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PHOTOGRAPHY

DOCTOR WHO: FRONTIER IN SPACE

DVD Review by David Blackwell

 

DETAILS:  143 minutes (two-disc release), audio commentary, production notes track, featurettes, Roger Delgado bio, making-of documentary, photo gallery, PDF materials

VIDEO: 1.33:1 (Full Frame)

AUDIO: English 2.0 Mono

Subtitles: English

 

STUDIO:  BBC/ 2 entertain/ Warner Home Video

RELEASE DATE:  3-2-2010

The Third Doctor is my favorite doctor of the series.   It is also something about the stories during the Jon Pertwee run that portray a realism and sophistication that some of the other Doctor runs didn’t.   FRONTIER IN SPACE is one of my favorite DOCTOR WHO stories from the series and the Pertwee run as The Doctor.   The story reflects the Cold War mentality of the 1970s while placing it in the context of a futuristic sci-fi story which is the first part of a two-part story (with PLANET OF THE DALEKS being the inferior second part to the brilliant FRONTIER IN SPACE).  Malcolm Hulke, a communist writer, who has written several great Doctor Who stories, manages to help make this story fantastic.   The rest is up to the actors, direction, and what the production crew can do with a limited budget compared to what the bigger budget new stories now being made.   The Draconians are a noble lizard race which stand out as one of the best alien races to be featured in DOCTOR WHO (too bad they only showed up once).

 

In FRONTIER IN SPACE, the TARDIS lands on an Earth Empire spaceship in the 26th century.  They end up getting caught up in the increasing tensions between Earth and Draconia which is being pushed by a third party that wants a war.  This third party is using a fear machine that makes the Ogrons appear as humans or Draconians through hypnosis.   The Doctor and Jo are thought to be Draconian spies by the Earth military forces.  The Draconians try to kidnap the Doctor and Jo, and even the Ogrons try it.   The Doctor ends up to getting sent to a lunar prison.   Then the person who is behind the hypnosis device shows up and it is an old enemy who is working with another old enemy of the Doctor’s.  

 

FRONTIER IN SPACE is a mix of politics and paranoia that leads into adventure and action.   The final episode sets the stage for the six part PLANET OF THE DALEKS.  I always thought FRONTIER IN SPACE was one of the better written stories of the Third Doctor run of stories and sadly it is the last appearance of Roger Delgado as The Master.  This story is the high point of season 10.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES:

The first disc has a production notes subtitle track which gives info on the making of the story in addition to pointing out the obvious gaffs that you can see in the story (wires on the space suit and the hand helping the spaceship hatch open).  Also the episodes have an audio commentary track by Katy Manning (Jo Grant), producer Barry Letts, and script editor Terrance Dicks- moderated by Clayton Hickman

 

The second disc has several featurettes, a photo gallery, an Easter egg, and PDF materials for a DVD-ROM.

PERFECT SCENARIO: LOST FRONTIER has a fictional future scenario smith named Zed explores FRONTIER IN SPACE looking for inspiration and it features interviews with cast and crew.

THE SPACE WAR is an 18 minute making-of documentary that has the cast and crew remembers the story and how it was to make it (and how they did it).

STRIPPED FOR ACTION: THE THIRD DOCTOR is a retrospective of the Third Doctor comic strips that ran in TV Comic and Countdown.

ROGER DELGADO: THE MASTER- a 32 minute biography that explores his life and career through his friends and various clips.  Also you get to know about the last Master story that was planned before Delgado’s untimely death in a car accident while in Turkey.   Also on the second disc are an Easter egg, a photo gallery, and PDF materials (you can access on a DVD-Rom).

 

FINAL ANALYSIS:  DOCTOR WHO- FRONTIER IN SPACE is presented in a two story set (the other story is PLANET OF THE DALEKS) known as THE DALEK WAR.  I think it is the better of the two stories in the set due to the many themes and conflicts running through it brought out by Malcolm Hulke’s excellent writing.   Also check out the DVD extras.

 

This DVD review is (c)3-10-2010/ 3-12-2010 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.  Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com