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Doctor Who: Four to Doomsday

Peter Davison , Sarah Sutton    NR (Not Rated)   DVD

List Price: CDN$ 30.98
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Doctor Who: Four to Doomsday + Doctor Who: Kinda + Doctor Who: Arc of Infinity
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Peter Davison Episode. Feb. 6 2009
By Jero Briggs - Published on Amazon.com
Not good enough to get five stars, but still pretty damn good. I think Peter Davison's Doctor was even better in this one than in a lot of his other stories. Don't get me wrong. I liked Davison's Doctor, but in this one in particular, he's just great. Better than in his premiere story. I think the reason why I like him better in this one is because he reminds me of a younger and more energetic Tom Baker. Much as he did in "Kinda", "The Visitation", "Earthshock", and "The Caves of Androzani". The Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver more in this one, which is a nice thing to see considering that not long from now we won't see it again until the 1996 TV movie. And when they started using it in the new series, they used it way too much.

I haven't seen this one in a while, but that's just because I watched it so much when I first got it on VHS. It is a good one. The story is great. So are all the cliffhangers in it. The special effects are reasonably good, the spaceship was nice looking - both inside and out, lots of excitement, the music was great, and so was the acting. I recommend this one to anyone who has an interest in "Doctor Who". Oh, and by the way, Nyssa collapses at the end leaving you hanging. Let me tell you why she collapsed so you won't have to see the next story, which is not yet on DVD. She was just suffering from extreme exhaustion. She'll be fine.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Adequate story. Weak extras. April 16 2009
By Jeffrey J. Lyons - Published on Amazon.com
Like most classic Doctor Who stories I have seen them all about a dozen times. "Four to Doomsday" is never one that I bring up in conversations about Doctor Who. Regardless of that, each time another DVD comes out from the classic era I scarf it up.

The one thing I liked about this story was that the special effects were a bit above par for the classic series and the sets were awesome. On the one hand the story is typical Who fodder as it it focuses on a self-centered, patronizing, egotistical frogman called "Monarch" who thinks he's God and wants to take over the earth and turn everyone into obedient androids while harvesting earth's minerals for his own evil existence. It is ingenious in that Monarch has been taking round trips around the universe for eons, snatching up representatives of the human race every few thousand years in the hopes of transplanting them back on earth under his watchful eye. The Doctor, of course, sees through all of this and saves the day.

The story is important in that not only is it Peter Davison's first taped show (it was broadcast second) but it plants the seeds for the Davison era with his interaction with his companions and elements of action.

Where the DVD falls down is with the extras. Since I have seen all these stories many times I look forward to the extras. The extras include about a half-hour of raw video from Davison's first day of shooting, which got a bit redundant, a contempory TV interview with Davison in which he spends more time talking about his role on "All Creatures Great and Small" than as the Doctor, and a collection of promotional photographs. But since 2-Entertain is getting these things out more quickly than Warner Brothers did, they may be spending less time producing the extras.

As a longtime fan of the classic series this is still another fine addition to my collection.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun stuff, comfortable commentary... Jan. 24 2009
By Stephen Ressel - Published on Amazon.com
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Though many criticize this story as being weak, it isn't that bad compared to what comes, and it is as good or better than many stories before. While it isn't an exceptional story, it's good, solid serial adventure. Much of the charm comes from good acting, an unusual story for Who, and excellent direction. The corny component of repetitive dancing, over acting, and hysterics doesn't hurt it as much as the lack of such elements hurts dull Who stories before or since. An emotional component is necessary when stories become a "tale of two rooms".

I loved seeing this again after 20 years.

The real treat for me was hearing the cast/crew commentary track. Davison, Waterhouse, Fielding, and Sutton were a very good set of personalities to work together, and you can hear their ease and familiarity in the commentary. They don't take the show seriously and it provides a warm commentary, similar to an afternoon in Davison's living room with old friends. I love how these four seem to know so much about the show through all eras, including the recent series. Though technical commentary is much more satisfying, such amiable commentary is a good second best. John Black, the director, was on the track, but he was too often set back by the banter of the cast. Blame throwing never showed up, unlike many commentaries during the Nathan-Turner era.

It's a pity the DVD production didn't include the familiar "making of" documentary included with many of the more recent DVDs.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Style and Pace are the stars here. Jan. 20 2009
By David W. Curry - Published on Amazon.com
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Very little has been said about Four To Doomsday. Even the extras on this DVD release are slim. But if you are a fan of the chlostrophopic-trapped inside a spaceship story than Four to Doomsday is for you. In fact you could argue that the real stars of this episode are the sets. There is a nice mix of dark, shadowy hallways and vibrant colors throughout this story. The low, pulsating hum of deep space that permiate the backround noise in Four To Doomsday create an erie edge to this story that never lets up throughout the four episodes.
As for the stars of the show,Peter Davison is still new to the role at this point and boy does it show. Only his second story Four To Doomsday was actualy filmed first which I belive to be a mistake in hindsight. Davison's performance has that feeling my way around quality to it which should be reserved for the first story of a new doctor. That being said it gives the doctor an extended feeling of "newness" left over from Castrovalva. Janet Feilding and Mathew Waterhouse are at thier series lows here. Not realy their fault though as they are forced to spill out mind numbingly dumd lines like, "Could you pass the sodium chloride please"? and Tegan's "too right this and too right that". Sarah Sutton slowly starts to shine in this episode as her character becomes more entangled in the capture's web. An of course there are the Frogs: Monarch, Elightenment , and Persuation. Thank goodness the later two are only seen in frog form for one episode. These were not the worst monsters in the show's history but they certainly were not the best.
I could ramble on about the rest of the faults with this episode but anyone who reads this review will already be well aware of them. The fact of the matter for me though is that I am glad they released this episode when they did. Most fans of the show probably had this episode pegged as one of the last to be released on DVD (just as it was on VHS). Kudos to the restoration team for dropping this slightly off centered "GEM" right in the middle. I have always had a fondness for this story because of it's "Doctor Who-e-ness". Cheesey aliens, colorful sets and costums, crazy, non-plausable story arc and dialog that would make william Shakesphere turn in his grave. If I could only have one Peter Davison episode for the rest of my life I would of course take Mawdryn Undead....but if I could have two I would take the little episode that almost could: Four To Doomsday.....Anybody could watch Caves of Andrazani.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Average episode, interesting extras Jan. 8 2009
By Readz Alot - Published on Amazon.com
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"Four to Doomsday" enjoys a reputation as one of the weakest of the 5th Doctor stories. And while I would agree with that assessment, my overall fondness for Davison's portrayal means that it's still a fairly entertaining way of spending 90 minutes.

The Doctor and his full-house of companions, enroute to Heathrow to drop Teagan off at her job, materialize instead of a giant space ship 4 days from Earth. The ship is populated by 3 frog-like humanoids (2 of which later shape-shift into human-types), plus an assortment of what appear to be actual humans kidnapped from various times and places on Earth. The Doctor's attempts to discover exactly what is happening, and save Earth from certain disaster make up the overall plot. Some of the content is pretty laughable (the famous cricket ball manouver, Teagan's bizarre attempts to fly the Tardis to earth and 'warn them' (does she REALLY think she can pilot the Tardis?), and the 'recreationals' that stop the action dead on a frequent basis. But the acting is fine, (except for that delivered by a certain young male companion who shall remain nameless) the special effects well done (for the time and budget) and all told, it rates about a B- for entertainment value.

The real value on this disc comes in the extras. I have always loved the commentaries offered by this foursome (Davison/Sutton/Fielding/Waterhouse. They seem to be having a wonderful time, and while Fielding's constant bitching about her hair gets tiresome after half a dozen listens,(she does this on EVERY disc) the rest is highly entertaining. Other worthwhile extras include an absolutely fascinating look at a recording session -- we spend 30 minutes watching Davison's very first studio recording session (not counting the 2 minute change-over in Logopolis, of course), as the Doctor -- and come to understand how it can take several days to record ONE 24 minute episode. ("Can we do that again? Sorry, there was a boom in shot.") Also entertaining is Davison's appearence on a talkshow, where we learn about his early years in the industry, and watch him make a milkshake. More expendable extras include a photo-gallery and a very annoying music video of the title sequence.

If you're a fan who buys DVDs just for the main content, this one should probably not be high on your list. But if you like the extras (I always go to them first thing), this is a must-have.

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