Doctor Who: The War Games
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Doctor Who:The War Games (DVD)
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.]]>
Patrick Troughton's tenure as the Second Doctor comes to an end with this epic 10-part Doctor Who serial from 1969, which finds him at crossed swords with both a diabolical race of aliens and his own race, the Time Lords. The Doctor's problems begin when he and companions Jamie (Frazier Hines) and Zoe (Wendy Padbury) materialize on a planet where soldiers from Earth's past have been brought to fight in a battle of supremacy in order to build a super fighting force for aliens with galactic conquest in mind. In order to stop their plan, the Doctor is forced to call on the Time Lords for help--and in doing so, he must face both trial for stealing the TARDIS and possible regeneration. Historically significant in the history of Doctor Who as the final appearance of Troughton in the role, as well as for the first episode to mention the Time Lords by name and the concept of the Doctor's regeneration, The War Games is distinguished by the quality of its clever scripting (by Terrance Dicks and Malcolm Hulke), which changed the direction of the series for the entirety of Jon Pertwee's term as the Third Doctor and part of Tom Baker's Fourth Doctor story arc.
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
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this story is the first time we learn the name of the Doctor's race. we also see another member of the Doctor's race other then the monk from the time meddler. we also learn that the Doctor ran away from his people due to there views and that he stole the TARDIS.
on disc three are all the extras. these include interviews with cast and crew filming the wars games, revisits to location used for filming, interviews with costume and makeup artists and the man behind the music of doctor who from 64 to 74.
my favorite is the one that deals with the act of regeneration. there are little historical facts about some of the wars picked for the war games. they also talk about the second doctors comic strip and the novelizations. and finally a 12 minute clip called Devious, witch is a fan production and the photo gallery.
The epic story tells of the Doctor and his companions, Jamie and Zoe, arriving on a planet where soldiers from different eras of world history have been plucked from their time periods, and forced to fight in deadly war games against their knowledge or wish. It's all the plans of the War Lord and the War Chief, who plan to create a massive army to conquer the galaxy. Although the Doctor does his best, he alone cannot thwart their plans, and has no choice but to call upon his own people, the Time Lords, for help. In so doing, he knows that he will have to face them for breaking the Time Lords' rule of non-interference.
Overall, "The War Game" delivers on it's epic length. Recreations of epic periods of history, such as the Roman Period, the American Civil War and World War I, are done very accurately. Where the story starts to drag is when the Doctor begins to face the War Lord and War Chief, who is also a Time Lord, in their base of operations. But towards the end, the show picks up steam yet again. The serial ends with one of the most historical episodes in the show's history: the revelation of the Doctor's race, and the first trip to Gallifrey (though the planet's name is not mentioned). And finally, after three years in the role, we say goodbye to the Second Doctor, as well as his companions, as they are returned to their homes. The Doctor is then exiled to Earth by the Time Lords, and forced to regenerate yet again, ushering the end of the Patrick Troughton era of Doctor Who, and also ending the show's run in Black and White. When the show returned in 1970, it would see the beginning of the Jon Pertwee era, and the show's change to Color.
The DVD presentation of "The War Games" is fantastic, sporting a terrific picture restoration, and crisp and clear sound. The extras are plentiful, and fascinating. Fans of Doctor Who will not want to miss this chance to own an epic-length adventure from the classic era of the series. Highly recommended!
Program Grade: A
DVD Grade: A+
Overall Grade: A+