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TV show review: CONTINUUM season 4

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS:  145 minutes (six part story), audio commentary, production info track, making-of documentary, featurettes, poster gallery, PDF material
VIDEO:  1.33:1 (Full Frame)
AUDIO:  English Mono Dolby Digital
Subtitles:  English SDH

STUDIO:  BBC/ 2entertain/ Warner Bros Home Video
Original Transmission Dates:  4-8-1972 to 5-13-1972 in the UK
DVD RELEASE DATE (North America):  2-8-2011

The Timelords of Gallifrey send a mysterious message container to The Doctor (Jon Pertwee) in UNIT HQ on Earth.   Soon, the Doctor and his companion Jo Grant (Katy Manning) are on their way in the TARDIS to Skybase One orbiting the inhospitable planet Solos in the 30th Century during the decline of the Earth Empire.   The container will open only for the person the Doctor is supposed to locate and deliver it to.   He and Jo must stop an evil Marshal from his attempts to terraform Solos and prevent the independence of Solos.   He also must help Ky (Garrick Hagon) who wants to free his people and find out why his people are mutating (the Marshal says it's a disease the Mutts have).  

THE MUTANTS takes the Doctor and Jo off Earth again for an offworld in the future adventure.   It has the six episode structure which sometimes means the story can be over padded by 50 minutes.   Also a six episode story does allow you to know more of the characters.   The main characters and others are put into peril again and again.  THE MUTANTS does provide commentary on the situation of separation of the blacks in South Africa in the 1970s while providing as a historical commentary on how slow it was for actors from other races than white to get a role in a show.   One black actor does play one of the guards on Skybase One and amazingly doesn't serve as the token minority actor in a show.   Then THE MUTANTS makes social commentary on the ruining of the environment.   This story has lots of things going on in the story in addition to providing an entertaining story from writers Bob Baker and Dave Martin.

the six episodes have an audio commentary (moderated by Nicholas Pegg) with actors Katy Manning, Garrick Hagon, director Christopher Barry, script editor Terrance Dicks, co-writer Bob Baker, special sounds supervisor Brian Hodson and designer Jeremy Bear.  Also the episodes have a subtitle track that provides production notes on the serial from the genius of the story to how people reacted to it.  This track is very informative and even amusing at times when it shows goofs.

MUTT MAD is a 20 minute making of THE MUTANTS and it covers many of the same things revealed in the production notes track and the audio commentary.    RACE AGAINST TIME has Noel Clarke narrates a documentary of the representation of black actors in DOCTOR WHO and British TV.  It took TV a while to catch on with including more black actors and other minorities in TV shows.   

Next is Peter Purves looking at a collection of Doctor Who monsters for a segment of BLUE PETER while DRESSING DOCTOR WHO has an interview with Academy Award-winning costume designer James Acheson recounts the various DOCTOR WHO shows he designed costumes for, how he started, and why he left.   rounding out the extras are a photo gallery and PDF materials that can be accessible through a computer DVD-ROM.

FINAL ANALYSIS:  THE MUTANTS is an overlooked DOCTOR WHO story which is fun and also tackles social issues of its day.   The extras are well-put together and provide a wealth of info.

this DVD review is (c)4-21-2011 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.  send all comments to feedback@enterline-media.com