Though by no means among the best of the Baker episodes, the E-Space Trilogy delivers plenty of thrills in its three stories. Fans may find areas to quibble over--especially in regard to Adric, whose presence pales in comparison to Baker’s previous companions--but they bear up well in regard to solid plotting and consistent entertainment, especially when compared to the lighter tone of the previous season, which was overseen by Douglas Adams of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy fame. Baker and Ward are once again the anchors of the show, and her departure is an unfortunate one (the Doctor would struggle to find an equally strong companion in the years that followed); Baker of course, remains a pleasure as the Time Lord, though one can occasionally perceive his growing dissatisfaction with the role (he would depart the series at the end of the season). And perhaps that’s the reason why he is absent from the set’s wealth of extras, leaving Waterhouse to contribute the majority of the commentaries, though Ward weighs in on Warriors’ Gate. Archival footage from UK TV chronicles Waterhouse’s debut on the series and preserves the original continuity announcements from the BBC broadcasts, while featurettes cover everything from Ward’s stylish wardrobe to the making of each episodes. One of the most interesting extras is “Leaves of Blood,” a 20-minute examination of vampires in literature and history, and featuring comments by such noted authors as Ramsay Campbell and Kim Newman. Deleted scenes and an isolated score option round out the supplemental features. -- Paul Gaita
Tom Baker's Doctor and Lalla Ward's Romana are the ultimate gypsy Bohemian couple, travelling the countryside in a souped-up RV with their dog and minimal responsibilities. Their on-screen chemistry is flawless, and they're a cute couple besides. These serials also introduce the character of Adric, who was probably well conceived in the story meetings prior to his introduction. The character is hampered, however, by the ho-hum acting of the very young and inexperienced Matthew Waterhouse, whose screen career ended after only one other role.
The first episode, "Full Circle," features the TARDIS crew getting stranded in a pocket universe, E-Space. The story provides the characters the chance to get oriented to the setting and introduces Adric. The most organic and free-standing of the three serials, this is easily the strongest in the boxed set.
Second is "State of Decay," in which the characters leap to another planet and tangle with vampires. Every supporting character, especially the vampires and Adric, are saddled with stock poses and forced line readings that don't bear out. Set design and limited location work create a good atmospheric feel, but as for story and execution, this is easily the weakest episode in the set.
Finally, "Warriors' Gate" plays off the whole stranded motif, placing the characters at the juncture of the two universes. As this was Lalla Ward's final episode, a big, dramatic sendoff was devised for her.Read more ›