here at times, only a few stories into his era which was cut abruptly short when Colin Baker was sacked after his final story, The Trial Of A Time Lord. At the beginning of the story, he is still exhibiting the mood swings seen in his first story which makes it difficult for the audience to be won over by this particular incarnation of the Time Lord. Tom Bakers Doctor was also prone to black moods, but the sixth Doctor comes across at times as a petulant and whiny child. This is not a fault that can be levelled solely at the actor as the character was shaped by the producer, script editor (who was later quite vocal about his dislike of this era of the program) and writers.The DVD itself is another excellent piece of work from the Restoration Team. The picture and sound are excellent. The various special features are entertaining and informative, especially the commentary track by Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant and Nabil Shaban who plays the stories villain Sil. It's a very funny and cheeky chat that's well worth a listen.Apparently this is the lowest selling Doctor Who DVD in the UK, but it's certainly a story that stands the test of time and definitely worth your time and money. If nothing else, the story may make you think more about the society we live in and that's no bad thing."
A true masterpiece of science fiction a dark and complex vi
Matthew D. Cornelius | stockton, ca United States | 09/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an episode that people who like the darker and more complex stories of Doctor Who might enjoy. In this story we see a world where people are glued to their televisions delighting in the real life suffering of others. Where televisions serve up an unending diet of torture and humiliation and an ability to vote on who gets it next. Including the Governor who when his policies are unpopular and recieves a no vote is forced to under go the cellular disintegrater. No Governor has ever survived more than three no votes and the current Governor as this story begins we watch him survive his second no vote.
And why does he get a no vote he is currently in negotiations over the price of zyton-7 Varos's main export this being a mining planet. The Governor believes he can get more money for his people but for this to happen the people must be willing to accept a lower food ration while the new price is being negotiated. But the two no votes in a row seem to indicate they won't accept. But the Governor persists in trying to do right by his people and demands a better price.
The slug like Sil the representive of the Galatron Minning Corperation (Who is one of best Doctor Who villians ever by the way)as well as the Varos government officials with the real power whom are illegally bribed by Galatron minning know that soon the Governor will have to face yet another no vote and soon he'll be dead. Then things will return to bussiness as usual as they make massive profits while those on Varos who work for those profits live in poverty.
Into this situation comes the Doctor the Tardis needs zyton-7 for repairs so he travels to Varos. Soon the Doctor is traveling through "Punishment Zones" with Varos rebels these zones are designed to kill people in entertaining ways while the people of Varos watch on live television. Can the Doctor unravel the madness that is Varos before it's too late?
This is a wonderfully dark yet complex story, Doctor Who has always been at it's best when it offers a combination of action, moral questions to ponder as well devious intrigues. I've always been a fan of stories filled with intrigue and I found the underhanded plots in this story to be exceptional. This story is very much in the same tradition as Genesis of the Daleks and The Caves of Androzani in the sense they contain the same combination of action, moral questions and intrigue. No I don't claim Vengence on Varos to be in the same ballpark as "Genesis" or "Androzani" but I do suggest it is in walking distance of that ballpark.
This might not be a good story for those who are just looking for a fast good time without becoming too involved. This story is very involved and needs real attention. Wich of course is why it withstands the test of repeated viewings there is alot going on.
It has well above average costumes sets and special effects. It really looks like they spent some money on this one. Also most not all but most of the acting is truely excellent. One of the more mediocre performances is by Jason Connery (yes he's Sean Connery's son)not awful acting but compared to the other acting in the story it stands out.
Now on to the DVD special features if I were to rate the special features on this disk i'd have to give them a three out of five. They just didn't go to to much effort on this one. The information text for example has very little information you can go well over five minutes without new info appearing on your screen. The behind the scenes are just some raw footage of the actors playing the scenes making mistakes flubing lines and the like. Okay to watch once or twice but not very interesting. But on the upside there is a good commentary by Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant and Nabil Shaban who plays Sil. You get lots of interesting info about the story as well them explaining alot about the political situation surrounding Doctor Who when this came out. Also on the upside I really enjoyed the deleated scenes there's quite a few of them and they are good I found they added depth to my understanding of the story.
I had held off on getting this on DVD for some time since I already owned the video. But seeing it on DVD really re-sparked my love of this story the picture and sound are far superior.
If your a huge fan of the Colin Baker era like me this is a must have even if you already own the vhs. And if your not a huge fan of the Colin Baker era but enjoy the more complex and dark side of Doctor Who this might be for you.