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Doctor Who: The Sun Makers (Story 95)
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The TARDIS, along with the Doctor, Leela and K-9, arrives on Pluto in the distant future. The time travelers discover the planet has a breathable atmosphere and enjoys heat from six small suns, but the humans who live there are taxed and exploited heavily for the privilege.
When Leela is captured and sentenced to death, the Doctor must save his companion, as well as stopping the ruthless Company, before it is too late.
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Definitely one of the Top Ten productions of all time for the Doctor Who series.
The concept for this story is universally understood, punitive taxation without representation while living in a corporately governed society.
Capitalism or Fascism? Unchecked the former becomes the latter as History has shown.
And how much profit is enough?
Moderation in all things, I believe.
Do no harm through greed.
There are many elements at play here, Liberalism, Socialism, Marxism and Capitalism of course.
This story has some Literary influences as well such as Dickens, Orwell and Vonnegut. It is much more thought provoking stage play than simple television fare.
Writing is very clever and entertaining with amusing dialogue and intelligent action-adventure, everything fits from scene to scene in a sensible way.
There is a fair amount of violence which is a bit unusual, we see a crowd of people throw a character from the roof of a tall building, an act of seditious revolution but not necessary. He was not armed and posed no threat at that time. I would much rather see him land in a cesspool below than think of him as dead. Also the Doctor gets a punch in his stomach and Leela along with K-9 and two rebels run over a couple of stunned guards with one of their armed vehicles off camera. Usually someone would take the time to move them out of the way, I know the Doctor would.
Violence is not intelligent.
This story is also an acting tour de force with stunning performances by Henry Woolf, Louise Jameson and Tom Baker.
Comedy, Drama and Satire done to perfection!
The Collector as portrayed by Henry Woolf is the most vile and bizarre Who villain I have ever seen, including Davros. Part Mini-Me (Austin Powers) and the Addams Family's Uncle Fester. Very unique. I love the way he dissolves into his power potty-chair!
This entire production is very unique overall in every way and everyone involved is on the same page, they make a sincere effort to make a statement here and in the process they created a true masterpiece.
This is worthwhile for anyone, even if you don't like Doctor Who!
Truly universal social commentary and everlasting entertainment value!
The power of Mr. Tom Baker's Doctor Who and the reason he is my favorite Doctor.
God Bless Him
Please note this review is for the Import Anglais PAL format Region 2 release for this title.
I assume it is identical to the NTSC Region 1 version as are all my other Doctor Who Import releases.
This disc features Audio Navigation which is very useful for the vision impaired.
This story has references to the fiscal situation littered throughout. The state is shown more than ever as uncaring and the workers to be ruthlessly exported. Mind you, big business too comes under attack as being as uncaring too with the implication that there is not too much to choose between either of them. With the ENRON debacle very much in American minds right now these episodes could not be better timed. Once again happy coincidence with the latest Bush budget proposals.
Returning to the show, Tom Baker puts in another sterling performance with the redoubtable Leela at his side. As a sidenote, Louise Jameson is currently on US screens in the miserable British soap Eastenders. K-9 shows a little more independence than usual and in doing so helps to save the day.
For all of this I like this story better than most and I am glad that it has finally been released. One last thought, I do wish the BBC was more customer orientated so that we have more regular releases of Doctor Who and a quicker transition to DVD. Why makes us buy the VHS now and have to pay more for the DVD later. Perhaps there is too much of the Company in them. All praise to the Company!