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Doctor Who: The Sontaran Experiment (Story 77)
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Top Customer Reviews
The DVD itself may sound like a bit of a rip off, the main feature after all does only run for 50 minutes. But we are compensated by a very good 40 minute documentary entitled "Built for War" and a commentary track, which overall makes it a worthwhile purchase. This is not the deepest and thematically exciting Doctor Who story, but it very entertaining and good fun.
The answer in my case is in the affirmative, I'm afraid. I was enthralled by the brisk, tightly-scripted adventure with all of its tension. I was laughing uncontrollably at the Doctor's classic quirkiness masterfully rendered by Tom Baker--"Never throw anything away, Harry" he tells one of his traveling companions as he tosses an object aside. I was impressed with the acting by the cast, who are able to convey a range of extreme emotions without going over the top. I was appalled by the military experiments being performed by the eponymous Sontaran, Field-Major Styre--these are truly chilling, all the more so for being convincingly authentic, as anyone familiar with Nazi war crimes or the terrible stuff the Japanese Imperial Army's Unit 731 did in Northeast China can attest. Styre himself makes for a great villain, his dismissive arrogance almost as enjoyable as the Doctor's quirkiness; by the end of basically a half hour, you love to hate him so much that watching him get his just desserts is thoroughly satisfying. In short, the show's whole crew really had me going the whole time. It was only after the story was over that cool reflection set in and it struck me: why are the Sontarans trying to "invade" an abandoned planet?! The whole premise of the plot is bogus, but I was taken in by the hocus-pocus, so hats off to the folks responsible for this little gem.
Unfortunately, the episode being supported is not deserving of such kind consideration. "The Sontaran Experiment" was the first production from the Phillip Hinchcliffe/Robert Holmes producer/script editor team, which gave us a dozen of "Doctor Who"'s finest hours in the mid 1970s. As an opening act, this is not one of those hours. Featuring the return of the Sontarans, created by then-writer Holmes one season previously, "Experiment" features a villain not nearly as resourceful, clever or memorable as "The Time Warrior". The actor is the same but the writer is not, and that's most of the difference.
Since Sontaran actor Kevin Lindsey was in the final stages of heart failure, his character only appears in the final episode and doesn't get much to do. The rest of the story features the small cast running around a pile of rocks on Dartmoor. The rocks are very pretty. Indeed, the digitially remastered outdoor-broadcast video from 1975 looks fabulous -- this story could have been produced yesterday. Compare that with the feeble non-remastered look of the 1977 baseball World Series, recently released to DVD in the U.S., and you appreciate that this is a terrific restoration job.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Bought this in 2012 for $9 and it is now $6 and some change. A real bargain. This story has 2 episodes but it's a good one lots of plotting. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Harold Hamilton
This is vintage Doctor Who. I great DVD and Tom Baker was a real whoot.Published 7 months ago by Edward T. King
This is a pretty good story. The Doctor Harry and Sarah make the perfect dream team and this is a nice sequel to 'The Ark in Space'. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Daniel Pagano