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Doctor Who: The Caves Of Androzani

4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 43.98
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Peter Davison's final adventure, "The Caves of Androzani," pulls out all stops to give this Doctor an unforgettable farewell. Deep within the titular caves, the disfigured, masked antihero Sharez Jek (Christopher Gable) and his regiment of androids are locked in conflict with an army unit and a group of smugglers for control of the life-extending Spectrox. When the Doctor and Peri (Nicola Bryant) enter this labyrinth, they immediately become victims of deadly Spectrox poisoning. The story's numerous subplots involve espionage, betrayal, and revenge, as well as big-business corruption, political assassination, and silly-looking reptilian monsters. And the first episode has one of the best cliffhangers ever: our heroes are executed by a firing squad armed with submachine guns.

Robert Holmes (who wrote the more satirical Doctor Who story "The Sun Makers") here concentrates on delivering a breathlessly paced action thriller, with relentless death and destruction unfolding like in a Sam Peckinpah film, making Davison's heroic pacifism all the more effective. --Gary S. Dalkin

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It doesn't get better than this! May 11 2003
Caves of Androzani was a high point for Doctor Who in many ways. First and foremost, it marked the peak of the series audience viewing and appreciation figures for the next five years - it was all downhill from here. More importantly, it was arguably the last ambitious and creative story that would be broadcast before the series degenerated into pantomime. The stark contrast between the gripping, emotional story in this episode and the sheer lunacy of Colin Baker's premier, The Twin Dilemma is impossible to ignore.
The scripting, pacing, and performances in this episode are simply brilliant. Peter Davison turns out the best performance of his time, skillfully balancing the Doctor's struggle for his own life with his unwavering impulse to protect the innocent. Superior production values and direction create gritty, edge-of- your seat drama throughout.
With the obligatory extras and the excellent remastering courtesy of The Doctor Who Restoration Team, Caves of Androzani is a five star disc all around. If you can only buy one episode from Peter Davison's era as the Doctor, this should be it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The end Aug. 30 2000
Format:VHS Tape
I relly liked this episode. In it the Doctor and Perry contract a deadly virus and the Doctor only has enough andiote for one. He gives the andiote to Perry and isn't sure if he will regenerate. He does but his mind was affected.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You were expecting something else? April 8 2002
I'm pleased to announce that the uniformly high quality of the first three States-side "Doctor Who" DVD releases was not a fluke. The newly-offered "The Caves of Androzani" is another highly-regarded story given a glossy new, features-packed look.
It's the final story for Peter Davison, the 5th Doctor, and is notably gloomy and dark. Roger Limb's militaristic score, replete with a rattlesnake motif, and Graeme Harper's inspired direction -- full of cross-fades, matched dissolves, and Shakespearean soliloquies to the camera -- is light-years beyond the dull visual look for which so much "Who" is unfortunately remembered. The script is Robert Holmes at his darkest: a planet run by a mega-corporation is involved in a bitter war against a deformed mad scientist and his android army over supply of a life-preserving drug. Into this picture stumble the Doctor and Peri, who both contract fatal poisoning within minutes. The acting is superb, from John Normington's evil-CEO Morgus, who delivers chilling asides to the camera, to former dancer Christopher Gable as the mad Sharaz Jek, stalking the camera (and Peri) in skin-tight leather and a memorable black-and-white mask.
The features are a slight decline from those in the first set of DVD releases. The raw studio footage of Peter Davison's regeneration scene is tolerable only with Davison and Harper's voiceover commentary -- but the DVD doesn't inform that this track exists over the featurettes as well as over the story. Similarly, the extended scene (featuring just 20 seonds of new material) works best with this commentary. The photo gallery and TV trailer strike of tokenism.
Better is a featurette narrated by (the late) Gable, describing the creation of Sharaz Jek: possibly the best original featurette on a DW disc thus far.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Whats of Where? Dec 29 2003
By babydoh
Okay, first of all, I'd better start off by saying that no die-hard science fiction fan is going to mark this review "helpful". In fact, I suggest those of you who fall under that category stop reading this right now.
I am not and have never been a big sci-fi fan, but I have always been an almost ridiculously devoted fan of Peter Davison (ever since first seeing him in All Creatures Great & Small when I was six years old). As a result, I have no idea what was actually going on in this story, I just know that I loved watching him in it. I enjoyed watching Nicola Bryant (Peri) as well, though she didn't have a very good hold on her American accent!
To sum up: this would be an excellent buy for any sci-fi or Dr. Who fan - or those of you who are like me, and would gladly watch a DVD of Peter Davison staring at a blank wall. (With audio commentary, perhaps?) :-)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Can this be death?" Dec 27 2002
The Doctor and Peri land on Androzani Minor, only to get caught in the middle of a war. Everyone believes that they're gunrunners for Sharez Jek or goverment spies. In the end, the fifth incarnation of the Doctor will not survive.
Possibly the best Davison serial, and one of the best serials from the JNT era. JNT recruited long-time Who writer Robert Holmes to pen the last Fifth Doctor story, his familiarity with the program helps tremendously. The production is pretty good, the camera angels and fade-in & out edits give it style, and the gritty atmosphere and high drama rank it above many Who adventures.
Also, the DVD itself is magnificent. The Doctor Who Restoration Team did an admirable job with the transfer and the wonderful extras. Their work on Who VHS and DVD releases have been Top Notch.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Change My Dear, and Not a Moment Too Soon April 23 2002
Caves of Androzani is generally regarded as one of the best stories in the 26 year run of Doctor Who; and you know what? It is. It's a masterpiece of style, plot, acting, directing and damned fine writing.
Is there any point going into the plot? If you're on this page, you probably know everything about the story anyway so i won't bother. What I will discuss are the extras; these are what make DVDs what they are and unlike many TV shows the BBC knows exactly how to treat their Doctor Who fans. Steve Roberts and the chaps of the restoration team have yet again done a fabulous job in remastering the video, putting together a superb commentary track and a host of interviews and featurettes. These are what makes Who DVDs worth plonking down your [price] for.
Some people have complained about the slow release schedule of these DVDs, but let me ask you, would you prefer vanilla DVDs every month or 6 jam-packed with features event DVDs a year. I know which I prefer.
So raise a pint to Steve and the boys; visit their fabulous website at restoration-team.co.uk and if you work for the people who put out X-Files, Buffy and Star Trek DVDs show them what can be done with a DVD of a nearly 20 year old tv show.
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Most recent customer reviews
This is an excellent dvd. One of the best of the tv series. The episode format is ok but if the BBC could release the Doctor Who series with an omnibus version on the same dvd... Read more
Published on May 12 2004 by Kevin Harty
5.0 out of 5 stars A distinguished farewell story for the Fifth Doctor
The Fifth Doctor and Peri's trip to the sandy Androzani Minor turns out to be a fateful and intensely eventful one in this Dune meets The Phantom of the Opera story. Read more
Published on Feb. 24 2004 by Daniel J. Hamlow
5.0 out of 5 stars Caves of Androzani =Magical Moment of My Youth!!!
Don't want to take up too much room here for this other than to say that this is one of the most satisfying Doctor Who adventures there is. Read more
Published on Dec 30 2003 by "maxwellfinancial3"
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of Peter Davison
This story might be the best 5th Doctor story, it marks the end of the Davison era and the beginning of the Colin Baker era. Very good!
Published on May 13 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Six out of five stars
One of the truly great stories from possibly the best television show of all time.
Published on March 26 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Could this be death?
On so many levels this is the finest Who story and the most memorable of them all when PBS used to show them in serial. Read more
Published on March 21 2003 by G. Purkis
2.0 out of 5 stars Bafflingly overrated
I have no clue why 'Caves of Androzani' is such a beloved episode. I just watched the DVD to refresh my memory and it was just as I recalled when I first saw it, a pointless story... Read more
Published on March 8 2003 by J. Kravitz
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Peter Davison story!
In this 4 part story Davison performes great and the story is getting better and better every time you watch it.
A must have for every Doctor Who fan.
Published on Sept. 4 2002 by "wkjun"
4.0 out of 5 stars The worst is yet to come.
I admit it. I was brought up on Doctor Who and I liked all of them util this one. He was not THAT bad though, not compared to who would follow. Read more
Published on July 9 2002 by Junglies
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Have for Every Sci-Fi Fan
What's not to like? A compelling plot, excellent acting, beautifully designed sets and lighting, terrific location work, lots of terrific bad guys, plenty of shooting, and... Read more
Published on June 12 2002 by Eric Heady
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