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Doctor Who: Four to Doomsday


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Doctor Who: Ep.118 - Four to Doomsday (DVD)

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Amazon.com: 20 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
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
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
In the Midst of Strange Serial Plots, FOUR TO DOOMSDAY Gives a Solid Story Aug. 26 2014
By Tinfoot - Published on Amazon.com
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FOUR TO DOOMSDAY was Peter Davison's first studio recording as the Doctor, the general idea was to release shootings out of chronological order in order to give a new lead role as chance to present themselves to the public as already comfortable in their role. This does explain why Lalla Ward's debut performance as Romana in THE CREATURE FROM THE PIT (Story 106) was so horrifyingly awful compared to the previous two serials of the new season (Story 104 & 105). However, in an ironic twist, Davison's unsure but energetic debut performance in FOUR TO DOOMSDAY far outweighs his cringing and winging in his first released performance in CASTROVALA (Story 117).

Janet Fielding's role as Tegan, the brusque, "punchy", and often near hysterical "accidental tourist", continues to drag down the team of three companions; although to be fair, Mathew Waterhouse's role as the continually naïve and commonly unhelpful Aldric does little to help. Out of this mess, Sarah Sutton's perfect counterpart, yet sadly always scripted to be understated, Nyssa brings some relief.

The story itself is quite good and maintains itself as a cohesive whole in complete opposition of the next serial, KINDA (Story 119). Unsurprising since it is written by long time Dr. Who veteran, Terrance Dudley. Perhaps a bit too much time was spent focused on the "Recreation" performances than on the story as well as ridiculously long reprises at the beginning of each episode, but all that is purely producer John Nathan Turner's doing, a man who really brought a strange mixed-bag of great ideas and absurdly terrible ones to Dr. Who.

The audio commentary is a pure mess, being pretty much unbearable to listen to as five people (Davison, Waterhouse, Fielding, Sutton, and director John Black) continuously talk over each other, leaving nothing but an incomprehensible babble for the majority of all four episodes. The "Studio Recording" segment is interesting, but on the whole, there aren't really anything of actual extra worth in the extras.

Still, wedged between two somewhat unusual and disconnected plot serials, FOUR TO DOOMSDAY does bring a solid story to entertain.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Style and Pace are the stars here. Jan. 20 2009
By David W. Curry - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Fun stuff, comfortable commentary... Jan. 24 2009
By Stephen Ressel - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
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.


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