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Doctor Who: Arc of Infinity

Peter Davison , Sarah Sutton    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Doctor Who: Arc of Infinity.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Doctor Who goes Dutch on this one Feb. 15 2004
Format:VHS Tape
Yes, this is the second of three stories where Doctor Who went abroad on-location, and this time it's Amsterdam. Two Australian students on holiday, Colin Frazer and Robin Stewart, spend the night in an abandoned crypt near a fountain, and before long, Colin vanishes, only to turn up a zombie under control of aliens, leaving Robin in a lurch. His only hope is to get help from Colin's cousin, scheduled to arrive at Schiphol Airport.
For the Doctor and Nyssa, they pass near an area in space that was called the Arc of Infinity because it's the gateway between the universes of matter and anti-matter. The Doctor is attacked by a strange alien, initially billed as the Renegade, but then things get worse. It's another return to Gallifrey, only this time, the Doctor is in danger of suffering the same fate as Morbius, (q.v. The Brain of Morbius). An alien from the realm of anti-matter has been partially successful in bonding with the Doctor to get his polarity reversed. However, for that to happen, someone had to have given this alien the Doctor's bio-data extract, and only members of the High Council of Timelords have that power. The Timelords, still led by President Borusa, don't have time for that--they prefer the Doctor's execution to retain control of the Space-Time Matrix and prevent billions from being killed.
The Doctor has a few allies, such as Damon, a Gallifreyan technician who was on duty when the Doctor's bio-data was being accessed. There's also his old instructor Councillor Hedin of the High Council, a kindly person who manages to get Damon and Nyssa to visit the Doctor even though the Doctor is denied visitors under orders from the meticulous Castellan and his lackey, an unpleasant and trigger-happy commander named Maxil.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Weak sequel to "The Three Doctors" Dec 12 2002
Format:VHS Tape
The doctor again faces off against the awesome "Omega", a fellow Gallifreyan who was accidentally sucked into the antimatter universe and will do anything to come back. Omega was last seen in the serial "The Three Doctors" - an extended episode that matched the first three actors who played Dr. Who up with some of the former companions. Supposedly destroyed at the end of that episode, Omega was just delayed, and it's taken him this long ("Three" had to have been in the early 70's) to come up with another plan that will return him to our universe, or destroy it entirely. Not quite sure who he's facing, The Doctor returns to Gallifrey - home of the time lords - to investigate. Though an advanced civilization, Gallifrey manages to have its share of petty intrigues, including a mysterious charachter who sides with Omega and his ways of neutralizing the Doctor before he can thwart Omega's plan. The plan, incidentally involves the "arc of infinity" which, happily for BBC production assistants, is located outside of England, in the happiest place on Earth - Amsterdam. (They couldn't use Paris again after "City of Death")
This was a lackluster story. Why Amsterdam? The concept of the titular arc seems like a weak excuse for going "out on location". Also, oddly enough, the first victim of Omega's happens to be a cousin of ex-companion Tegan Jovanka - a flimsy way of writing her back into the show (she'd been left behind at Heathrow at the end of "Time Flight". In a wonderfully bittersweet moment, she looks unhappily surprised to have missed the Doctor's departure). Omega's mystery collaborator is little mystery, and the Gallifreyan setting with its many intrigues reveals the weaknesses of Davidson's Doctor (Baker was much more in control when dealing with the Castellan and Borusa characters).
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3.0 out of 5 stars "Well, I'm not too keen on the neighbours!" Jan. 22 2001
Format:VHS Tape
"Arc of Infinity" is a story with a few interesting moments, in particular a satisfying and intriguing first episode, but the remainder makes for a merely average tale. Part one is exceptionally moody, providing good exposition - who is the alien?; who is his accomplice?; whose TARDIS has landed in the crypt?; is the Doctor to be executed by his own people?; how are the backpackers involved? However, after episode two everything unravels and, frankly, becomes a bit of a mess. By the end of the story, the link between the alien (I won't mention his name for the benefit if those who haven't viewed it yet) and Amsterdam is just too convoluted to be believable, especially after Tegan becomes involved. The concept of the Arc of Infinity doesn't really make any contribution to the story, and the notion of Amsterdam being on its curve and therefore central to the plot is downright ludicrous. The Amsterdam shots are pretty, but the chase in episode four goes on too long and just seems to be the BBC announcing "Hey, we're making Doctor Who in Amsterdam!" The same was done in Paris for "City of Death", but that was a much more engaging story. Most of the Time Lords are boring and stuffy, which, given our knowledge of their society, seems fitting, but Michael Gough's Councillor Hedin is the only interesting member of the High Council. Colin Baker (a future Doctor) is wonderful as the sadistic Maxil, and the alien is well designed. His identity (an old enemy) is revealed at the end of episode three, but there are enough clues in the story for a fan versed in Who history to work out who he is. The story is well plotted but realised less successfully - it isn't bad, just bland and uninteresting. Read more ›
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Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  30 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE RETURN of OMEGA...TEGAN...and the TIMELORDS...should have been a set with TIMEFLIGHT... Aug. 2 2007
By Kevin J. Loria - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
This was the 2nd season opener and tied up loose ends from Timeflight, in which unhappy Aussie Air Hostess Tegan finally makes it back home (a.k.a the airport)an complains when the 5th Doctor actually leaves her.

Arc of Infinity features many returns in addition to Tegan, it features the return of the TIMELORDS, absent from the series since Baker's Doctor returned home to claim the Presidency (ofcourse the Timelady Romana was with him for 2 1/2 seasons but this Time we get the homeworld again). Also returning, the mad lost architect of the Timelords, OMEGA, last defeated by the Doctor's first three incarnations simultaneously in the "Three Doctors." This return of the Timelords comes as a timely release following the events of the 3rd Season of the new series (watch for it). OMEGA last seen in the anti-matter universe, trapped a unliving paradox, his sacrifice giving the Doctor and the Timelords their power over time, space and death. This time the "Proto-Timelord's" plan again is to free himself using the Doctor. Ultimately, tragically he fails in a very sympathetic climax.

Eventually, due to inexplicable coincidence, Tegan reunites with the TARDIS crew. ARC serves as a vehicle for Peter Davidson to play both the Doctor and the newly embodied OMEGA in Doctor form, which he does in what becomes the story's best moments. Before his transformation the new costume for OMEGA is also standout cool as are the location shots throughout the story.

My one complaint is that the DVD would have made a nice set along with Timeflight instead of two singles.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Doctor Who goes Dutch on this one Feb. 15 2004
By Daniel J. Hamlow - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
Yes, this is the second of three stories where Doctor Who went abroad on-location, and this time it's Amsterdam. Two Australian students on holiday, Colin Frazer and Robin Stewart, spend the night in an abandoned crypt near a fountain, and before long, Colin vanishes, only to turn up a zombie under control of aliens, leaving Robin in a lurch. His only hope is to get help from Colin's cousin, scheduled to arrive at Schiphol Airport.
For the Doctor and Nyssa, they pass near an area in space that was called the Arc of Infinity because it's the gateway between the universes of matter and anti-matter. The Doctor is attacked by a strange alien, initially billed as the Renegade, but then things get worse. It's another return to Gallifrey, only this time, the Doctor is in danger of suffering the same fate as Morbius, (q.v. The Brain of Morbius). An alien from the realm of anti-matter has been partially successful in bonding with the Doctor to get his polarity reversed. However, for that to happen, someone had to have given this alien the Doctor's bio-data extract, and only members of the High Council of Timelords have that power. The Timelords, still led by President Borusa, don't have time for that--they prefer the Doctor's execution to retain control of the Space-Time Matrix and prevent billions from being killed.
The Doctor has a few allies, such as Damon, a Gallifreyan technician who was on duty when the Doctor's bio-data was being accessed. There's also his old instructor Councillor Hedin of the High Council, a kindly person who manages to get Damon and Nyssa to visit the Doctor even though the Doctor is denied visitors under orders from the meticulous Castellan and his lackey, an unpleasant and trigger-happy commander named Maxil. However, Episode 2 ends with the Doctor apparently being terminated. What then?
There's a lot more to Nyssa that comes out here. Apart from her sensitivity, she gets to shoot some guards in the story, all in aid to rescue the Doctor. After all, the Doctor is all she has since the murder of her parents and destruction of her planet. One of Sarah Sutton's best moments in the series.
The Renegade and his pterodactyl-like helper have interesting H.R. Giger-influenced designs. However, the on-location shooting is utilized quite well so the viewer sees quite a lot of the streets of Amsterdam, particularly in a climactic chase scene in the last episode, where the Doctor and his companions are chasing the decaying Renegade (also played by Peter Davison, who must've made quite an impression running down the streets with a mixture of green-dyed glued Rice Crispies on his hands and face).
Other performers: Elspet Gray (Thalia) also appeared in the first Black Adder series as the Queen. Colin Baker (Commander Maxil) makes his first appearance in the series, and it's ironic that he shoots the Doctor in Episode 1, because at the end of next season, Baker succeeds Peter Davison as the Doctor. Also interesting is that he was a candidate to play the Castellan, but lost out to Paul Jerricho, who also beat out Patrick Stewart. But guess who else was initially considered for Maxil? Pierce Brosnan!! I kid you not! And Hedin is played by Michael Gough (Bruce Wayne's butler Alfred in the Batman movies).
The 20th season was the most memorable season for me, because I was really starting to get into the series, and Arc of Infinity really stayed with me, because it was a Time Lord story, the scenes in Amsterdam, and Sarah Sutton's appealing performance. Enjoying this story does not require smoking cheap grass from Amsterdam.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Peter Davison's second season begins May 21 2008
By Grateful Jerry - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I should say that I like this story and it's much better than the season 19 ending Doctor Who - Time-Flight (Episode 123) which was Peter Davison's first season. The story is quite nice and it's nice to see Colin Baker putting in a turn before he was hired to play the Doctor. Michael Gough who played the Toymaker in The Celestial ToymakerDoctor Who - Lost in Time Collection of Rare Episodes - The William Hartnell Years and the Patrick Troughton Years as well as Paul Jerricho. This story also sees the return of OmegaDoctor Who - The Three Doctors.

The story sees someone trying to take over the Doctor's body and cross over using the Arc of Infinity which is a gateway to all dimentions. The Time Lords also aware of what's happened, recall the Doctor's TARDIS. The Doctor is put on trial and it's decided that it's better to end his life than leave the door open to what could be the distruction of everything.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "To remain in this universe, the creature would have to reverse its polarity." Nov. 28 2007
By Crazy Fox - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
"Arc of Infinity" abounds in implausible coincidences on a number of levels. What are the chances that Tegan, left behind in the last storyline, would meet up with the Doctor again through her cousin falling into the clutches of the story's villain, a Time Lord from Gallifrey who just happens coincidentally to be on Earth? And when this villain attempts to escape the realm of anti-matter by bonding with the Doctor (who else?) on the molecular level, who else should detect this dastardly deed in the works but an old friend of the Doctor's who's also acquainted with the Doctor's old traveling companion Leela? Gallifrey, like Earth, must be a small world after all. And on a different register, what are the chances that the next actor to play the Doctor would get a bit part in this story and actually get to shoot his predecessor in the role, already establishing a precedent for gun violence in the process? With all that in mind, then, maybe it really is just a coincidence that "Doctor Who" starts its twentieth season in 1983 with a clear and distinct polarity-reversing echo from 1973: the return of Omega from "The Three Doctors" as the body-swapping villain in question.

Which means I'm already predisposed against this story. Recycling old individual villains tends to strike me as annoyingly contrived more often than not, especially when they clearly died beforehand--usually this diminishing return retroactively defuses the drama of their first appearance without really adding anything other than a morbid nostalgia trip. And there's a bit of that here. Omega's survival from a matter/anti-matter contact explosion is left jarringly unexplained ("No, he exists!") when even some attempt at a delightfully daft technobabble explanation would have smoothed things sufficiently. He kind of goes about doing the same old thing in a rehashed fashion, and much of the drama depends upon the dramatic revelation of his true identity--which is rather defused if, like me back when I watched this one in my youth, you've never seen him before in your life (my local PBS station only got around to broadcasting the Third Doctor's adventures well after the Fifth's--"Omega? Oh, okay. Wait, who the heck's this guy?") or else if you don't remember him from ten years previous, a likely scenario in the dark ages before VHS or DVD.

What saves Omega's reappearance from being just another redundant and repetitive rehash and justifies the plot device to a great degree is that his character is more deeply explored in interesting and complex ways. In that process a bit of the epic Miltonic proportions of the character so enjoyable in "The Three Doctors" is downplayed ever so much, but the payoff is worth it: a more psychologically convincing, multi-dimensional character (in more ways than one, so to speak), a deeply tortured soul whose actions make perfect sense in his own distorted mind. Some of the most interesting villains are the ones that, if you put yourself in their shoes you could kind of--sort of--see where they're coming from even if you don't approve the consequences. Not that Omega didn't have this quality before, but in "Arc Of Infinity" it has been highlighted and expanded upon in satisfyingly compelling ways. And the scene at the end when he finally takes on material form (in the shape of the Doctor) and lurches about Amsterdam unaccustomed to physicality but exulting with almost childlike innocence in the sensations about him is pure gold.

There's a lot more to recommend this storyline as well. The character of Nyssa really comes into her own here as an active, heroic female role willing to take charge and do what it takes to save those she cares for and yet this is accomplished in a unforced manner that flows naturally from her personality and the rather traumatic events of her recent past. The location filming in Holland, while a tad on the touristy in a few establishing shots, is overall quite nice for a change and is meshed well with the studio scenes. Finally, the story is classic Who in being a molecular realignment of three basically incompatible television genres: science fiction, horror, and murder mystery--and unlike in Omega's case, the realignment works wonderfully.

P.S. For Omega's first appearance, check out Doctor Who - The Three Doctors.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars HOW MUCH FOR THE WOMAN? Nov. 18 2007
By Thomas E. O'Sullivan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
To sum up ARC OF INFINITY simply, it's AGATHA CHRISTIE on Gallifey.

A few sets, a selection of suspects, one detective and one riddle easily solved. Building off the low that was previous season's cliffhanger with TIME-FLIGHT, ARC OF INFINITY is supposed to be our launch into 20 YEARS OF DOCTOR WHO, an anniversary year which would see the return of many old friends, villains and one wax dummy. A lot of fun to be sure, but in ARC there is very little traction to get us going. Omega has returned from a ten year anniversary absence to try his anti-matter hand once again at returning home (and, finally!, getting that parade he's always wanted for giving the Time Lords the power of time travel). Seeing as the Doctor is the only match close enough to him he employs a rogue on the High Council to do his bidding and collect the Doctor's data so he can clone/fuse his anti-matter person into a real live boy... in Amsterdam.

And if there has ever been a location so ill suited for a DOCTOR WHO story, then Amsterdam is that location. From the commentary it is made clear that Amsterdam was chosen simply because they could go there, not because they should go there. Because nothing in Amsterdam has any relation or connection to anything that is happening at all with the story. It looks rushed and the location scouts seemed to have taken the script literally, simply looking for street scenes for the cast to either strut or run along. Like a travel slide show, it's a complete waste of time. ARC, while a disappointment, does at least have some moments. Seeing Colin Baker as Maxil is a lot of fun and despite all the court drama on Gallifrey, Nyssa is given the chance to take a stand here and actually do something. Tegan, sadly, is always playing catch up here, but, at the very least it does show us that she has had a life outside the TARDIS.

There are a host of extras that make the grade. Commentary is a lot of fun and a first for the series as two Doctors sit down for the first time. Davidson, Baker, Sutton and Fielding are very funny and there is a wonderful moment when Fielding arrives late to the commentary only to find that they have started without her (while she was out doing them a favor!). Great stuff and always worth the price of admission. UNDER THE ARC LIGHTS takes us on stage as the cast records and, like the rest, it's always interesting to watch how the series was created. Sutton and Davidson spent a lot of time on this story together and watching them doing their best to keep the energy up between takes is fun.

TEXT COMMENTARY is detailed, but also overstuffed with some useless information. It spends too much time on giving us alternate script takes and scene breakdowns than real information. It also moves too fast in some spots (and in a few it actually is ahead of the scene it's speaking to), with whole paragraphs appearing on screen for less than two seconds, so, keep the PAUSE button handy.

Overall ARC OF INFINITY is all bluster and court politics that simply just stops the story cold too often for it to really be considered much of an adventure. But as a moment in history, there is some love to be found. 20 years in and still going strong with a few more years to come, take it for that and enjoy.

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