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Doctor Who: The Beginning (An Unearthly Child / The Daleks / The Edge of Destruction)
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On November 23, 1963, the BBC launched Doctor Who, which became the longest running science fiction series in television history. Five weeks later, a Dalek suction arm was thrust into the final shot of the cliffhanger ending, and history was made once more. Now fans can revisit the first exciting months of Doctor Who on dvds with digitally remastered picture and sound quality.
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I also think it's important for people to know that this DVD set does include a condensed version of the "lost" episode Marco Polo (Story #4). I bought the "William Hartnell Lost in Time" set, thinking that was the only way to watch or hear Marco Polo, which is not correct. Very awesome feature.
It's great fun to watch the old shows. The remastering is very good considering the age and condition of the original tapes. I'm very glad these first episodes survived to live again.
Just a quick update. The actors name has been fixed in the product description. I dont know how common this mistake will be but the disks 2 and 3 have their labels reversed on my copy. Its not a problem for me. All the proper content is there just the wrong labels.
Those who come to this through the new show will be surprised. This isn't the Doctor you're used to: he's not yet the man entire species fear and want dead -- he's a jerk-ass. The TARDIS is a mere machine, neither Gallifrey nor Time Lords are mentioned, and the Daleks are the canned survivors of a nuclear holocaust, confined to their city (they would not become the show's perennial villains until 'The Dalek Conquest of Earth').
It was intended originally to alternate between science fiction and historical stories, with the historical stories intended as educational. All the Doctor would be was the chauffeur (and occasional plot driver) while the companions did all the heavy lifting. Eventually, those features changed, and the show -- while still with a budget that seemed to be drawn from petty cash and turned-out pockets -- became the one most people think of now.
An Unearthly Child: A start to a legacy. Two different takes on the pilot episode are included. They are very similar in most aspects but in certain others they are two different shows. Make sure to watch both so you can see the evolution of the show, and what could have been and thankfully wasn't. As far as the rest of the serial goes, it is weak. There is a lot of character development that takes place, which is necessary to the show, but can make the show seem to move really slow. However, there are some good moments in it.
The Daleks: The daleks, the Doctor's oldest enemy, is the star of the second serial. For being a Dalek's episode, it is the weakest I have seen, but that is because it is the first and Terry Nation had to figure out what to do with them. However it is in this serial that Doctor Who starts to actually feel like Doctor Who and not just something trying to figure out what it is. Definitely recommend watching it. It is reward for making it through "The Unearthly Child."
The Edge of Destruction: Set entirely in the TARDIS, we see only the four main characters interact with one another. They do a fantastic job. It finally gives a chance for the characters to develop their relationships with one another. It is a little dry and anticlimactic, but the character development is a must see.
Marco Polo: One of the completely lost serials, it has been included as a 30 minute telesnap and audio reconstruction. I found this to be a little boring, just because you have to condense 7-25 minute episodes into 1 30 minute episode. However I recommend watching it to see what happens between "The Edge of Destruction" and "The Keys of Marinus."
Hopefully that helps a bit. Remember that most likely the second and third discs will be mislabeled, but that is something that is minor. Enjoy "The Beginning."
Unlike others who reviewed this set my DALEK and EDGE OF DESTRUCTION disks weren't reverse labeled.