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4.0 out of 5 stars Unique and Original Concept for Doctor Who, Feb. 19 2004
By 
J. Fuchs "jax76" (Los Angeles, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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I won't repeat the plot here since it's all over these reviews, but I will say that the notion of a peaceful world, held together by an elected "Keeper" who serves for thousands of years and keeps the planet good by tapping into a techologically created "source" is quite a good one. This series is particularly well-acted, featuring, in particular, a notable appearance by Anthony Ainsley (who would go on to play the Master in future episodes) as all-around good guy, Tremas, who breaks from the council of elders to help the Doctor and his companions do the right thing. In this series we also get to meet Nyssa, who will become a regular after this episode.
The costumes and sets in this series were particularly good, and the baddie in these episodes, the Melkor, is especially creepy, both due to his powers and to the fact that he is not what he seems to be. As usual, there are a few lapses in logic and the Doctor, as is frequent in the Tom Baker years, manages to solve a few too many predicaments with overly convenient technology, but the suspense holds throughout and the ending sets up the pathos for the next series, "Logopolis," which is the final Tom Baker series. Much has been made about how Tom Baker seemed to walk through episodes and get overly jokey near the end of his tenure, but in this series and "Logopolis," Tom Baker shows some of his best work. Guess he wanted to go out on a high note.
Absolute must viewing before seeing "Logopolis."
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5.0 out of 5 stars Long live the Melkor!, Sept. 19 2003
By 
Michael Christy (Henderson, NV United States) - See all my reviews
This story is set on the happy and peaceful planet of Traken. Nothing bad happens here but evil does occasionally appear, where it is eventually transferred into good or just disappears. The great keeper appears inside the Tartus at the beginning of the story, which tells anyone who knows the Doctors Tartus that something big is about to happen. The Keeper warns the Doctor about a growing evil on Traken and how this evil will destroy their world without his help. Of course, the good Doctor cannot resist interferring and heads for Traken. Once there, the Doctor is once again set up for a crime he did not commit and lands into custody while his comrade, Adric attempts to help. This story is the first episode for a new travelling companion, Nyssa. She is the daughter of the to be elected Keeper of Traken. She is as brilliant as Adric when it comes to contraptions and does her best to aid Adric in helping the Doctor to get out of yet another pickle. This story again involves the master who disguised as the Melkor (Melkor is what everyone on Traken calls anything that is evil), which in this story is a statue with red glowing eyes. The master wants to regenerate into the Keepership and repower himself. He almost succeeds at it too. This story is one of my favorites and includes the Master in his most hideous form, which I really love. hehehehe. I like him all grossed out! Buy and add this to your collection and you will have made a really great choice.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Beginning of the end of the Tom Baker era., Jan. 9 2003
By 
Daniel J. Hamlow (Narita, Japan) - See all my reviews
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Another trilogy comes hot on the heels of the E-Space trilogy, which saw the debut of Adric and the departure of Romana and K9. The next transition paves the way for new companions and in Castrovalva, a new Doctor.
The Keeper Of Traken, the Fourth Doctor's penultimate story, is the first story of this second transition and involves the Doctor and Adric, now back in normal space, invited to Traken at the behest of the Keeper, the powerful inwho serves as the organizing principle of the Traken Union. What is the Traken Union? It's "a whole empire held together by people being terribly nice to each other," where "evil just shrivels up and dies." Pity something like that doesn't exist on Earth. The Keeper, now nearing the end of his reign, feels some kind of evil coming to Traken, and it somehow involves three good people--Consul Tremas, his new wife Kassia, also a Consul, and his daughter from his previous marriage, Nyssa.
There's also the Melkur, what Trakenites call evil beings who are trapped upon landing on Traken, calcify, and pass harmlessly through the soil. This Melkur, a white statue with an angular face, seems to be taking its time dying.
On Traken, the Doctor and Adric, with aid from Tremas and Nyssa, get caught up investigating a mysterious force whose profile pattern is somehow familiar. By episode 2, it's clear that there's more to the Melkur. In fact, it may be more than just a statue. To quote the text on the video sleeve, "the Doctor smells a rat of the oldest kind."
One thing that gives me pause is the character of Proctor Neman. Clearly, Traken's powers to refute evil do not extend to people who take bribes, as Neman does. Another point of interest is the chaos and omens that Trakenites attribute with the Keeper's imminent demise. Things waver between "benevolent wisdom versus irrational fears and intuition."
Sarah Sutton shines in her debut as Nyssa, who's established as scientifically adept, a good partner to Adric. Anthony Ainley (Tremas) also debuts in the first in a series of recurring roles in the series. Denis Carey (the Keeper) played Professor Chronotis in the Who story Shada and later the old man in the Who story Timelash. John Woodnutt, who plays Consul Seron, complete in a hairdo that makes him look like an elderly William Shakespeare, also had previous Who appearances: Spearhead From Space (Hibbert) and Frontier In Space (the Draconian Emperor).
Tom Baker's his light-hearted self. In the beginning, when Adric points out that "a lot of time, you don't really make a lot of sense." the Doctor says, "Ahh! Oh, you've noticed that, have you?"
The concept of a planet of harmony is interesting, but unfortunately, we see it in a time of transition. Strong characterizations by the supporting players give life to this story. Oh, and there's a twist ending in the final minute of this story carried through to the next story.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A fine beginning to a 'trilogy', Dec 27 2001
By 
Sarah Hadley "I'm a graduate student and Engl... (Murfreesboro, Tennessee USA) - See all my reviews
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Season 18 continues on a definite high. Although the story is fairly traditional, certain points make it a much more interesting set of episodes than others of its kind. For one, the planet of Traken and its inhabitants are given some culture...not extending beyond the most elite of elite, but it's _something_ anyway. The idea of the Source, with the Keeper and Consuls, is actually a science fiction sort of concept, rarely seen in "Doctor Who" (although this season, more than any other, would feature such ideas). The ending, too, is very nice, and for viewers of the time must have been quite a shock.
The acting is also quite good. Tom Baker is definitely on-form, although slightly more light-hearted than in the last few stories, and Matthew Waterhouse's companion of Adric hasn't yet become annoying (he will soon enough, early in the next season). Anthony Ainley and Sarah Sutton both do very commendable jobs in their 'guest roles' of Tremas and Nyssa, and without a doubt Geoffrey Beevers steals the show as the villain of the piece.
This story leads into the next two stories, "Logopolis" - the last story of season 18, and Tom Baker's final performance as the Doctor - and "Castrovalva" - season 19's opener, which saw the introduction of Peter Davison's Doctor. These were originally conceived as a sort of linked trilogy, and without giving away how they are connected for those few who don't know, it really does work. Try all three of them today!
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4.0 out of 5 stars "You still dont recognize me do you Doctor!", Sept. 25 2001
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This was the next to last Doctor Who of the Tom Baker era. This episode then leads right into Logopolis. The whole episode has a very eery feel about it. In this epsisode we see a more subdued Tom Baker thanks in part to Jonathan Turners idiocy ( He wanted to make the transition to Peter Davison easier by making Baker more subdued) so Tom Baker looks as though he is at the end of his travels and growing old. Still Bakers performance is the stuff of legends. Faced with his arch enemy the Master is disguise he must find away to defeat him. Anthony Ainley (who will become the master after his body is stolen) is excellent as Tremas. This epsisode sets the tone of whats to come in Logopolis and Castrovalva. Its a very well written and acted story. There is tension all through and keeps you on the edge of your seat. But in a sad note its the beginning of the end for Tom Baker. Everything is being set for the next Doctor so he is as seen through this epsisode( and all his epsisode since announcing he was leaving) as if the Doctor is growing old and weary of his travels through time and space almost looking like he is needing a rest. Unfortunaltely for fans his replacement wasnt much to be proud of at first. You can thank Jonathan nathan turner for that.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A fly caught by honey, April 27 2001
This was an exceptional story with Tom Baker and Antony Ainley as Tremas(who's body is later used for the new insidious Master) The story picks up right after the escape from E-space into N-space(normal space I guess) Beautiful haunting music, sets and costumes add to the feeling of being in another culture on another planet. I rate it 5 stars but Logopolis is better still. The compaginion gets very annoying in later DW stories. But the Doctor and Tremas as well as the Master(Geoffrey Beavers) steal the show in this one.
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Doctor Who: The Keeper of Traken
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