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Doctor Who: The Twin Dilemma

Alan Barnes , Simon Furman , Marcus Hearn    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 30.98
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Doctor Who: The Twin Dilemma + Doctor Who: Timelash (Story 142) + Doctor Who: Attack of the Cybermen
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When this four-part adventure first appeared in 1984, it was the only thing fans had to go on as their first impression of the new sixth Doctor (Colin Baker) until another season could be produced the next year. Baker gave it his all, drawing on his years as a character actor and frequent villain on British TV to play a manic, possibly schizophrenic, Time Lord immediately after regenerating, quoting Longfellow and nearly strangling his American assistant Peri (Nicola Bryant) at one point. The question was, would he ever settle down? Even by the last frame of this story, viewers couldn't be sure.

Thus, it's a shame such a heady performance couldn't have been engaged with a first-class script. Instead, writer Anthony Stevens, perhaps inspired by a recent garden infestation, pits the Doctor against the less-than-terrifying menace of giant slugs bent on conquering the universe using the computational powers of a pair of twin boys (hence the title). Even the Doctor must agree, saying, "In my time I have been threatened by experts. I don't rate you very highly at all." But through it all, Baker takes center stage, attempting to forge a bond with a skeptical audience (if not Peri) as the new Doctor who may not be as cuddly, warm, or even human, as previous incarnations. TV fixture Kevin McNally makes an early appearance as the young Lt. Hugo Lang, an aggressive space officer who takes his share of lumps during the story. --Ryan K. Johnson


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Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars bizarre!!! May 20 2004
Format:VHS Tape
The story is not as bizarre as fan reaction to it! We have everything from someone who assumes that Eric Saward, who wrote Colin Baker's best story, is to blame for this, to those who think it is total genius, and everything else in between! Sheesh!
Amazing! How can I put this. This story is remarkable in that, which ever way you want to look at it, it is at least entertaining (then again, so was Plan Nine From Outer Space!)and Colin Baker, while pretty painful at times, is also very compelling and engaging a lot of the time. There is also a beautiful turn from the guest star Maurice Denham as Azmeal, a great, great actor who does wonders with the role.
The script is fairly poor, but contains some outrageous and memorable dialog. The game plan, to make this Doctor seem evil and unlikeable and then redeem him gradually, seems ok in theory but the realisation, having him try to throttle Peri, is really off-putting and many think it hurt the show big time. Here I agree, I met teenagers who hated it and thought it sunk the whole series. The slug villain is pretty poor and the production has a tacky look, with a tasteless costume and garish titles at its heart, too detract further. But it is compelling viewing all the same. I cringe at the Doctor being so twisted in parts, but overall, this is contrived, tasteless but hypnotic viewing. Not a flawed classic, but a shonky pantomine with an utterly compelling black heart. It points to the series it was going to become before Michael Grade interefered, a black comedy of the darkest, most garish variety, realised brilliantly in later Bakers like Varos and Revelation. Initially, I loved the costume worn by Colin Baker, but grew tired of it later. But what an expression of individuality in the face of robotic sameness like Cybermen and Daleks.
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Format:VHS Tape
As Whovians know, Doctor Who experienced its decline in the mid-1980's, and eventual cancellation in 1989. I am fairly convinced that it started with The Twin Dilemma and viewers' reaction to it, for in this serial, the bottom quite simply fell out of Doctor Who. I can understand and accept the idea of the Doctor becoming mentally unbalanced and irrational due to instability in a regeneration (this one didn't work well because the poison that killed the Fifth Doctor was so powerful), but the new Sixth Doctor does more: his behavior seems calculated (by the writers) to pointlessly shock and offend as much as possible. Forget his hideous clothing; did the production team think one would be entertained by the Doctor trying to commit murder; indulging in a pathetic display of self-pity, and displaying extreme cowardice before the enemy? The Twin Dilemma is so bad that it became the first Doctor Who video I ever disposed of (the second being The Happiness Patrol). I wish I hadn't bought my own copy, and I hope you don't, either.
Whovians widely agree that the rest of The Twin Dilemma's plot is pointless--basically, the Doctor needs to foil an attempt by locust-like, ravenous aliens from eating every last organic resource on every planet in their reach--so aside from learning why the Sixth Doctor behaves so strangely, which you now know anyway from reading this review, there is not much reason to see The Twin Dilemma.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Debut of the Multicoloured Action Man Jan. 4 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Suffering from post-regenerative trauma worse than he did before (q.v. Castrovalva), he chooses as his new outfit a patchwork orange overcoat, yellow trousers with red stripes, a blue cravat with white polka dots. He also sinks down amid his wardrobe and wails of the "grinding wheels of the universe and the crashing boredom of eternity" before breaking down into mad laughter, and to top it all, he attacks Peri. Seeing that in regenerating he has become "unregenerate," he decides to become a hermit in order to cleanse himself and pilots the TARDIS to the moon of Titan III, where by chance his best teacher, Azmael, has kidnapped twins gifted with mathematical genius in order to procure them for his master Mestor.
The Doctor and Peri also rescue Lieutenant Hugo Lang, space corps commander who was pursuing the twins along with his squad, of which he is the sole survivor. After foiling an attempt to kill them by Noma, one of the two Jocondans assisting Azmael, they go to Joconda, once a beautiful forest world devastated by the attack of Gastropods, giant beings half human/half slug.
The new Doctor seems keen on denouncing his previous self, saying that he had a "feckless charm which wasn't me." On an interesting note, when Peri calls him "Doc," he brings up the memory of the First Doctor in "The Five Doctors": "Kindly refrain from addressing me as Doc, Perpugilliam!" And his remark on becoming "unregenerate" forecasts the Valeyard in the Trial Of A Timelord season.
The new Doctor's outfit fits his personality fine, and Peri's plaid blouse is not bad either--it's Hugo's shiny metallic shirt that fits the epithet "yuck.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Doctor who Twin Dilemma March 16 2014
Format:DVD
Even though Collin Baker is my least favourite of the Doctors, I still like him better than the Doctor who Movie. And this is my favourite Collin Baker story. I like the twins in this story. They remind me of Adric.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.2 out of 5 stars  30 reviews
30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In Defense Of The Sixth Doctor Oct. 26 2009
By Alan Caylow - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Poor Colin Baker, the Sixth Doctor. Over the years, it appears that Baker, a fine actor, and, as far as I'M concerned, a fine Doctor, has become the Rodney Dangerfield of Doctor Who's---he don't get no respect at all (or, at least, not very much). It seems that the Sixth Doctor is not looked back upon with too much fondness for several reasons: his aggressive behavior/bad temper, his very loud wardrobe, and the violent nature of some of his first-season episodes---"Vengeance On Varos" taking place on a planet where people watch "video nasties" on television, "Attack Of The Cybermen" with a main character's hands being crushed by a Cyberman until they bleed (though NOT graphically, unless the sight of fake blood makes you faint), and "Revelation Of The Daleks" with it's various deaths. Throw in an 18-month hiatus dealt to the "Doctor Who" series during Baker's tenure, as well as continuously sagging ratings, and you've got yourself the only actor to ever actually have been *fired* from the role of everyone's favorite Timelord (shame on you Michael Grade, the BBC controller at the time). The BBC then had the audacity to try to get Baker to come back for a final regeneration story so they could "properly" bump off his Doctor---Baker responded by telling the BBC to shove it, and rightfully so. Who could blame him? And now I've just read in Doctor Who Magazine that a recent poll the magazine took has named Colin's debut story, "The Twin Dilemma," the all-time worst Doctor Who story ever, ranking a bottom-of-the-barrel #200 out of 200 stories. With the imminent release of "The Twin Dilemma" on DVD, it's time for THIS Sixth Doctor fan to come to the defense. I'll try to be brief:

I've always liked Colin Baker's Sixth Doctor. In fact, I rank him just behind Jon Pertwee as my all-time favorite Doctor (though Tom Baker, Patrick Troughton and David Tennant are also in my personal Top Five). After Peter Davison's quaint, passive Fifth Doctor (though he was good, especially in his classic finale, "The Caves Of Androzani"), I greatly appreciated that the Sixth Doctor was a tough, take-no-prisoners Timelord. Despite his tetchyness, I still admire the Sixth Doctor for his intelligence, his bravery, and his wit. Had Baker been allowed to play the Doctor longer than a mere two seasons, I'm sure he would've grown in the part even more, and shown us sides to the Sixth Doctor that we hadn't seen yet. Alas, it was not to be, but you can't blame Colin for that. Yes, the Sixth Doctor had a temper---not too unlike William Hartnell's First Doctor, in fact---but he was still a GOOD guy, fighting on the side of GOOD. And don't tell me that the Sixth Doctor never showed Peri any kindness, because he most certainly did. Yes, his temper would briefly flare up every so often, but he would always calm down, and he showed time and time again that he cared about Peri. His friendship with her had certainly grown by the time the events of "The Trial Of A Timelord" happened, so he obviously liked her. So there.

His loud, colorful wardrobe....I liked it! The idea of producer John Nathan Turner was to give the Sixth Doctor a whirlpool costume to suit his whirlpool personality, and I think it worked quite well. I never liked the question marks on the Doctor's collar, but JNT started that with Tom Baker, so JNT has to take the blame for that.

Finally, the violent nature of some of the Sixth Doctor's adventures....I LIKED that the "Doctor Who" series had gotten tougher with Colin Baker at the helm. It showed that the makers of "Doctor Who" were not afraid to take some risks with the series. However, I still maintain that Colin Baker's era was not, I repeat, NOT as graphic as many have been led to believe. I've seen far worse things on TV then a bloodied pair of hands, believe me.

As for "The Twin Dilemma" itself, I don't believe for one single second that it's the turkey it's been made out to be. Okay, so it may not boast the greatest of scripts, and it may not be a terribly *exciting* story, but I still find the story very entertaining, the characters interesting, the look and feel of it quite handsome, and the performances of the cast excellent, with Colin Baker's fresh, colorful performance as the new Doctor at the center.

Peter Davison, as good as he was, was at times a bit too soft. Davison also wasn't served well by his writers, who usually had his Fifth Doctor respond with "I don't know" virtually every time a companion asked him what they should do (and you know a Doctor is in serious trouble, writing-wise, when a companion seems to be more intelligent than he is---in Peter Davison's case, the snotty-nosed Nyssa). Colin Baker's Doctor was unashamedly aggressive, but so is James Bond, and you wouldn't want to mess with him, either. James Bond is still a good guy, fighting on our side. So is Colin Baker's Sixth Doctor. With "The Twin Dilemma," Colin Baker showed that there was a totally new Doctor in town, and totally new in more ways than one. And I like him.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars bizarre!!! May 20 2004
By Adrian Sherlock - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
The story is not as bizarre as fan reaction to it! We have everything from someone who assumes that Eric Saward, who wrote Colin Baker's best story, is to blame for this, to those who think it is total genius, and everything else in between! Sheesh!
Amazing! How can I put this. This story is remarkable in that, which ever way you want to look at it, it is at least entertaining (then again, so was Plan Nine From Outer Space!)and Colin Baker, while pretty painful at times, is also very compelling and engaging a lot of the time. There is also a beautiful turn from the guest star Maurice Denham as Azmeal, a great, great actor who does wonders with the role.
The script is fairly poor, but contains some outrageous and memorable dialog. The game plan, to make this Doctor seem evil and unlikeable and then redeem him gradually, seems ok in theory but the realisation, having him try to throttle Peri, is really off-putting and many think it hurt the show big time. Here I agree, I met teenagers who hated it and thought it sunk the whole series. The slug villain is pretty poor and the production has a tacky look, with a tasteless costume and garish titles at its heart, too detract further. But it is compelling viewing all the same. I cringe at the Doctor being so twisted in parts, but overall, this is contrived, tasteless but hypnotic viewing. Not a flawed classic, but a shonky pantomine with an utterly compelling black heart. It points to the series it was going to become before Michael Grade interefered, a black comedy of the darkest, most garish variety, realised brilliantly in later Bakers like Varos and Revelation. Initially, I loved the costume worn by Colin Baker, but grew tired of it later. But what an expression of individuality in the face of robotic sameness like Cybermen and Daleks. The last true Doctor is malajusted and over the fence, tasteless and annoying at times, but still has something edgey and interesting to offer. If nothing else, watching this will make you be thankful for the tasteful Peter Davison era!!! Overall, it's a bad story with redeeming qualities and is worth watching. But it's not your regular Dr. Who story!
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars "Shhh....The sound of giant slugs..." March 29 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
A very unpopular Who story, and desrevedly so, but for the wrong reasons. Colin Baker doesn't stand a chance with loyal and casual Who viewers in this awful script. Colin Baker tries his best, as the Doctor tries to overcome a regeneration crisis(didn't this happen Castrovalva? Why so soon?). Also, there is a renegade Time Lord, Azmeal, kidnapping mathematical genius twins(wasn't there a renegade Time Lord in Castrovalva?). The problem is not the sixth's Doctor's personna, which is much better in retrospect, it's the contained scenes of insanity(the attempt on Peri's life, whether the Doctor had control or not, was inexcusable in some fans eyes). Also, the giant slugs, bad idea. They almost look like rejects fron "Frontios". This idea really brings out the awfulness of this story. Reading on events of this era, it seems quite apparent that John Nathan-Turner and Eric Saward did not agree on anything when it concerned the sixth Doctor, and so, in the eyes of the BBC and a majority of Fans, the Colin Baker era was doomed. There are some good things about the "Twin Dilemma", the Jacondans make-up, the design and effects are ok, and the Doctor's coat and clothes were ahead of its time. The acting a little sloppy and lazy, but what can you expect from the script?
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Our genius has been abused! Oct. 5 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
With the exception of some horrible dialogue, sleepwalking acting, and the Doctor's insanity scenes, and giant slugs, and the fact that it's two episodes too long, and that it followed one of the greatest Who stories ever, "The Twin Dilemma" is a little tolerable. Well, maybe not for everone's taste, but there's a little fun to be had here, you just have to look real close and sort of squint your eyes...but it's there! There's no awards here for brilliance, but like many bad Who stories, they do have their own kind of charm(sort of). But even Eric Saward should of seen a few signs that maybe this wasn't the right script....
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Am The Doctor, whether you like It, or not Jan. 22 2001
By Jay - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
How dare you critcize the greates Dr Who of all time? This has to be a master piece. I love the over-the-top costumes, excellent dialogue and interesting music. Colin Bakers theatrical performance shines throughout the story, and its interesting to see how Peri copes whith the Doctors excentric outburts. The Jacondans makeup is amazing, the gatropods brilliant, and the XV-773 Freighter is very convincing. Ilove the seen where the Doctor is walking across a scorched, radioactive wasteland whilst reciting Longfellow. All Peri can do is scramble over rocks in High-Heel boots. The Sets are interesting, ranging from the symetry of the twins room to the Jacondan throne room filled with statues of giant frogs and golden insects. Azmaels performance is rivaled only by the doctors, showing his suffering, which makes the end scene where he dies (sorry to give it away) a truly sad moment. One thing I can't understand is why people criticize the twins performance, because they lack character. Don't you get it? They are supposed to be with out emotion, which is why you see them mature throught the story. Overall, The Beast of the Best, be sure to add this video to your collection.
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