|selected from TV Zone #135|
Reviews online this month (ratings given are out of 10)
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|SPEARHEAD FROM SPACE||Rating: 10|
|BBC DVD, Cat: BBCDVD1033||Out 29 January 2001
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| Plastic Fantastic
The third Doctor Who DVD is a sound investment for BBC Worldwide. Spearhead from Space ranks in most fans Top 10 stories, a slick, well-structured tale that introduces Jon Pertwee as the exiled third Doctor. Its got the lot: UNIT, stunts, a cool non-blinking villain, and the Autons, probably the shows creepiest monsters ever.
This is an impressive transfer of a good print, although some reverb on the audio and poor lighting must be attributed to the productions vintage. The DVD has a clip-tastic menu (which actually becomes irritating as it loops), and theres a choice of extra material which rivals, and actually exceeds, releases of many films.
Trailers for recent BBC2 repeats are included (loud, thrashy, and obviously tailored for a yoof audience), along with the droll custom-made preview for the Doctor Who night. Theres an extensive gallery of over four dozen photographs, including press call pictures of Pertwee, many gallery images, and a few episodic. Some will be familiar, but many had never been published before.
The UNIT Recruitment Film is a tongue-in-cheek montage of excerpts from the shows action hey-day. It outstays its welcome, but does allow us to gauge how each included story might look on DVD
In addition to experiencing Spearhead as transmitted, viewers can also select a text option, which provides on-screen information throughout all four episodes. An idea apparently unique to Who DVDs, its an excellent way of relaying production information, although its use is sporadic and inconsistent. There are long gaps, some obvious opportunities for trivia are missed, and do we really care if a particular shot was used later as a clip in Mawdryn Undead? Nevertheless, its an interesting and worthy experiment worth repeating.
Nicholas Courtney and Caroline John collaborate on the commentary track, and their ability to keep chatting for 90 minutes is admirable. Thirty years have passed since they filmed this story, but their memories are better than they think, and its often fun just observing their reactions as viewers (Snotty-nosed so-and-so says John of her character, more than once). Best of all, though, is Courtneys observation of the file on the Brigadiers shelf. Yup, its got a big X on it
|BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER|
|THE BOARD GAME||Rating: 5|
|Sarah Prescot Games
||Find it at amazon.co.uk above||Reviewed by
To adequately test the Buffy The Vampire Slayer board game, five of the TV Zone staff (Lee, Tom, Richard, myself and interloper Grant) were enlisted to play it and determine just how easy or difficult it was. Like a cross between Cluedo and Fighting Fantasy books, the game involves each player having a colour and character that the other players must try to uncover by moving any playing piece around the board.
This eventually leads to combat in one of the eight location squares, in which one by one people are eliminated from the game. Toms challenge to Grant didnt go well as Grant was elsewhere. Unless youve got a Fate card which means you can take over someone elses character, offered Tom. And have you? No, Grant admitted. A thought struck him: Does that mean everyones going to start moving their own pieces and its going to be really obvious? In theory, if you know who Grant is, you can move him to you and then take him out of the game by fighting him, I suggested, to a chorus of understanding aaaaah!s. Paul in sudden penny drops shock, I admitted.
Finally Tom got his chance to enter a fight with Grant, who was revealed, perhaps surprisingly, as Cordelia, featuring a grand combat total of two to Toms (the vampiric Master) 10. Grant was unceremoniously chucked out of the game. This is just really unfair, noted Tom, because if youre a crap character like Grant is, you just get your ass kicked. I could beat Willow at night, said Grant whod obviously now drifted off into a fantasy world.
How to overcome this problem was shortly demonstrated by Lee, who when attacked proclaimed Summon an Ally and enlisted my (Buffy) aid. Checking his Fate cards for protection, Toms final words before his defeat were, Oh, this cant prevent Summon an Ally. B******s. As the game reached its end, the final verdict was that the board game is inherently flawed, but can kind of work. Play a few games of it and you might discover theres a lot of strategy involved.
© Visual Imagination Ltd 2000. Not for reproduction