|selected from TV Zone #136|
Reviews online this month (ratings given
are out of 10):
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|THE DALEKS (REMASTERED)||Rating:9|
|BBC Video, Cert U
|VHS PAL, Out 26 February 2001
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| Theyre back, and its clear that theyre just
It is a strange aspect of Doctor Who fans, and maybe fans of other programmes, that there are supposedly some absolutes concerning the object of their appreciation.For instance, some stories are recognized as being classic, and others as being beyond all hope. Its almost as if nobody is allowed to like them! As with the old chestnut of Who having wobbly sets just watch Fawlty Towers to see this was not unique so another complete myth is that the old black and white stories were dark, gloomy and hardly watchable. Nothing could be further from the truth and if you want to see how the programme would have been seen, take a look at the DVD releases of Twilight Zone, they contain excellent video recordings made three years before Doctor Who started.
With this new release of the second Doctor Who story, we are offered a re-mastered version of the recordings made on film from the original 1963 video tapes. Although not reaching the quality of the originals, they are nevertheless a vast improvement on anything we have seen released before and are impressive indeed. There is perhaps what appears to be a slight tendency for the picture to look over-sharpened, but this is probably more a consequence of the source material.
The big mystery is why something as good as this was not released on DVD. It deserves to be. It is also a shame that we have been deprived of these excellent versions for so long. Some time ago BBC Worldwide had intended to release this story and the equally excellent re-mastered preceding and following stories in a box set, but a misguided vocal minority foolishly complained, arguing that they did not want to pay for the two episodes included that had previously been unreleased. A shame they could not realize that these new copies are almost like watching new episodes.
The story itself? OK, I give in, it is a classic. This is simply good television drama, asking the viewer to think, assuming he or she can, and providing a story with intelligence and thought.
|BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER|
|SEASON FOUR BOX SET - PART 2||Rating: 7|
|20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
||Cert: 15 Out: 12 February 2001 ASIN: B000056HS5||Reviewed by
Having established the Initiative as the fourth seasons focus, this back half of Buffys first college year succeeds best when it steps away from that core theme.
Take this sets delightful overture, A New Man: the sidelined Giles becomes an unintelligible demon courtesy of wicked Ethan Rayne, in an energetic diversion which reveals many underlying tensions. Giles antipathy towards Buffys new mentor proves short-lived, since The I in Team sees Professor Walsh overcome by her own creation, Adam. Walshs willingness to sacrifice Buffy for the Initiatives good is thrilling here, but diluted by later events. For example, Goodbye Iowa, a turgid (by Sunnydale standards) exploration of Riley and Adams reactions to the Professors demise, lacks both dexterity and intensity. Yet the thrills resume promptly when rogue slayer Faith reawakens in This Years Girl. By the time a staggering plot-device activates its cliffhanger, weve had an exhilarating hour.
Tape Two resumes with Buffy and Faiths forced body-swap in full effect, eliciting superb work from Dushku and Gellar, their reversed portrayers. Still, Who Are You? is no one-trick runaround, skilfully setting Faith on the tortuous road to redemption. Equally audacious, but funnier, is Superstar, which drops us into an alternate Sunnydale where the once-suicidal Jonathan is master of all. Marvellous character details, but no marvel overall. With its poorly-handled frat-house phenomena, Where the Wild Things Are is this tapes makeweight, unless you believe in the intensity of Buffy and Rileys passion (but few fans seem to). New Moon Rising restores the quality threshold with a sensitive, bittersweet exploration of unfinished business between Oz and Willow, complicated by Tara and the Initiative.
So to the seasons concluding trio. The Yoko Factor sees Spike playing some clever mind games to fracture the Scooby Gang, without wholly convincing results. Angels brief return - and face-off with Riley - is more effective. Primeval surprisingly concludes our business with Adam and the Initiative, in arguably the series most action-packed and visually dynamic hour yet. Reuniting the gang convincingly is its other triumph. The seasons coda is the indescribably rich four-part dreamworld of Restless, which rewards repeated viewing so much that it almost makes this sets purchase necessary all by itself.
© Visual Imagination Ltd 2000. Not for reproduction