Doctor Who: Planet of the Spiders
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While the Doctor carries out an investigation into ESP, Mike Yates asks Sarah to look into some strange goings on at a meditation center he's attending.
This Region 2 / PAL DVD contains all six (6) parts of the Planet of the Spiders storyline.
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Pertwee took on the role of Doctor who at the dawning of the 1970's (His first episode aired late December 1969) and looking back now he bore the weight of the entire series' future on his shoulders. There was great debate at the BBC over weather or not to continue on with the program given the expense of converting and filming the show in color. Add to that a looming strike at the BBC, and fickle fan base facing a new decade with new interest and a series cut way down in length do to budget constraints (the final Patrick Troughton series had seven stories comprising 43 episodes while pertwee's first series had just four stories comprising 25 episodes) and you had a recipe for a show lost in a wave of insurmountable odds and a show cut short before it`s time. Dr Who could have easily been relegated to a quirky little black and white show that ran for a few years back in the 1960's...releases decades latter on DVD in a "Shmultzee" little compellation box set with a toy Dalek. Or worse yet it could have been wipe away all together if the show had not survived past it's first decade.
Enter the great Jon Pertwee with his tall, imposing frame, Flaming white hair , James Bond persona and some Venusian Uja to boot. Pertwee took on the role with Gusto and made it his own and in some ways change the depth and propensity of Doctor who itself/himself. Not the old sage or the clown was Pertwee's portrayal of the Doctor but the hero; Or dare I say the super hero. So confidant was his portray of Doctor Who at times the viewer may have wondered if there was a big "S" under under his cloak and frill shirt and a red cape in the trunk of old Bessie.
Pertwee didn't just save the Earth from galactic evil-doers he saved the show it self from being a one-decade wonder and propelled the show to new heights and ultimately to the Iconic status the show now enjoys. So much of the shows dogma was either re-created or enhanced during the Pertwee era ( a pause here to also give a huge nod to the great Barry Letts who had a something to do with it as well). From the start we were given the Autons who became permanently ingrained in our sub-conscious with their frightening embodiment of lifeless object. They only appeared twice during the Pertwee era but their legacy will remain with the show to the end (The fact the the new series started with an Auton story proves this). Next of course the Pertwee era gave us The Master played with villainous vigor by the late, great Roger Delgado. Only The Daleks are more synonymous with Doctor Who than The Master and for many fans he is the Doctor's ultimate foe. The sub-terrain terrors the Silurian's and the Sea Devils were both created during the Pertwee tenure. Appearing during the Davison and Matt Smith eras, these two creatures still work as villains even today. The war-like Sontarians also first came to fruition while Pertwee was at the helm as did two of the best companions the show has ever seen in Jo Grant and Sara Jane Smith. The later of course still relevant and immensely popular today returning several time to the program plus staring in her own show the Sara Jane adventures. Last is the (then) emerging lore of the time lords themselves. The term Galifrey was coined during Jon Pertwee's The Time Warrior and the concept of the Doctor meeting his past incarnations came to be during Pertwee's fourth season opener The Three Doctors.
Alas, What does all this have to do with Planet of the Spider? In a word: Everything. Pertwee's finale brings together (for one last time) most of the elements of what made his ere so great: UNIT, a mostly Earth bound story, gadgets, a cheesy villain, a fellow time lord and one of the best chase scenes the show ever had. Is this episode a Five star classic like Caves of Andrazani or Pyramids of Mars? No. But from the opening scene's "gong" we immediately sense the approaching doom pulling the doctor to his ultimate fate. The story has a pace less suited to hasten the story and more to pay homage to it's star. The acting and character development for guests and regulars are solid in the story but the Star is Pertwee and he is given plenty of plot devices to make one final curtain call. Don't expect a classic monster here as the Spiders, and the giant spider herself, are some of the Cheesiest creatures the show has ever seen. If I can say one positive thing about them at least they weren't made of tin foil. While they do little to add to the story they certainly don't detract from it.
Long time fans , Pertwee fans and Completion-ists will of course buy this episode but to the newer, younger fans who maybe haven't seen it before I would say buy it. Planet of the Spiders is an essential part of the show's history. It is the last chance to see how Jon Pertwee took a show that was destined for greatness and then solidified it's greatness.... before passing it on to a worthy and equal successor....
Exemplary production, very precise and polished.
Videography is impressive, almost artistic.
So many elements come together in such a harmonious way to tell this sophisticated story.
I'm not all that familiar with Jon Pertwee's Doctor but I assume the writers used everything that made his tenure interesting in this work.
The James Bond concept is put to great use here, it adds tremendous fun overall.
All the characters are very individual and well defined, portrayed by sincerely talented actors.
It's very gratifying to see them all reacting to each other in such natural, sensible ways.
The character of Tommy in particular is a challenging role.
He is changed from harmless idiot to intelligent hero by the mysterious power of the blue Metebelis 3 crystal and it is totally believable! An acting tour de force, genuinely emotional. He actually makes you care that new doors have opened for Tommy and yet so much time has passed by....
Elisabeth Sladen also gives a superb performance here, maybe her best ever.
The human villains are played to perfection, even the Spider Eight Legs are impressive.
I'm disappointed that British actors were cast to play the roles of Tibetans K'anpo Rimpoche and Cho-Je. Why not go with authentic Oriental actors?
A lack of cultural and ethnic diversity, the weakest point of Doctor Who unfortunately.
Anyway, after being fatally injured by exposure to the Metebelis blue crystal the Tardis rematerializes on Earth and the Doctor stumbles out saying he got lost in the Time Vortex, the Tardis had brought him home, while Sarah and the Brigadier watch.
While dying the newly regenerated Time Lord Cho-Je appears and explains the Doctor will do the same but he will give the process a little push that will shake up his brain cells a little, making his behavior somewhat erratic.
And then we see Mr. Tom Baker appear, the era of the Fourth Doctor begins....
An amazing farewell and debut.
This may well be the most lovingly crafted Doctor Who story ever.
Everyone involved are definitely on the same page and they truly do care.
Planet Of The Spiders is one of the most sincere displays of affection I have ever seen in Television history.
This review is for the Import Anglais PAL Format Region 2 release.
It's very well restored and features Audio Navigation for the vision impaired.
Included is a second disc of decent extras.
Audio is Mono & Stereo, English subtitles.
DVD 9,dual layer.