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Doctor Who: Frontios - Episode 133

Peter Davison , Janet Fielding , Ron Jones    Unrated   DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
List Price: CDN$ 30.98
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Doctor Who : Frontios - Episode 133

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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars July 3 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Très bon service et produit.
Gabriel Daniel
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beneath the Earth... May 22 2011
By Robert J. Meddings - Published on Amazon.com
One of the most underrated episodes of the old Doctor Who series. This one harks back to the old gothic themes and atmosphere of the Tom Baker days. There is still one chilling scene which clings to my childhood memories since the first time I've seen it. The scene concerns one of the ill-fated men being dragged into the dirt until he is entirely engulfed by the ground itself as if the earth has grown hungry. How his hand grasp the final remnants of life before he is pulled away. This sets the tone for the rest of the Frontios episode.

The story itself is written by veteran Christopher H. Bidmead who was responsible for script editing very structured stories for Tom Baker's final season. Bidmead made one of the best contributions to the Doctor Who series: bringing the science back to science fiction for Doctor Who. And he does no less for the stand alone show Frontios. And he tells a chilling tale for the last vestiges of the human race who are attacked by something strange: the very planet itself.

I liked how Bidmead wrote a tale of horror as well as science fiction here. How everything feels claustrophobic with the few remaining humans struggling to survive. The underground tunnels seem narrow and dangerous... making a perfect setting for the story. The mood is one of stark terror especially for the mind of a eleven year old who saw this episode for the first time.

Writer Bidmead brings warmth and humor to Peter Davison's fifth Doctor who does seem to be caught with the tagline "the vet in space" considering his stint on All Creatures Great and Small. However, Davison does capture the idea of an older man being trapped in a younger body. The fifth Doctor wears spectacles in this episode and he seems to feel ragged some of the time... as if he is easily exhausted. And yet the fifth Doctor can have sudden bursts of creative ingenuity. This is one of Davison's best performances here.

There are no real villains in the story. There are just misunderstood people on both sides of the aisle. Which makes for interesting storytelling because of several points of views. The thick headed Brazen comes to his senses in the last moments of his life. The Tractators are a race of creatures bent on their own greed. Some of the other highlights of the story includes Turlough's own mental breakdown and the TARDIS being "destroyed," leaving the Doctor at the mercy of using his wits to get out of this dire situation. The Doctor relying on his own smarts makes the story far more interesting.

For the story, the Tractators seem to be very clunky, awkward looking creatures that some of today's viewers may make fun of. Perhaps all viewers might think when they see this is "Rubber monster!" Bt I disagree. In my mind, I think they're still one of the most facinating creatures created for the series. Simply because not all Tractators were bad guys. And they were in need of searching for a new home. I suppose anyone could relate to this sentiment. Frontios is the only story in which the Tractators appear in. Which is too bad because they're one of the best realized monsters in the Doctor Who series.

It's well directed by Ron Jones with a movie quality pacing. Frontios remains one of the most underrated stories in the series. It is in my mind one of the best entries for the Peter Davison period.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Living on the edge March 13 2012
By Hatbox Dragon - Published on Amazon.com
This Season 21 story, set between Doctor Who: The Awakening - Episode 132 and Doctor Who: Resurrection of the Daleks (Story 134), stars Peter Davison as the Fifth Doctor, accompanied by Tegan (Janet Fielding) and Turlough (Mark Strickson).

For the first-time viewer, the setup of the Doctor Who series is basic enough: the Doctor is an alien who adventures in time and space in his TARDIS, usually with a human companion or two. I don't think you need to have seen the series before to enjoy this story, but it does help to know that the Time Lords, the Doctor's own people, have certain rules and responsibilities (sadly, never fully defined) where time travel and knowledge of the future is concerned.

It's the far future and the TARDIS crash-lands on Frontios, a planet only marginally suitable for habitation. One of the last human colonies is located here, a paranoid society on the verge of collapse as meteor showers attributed to an unknown enemy, lack of resources and dissent take their toll. Despite his misgivings, the Doctor lets himself be drawn into the colony's problems. But the true threat, and the answer to a lot of questions, is lurking beneath the planet's surface.

For me, this is one of the best Doctor Who stories I've seen. The plot's imaginative and well constructed, the script is excellent, the sets are very atmospheric, there's a strong guest cast, and Peter Davison is excellent as an authoritative, slightly manic Doctor. Tegan is her usual hasty, dumb, compassionate self, but Turlough gets some real development here. He reasons things out and makes discoveries, unexpectedly reveals information vital to the story's resolution, and faces his fears. Both Janet Fielding and Mark Strickson do a really good job here. Also strong are the residents of Frontios: the pompous and rather pathetic Plantagenet, the harsh and authoritarian Brazen, the humane and curious Range and his daughter, the idealistic Norna. All are rounded characters who make a real contribution to the story, well cast and well acted.

This story raises questions with no easy answers. In a situation like that on Frontios, what do you do and who do you trust? How much should people be allowed to know and when should you break the rules? Amongst all the strengths, though, there are a few weaknesses. Some of the directing is a bit clumsy; the Gravis is just a generic villain in a funny suit rather than being truly alien; and there seems no reason for him to have heard of the Doctor before. I don't usually bother with the DVD extras, but the extended/deleted scenes are worth a look here. They give greater prominence to the character Cockerill, and their inclusion in the final cut would have made the story flow better, I think.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Disc content for Frontios... Feb. 9 2011
By Grady Glover - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
1 disc, 98 minutes, 4 episodes, full frame video, English mono audio, English subtitles.

An irresistible force draws the TARDIS to the barren surface of Frontios, where in the far future the last surviving humans cower amongst the ruins of their wrecked spacecraft. Under constant threat from lethal meteorite bombardments, few of the doomed colony members realize that the ground of Frontios itself opens up and devours the unwary. Not permitted to assist, the Doctor attempts to leave, but is thwarted when the unimaginable occurs: the TARDIS is utterly destroyed. All the while, burrowing undetected below the planet's crust, sickening alien parasites prepare a gruesome and final fate for all humanity.

Audio Commentary with actors Peter Davison, Jeff Rawle and John Gillett, script editor Eric Saward and special sounds designer Dick Mills.
Driven to Distractation: The Making of Frontios
Deleted and Extended Scenes
Photo Gallery
PDF materials: Radio Times Listings
Production Notes Subtitle Option

This information was taken from [...]. Please check out their site for any Doctor Who disc content.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well written story that didn't present well on TV July 16 2011
By Jeffrey J. Lyons - Published on Amazon.com
I always sort of liked this story but I hadn't watched it in about 25 years until I bought this DVD. The story itself is an adequate example of good TV sci-fi and the in-studio sets for this are actually quite well done. But as I found out in the extras, it was a rush job that was completed in about four days. And as I watched it again I could tell that was the case. However part of the charm of the old series was the cheesey special effects and bug-eyed (literally) monsters where the actors who wore the costumes could not manuever very well. But Janet Fielding in that short black skirt....gr-rowll.

There are plenty of "oops" scenes in this one due to the rush job. (Spoiler) Even before I knew it was done in four days, I never understood why Turlough seemed to lean over to the rover at the end which resulted in the downfall of one of the characters. Now I know why. They needed it to make that scene happen.

Most of the better Peter Davison stories have been released on DVD as of 2011 so now all that's left are the also rans like this one. But for fans of the classic series, it's thoroughly enoyable. If you are a fan of the new series...put this very low on the list of stories you should watch to introduce yourself to the classic series.

The extras are rather scant on the DVD. There's a "making of" documentary which I have already referred to, photo archives, and a few extended/deleted scenes. One of the deleted scenes gave a little back story about why the Fifth Doctor would occasionally wear glasses so that was fun.

I am a collector of the classic series DVD's so I bought it to help fill out my collection. But there are plenty of other stories to buy if you have never bought one so that you don't feel like you have wasted your money.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Terror lurks beneath the surface of Frontios! Aug. 3 2011
By Jero Briggs - Published on Amazon.com
In this one the TARDIS is drawn off course and forced to land on the planet Frontios far in the distant future where the last remnants of the doomed planet Earth have set up their colony. However, the colony is now under threat by attacks from space by an unknown enemy, low morale, lack of supplies, and a strict leadership. As usual the Doctor's arrival only adds to their paranoid suspicions of an invasion from space. But the Doctor believes the threat is much closer to home - underneath the planet itself. Soon the Doctor comes face to face with the powerful subterranean insect race known as the Tractators whom not only threaten the survival of the human race on this planet, but the safety of the entire universe.

A great plot, the acting and directing is brilliant, and for "Dr. Who" the special effects were pretty good as well. And even Peter Davison's Doctor is more eccentric than usual. The only let down to this story is a somewhat mediocre ending. But overall it's still a pretty good and enjoyable tale. Highly recommended!
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