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on May 23, 2007
I absolutely love this episode. It was written by Terrance Dicks, who gave a rough draft to the script editor Robert Holmes. Holmes made significant revisions to the story and because Dicks was on vacation, Holmes was unable to get a hold of Dicks until the entire story had been significantly altered. Originally Dicks had intended Solon's part to be played by a robot, but as Solon the mad scientist worked out so well, I think a robot playing the part would have been a grave mistake. Because Robert Holmes had such a large role in the story, Dicks requested that the pseudomym Robin Bland be used as the credit for the series.

The story borrows a great deal from the mythos of Frankenstein, only I think the idea of Morbius is even more frightening than Frankenstein was. The reason is because the Frankenstein monster had no intellect, where as Morbius is portrayed as the greatest Timelord ever, although completely corrupt of course.

Onto this theme is thrown in the Sister hood of Kahn who in there own way have mind power equal to the Timelords and are paranoid of everyone, as they suspect that there is a plot to steal the Elixiar of Life. The atmosphere in Solon's Castle is superb and greatly enhances the plot as does the orchestrated music which is 200% better than the radiophonics used in the 1980's.

There is plenty of drama and action in this one. When it was first released it was edited to remove some of the violence. The collector's edition is the original and complete series. This series does contain some of the most realistic violence ever seen in Doctor Who. In one seen a charactor is shot with a hand gun 3 times and thier shirt is shown soaked with blood. Several scenes shown different charactors being choked. This is one of the episodes that the Powers to be at the time put heat on the series to tone down the violence. Of course by todays standards there is nothing shown here out of the ordinary.

Overall a well polished story with plenty of memorable Doctor lines. Of interest is the fact that during the Time Wrestling scence, Morbius's previous incarnations are portrayed using photos of the production crew. One of the photos used was of Producer Philip Hinchcliffe.

Because this series combines horror with Sci-Fi, this show would be an excellent introduction story to anyone unfamiliar to Doctor Who!
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on May 8, 2014
I thought that from having read another review about this video story that this last one I bought from Amazon, a second one, was going to be more complete but no! On Wikipedia it says that the story has 4 parts, 25 minutes each and yet it says on the cover that it is only 59 minutes long and I have timed it and it is indeed so! I wish someone would explain to me what has happened and how the BBC or whoever is responsible can get away with cutting down the story from 100 minutes to a mere 59 minutes! Consequently the story which I feel has good potential for being a very memorable one does not make much sense in this reduced running time! This is why I only give it one star and as a Dr. Who fan I am very disappointed!
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on December 1, 2001
This is an episode I will always have a soft spot for because it not only has a shuffling, half witted Igor-like character with a hook, but also a clear brain cased shuffling Monster Menace with one human arm ... and a CLAW. RAAAAWR. I love hokey horror and space hokem, and this is one of the hokiest and enjoyable contrivances in all of Who ... even with the annoying sub-plot involving the Sisterhood and their stupid Flame of Life. The Doctor and Sarah inadvertantly (or not -- it's never made clear) land on the forbidden planet of Karn, where the Victor Frankensteinish Dr Solon has set up shop and waits for a suitable cranium in which to put the brain of Morbius, all that is left of the most dispicable of the criminal Time Lords. The truncated version I have is the clumsily edited cut referred to above, and it is a real shame -- wieghing in at about 60 minutes, the episode is fun to watch and lives up to the goofy, low budget excesses of Dr Who at it's best, but the story doesn't really make sense because so much has been edited out. [...] As is I'm happy with what I have at one hour, because it contains everything I need -- a hideous vaillainous Menace, the hulking but personable Kondo ["Girl, not see. Kondo, help."] and a great role in the diabolical Solon, insanely driven to his complete greatest triumph -- making a walking joke of a space monster that talks like a Dr Who villain. Perhaps one day I'll shell out for the "collector's edition", but only under one condition: more low-angle shots of Sarah in those great, figure hugging trousers. Yowsa. Recommended, but get the full version.
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on November 8, 2004
I watched this story last night for the first time since seeing it on TV in the late seventies. What a great story! The sets were well done, the actors stayed within their roles (Who is known for actors hamming it up), and the music and script ideas are sufficiently eerie to make a great Gothic atmospheric piece. Philip Madoc, who also played a strong character known as The War Lord in The War Games, Troughton's last story as the full-time Doctor, played a convincing Doctor Frankenstein, though the character's name was changed to Solon.

(If only the production team for the Sylvester McCoy era would have watched and studied this Baker classic they may have done a much better job capturing the eeriness they strived for instead of the muddle muck they ended up producing.)

Fun, fun story. Highly recommended.
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on February 27, 2015
Classic Doctor Who not to be missed!
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on July 11, 2012
The video arrived on time and was in excellent condition. Everything went smoothly and it was fun to watch this episode of Doctor Who, "The Brain of Morbius". It had been years since I last saw it and I had forgotten the humor in this adventure. Thanks for the memories.
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VINE VOICEon September 27, 2003
With the possible exception of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" I can't think of a show in all television history that makes fun of itself so gleefully without losing its dramatic integrity. This is why I loved "Who" as a kid catching it in fuzzy 22 minute re-runs on late-nite PBS, and why I love it now, when I can watch it on VHS and DVD without being tortured by sadistic fundraisers hawking Channel 26 tote bags.
During Tom Baker's run (I'm not very familiar with the other Doctors yet, having grown up with #4) the writers of the show tended to have the most fun when they borrowed from classic horror tales and concepts. "The Brain of Morbius" follows in this tradition, being more or less the concept of "Frankenstein" set in space, or rather, on a stormy, abandoned graveyard of a planet named Karn.
The story opens with the Doctor throwing a comic tantrum because the Tardis has been diverted to this out of the way dump of a planet against his will. He suspects the Time Lords are manipulating him into doing some dirty work for them, and of course, he's right. Within 30 seconds Sarah, whose portrayal by Liz Sladen I am coming more and more to appreciate as I get older, has discovered not only a number of wrecked spacecraft all in a tiny area but also the headless body of a freshly murdered space traveller. Why is he headless? Why have all these ships crashed in the same spot? Why has the Tardis been diverted to Karn, which was once the seat of power for a renegade Time Lord named Morbius? And while we're on the subject, who lives in that spooky castle on top of the mountain?
"Morbius" like all Who episodes good and bad, has a lot of competing plot elements in it. On the one hand is the Sisterhood of Karn, a group of immortal, telekenetic biddies given to bad makeup, chanting and a burn-them-at-the-stake-first, ask-questions-later mentality. On the other is Dr. Soren (Philip Madoc) and his hook-handed, ape-like assistant Igor, uh, I mean, Condo, who live in the spooky castle with a lot of surgical equipment and seem to have a strange interest in heads with large craniums. The Sisters want to kill the Doctor because they think he's after their Elixir, which is the secret of their immortality and the reason the supposedly dead Morbius came to Karn in the first place. Soren wants the Doctor's severed head to play host for a certain brain he's keeping in the basement. Sarah, who is blinded by Maryn, the grumpy crone who runs the Sisterhood, wants her sight back. And poor Condo just wants to know where Soren is keeping his arm.
Philip Madoc, who later returned to play a small part in the forgettable "Power of Kroll" is spectacular here. He recites incredibly campy and villainous dialogue with such relish it is impossible not to laugh. The best thing about "Doctor Who" has always been the classic, mustasche-twirling evil of its bad guys, and this episode is no exception. Similarly, Baker and Sladen are in very good form, as is the actress who plays Maryn, and the guy who does the voice for Morbius shows what fans of old radio shows have always known -- to make evil come alive, all you need is a great voice.
Of course "Morbius" is not a perfect episode. The scenes with the Sisters are overlong, dreary, and replete with whispery chanting which is so annoying that even the Doctor, who is about to be burned at the stake, can't help complaining, "This music is terrible!" They are nasty, murderous, self-absorbed hags who seem not much better on the moral scale than the crazy Dr. Soren; I can't say I cared whether the reborn Morbius, who looks like he's been put together from spare parts from your local zoo and/or aquarium and is topped off by a fishbowl holding his brain, strangles them all with that nasty-looking crab claw or not. Also, I can't help but feeling a wee bit sorry for the old fella. Living as a disembodied brain in a jar filled with glowing green goo, with only the crazy Dr. Soren and the incredibly stupid Condo for company, has got to be a huge downer. Who can blame him for being so cranky when he wakes up?
As for the controversy surrounding what the Doctor does to Soren, all I can say is, when push comes to shove, Tom Baker's Who shows in numerous episodes that he can be one mean SOB. Besides, as the original Frankenstein discovered, sometimes it's best to let sleeping body parts lie.
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HALL OF FAMEon February 27, 2004
In the Gothic Tom Baker era of Doctor Who which saw stories influenced by classic horror and sci-fi, The Brain Of Morbius takes on Frankenstein, Igor, and the monster.
On landing on the forbidding world of Karn, the Doctor's in a right sulk, angry at the Time Lords. "Messing about with my TARDIS, dragging us a 1000 parsecs off course." His sulk doesn't last long after seeing a spaceship graveyard, a castle, and a headless body.
He also meets Professor Mehendri Solon, a foremost Earth neurosurgeon, and his hulking barbarian servant Condo, who has a long thick eyebrow and a hook for his left hand that Solon once calls a "chicken-brained biological disaster." Condo is counting on Solon to reattach his real left hand, which had to be removed to save his life. Solon though, is endeavouring to find a head that will complete his greatest and last operation, and the Doctor's head fits the bill.
The Sisterhood, a society of virtually immortal women who guard the Sacred Flame and the Elixir of Life, become alarmed when they realize the Doctor is a Time Lord. They are protective of the Elixir and the Sacred Flame, which has been gradually dying. No flame means no elixir and pretty soon, no Sisterhood. Fearing that the Doctor has been by the Time Lords to steal the last of their Elixir, they kidnap him and sentence him to death, only to have Sarah rescue him.
Throughout her travels, Sarah has been kidnapped, cryogenically frozen, hypnotized, and more. Here, she gets blinded (temporarily). As for the Morbius Monster, it is described as "made from butcher's leftovers," "potpourri," "Mr. Allsorts," and as "Chop Suey, the Galactic Emperor." It has to be seen to believed.
Philip Madoc (Solon) turns in his best performance in a Who story, a performance that's very crucial to the story. He runs the gamut of emotions, enthusiastically welcoming, cool and rational, angry, desperate, exasperated, and distressed, especially in the brain-dropping scene. Cynthia Grenville (Maren) and Gilly Brown (Ohica) also do well in their roles.
But who is Robin Bland, the writer? Former script-editor Terrance Dicks turned in his story the day he went on holiday (big mistake, because the producer and current script editor Robert Holmes were unable to contact him) and when he got back, he was incensed, as the story had been changed so much that it was more Holmes' work. Dicks asked his name to be removed and have some "bland pseudonym" put in its place. When he saw the aired story, credited to Robin Bland, he'd calmed down since then and was disarmed by the joke.
The initial video release was an edited 60 minute programme, and it wasn't until 1996 that it was released in its entirety. This is one of the more popular stories, as the BBC saw fit to include this among the original video releases in the 1980's. Along with the story and strong characters, the studio sets work well, particularly Solon's castle.
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on September 19, 2003
Some say this was not as good an episode but I must disagree. This is an intriguing Frankenstein type Dr. Who adventure that really has an interesting and chilling plot. The evil villin in this story is Morbius, who once was a timelord like Dr. Who but was destroyed, or so the timelords thought. All that is left is Morbius's brain and he is desperate for a HEAD to put it in. The problem is that most of the alien life forms that he has brought down from the sky have not been suitable homes for the brain of Morbius, that is, until the unexpected entrance of the good Doctor. Dr Solon gets soooo excited at the sight of the head of Doctor Who, that you almost can see him salivate. Hehe. Unfortunately, the Doctor stumbles upon the sisterhood, who hate all intruders, especially males!!! Sarah, the close companion of the Doctor, is as useless as ever and gets herself into more trouble then she is at helping and eventually gets herself temporarily blinded by the ring of the leader of the sisterhood. You can imagine how helpful Sarah is after that! lol. One of the interesting character of this episode is the igor looking helper of Dr. Solon. Dr. Solon has promised (igor) is arm back if he helps him find a head for Morbius's brain. I am not sure how igor lost his arm??? Hmmmm. At any rate, the tale evolves around the Doctor attempting to stop the resurrection of Morbius into a new head while keeping the sisterhood from killing him at the same time. There is a lot of running back and forth between Dr. Solon's laboratory and the caves of the sisterhood. In the end... well, I wont spoil the ending, but I do suggest you add this episode to your collection of Dr. Who's. You wont be disappointed. This episode is one of my favorite with Sarah as the Doctors companion. Have fun!
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on August 18, 2005
Tom Baker admitted on his web page that this is rip off of Hammer Horror films.

Regardless of this, it very fun and entertaining! It has a lot of feeling and emotion in it as Solon (a mad scientest) tries to put the evil timelord Morbius in a new body -- only his brain has been living on big jar!

A lot happens in this very well known 4 parter story. Tom's head is examined by Solon, Sarah goes blind, sacrifices take place and everyone has an issue of missing limbs or "holy grails" like that gives life to the sisterhood!

Philip Madoc (Solon) does a great job has the mad scientest! He makes it all see so real and he is desperate to find Morbius a new body! You just eagerly watch it and wonder what's going to happen next! I have seen him in other stories like The War Games (Patrick Troughton), and The Power of Kroll (as Fenner) and this his best performance ever!

This is the typical era of Tom where he plays about puts people in their place! This is the kinda story you'd invite your friend to see to introduce them to Doctor Who!

I think people criticize this too much and just should enjoy it! This is one of his best, probably his best along with City of Death and Warriors Gate... Yes, right to the end Tom was legendary at with the role of The Doctor (alias Jon Smith ;) on Doctor Who! GO TOM! :) Thanks for givine me years of enjoyment with your great role on the show.
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