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TOP 50 REVIEWERon December 22, 2014
At the current pricing of this DVD, I'd say this is a must-grab. A delightful, mind twist of a story, rather unique in the annals of the first 30 years of Doctor Who history... and the audio commentary is an absolute hoot with Frazier Hines and Wendy Padbury, both of whom are very witty and entertaining to this day.

And I don't feel at all alone now either after my first experience with the apparently "famous cat suit" rear shot of Wend Padbury's character, Zoe. I, too, was all distracted (and extremely impressed!), and when I later watched the "Making Of" documentary, I found out I was merely one out of millions of men that too didn't pay attention to anything else going on except that wonderful figure slowly coming around on top of the Tardis console. Hah!

Alas, as currently the other Patrick Troughton serials that I have interest in are exorbitantly priced, this is my last one of this tenure (until at least, and hopefully, they get another production run and thus more affordable). So onward to John Pertwee's SPEARHEAD FROM SPACE!
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on June 17, 2016
OVERVIEW:

Doctor Who: The Mind Robber is yet another fantastic entry in the Patrick Troughton era, with a compelling story that focus' on fairy tale characters coming to life, to great acting (especially from Patrick Troughton), and even some decent action sequences that keep the story moving forward when it starts to loose steam, The Mind Robber is a great addition to any ones Doctor Who Collection!

Episode One:

While episode one tries it's best to keep you glued to the screen, it can get a little tedious at times, which is understandable due to it being the cheapest of the four parts. Most of episode one it is set in the Tardis, with the exception being where the previous story ended, and a huge white stage, so there isn't much to look at in the background, unlike later one in the next three parts, so unless you just love the color white, you won't find much in the set. The special effects aren't anything to talk about, until the end of the episode, which I'll talk about in a second, so like the set, there isn't much to really talk about. The acting is at it's weakest in episode on, but that's only because the first episode was just kinda written so it would have a "first" episode, so it wasn't as thought out as the other parts were. Also, it turns out that Fraizer and Wendy had a hard time acting with each other on the set, so that only added to the standard script. But don't get me wrong here, the acting is still great, especially from Patrick (which is of no surprise), so overall, the acting is standard. Like I stated above, episode one is mainly there because it had to be, it tries it's best to set up the story. It does a decent job, but you can only do so much when you throw a episode together just like that, so for the most part, the story is alright. The only exception would be the end of part one, which was an excellent cliffhanger that made you want to see more, awesome job for being able to pull that off. So as you can probably guess, the overall story for episode one was ok, minus the awesome cliffhanger.

Episode Two:

Episode two is, in my opinion, the strongest of the episodes, with all of the main cast at there best, including Patrick (shocker!), the set being simple but effective, and the special effects being what you've come to expect from 1960's Doctor Who. Starting with the set, the set is, like I stated above, simple but effective, so it's not anything special. So overall, the set is standard. Like the sets, the special effects are simple, but effective, so it's nothing special, but it serves it's purpose, so like the set, the special effects are standard. Now up to this point, everything has being standard to ok, but unlike episode one, this story was given a good amount of thought, and it really shows. Episode two's story begins with the fantastic cliffhanger from episode one, then continues to follow the three main actors as they try and reconnect with each other, while at the same time being hunted by the Land's Master. All three actors are at the height of there game, with Patrick being able to show off his acting chops amazingly. The story also includes Hamish Wilson, who played Jamie for an episode and a quarter, the reason being that Fraizer had gotten smallpox right before shooting began for episode two, so the team made him stay, and called Hamish in, and what fantastic decision it was! As soon as Hamish jumps on screen, he instantly jumps into the role with ease, capturing Fraizer's accent and personality practically perfectly, from his hand movements, to how he walks, and even how he acts around the other characters. But the most impressive thing about his performance would be that he only had a couple of hours to study the script, rehearse, and then film, so kudos to him for being able to pull that off! So overall, the episode and acting was at it's height here!

EPISODE THREE:

Episode three does a good job of keeping the story moving, while still bringing something new to the table so things don't get stale. Starting with the set, I think it would be safe to say that the sets are at it's best here, and it shows. Without revealing to much of the story, the sets offer a varity of things to look at, which keeps the story fresh and exciting. So overall, the sets are fantastic. Like the sets in episode three, the special effects are also at it's best, and it's clear from the start. While the story starts off with using some of the techniques the previous part used, it soons branches out into uncharted territory, and succeeds, with some of the effects being able to hold it's own even by todays standards. So as you most likely guessed, the effects are, like the sets, simply fantastic! But while the sets and effects are at there best, the acting and story dies down some, which makes things drag on a tad bit. After reaching the height of what was episode two, episode three tries to contuine bringing a fresh story that keeps you hooked, and while it does fufill that goal, it also creates the problem of there being slightly bland spots littered throughout episode thre. So overall, while the story does start to loose steam, it still manages to keep you watching(Also, like episode one, the cliffhanger here is great, and it keeps you wondering what will happen in episode four). Then there's the acting, which isn't anything major, but is still pretty good. After episode two, the cast continues their adventure to meet the mysterious Master of the Land of Fiction, while facing more of his traps and attempts to trap the trio in his world forever. This is also the episode that has Hamish Wilson stepping down from the role of Jamie, and letting Fraizer return. So basically, it's episode two, but with even more challenging traps and mazes. So while the acting isn't as awesome as episode two, it still manages to keep you ente

EPISODE FOUR:

While episode four looses major steam, and has a disappointing fighting scene, the episode still manages to keep you watching till the credits roll. Starting with the sets, you can instantly tell that the production team tried there best here, with the sets being basic but interesting, with the exception of the Master's lair, which was executed brilliantly. So overall, while the sets are mostly simple, they still manage to spice things up, even if it's only a little. Since this is the last episode of The Mind Robber, the team tried to mesh all of their best effects into episode, and while they do a good job of showing it all off, it still makes you feel a tiny bit underwhelmed. So yeah, that's pretty much it for special effects. Up next is the acting, which by now is the standard stuff we're used to getting. The only new thing they bring was the Master's character, which was up until now, pretty boring. The actor who plays the Master plays him well, being able to act innocent and joyful one minute, and then cold and evil the next. So for the most part, the acting is standard, not counting the Master. Last but not least is the Story, which goes up and down the whole time. There's a lot of interesting elements that go along with this part, but when those episodes aren't in play, the story could get boring. But to spice things up, the team decided to add two different fighting scenes to keep the story going. While the first fight is semi-entertaining, it's also extremely rough around the edges, and it shows. But they do get a free pass due to them only being able to practice the fight for a couple days, and the fact that they could only film the scene once. But where the first scene fails to deliver, the second scene passes with flying colors. Without giving to much away, the fight contains five different fairy tale characters, and a lot of swords. So for the story, while it looses some major steam throughout, it still manages to keep you hooked...barely.
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on June 19, 2016
I found this series from a list of the best of the original Dr. Who, and I have to agree.

It's a truly original series, that doesn't involve the Daleks (as much as I love them) and instead goes down the road of fantasy. Which makes sense, as the writer didn't write science fiction. Gulliver plays a major role, and it even has a unicorn in it (which scares the bejesus out of Jamie).
There is also a very clever replacement for Jamie, as he has to be out for smallpox (of all things).

The special features are definitely worth your time, and really add to the value of this.
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on July 1, 2015
This is a classic episode that really doesn't gain as much credit as compared to other classic episodes. The Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe get trapped outside of time and space. However, they are not alone since a particular shadowy figure pulls strings from the background. Presentation is quite nice considering the age of the original film source. Though there are a lot of Troughton episodes missing (would trade some Hartnell ones to get more Troughton) this one is a must get for any fan of the Second Doctor and his companions. There's a reason that Troughton is my favorite Classic Doctor. Even when he doesn't have much of a setting to work with at points, Troughton is still captivating enough to keep one's attention. In addition to that, this serial is a great reminder than a big budget is not needed to come up with a great story. A great adventure with a nice twist.

Add this to your DW collection. For the price, this item is a steal.
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on January 30, 2014
This still sticks as one of the strangest and creative stories in DR WHO and it's easy to see why. The premise of a "Land of Fiction" seems like the most waybegone of science fiction, but the concept that humanity's creative force puts out awesome amounts of mental energy is too tempting not to play with!

So, too, thinks the mysterious and very alien minds who control matters in the shadows. They want that energy for themselves...and they want Earth.

The episode opens with a bang--an active volcano threatens the TARDIS and the Doctor's youth and inexperience shows here--he doesn't know for certain if the lava will damage his ship, and with Jamie's urging, employs a desperate last-minute tactic of sending the ship into "nowhere." This seems to solve the problem for Jamie and Zoe, but the Doctor is terrified. "Nowhere" is something completely out of his experience. And this is what makes it unique for Troughton. He remembers being the "Original Doctor" in fits and starts, and usually vaguely. He constantly relies on his predecessor's diary to help puzzle out his problems. A completely new and unusual problem FRIGHTENS him because he has move into his own "nowhere" space and operate from there. Although he does a lot of growing in his short tenure, this Doctor has very few low points, and this is one of his lowest before THE WAR GAMES. He doesn't know what to do, but he knows it is a very very bad idea to go outside the TARDIS. He's gotten a taste of an alien vibration and he does not like it one bit. The novelization explains why we should all be afraid of vacuums in the most chilling language, but on the screen we just know that this very old, experienced being is out of his depth and he knows it.

The alien mind(s) lure Jamie and Zoe outside showing them what they desire the most: their homes. They trick the Doctor out by showing him what he fears: the loss of his companions (a tragic foreshadowing of THE WAR GAMES). He rescues them but it's all been a ploy. The TARDIS is under attack, and finally, the Doctor too. One of the most unforgettable shots is Zoe and Jamie clinging to the console for dear life in the nothingness as the Doctor spins slowly away, unconscious, in his old wooden chair.

And then after that, things get VERY interesting.

Troughton's Doctor never fully regains his composure until he's captured by the Master Computer. Literally in a box, he is accidentally given the key to rescue them all and he takes the moment with a childish glee. Up until this point the viewer could easily wonder if the Doctor is so worried because the Land of Fiction looks too much like the Celestial Toyroom for comfort--there is some fanon out there that suggests the Toymaker is responsible for its creation, and the Doctor finds the Toymaker one of the most terrifying of his foes.

Jamie and Zoe's roles are fantastic throughout the show, along with a clever solution for replacing Frazer Hines when he was down with chicken pox. Wendy Padbury and Frazer Hines do a wonderful job of commentating throughout the show, and it's hard not to laugh when Wendy sees how she and Frazer cruelly (and smirkingly) used the Doctor's worry about them to trap him in the computer. "Brats!" She exclaims, bringing down the show. Wonderful tidbits of technical filming and set challenges keep you going--it never gets old and never will this episode.
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on October 11, 2016
Holy crap that was really good. it's my fourth classic who episode and it was really good. the story is easy to follow while still being compelling, I did not lose interest, his companions were fun, and the doctor was wonderful. truly I had no idea that Patrick troughton would be so good as the doctor, but (i mean no offense when i say this, so please don't attack me) but I really feel like he made the role his own even more than hartnell. i immediately loved him as the doctor. i know some love troughton, but truly after watching this, he is not given as much credit as he deserves.
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"Doctor Who: The Mind Robber" (1968 - Story 45)
. . .

Note: mild spoilers below. please don't freak out.
. . .

This five-part adventure is a delightful Doctor Who story in which the Tardis, mechanically crippled and imperiled by a massive lava flow, is flung in desperation outside of reality itself, into a realm where reality becomes fluid and up for grabs. The Doctor and his companions are confronted by an array of fictional characters, controlled by a mysterious entity that is bent on conquering the Doctor and forcing him to live by its rules.

Originally broadcast in 1968, this is one of the few episodes currently available starring actor Patrick Troughton (the second Doctor) who appeared rather panicky and hysterical in comparison to other incarnations. His sidekicks are fun -- as is their late '60s Carnaby Street-ish fashion -- and it's nice to see his sidekick Zoe (played by Wendy Padbury) portrayed as an extremely capable female character. Particularly juicy is an action scene where she repeatedly judo flips a superpowered opponent -- ala Emma Peel -- forcing him into submission. The story is a pleasant romp with some interesting ontological twists... Highly enjoyable! I wish more of the Troughton-era episodes were available! (DJ Joe Sixpack, ReadThatAgain children's media reviews)
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on September 10, 2005
The penultimate pair of releases for 2005 in the Doctor Who catalogue brings together two stories made almost a decade apart from two different eras of the Doctor's long running saga. But both The Mind Robber and The Horror of Fang Rock do have a connection is so much as they come from troubled periods of the show's history.

The older adventure, The Mind Robber, was the second story from Patrick Troughton's final season as the intrepid Time Lord. Having spent three years in the role during the era when the show was almost continually on air, Troughton was tiring of the punishing schedule of turning out a weekly episode and in addition the show itself was considered by the BBC to have run it's natural course. Ratings were beginning to dip and viewer satisfaction with the series was waning. And yet, despite the rather lacklustre atmosphere surrounding the show, The Mind Robber proved to be one of the most innovative and original stories ever created for the show. Set in the world of fiction, this story really highlights the creativity of the production team and is a very unusual and brave attempt to do something well beyond the normal sci-fi genre. Visually, the show is astounding and even with the very limited budget, studio space, monochrome broadcast and technology; the land of fiction created by the designers is really very effective. Introducing characters from fiction that can only speak the lines of their text and conjuring up disturbing images and problems for the Doctor and his companions to solve, the show really is quite complex and works very well.

That's not to say there aren't challenges. Originally commissioned as a six-part story, the writer struggled to make it barely fill the amended requirement of four episodes. At the last minute, a fifth episode was needed, so the show's script editor (and later producer) Derrick Sherwin had to tag on another stand-alone episode to open the adventure, using nothing but the regular cast and the Tardis set. Subsequently, each episode runs for well under the normal twenty-five-minute length, with episode five coming in under seventeen minutes in length. At least the tedium of some of the longer six-parters is avoided! Frazer Hines was struck down with chicken pox before episode two recording could begin and producers came up with a truly brilliant way of replacing him with another actor for an episode and a half. Plus there are the usual goofs, continuity errors and fluffs that make the black and white era of Doctor Who so charming, but all in all, it really works very well.

The same can be said for The Horror of Fang Rock, the companion release made almost a decade later and featuring Tom Baker as the fourth Doctor. Opening the show's sixteenth season, Baker's fourth, this story was penned by Terrance Dicks, who although an infrequent writer for the show, as the script editor on the show from the final Patrick Troughton days through the entire Jon Pertwee era, he is probably the most prolific writer associated with the show. Always able to pen a script at short notice, this story was pulled together in record time when his earlier script (about vampires) fell through. Set entirely in a lighthouse and it's surrounding rocks, the claustrophobia of the piece is wonderfully atmospheric. Rather `Agatha Christie' like in it's set up, the story deals with the sudden one-by-one murders of the characters as the Doctor and his companion Leela try to work out the alien menace attacking the crew.

Although the season opener, this was the second story recorded in this block and is the first to go out under the production aegis of Graham Williams. Williams had been brought into the show when Philip Hinchcliffe had moved on after three years at the helm and arguably had taken Doctor Who to new heights and overseen it's most successful period. His reign had been deemed too controversial by the BBC and Hinchcliffe left the show on a ratings and critical high but not with much BBC support. Newcomer Williams had a very different view of the show and seemed to prefer slapstick and whimsy to the darker production style of Hinchcliffe. Williams certainly encouraged the playful side of Tom Baker who never took the role seriously from this point forwards and became more and more outrageous in his performance and dominant of the show. But this was early days and is certainly superior to much of what came later.

The restoration of the master tapes is as always flawless, with the earlier story being "vidfired" to recreate the original broadcast quality. Both stories have a number of extras included on the disc, most notably two truly interesting retrospectives of Terrance Dicks and the making of The Mind Robber. The commentaries are perhaps not as enjoyable as other releases, particularly for the earlier story featuring Frazer Hines & Hamish Wilson (Jamie), Wendy Padbury (Zoe) and director Michael Ferguson. It must be hard for the crew to recall what is happening almost forty years after the story was made, so this is forgivable, and Dicks, Louise Jameson (Leela) and a guest actor do a good job on the later story. Other extras about the careers of Frazer Hines and Paddy Russell are also quite interesting. The most bizarre inclusion is a sketch from another BBC classic "The Basil Brush Show" which seems to have no relevance at all to the Mind Robber or the era, other than it features a Yeti, seen in Doctor Who a year before this release. But it's a silly piece of nonsense that's certainly highly enjoyable.

All in all, a good pair of releases, but with only three more Troughton stories in the archives available, I think we'll be looking for more classic Tom Baker releases to fill the gaps in future issues.
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on March 24, 2017
Love it
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on April 5, 2017
Worth every penny
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