Doctor Who: The War Games (Story 50)
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The TARDIS arrives on a planet where a race known only as the Aliens have gathered soldiers from a number of different wars in history, brainwashed them and put them to battle. Their aim is to form an invincible army from the survivors and use this to take over the galaxy.]]>
The DVD presentation of The War Games celebrates the importance of the serial in Who history with a three-disc set that covers nearly every aspect of its production and the Doctor's place in pop culture during the time of its broadcast. Chief among the extras is a commentary track featuring Hines, Padbury, Dicks, and costars Philip Madoc, Jane Sherwin, and Graham Weston; all are featured, along with a host of additional performances and crew, in both the 36-minute "War Zone" featurette, which discusses the making of the serial and Troughton's departure, and "Shades of Grey," which examines the effect of monochrome television on early episodes such as this one. "Talking About Regeneration" discusses the Doctor's changing appearance through talks with Fifth Doctor Peter Davison, among others, while "On Target--Malcolm Hulke" kicks off a series on coauthor Hulke's imaginative Doctor Who novelizations. There's also another installment of "Stripped for Action," which covers the Doctor's adventures in comic form, as well as interviews with composer Dudley Simpson and makeup artist Sylvia James, return visits to the serial's exterior locations, and the usual subtitle production notes, promotional trailers, Radio Times PDF, and gallery of photos. Only "Devious," an amateur film made by fans, fails to live up to the quality of the other material. The Easter Egg-curious will also find treasures on all three discs, including behind-the-scenes audio, a test reel of special effects animation, and an amusing rendition of the Doctor's plea before the Time Lords as enacted by cheeky sock puppets. --Paul Gaita
Top Customer Reviews
However, even 40 years later, the ordeal to which the Second Doctor is subjected in his swan song is kind of shocking. "The War Games" opens with an iconic image, of the Doctor and his loyal companions Jamie and Zoe (well-played by Frazer Hines and Wendy Padbury) standing giggling in a mud puddle in the middle of No-Man's Land. By the end of that week's episode, far from giggling in the mud, they've been captured, escaped, captured, court-martialed, and sentenced to death. The World War I firing squad which the Doctor faces in the story's first cliffhanger is one of the grimmest fates his incarnation ever had to face. While "The War Games" has been accused of being slow and padded, Episode One at least is nearly perfect in its pacing and increasingly downbeat tone.
The writers (Terrance Dicks and Malcolm Hulke, two of "Doctor Who"'s best scribes) slowly reveal the mystery over the course of the first several episodes. In the opening act we see an anachronistic TV screen behind British lines. In Episode Two we see the Doctor abruptly drive from France into Ancient Rome, and in Episode Three he's captured by an out-of-place TARDIS. In Episode Four the Doctor is terrified to recognize one of the aliens responsible for manipulating the war zones, and by Episode Six we learn that the both the Doctor and the War Chief are members of the same race -- the Time Lords.Read more ›
Thankfully one of the few stories still intact is the last story. The ten part masterpiece, "The War Games", is the swansong for the Second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe. It also introduces the Time Lords as a group, shows us a rival Time Lord to the Doctor in the form of the War Chief, and has a nice, epic feel to it that hasn't really been captured in too many other stories. It was also the last of the black and white stories.
There are certain problems with the story. For one, it's quite well-padded and redundant in parts. Truth be told, it could've been done as a four-part story and worked every bit as well, but that's a minor gripe.
Special features on this three-disc collection include such things as commentaries, features on the Target novels and the comic strip, and much more!
Overall this is a heck of a story and a great collection. Worth every penny!
One of the best parts of this story is the treatment of the timelords and Gallifrey(though neither term is sued here). Both were used sparingly to great effect. We are given morsels, tidbits of where the Doctor is from and the power of "his people." Though I loved the stories that followed about Gallifrey and the Timelords, it was nice not to know a lot about the Doctirs past or where he came from. The inclusion of backstory added a lot to the character, but in the process, removed some of the mystery and aura surrounding the character. This is really must see Who. Pity none of the characters introduced here, especially what seems to be another timelord(the Master anyone?!?) never returend. Perhaps with the popularity of the new sereis, that can be rectified. This really is monumental Who, but it is best viewed in chunks and not in one showing, or the repetitive parts will begin to annoy.
This is the only Troughton tape that I gave five stars to. It really was a wonderful farwell piece to the second doctor as well as his companions. This serial also marks the end of the black-and-white era for Doctor Who. It is a wonderful work and is by no means boring in any way. Any Doctor Who fan will love this story.
This episode is surprisingly good, and has an unexpected ending. The show is interesting even to non-Doctor Who fans because it is well acted, it is expertly produced, and it has an intriguing story line with many surprising turns including the arrival of the Time Lords and a trial for The Doctor.
Why is he on trial? The Doctor, years ago, was a bored citizen of Gallifrey the home world of the Time Lords. So being bored, he decided to steal a TARDIS or Time and Space machine. As in Star Trek, the Time Lords have a fundamental law that prohibits interference with other cultures and time lines. Time Lords are only to observe. However, the Doctor is sympathetic to those he encounters and always ends up using his power to help those in need. He is always getting involved and always getting into trouble even though he knows full well that one day he will have to answer for his actions. That day has arrived.
This set is a classic and also very rare considering that most of the Patrick Troughton episodes were lost (due to colossal stupidity.) This episode, War Games, is a must have for all Doctor Who fans. All ten parts of this final episode are included in this three DVD set as well as special features making it quite a bargain. I give it an A+. I highly recommend War Games.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is an excellent story, but the price should be lowered on this product to its original price of $50Published 1 month ago by ulric henry
Obviously,this is a must see for Dr. Who fans. A bit pricey at $99, only hardcore fans are likely to bother. However, this is a pivotal episode. It is the last of Dr. Read morePublished 2 months ago by No BS guy
One of the best Patrick Troughton stories. A true epic of the period. The Doctor Jamie and Zoe land in what appears to be a WWI battlefield. Read morePublished 2 months ago by A. West
Looks like this may be out of print ($390-gads) I paid $26 back in 2010. This is a great adventure albeit long (10 50-min episodes) In the end the Doctor is found guilty by the... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Harold Hamilton
The vhs set is physically fine but the recording from the BBC leaves much to be desired. According to reviews, they used a better copy to produce the dvd set. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
this three disc set contains not only Patrick Troughton's farewell, but the farewell to the whole TARDIS cast. Read morePublished 13 months ago by daryl drumheller
Voted the best Doctor Who story of the 1960s by Doctor Who Magazine readers. Also introduces the Doctor's people.Published 14 months ago by Amazon Customer
A long but fun story that is also the final Story for the Second Doctor. If you are curious about how the Time Lords are first seen in Doctor Who, than this a story you should not... Read morePublished 15 months ago by E. Guerrido
It is a pretty good story overall but the 10 episodes of this story will test your endurance. I was a little disappointed in the regeneration scene as well. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Malbus
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