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Doctor Who: The Aztecs - Special Edition (Story 006)
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Doctor Who: Aztecs, The - Special Edition (DVD)
The TARDIS arrives in fifteenth century Mexico inside the tomb of one-time Aztec High Priest Yetaxa. The travellers become cut off from the ship when they explore the temple outside and the tomb door closes behind them. Barbara is proclaimed by the High Priest of Knowledge, Autloc, as Yetaxa's divine reincarnation. However, she incurs the enmity of the High Priest of Sacrifice, Tlotoxl, when - against the Doctor's advice - she attempts to use her new-found authority to put an end to the Aztec practice of human sacrifice.]]>
Doctor Who: The Aztecs--Special Edition is one of the famed history-based episodes from the early '60s (this one's from 1964) during the tenure of William Hartnell as the Doctor. The crew of the TARDIS finds itself transported back to 15th-century Mexico during the reign of the Aztecs. Not only that, the TARDIS plops down inside a sealed Aztec tomb. The crew members are safe and eventually escape the tomb--but because they escaped, the Aztecs believe that Barbara (Jacqueline Hill) is a powerful goddess. Barbara takes preeningly to her new role and hopes to change history by preventing a human sacrifice. But can history be changed--even by the Doctor? This packed disc contains terrific extras pertaining to this episode, including a rollicking commentary and great features on creating the Aztec kingdom on a budget. But what most Doctor Who fans will love is the inclusion of one of the episodes previously thought to be lost, Galaxy 4. It's impressive how the producers were able to reconstruct Galaxy 4 since a complete episode hasn't been found. So the editors and producers stitched together stills, pieces of the episode, and very satisfying animation to tell the story, which is a more traditional futuristic interplanetary adventure. The extras also include some random treasure troves, like a peek at the empire of Doctor Who toys, many of which are extremely collectible by now. Doctor Who: The Aztecs--Special Edition is a must for any fan of Doctor Who. --A.T. Hurley
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Please note, however, that this is the Special Edition version; the original version released to DVD does have the story and a few bonus features, but this is more elaborate, including a couple documentaries on the fall of the Aztec Empire as well as a reconstruction of the incomplete serial "Galaxy 4", itself missing save for some snippets of footage and its third (of four) parts. If you don't have either DVD, get this one. If you have the earlier edition, but you're a completist, then get this one anyway.
This was produced in a different age. Mostly shot live in the studio with a multi-camera setup, not shot and then edited later like shows are today. And in black and white, but don't let that prevent you from watching this. Wonderfully acted by the entire cast, especially Jackie Hill who played Barbara. Independent, resourceful female companions on Doctor Who didn't just start in 2005 with Billie Piper in the new Who series. Barbara was the blueprint for all the Doctor Who girls (when their parts were written correctly).
The picture and sound are nicely restored.
There are some good extras on here. The commentary with the late Verity Lambert, and actors Carol Ann Ford and William Russell is pretty light. It is enjoyable listening to them remember things about the production, and hear them enjoy watching the story again.
Again I highly recommend this. If you are a fan of new Doctor Who and want a taste of William Hartnell's Doctor, this is a really good place to start. This DVD has been out for a few years so the price has dropped. I got it for under $10.
I am glad I was able to see a missing episode of the Bill Hartnell era, but am disappointed that so much was cut out. I would leave this up to the buyer. If you want to see this missing episode, by all means purchase this DVD.