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Doctor Who: The Horns of Nimon - Episode 108

 Unrated   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 30.98 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Doctor Who: The Horns of Nimon - Episode 108 + Doctor Who: Nightmare of Eden + Doctor Who: The Creature from the Pit (Story 106)
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In "The Horns of Nimon," the declining Skonnon Empire's quest for the technology to launch a second galactic empire rests upon tributes from the people of the planet Aneth. The fourth doctor (Tom Baker) and Romana (Lalla Ward), encounter a starship full of such young people, including Janet (Blue Peter) Ellis, on their way to be sacrificed to the bull-like alien Nimon. While Romana becomes trapped in the Nimon's ever-changing labyrinth, the doctor struggles to repair the Tardis and finds that someone, or something, is engineering an artificial black hole.

Doctor Who had previously explored the Cretan legend of the Minotaur in "The Time Monster" (1972), and here pays homage to the story without attempting to incorporate it into the Who mythos. Tom Baker is in good form and script editor Douglas Adams keeps the story tight without allowing the humor to take over. The best performance comes from Lalla Ward, fully at home as Romana and a commanding presence in her own right. The set and costume design are notable except for the Nimon itself, which is rather laughable. This story is an entertaining if ultimately unexceptional adventure for the good Doctor. --Gary S. Dalkin



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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A good but not Great Journey Of Life Oct. 28 2003
Format:VHS Tape
En route to repairing the TARDIS, the Doctor and Romana crash with a rundown Skonnon battlecruiser bringing some unhappy Anethan youths in yellow karate outfits as tributes to the Nimon, the god of the Skonnos, a military dictatorship revelling in black fascist regalia. The leader of the Anethans is a youth named Seth, whom one of the girls, Teka, believes is a hero who will defeat the Nimon. Teka's devotion is a bit too much, as she expects too much of him.
The leader of Skonnos, Soldeed, is eagerly awaiting the delivery of the youths, as it is the last payment to the Nimon, who have promised the Skonnons technology that will give rise to the second Skonnon Empire. "He speaks of Skonnos rising from its own ashes with wings of fire!" proclaims Soldeed. Indeed, Soldeed fawns and scrapes before the black, red-eyed bull-like Nimon, who seem to have read some Egyptian hieroglyphs for their loin cloths. He isn't bothered that all the Nimon want are youths to be sacrificed. "I play the Nimon on a long string," he says, and regarding an exchange of favours, "if there is an imbalance, make sure it's in your favour." However, Soldeed doesn't realize the full extent of the Nimon's plans, nor what the Great Journey Of Life" is about.
Tom Baker has two funny lines at the expense of the despicable pistol-wielding co-pilot of the battlecruiser. "Have you noticed how people's intellectual curiosity declines sharply the moment they start waving guns?" And when the co-pilot won't allow the Doctor to go to the hold to help with some engine trouble, he says, "Why don't you give me the gun and then I can keep an eye on myself so I don't get into funny business?" When the Nimon tell the Doctor, "Later, you will be tortured, questioned, and killed.
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4.0 out of 5 stars the most UNDERrated show on Television Period Sept. 24 2003
Format:VHS Tape
Although I can't really rate it five stars, I can rate it four. This is a good adventure that probably few love, many hate, and most don't even know about(even so-called whoivans don't know it). It has an excellent cast of character actors and cool sets and back drops. The story is about a race of bull/buffalo-like humanoids who use black holes to traverse from place to place. What I like is not it's "realism" but its fun factor and humor. The atmosphere is farout as well. I first watched this as a kid and loved it all the way through highschool it was broadcast many times then fatefully, Doctor Who was banned from PBS in the US 1988 Feburary 27th and I never got to see it again until now.
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Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Greek myth Feb. 12 2007
By John Liosatos - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
Take a story based in Greek mythology (the Minotaur story), add a plot twist (no spoilers), and sprinkle in the most satisfying death in Doctor Who history (who didn't cheer when Nimon offed that annoying co-pilot?), and what do you have? One of the best stories of Doctor Who. Adding to the satisfaction of the pilot's death is that it is a death laden in humiliation, as the actor's pants split at the seams as he falls.

Tom Baker's witty dialogue is prevalent in Horns of Nimon. "You will be qustioned, tortured and killed." "Well, I certainly hope it's in that order." Lalla Ward offers her best performance as Romana, on equal footing with the Doctor for once, and not in the shadow of the Doctor's scarf. She has even assembled her own sonic screwdriver, which obviously the Doctor prefers, as he tries to pull the old switcharoo on her. Here is a viewer tip that applies to all Romana 2 stories: Pay special attention to her facial expressions as she reacts to occurrences when she is in the background. Believe me, some of them are priceless.

As is the case with most of Season 17, "fandom" is not too enamored with Horns of Nimon. They claim it's too silly. They claim that the jokes take away from the drama. This makes Nimon extra-special. When "fandom" forms a concensus, most of the time they are dead wrong. And this is one of those times. Horns of Nimon has the distinction of being the last story before JNT sucks the life out of Tom Baker (unless you count the uncompleted Shada). Enjoy this one, because you will never see this type of Who again.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Doctor Who Guilty Pleasure April 25 2010
By Alan Caylow - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Yes, I'm giving "The Horns Of Nimon" a perfect 5-star rating, and no, I have no shame about it. I'm giving this much-maligned "Who" story the highest rating for the simple reason that I totally love it, despite the majority of fans saying that it's too silly (no no no, people---"The Creature From The Pit", THAT'S a silly story. I mean, an inflatable bean-bag chair with arms for a monster? And that's just for starters....). I guess this puts "The Horns Of Nimon" in the category of "guilty pleasure" for me. Fine, it's a guilty pleasure of mine. And I'll tell you why:

As another reviewer pointed out, one of the main things I love about "Horns" is that it is, in my opinion, great, GREAT fun. It's funny, lighthearted, doesn't take itself too seriously, and, as fate would have it, it's the very last story in which you'll see Tom Baker as the REAL fourth Doctor (not counting the never-completed "Shada"), before producer John Nathan-Turner swept in and shamelessly destroyed Tom Baker's Doctor by not only changing his costume (I never liked the solid-red costume, OR those stupid question marks on the Doctor's collar), but also changing the fourth Doctor's *personality*, making him a lot less humorous and a lot more serious, to the point of being a shameless grouch (and by the time Tom Baker's Doctor finally snuffed it at the end of "Logopolis," I was GLAD to see him go, considering what JNT had done to him---mind you, it's not Tom Baker's fault, let me make that clear). In "The Horns Of Nimon," Tom's Doctor is still his old, jolly self. Baker is clearly having fun in this story, and it shows in his delightful performance here.

I'm also glad that other reviewers have mentioned that yes, indeed, "Horns" is easily Lalla Ward's finest hour as Romana. She was fine in her previous stories (and she's always very easy on the eyes too, of course), but, finding her footing in the role at last, Lalla's Romana is truly the Doctor's equal in this story: brave, strong and assertive but never overly-so. Although Romana still needs rescuing at one point in the story, she's never, ever reduced to being a damsel in distress here, like she was in "Destiny Of The Daleks" or "The Creature From The Pit". Lalla Ward's performance in "Horns" is an excellent one, and her best one.

As for the cheap-looking sets, visual effects, and the cheap-looking Nimon itself, they're all fun too. Look, I'm not going to argue with any fan who hates "The Horns Of Nimon," as I know perfectly well that it's not, and never has been, a popular Who story (ditto for "Underworld," which I also happen to like). But I'm sticking to my guns about "Horns" nonetheless that it's one of my very-favorite Tom Baker stories, and I'm very pleased to see it coming out on DVD quicker than I thought it would (it was one of the very last Baker stories to get released on VHS). Like another reviewer already said, "The Horns Of Nimon" also represents the end of an era for Doctor Who, as you would never see another Who story quite like it ever again (which has both positive AND negative aspects to it, I suppose). "The Horns Of Nimon" may not be a popular Doctor Who story, but I love it. Bite me.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the most UNDERrated show on Television Period Sept. 24 2003
By Black Cat de La Bear - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
Although I can't really rate it five stars, I can rate it four. This is a good adventure that probably few love, many hate, and most don't even know about(even so-called whoivans don't know it). It has an excellent cast of character actors and cool sets and back drops. The story is about a race of bull/buffalo-like humanoids who use black holes to traverse from place to place. What I like is not it's "realism" but its fun factor and humor. The atmosphere is farout as well. I first watched this as a kid and loved it all the way through highschool it was broadcast many times then fatefully, Doctor Who was banned from PBS in the US 1988 Feburary 27th and I never got to see it again until now.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "The program will continue..." March 31 2004
By Huntsmæñus - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
"The Horns of Nimon" is really a mixed-bag. Tom Baker and Graham Crowden play it for laughs, while Lalla Ward plays it dead straight. The serial has a real cheap feel to the production. The Nimons themselves are laughable when first seen. They look like giant cockroaches with lanky legs. Some of the sets are convincing, while others are not. Malcolm Terris as the co-pilot is wonderfully OTT. The secens where Romana lands on Crinoth are very effective. But, the supporting cast, especially the actors with no lines, lazilly sleepwalk through most of their staging. "The Horns of Nimon" might arguably be the worst of Season 17, but with an open mind and a few beers, this adventure might make even the most discriminating Who fan look twice.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good but not Great Journey Of Life Oct. 28 2003
By Daniel J. Hamlow - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
En route to repairing the TARDIS, the Doctor and Romana crash with a rundown Skonnon battlecruiser bringing some unhappy Anethan youths in yellow karate outfits as tributes to the Nimon, the god of the Skonnos, a military dictatorship revelling in black fascist regalia. The leader of the Anethans is a youth named Seth, whom one of the girls, Teka, believes is a hero who will defeat the Nimon. Teka's devotion is a bit too much, as she expects too much of him.
The leader of Skonnos, Soldeed, is eagerly awaiting the delivery of the youths, as it is the last payment to the Nimon, who have promised the Skonnons technology that will give rise to the second Skonnon Empire. "He speaks of Skonnos rising from its own ashes with wings of fire!" proclaims Soldeed. Indeed, Soldeed fawns and scrapes before the black, red-eyed bull-like Nimon, who seem to have read some Egyptian hieroglyphs for their loin cloths. He isn't bothered that all the Nimon want are youths to be sacrificed. "I play the Nimon on a long string," he says, and regarding an exchange of favours, "if there is an imbalance, make sure it's in your favour." However, Soldeed doesn't realize the full extent of the Nimon's plans, nor what the Great Journey Of Life" is about.
Tom Baker has two funny lines at the expense of the despicable pistol-wielding co-pilot of the battlecruiser. "Have you noticed how people's intellectual curiosity declines sharply the moment they start waving guns?" And when the co-pilot won't allow the Doctor to go to the hold to help with some engine trouble, he says, "Why don't you give me the gun and then I can keep an eye on myself so I don't get into funny business?" When the Nimon tell the Doctor, "Later, you will be tortured, questioned, and killed." the Doctor replies, "Well, I hope you get it in the right order." And I was very bemused when the Doctor tells Soldeed that somebody is "digging a black hole on your doorstep."
Lalla Ward (Romana) has a stylish red overcoat and spends most of her time with the Anethans, playing a Doctor-ish role to them, but does so straight.
However, this is the second time Greek mythology has been tweaked. Think of Seth of the Anethans confronting the Nimon in the Power Complex. Now, think of Theseus of the Athenians confronting the Minotaur in the labryinth. And if trying to correlate Soldeed with Daedalus is a stretch, spell Soldeed's name backwards. Kind of, sort of, yeah? And the Doctor's remembering to have Seth's ship painted white for the welcome party given by his father is a reference to Theseus forgetting to change the sails of his ships from black to white, which had tragic consequences for Aegeus, or as the Doctor says in memory of his involvement with Theseus, "a whole of hoohah."
Graham Crowden is best known as Tom in the Waiting For God TV series, and his OTT portrayal of Soldeed is akin to his future WFG role. He does look funny in the heavy brown beard and pop eyes, and that plummy voice of his may be a bit much. However, his singsong calling of "Lord Nimon" is a bit of pop culture kitsch.
Due to the industrial strike that took place during Shada, The Horns Of Nimon was the last completed story of Season 17, which meant the end of two things. One was the end of Graham Williams as producer for the show and Douglas Adams as script editor, which meant no more silly jokes and lines, such as the loud bangs and silly noises the TARDIS console makes in Episode 3. The other was the blue time tunnel opening titles that had made its debut from the last Jon Pertwee season (1974). Not exactly a great story to end the season, but not bad either.
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