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Doctor Who: The Visitation (Special Edition)
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Doctor Who: Visitation SE, The (DVD)
New to DVD! Digitally remastered Doctor Who classic The Visitation Special Edition! It's 1666, and England is in the grip of the Great Plague. But when the Doctor and his companions arrive, they discover an even greater threat: the entire planet is in danger. As the Grim Reaper stalks the countryside, the Doctor uncovers an alien menace intent on wiping out humanity and claiming our planet for themselves. The Terileptils have arrived – and only the Doctor can stop them.]]>
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The supporting cast is generally quite good. The opening, long wind-up segment is especially poignant and works as a honest-to-goodness hook for the rest of the story. And for those who can appreciate such subtly, Michael Melia, in the full rubber attire of the baddie Terileptil, gives a very credible performance, conveying emotive impressions in spite of being, well, in a full body rubber suit! Unfortunately, Michael Robbins, a veteran actor who plays itinerant thespian and occasional highwayman Richard Mace, is obviously not fully engaged in the role, missing cues and half-heartedly giving his lines, still an entertaining character, but never gets it's full potential displayed. Nor are the villagers as particularly ominous as they should be. As for the big plot hole... hah! Well, we just have to brush that off like so many others, I suppose, imagining the Doctor takes the quick jaunt to take care of it. At least it's not like the FACE OF EVIL (Story 89) where the plot hole is already fait accompli. :P
Still, a worthy addition that shines quite brightly when considering future adventures, like the season finale TIME FLIGHT (Story 123) and the following second Davison season. Ugh.
They seem to have extra-care taken with the presentation; updated information and documentaries are always welcome, especially now that almost all the telly serials have been released. The covers look great, too!
A whiny reviewer accused 2Entertain of trying to get as much money as they could from fans but in fact 2Entertain doesn't exist anymore. BBC keeps releasing these new editions because they know the fans want them!
What's not to like? Even the story's most glaring oversight is EASILY forgiven, given the weight and credibility this story otherwise carries. Eric Saward's first script is stellar (and his subsequent "Earthshock" is also very effective). (that oversight? Nyssa suggests historians will be baffled if they discover any strewn power packs (which are smaller than the size of a pill bottle). Yet the Tereleptils' escape pod never got dealt with and is rather easier to find, thanks to its size. But, again, the story makes it easy to overlook that.)
Best of all are the one-liners and jibes each character makes at apropos moments during the story; it's the quality and quantity of dialogue that sets this story (nevermind the series "Doctor Who") from any given sci-fi drivel produced today, let alone back then.
As usual, the restoration work never ceases to impress and, indeed, for a single layer disc the transfer looks very good indeed. (UK customers are treated with dual-layer discs and, as such, get much better looking copies, but the US releases have generally been quite passable too.)
And the sound is, as usual, superlative.
And there's a slew of extras: An isolated soundtrack of the music score, which only made me happy. The style of music used in this era could never be matched, and it's great to have the music separated so it can be enjoyed on its own. Also included, much to my surprise and delight, was a decent documentary of the scoring of the story that includes composer Paddy Kingsland. A fanboy's dream! Or the dream of anybody who'd want to know about how a story is composed, or anyone who likes to know how shows and movies are put together. It's informative and Paddy's musical style is easily one of the best the series has ever had... But yet this doco wasn't as good as others. That's not to say I didn't welcome this extra! Very few series get this sort of treatment and I must say many more series deserve this sort of treatment! It's still B+.
I've not yet watched the other documentaries and extras, but I'd easily guess they'd be of the usual quality. But I can say the audio commentaries from the main cast is, as with Earthshock, wonderful to listen to. Great to have the four of them back together for reminiscing, even if they rib their performances or how it was filmed. :-) (Heck, it's entertaining and the chemistry between them is wonderful, though I won't reveal any spoilers there... heh. )