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Doctor Who: The Ark (Story 23)
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1 disc, 97 minutes, 4 episodes, full frame video, English mono audio, English subtitles, $24.98 SRP
Audio Commentary with Peter Purves ("Steven") and Michael Imison (director)
"All's Wells That Ends Wells" - A feature on the influence of writer H.G. Wells on the series
"One Hit Wonder" - On what makes a successful monster
"Riverside Story" - Touring old production haunt Riverside Studios
PDF materials: Radio Times Listings
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The Doctor, Steven and Dodo land in what appears to be a jungle habitat for a London zoo but is actually part of a spaceship from 10 million years in the future carrying the human race, their slaves the Monoids, and Earth's animals to a new home planet, Refusis II, after Earth's destruction. The journey will take 700 years.
Dodo infects the ship's passengers with the common cold, unleashing a deadly plague that threatens to wipe out the humans as well as the Monoids. Once the Doctor narrowly resolves this crisis, he and his companions leave the Ark only to find the TARDIS has returned them to the same ship hundreds of years later. Now the once-docile Monoids have turned the tables, enslaving Earth's humans just as they are about to colonize Refusis.
The two-part nature of the story is clever enough, but the ludicrous design of the Monoids prevents them from posing any credible threat to the humans: picture an actor in a full-length rubber suit that binds the legs together like Morticia's in The Addams Family, with an oversized Beatles wig on his head that covers everything but his mouth, which contains a ping-pong ball painted to look like an eyeball. (Meanwhile, because the actor's mouth is full of eyeball, his lines have to be spoken by another actor off-camera.)
This DVD is still worth a look, though, for its Special Features, which include "All's Wells That Ends Wells," a brief documentary tracing H.G. Wells' influence on Doctor Who and this story in particular, and "Riverside Story," a tour of Riverside Studios, with Peter Purves ("Steven") and British television critic Matthew Sweet.
I really liked the invisible people as well. It was entertaining, witty, and a wonderful buy.
Granted the Monoids were the typical poorly costumed monsters common in Doctor Who and the less said about the invisible Refusians the better but the strong theme of the story allows it to come off without problem. The story itself is kind of like the Planet of the Apes meet H.G. Wells.
The show itself could have been a disaster, especially the last episode as the director was informed that his contract was not being renewed with the BBC but Micheal Imison carried on and didn't let that bad news compromise his work in the final episode.
This is a good story and one you should see,
I do expect that in 10,000,000.00 AD. we from this planet will be very different from the future humans as portrayed in this story! We have various flaws such as poor peripheral vision, poor healing ability from an injury, poor teeth and perhaps even more importantly a poor preliminary psychic judgement of other advanced sentients. All this initial skepticism on the part of the Terran pioneers of the Ark toward Dr. Who & his companions should never have initially occurred and is the sign of a lowly race, not an advanced one, however, I do like the shape of the story so I overlook some technical imperfections in the making of it and I love the ending with the help of the existing Refusians who remind me of ultraterrestrials which are the highest form of life we Terran humans are capable of perceiving and note that in this story it was mentioned that they themselves could not even see each other, only sense each others presence!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is one of the very best Hartnell stories. I haven't seen it since they ran it once, on PBS in 1988. The Monoids look ridiculous, but the story is strong. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Mark Who
The Collection is growing!!!!! Thank you for having this awesome story!Published 15 months ago by VictorSlim3D
I wanted this DVD as it is Dodo's first full show and I only had one other show with Steven. It is not one of the better classic Dr. Who stories, but it is o.k. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Mike Volpe