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Doctor Who: The Robots of Death

1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Actors: Various
  • Directors: Various
  • Format: AC-3, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Special Edition
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: March 13 2012
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • ASIN: B005SH63H4
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,930 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

Doctor Who: Robots of Death, The: Special Edition (DVD)

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Tom Baker at his best and one of the best stories from his era. Would you like a Jelly baby?
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 19 reviews
21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
about time this great Who story got some decent dvd extras Dec 6 2011
By feedthecat - Published on
When this superb four episode story from the last of the Hinchcliffe-Holmes years of Tom Baker's stint as the fourth Doctor was first released on dvd years ago (in 2000 or 2001 ~ it was one of the first on disc in any event), the extras were pretty much limited to (audio) commentary from producer Hinchcliffe and writer Chris Boucher and a photo gallery. Guess they just figured that we Who fans would be so estatic about no longer having to watch our worn VHS tapes any more that we wouldn't mind being gypped on the "special features".

After years of waiting, we're finally being given a remastered version of 1977's THE ROBOTS OF DEATH and one that comes with some of the extras that we've come to expect, such as a new commentary track - featuring Baker, Louise Jameson ("Leela"), Pamela Salem ("Toos"), and director Michael Briant - plus the one from the original dvd release, a "making of" doc entitled "The Sandmine Murders", and another doc concerning "robophobia" - that is, if this US/Canada re-release has the same extras as the Special Edition that's part of the REVISITATIONS 3 box set that will be released in the UK also next year (that set also includes new editions of THE THREE DOCTORS and THE TOMB OF THE CYBERMEN). Might also note that the price of this single disc SPECIAL EDITION of Doctor Who story #90 is comparable to some of the other dvd re-releases.

As for the plot ... well, I don't want to give too much away to Amazon shoppers who've never seen this all time Who classic, so I'll just state that the Doctor and his new "companion" Leela (the Doctor just met the knife-wielding, Janis thorn-throwing member of the tribe called "The Sevateem" in the previous story, "The Face of Evil") arrive on a sandmining vehicle operating on an uninhabited planet and soon find themselves under suspicion for a crewmember's murder. While the Doctor and Leela are a treat to watch in action and the various crewmembers prove a diverse and interesting cast of characters, it's the robots who steal the show, not only for their soft, dulcet voices and striking design, but also for the chilling manner that they ... well, as I said, don't wanna give too much away. Enjoy.

Incidentally, while it's nice that BBC Video/2 Entertain is releasing new, special editions of many Who classics with better picture quality and the addition of Making Of docs, I, personally, wd have preferred if they had first turned their attention to releasing stories that have YET to be put out on dvd, such as "The Daemons" (Story 59). Just my "two cents".
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
One of My Favorite Fourth Doctor Stories July 4 2014
By Keitheaux - Published on
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This Fourth Doctor and Leela adventure takes place in the future on a large sand-miner on an alien world. The small human crew is aided by a larger number of robots that are the basic labor force of their future society. Then a crewman is murdered at the same time the Doctor and Leela arrive. Who did this? It had to be a human, didn't it? Robots can't harm people of course . . .

This special edition has a number special features including a "making of" and a humorous look at the history of robots. The baroque interior sets of the future sand-miner and the excellent consumes and make-up give this a very different and attractive visual appearance. How this came to be was well explained in the making-of special.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Seeking the "Best Of" Early Dr. Who June 21 2014
By Tinfoot - Published on
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This was actually the first time I have watched this story, having missed it as a kid and only recently bought it for my collection, so I come to it with a relatively fresh perspective.

I have been watching my Tom Baker collection one by one in sequence from the beginning, ROBOT (Story 75), with an eye towards seeking out the best of early Dr. Who... and THE ROBOTS OF DEATH is definitely not one. In fact, in brutal honesty, this is the first "mediocre" adventure out of the 16 serials so far for two very particular reasons:

● Those hats! Jeeze, as much as the art deco settings are wonderful to look at, those crazy hats upstage EVERYTHING. It's like passing by a bad accident, you struggle to keep your eyes away from focusing on it. It's an actual relief towards the end when the remaining crew is running around without them on. Even the players made obliquely unhappy references to them in the documentaries and commentaries (there are two separate commentary tracks on this edition).

● The Mine Crawler captain, Russell Hunter, and the baddie, David Collings, give very creditable performances. However, the rest of the crew act in the most theatrically melodramatic way that it makes even me cringe. It -really- is over the top, and nothing in the preceding 15 serials can compare, not even the wooden performance by the Court Astrologer in THE MASQUE OF MANDRAGORA. One of the truly sparkling aspects of all the adventures, in spite of a beggarly BBC budget, is the awe inspiring, highly accomplished actors and actresses that jumped for even a small role in Dr. Who- yet in this particular case, I think Television Presence was subsumed in Stage Exaggeration.

All the other elements are good (well, maybe not those robot shoes): plot, pacing, settings, subtle details galore. Certainly get THE ROBOTS OF DEATH for a collection, but if simply seeking the best of early Dr. Who, skip this and head directly to the next serial, the seminal THE TALONS OF WENG-CHIANG.
12 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Revisitation 3 - 2|enteratin unsuitable for upgrade. Delete. Delete. Delete. Feb. 28 2012
By Phil Rosenbach - Published on
Well here's another mixed bag of nuts for you to consume, and hopefully you won't have an allergic reaction from ingesting this. I'm not going to summarize these stories since any fan already knows them, and there is already enough redundant information available for those unfamiliar with this release.

I received this as a box set, Revisitation 3, and so I am posting this general review for all three singular releases since all the information is more or less the same for all three.

To be fair, when it comes to picture and sound restoration, these have been significantly improved, and for many people, this alone makes these worth the purchase. But when it comes down to the specials, I'm a tough nut to crack. While yes, there has been some new bonus features added, some of the bonus features from the previous releases were omitted. So if you're getting this new set, and want to have all the bonus material that has been released, DON'T SELL YOUR OLDER RELEASES. Many of the recent DVD releases have been far short of impressive for bonus features, so not including everything from prior releases with new material is just sad. Also, if anyone is a geek about the text commentary like I am, these are usually up-dated in the Revisitation sets, but the originals are also omitted. Personally, I want it all. Just because the information on these previously released text commentaries are old, it doesn't make them any less interesting. After all, both new and old audio commentaries are available on the new releases when applicable, so why leave out an older text commentary? Can we say "marketing ploy?"

Something else that bothers me is that while it's fantastic to see these restored with better picture and sound, why doesn't 2|entertain first focus on releasing all the other previously unreleased stories, before re-releasing these stories? I would think that you should crawl, then walk, then fly. But these releases are more like crawling, then walking, then going back to crawling, but at a faster pace.

And finally, can we PLEASE get rid of Toby Hadoke? There has to be someone, ANYONE, who was directly part of these stories that can be utilized for commentaries and special features. I would give my walnuts to never hear or see him on future releases.

My bottom line is, that while the stories get five stars, the few additional extras, and lack of including some previous extras, make brings it down to 2 to 3 three stars, so that's why I'm giving this overall package a 4 star rating. Perhaps the Re-re-release will have all this, current and previously released material, with some more new bonus material.

Please let me know if this review is helpful to you, and please tell me your opinions on my review so that I can hopefully improve upon my reviews for future reviews. Thank you for taking the time to read this and consider my opinion.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Doctor Who: Robots of Death: Still Creepy... March 24 2012
By KBC - Published on
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The Robots of Death (Special Edition).
Notes for consideration:
1. I am a very nostalgia-driven fan of Tom Baker as Dr. Who. I am also a fan of scripts and decent dialogue. I do like the new series, but feel it is (surprisingly) hurt by the lack of serialization.
2. Many of the considerations of this story have weathered well and show more imagination than many recent science fiction puff pieces being produced with staggering budgets; however, someone unaquainted with older productions like this need to be prepared for "stagey-ness" and tiny budgets.
3. This is an excellent Dr. Who homage to Isaac Asimov's robot treatments (My words, not theirs).
4. The "robophobia" extra is very cute, but the production interviews are awesome.