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Doctor Who: The Robots of Death (Story 90) - Special Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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(Mar 13, 2012)
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Editorial Reviews

Doctor Who: Robots of Death, The: Special Edition (DVD)

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Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Tom Baker, Louise Jameson
  • Directors: Michael Briant
  • Writers: Chris Boucher
  • Producers: Philip Hinchcliffe
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Special Edition
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: March 13, 2012
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005SH63H4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,164 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

When this superb four episode story from the last of the Hinchcliffe-Holmes years of Tom Baker's stint as the fourth Doctor was first released on dvd years ago (in 2000 or 2001 ~ it was one of the first on disc in any event), the extras were pretty much limited to (audio) commentary from producer Hinchcliffe and writer Chris Boucher and a photo gallery. Guess they just figured that we Who fans would be so estatic about no longer having to watch our worn VHS tapes any more that we wouldn't mind being gypped on the "special features".

After years of waiting, we're finally being given a remastered version of 1977's THE ROBOTS OF DEATH and one that comes with some of the extras that we've come to expect, such as a new commentary track - featuring Baker, Louise Jameson ("Leela"), Pamela Salem ("Toos"), and director Michael Briant - plus the one from the original dvd release, a "making of" doc entitled "The Sandmine Murders", and another doc concerning "robophobia" - that is, if this US/Canada re-release has the same extras as the Special Edition that's part of the REVISITATIONS 3 box set that will be released in the UK also next year (that set also includes new editions of THE THREE DOCTORS and THE TOMB OF THE CYBERMEN). Might also note that the price of this single disc SPECIAL EDITION of Doctor Who story #90 is comparable to some of the other dvd re-releases.

As for the plot ...
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This Fourth Doctor and Leela adventure takes place in the future on a large sand-miner on an alien world. The small human crew is aided by a larger number of robots that are the basic labor force of their future society. Then a crewman is murdered at the same time the Doctor and Leela arrive. Who did this? It had to be a human, didn't it? Robots can't harm people of course . . .

This special edition has a number special features including a "making of" and a humorous look at the history of robots. The baroque interior sets of the future sand-miner and the excellent consumes and make-up give this a very different and attractive visual appearance. How this came to be was well explained in the making-of special.
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It is Tom Baker as the Doctor, so what is not to like! This episode such an artistic masterpiece with its homage to the novel Dune, the film Metropolis, and the artform of Art Deco. Again, an artistic masterpiece!
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I first discovered Doctor Who on Boston PBS when I was a kid, and guess who was Doctor Who? Tom Baker! Although the modern Doctor Who's are all great, there's a special place in my heart for my very first... Tom Baker!
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One of my favorite episodes of DR Who. I am a fan of Asimov's Robot novels and I like the references to his 3 laws of robotics. The costume design of the robots is very good, and their designations, Dumb, Voc, and Super Voc is nicely thought out for a society dependent on robots. It would have been nice to see a follow up episode on this civilization with any of the future Doctors, perhaps one with the Movellans taking control.
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The Robots of Death (Special Edition).
Notes for consideration:
1. I am a very nostalgia-driven fan of Tom Baker as Dr. Who. I am also a fan of scripts and decent dialogue. I do like the new series, but feel it is (surprisingly) hurt by the lack of serialization.
2. Many of the considerations of this story have weathered well and show more imagination than many recent science fiction puff pieces being produced with staggering budgets; however, someone unaquainted with older productions like this need to be prepared for "stagey-ness" and tiny budgets.
3. This is an excellent Dr. Who homage to Isaac Asimov's robot treatments (My words, not theirs).
4. The "robophobia" extra is very cute, but the production interviews are awesome.
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As a huge fan of Transformers, Isaac Asimov & just about any anime with giant mecha, I can say I've always loved stories about robots both big & small. Seeing my favorite Doctor & my favorite companion in a story involving futuristic robots is like a dream come true, and the story did not disappoint in the least. It had a claustrophobic feel to it, which really added to the tension. The robot costumes actually look quite good, especially compared to some of the ones the earlier Doctors have faced. Another classic Doctor Who from the Tom Baker era. In fact, I'd say it's quite possibly my favorite episode.
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Well here's another mixed bag of nuts for you to consume, and hopefully you won't have an allergic reaction from ingesting this. I'm not going to summarize these stories since any fan already knows them, and there is already enough redundant information available for those unfamiliar with this release.

I received this as a box set, Revisitation 3, and so I am posting this general review for all three singular releases since all the information is more or less the same for all three.

To be fair, when it comes to picture and sound restoration, these have been significantly improved, and for many people, this alone makes these worth the purchase. But when it comes down to the specials, I'm a tough nut to crack. While yes, there has been some new bonus features added, some of the bonus features from the previous releases were omitted. So if you're getting this new set, and want to have all the bonus material that has been released, DON'T SELL YOUR OLDER RELEASES. Many of the recent DVD releases have been far short of impressive for bonus features, so not including everything from prior releases with new material is just sad. Also, if anyone is a geek about the text commentary like I am, these are usually up-dated in the Revisitation sets, but the originals are also omitted. Personally, I want it all. Just because the information on these previously released text commentaries are old, it doesn't make them any less interesting. After all, both new and old audio commentaries are available on the new releases when applicable, so why leave out an older text commentary? Can we say "marketing ploy?
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