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Doctor Who: Scream of The Shalka (Animated)

 Unrated   DVD
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 30.98
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Doctor Who: Scream of The Shalka (Animated) + Doctor Who: The Ice Warriors + Doctor Who: Terror Of The Zygons
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Dr Who Idea. Oct. 30 2013
Verified Purchase
Veyr entertaining and enjoyable, would love to see more of these produced.

This is the way to go for a whole new marketplace of new adventures.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Issues Nov. 15 2013
Verified Purchase
Whats with the packaging

It states 2 discs on multiple spots clearly only one disc.. just pure laziness and greed.
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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but could have been included as bonus material on another DVD Sept. 24 2013
By Dave Cordes - Published on Amazon.com
"Scream of the Shalka" was originally released as 6x15 minute Flash animation webisodes by the BBC to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the program when there was no Doctor Who program currently on-air in 2003. Shortly afterward, BBC One had decided to bring Doctor Who back to the tele and then-showrunner Russell T. Davies in an interview with Doctor Who Magazine announced that the new television Doctor (played by Christopher Eccleston) would be the Ninth Doctor, relegating Richard E. Grant's Ninth Doctor to an alternate Whoniverse. Davies later commented that Grant had never even been considered for the role in the new series, quoted as saying in DWM: "I thought he was terrible. I thought he took the money and ran, to be honest. It was a lazy performance. He was never on our list to play the Doctor. Therefore it exists outside of the continuity canon of the Whoniverse." A bit harsh I'd say.

I've enjoyed other animated adventures of Doctor Who including Cosgrove Hall's wonderful work on the 10th Doctor serial Doctor Who: The Infinite Quest and the wonderfully animated reconstruction episodes on Doctor Who: The Invasion (Story 46), and recently Quarios' work animating the 2 missing episodes from Doctor Who: The Ice Warriors (Story 39). I think the animation in "Scream of the Shalka" is equally as good and interesting and enjoyable to watch with good performances by Richard E. Grant as the Doctor (Who appeared, ironically, as the Tenth Doctor in the parody "The Curse of Fatal Death" and as the villain in Doctor Who: The Snowmen [Blu-ray] (2012) and Derek Jacobi as the Master (who would later reprise his role in "Utopia") and the Doctor's companion, Alison Cheney, voiced by Sophie Okonedo who also appeared as Liz 10 in "The Beast Below" and "The Pandorica Opens." David Tennant even has a cameo. There's no denying the significance that "Scream of the Shalka" contributed to Doctor Who's long-awaited return to the airwaves and it's a fascinating look at an attempt to give the fans new material in another media format during a period when we only had the Big Finish audio dramas to keep the show going after Paul McGann's singular appearance as the Eighth Doctor in the Americanized Doctor Who: The Movie (Special Edition).

Extras include "Carry On Screaming" where the production team discuss the genesis of the animated series, "Screaming Sessions" with the cast and crew minus Richard E Grant discuss being turned into animated characters, "Interweb Of Fear" talks about the BBC's plans to bring online media with Doctor Who to the forefront, and finally "The Soundtrack Album" features over 27 minutes of isolated music score. Still, there's no reason why these could not have been included as bonus material on another 2-disc DVD set (this is NOT a 2-disc set, btw, even though there is a misprint on the packaging), perhaps as part of the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special: The Day of the Doctor (Blu-ray 3D / Blu-ray / DVD Combo) along with the docudrama "Doctor Who: An Adventure In Space and Time" or even as part of the "Doctors Revisited" series Doctor Who: Doctors Revisited - Ninth to Eleventh. If you are a completist, or you REALLY liked "Scream of the Shalka," then it's probably worth justifying purchasing the DVD. I strongly encourage anyone who hasn't seen it though to watch the webcasts online for free first ([...] to decide for yourselves if it is worth splurging on to add it to your collection.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Misprint Sept. 18 2013
By Byron J. Rademacher - Published on Amazon.com
On the copy I received it said there were 2 discs, but there were not. Just one. All DVD extras are on the single disc. Just an FYI if your copy has a misprint too.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars ~ Terrific Animated Doctor Who Story! Sept. 20 2013
By Renee Chaw - Published on Amazon.com
Doctor Who: Scream of the Shalka is one of my all-time favorite Doctor Who episodes and that's saying a lot because I'm not normally a fan of animated features unless they're from Disney! I was more than a bit skeptical going into this. A few of the reasons that I enjoy the live action series so much is the little nuances and amusing facial expressions of the actors on the screen. It's impossible to catch the twinkle of the eye or even something like the movement hair. Surprisingly, even though these details weren't present in this feature, the actors voicing the Doctor, Alison, and even the Master really brought the characters to life. Richard E. Grant, Sophie Okonedo and Derek Jacobi are just a few of the famous actors who lent their voice talents to this little masterpiece and later starred alongside the Doctor in the live action series. You know how great they were in the new series so you can imagine how wonderful they were in this animated bridge between classic and new Doctor.

Now for the monsters -- the Shalka. The Shalka, a reptilian-like alien species didn't have much to say, but as you may have guessed from the title of the DVD, their screams are quite grotesque -- not to mention the fact that they took over human bodies to lead earth and humanity into death and darkness. Aliens that can grow out of human foreheads is enough to give anyone the shivers! The Shalka are indeed a very frightening alien, up there with the Weeping Angels and the Silence.

I was very impressed with the animation, the story-line, the monsters, and each of the characters. As much as I enjoyed this, I was a little disappointed that the ending was left open for more adventures with the Doctor and Alison but to my knowledge, there never were any. Still, Doctor Who: Scream of the Shalka is yet another wonderful DVD for anyone who loves Doctor Who and for those who want to build their DVD library with shows the whole family can watch and enjoy together.

Doctor Who Scream of the Shalka is available now on DVD from Amazon and other stores.

~ My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars ~

*I received a complimentary copy from the publisher/publicist for review purposes. I received no compensation. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.*
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scream of the Shalka Nov. 8 2013
By Al - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I was glad they brought this little nugget out of history. Very nicely done with considerable background extras. Nice picture and very good voice acting.
4.0 out of 5 stars The Forgotten Doctor Sept. 10 2014
By Matthew Kresal - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
“Welcome to the Richard E Grant era of Doctor Who. Blink and you'll miss it.”

Those words, spoken by its executive producer James Goss in the DVD documentary Carry On Screaming, more than adequately describe the reputation of Scream Of The Shalka. Originally produced with the intention of being the first story in a web based continuation of the then still canceled series, this animated Doctor Who “webcast” from 2003 has often been neglected, if not downright forgotten, by fans. With its long awaited DVD release last year, the story has been enjoying something of a much needed reexamination.

There is Richard E Grant's Doctor for example. Grant's Doctor (originally intended to be the Ninth before being “replaced” by Christopher Eccleston) feels like something of a cross between the Doctors of the Old Series and the New. There's an aloofness that brings to mind the First and Sixth Doctors while his rather abrasive attitude towards the military (and especially Major Kennet) calls to mind the Third's early dealings with UNIT. In other ways this Doctor has intriguing pre-echoes of the New Series Doctors that were to follow within just a couple of years. Grant's Doctor has a hurt quality to him with something and someone in his past haunting him which only the events in the story start to help him recover from while some of the dialogue could easily be delivered by the likes of David Tennent or Matt Smith. Like Paul McGann's Eighth Doctor, we get only a glimpse of this Doctor and it's something that makes judging his Doctor more difficult but there's certainly plenty of promise here.

The story also has a god cast, some of whom would go onto appearances in the New Series. Perhaps the most obvious connection to the New Series is Derek Jacobi as the Master, a role he would play in a different context in the New Series episode Utopia (and who also in 2003 played a version of the Doctor in Big Finish's Doctor Who Unbound story Deadline), though the character here has a rather interesting development. There's also Sophie Okonedo (Liz X from Series Five episode The Beast Below) as barmaid Alison Cheney, who is introduced as the Doctor's new companion and comes across almost as something of a template for the companions of the New Series. Hidden away in a cameo working at a warehouse is a pre-Tenth Doctor David Tennent who has only a couple of lines and a scream. The cast also includes noted character actress Diana Quick as the Shalka Prime, Craig Kelly as Alison's boyfriend Joe and Jim Norton as Major Kennet

What perhaps makes this webcast most intriguing in retrospect is the script by Paul Cornell. What this story feels most like is an attempt to take the classic series “alien invasion” formula and update it for the twenty-first century. From its six episode length to its opening scenes setting up the deserted streets of the Lancashire village of Lannet (which bring to mind the opening scenes of Invasion Of The Dinosaurs) to the story's somewhat eco-friendly message, there's some strong calls back to the Pertwee era. Even though UNIT doesn't appear, the military presence in the story certainly brings them to mind. The story makes that connection even stronger by its opening and closing titles which harken very much back to the Pertwee era title sequence.

Yet it also brings to mind the New Series that was to come. There's those aforementioned elements in Grant's Doctor and some interesting casting, there's other New Series elements that come into play as well. The story's opening scene for example set in New Zealand which feels like a pre-credit scene out of a New Series episode. There's the future companion in an unhappy relationship with her boyfriend whom she ends up leaving to travel with the Doctor for example. There's the Doctor using a cell phone and at one point using his sonic screwdriver in a fashion that wouldn't be at all out of place in the New Series. The DVD reveals that, like the New Series, seeds were being planted for larger story arcs that would eventually go into this Doctor's background and explain not just his state but also how the Master ended up as an android. In a way then, Cornell's script feels like something of a bridge between old and new that came at an unfortunate time and place before it could lead to more.

Something that made this controversial in 2003, and that also gives it distinction as well, is that it was the first licensed animated Doctor Who story. Despite having been originally produced with Flash animation for an era with much slower internet connects , it holds up rather well. There's some wonderful character designs including Grant's Doctor and the Shalka themselves (from the average worm like ones to their leader, the more humanoid Shalka Prime) that, while not hugely detailed, still allows for the characters to be emotional as well which helps the animation feel less artificial. There's some wonderful design elements as well including an impressive TARDIS interior and the underground lair of the Shalka as well as also boasting an atmospheric visual style full of shadows and silhouettes. Indeed the animation even looks good on your typical wide-screen TV thanks to its DVD release.

In the final analysis then, what are we to make of Scream Of The Shalka more than a decade later? It certainly deserves more than the obscurity it's languished in ever since. There's a Doctor that shares many things in common with the Doctor's we've been watching for the last few years as well as elements familiar from the New Series being done in a different way. With its appearance finally on DVD, perhaps the story will be seen as more than an obscure curiosity at last and as something far more than just another thing from the “wilderness years”.
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