Top 5 Things I Don't Need to See on Another Doctor Who DVD

If you follow This Week in Geek at all, you already know that I buy every single Doctor Who DVD that comes down the pipeline, Classic Who as well as New Who. They feature a lot of content, especially the classic DVDs, but not all of it is interesting or entertaining. Here then are the 5 things I wouldn't mind NEVER AGAIN SEEING on a Doctor Who DVD release.

5. Continuity linksThe Classic Who releases cram as much archival footage on the disc as they can. These include presenter voice-over from just before or just after the episodes. While an example for each year or program line-up would be interesting, I don't think we need every single announcement from every single time the episode was shown on every possible BBC channel EVER. Especially when they're all the same. Yes, yes, I can buy Pyramids of Mars on video, leave me alone. I can't bear to listen to the 80s theme starting and ending again.

4. Menu spoilers
While footage is used in the animated menus for Classic Who, the shows are old enough that I don't consider them spoilers. If they would spoil you, just quickly press Play All before it goes too far. The New Who releases are a different story. The Series 4 menus, for example, spoil Davros and the Daleks' ultimate appearance. And Children of Earth uses a scene from the last episode right in its menu. And you HAVE to watch them to get to to the highlightable text! Sure, I'd usually seen the episodes beforehand, but not everyone has, and I lend my sets a lot. I'm spreading the word. I just don't want to spread the spoilers.

3. "You seem to be drifting sweetheart..." Series 4 trailer
Wilf is charming and it's a good trailer overall. Except when every single release, New and Classic, makes you sit through it (or skip through it, in my case). Can't wait for Series 5 to get the DVD treatment to they can start advertising that instead. Come back in a year and I'll be raging about the "What have you got for me this time?" trailer instead, no doubt. And hey, the New Who releases could stand to advertise the Classics a little too. Let's change it up. Even the BBC America ad did.

2. Isolated scores
I guess they have the tracks available, and so they're on there, but who thought Doctor Who 80s electronic fart music was anything anyone would listen to? Painful. And the only feature I do not "flip". And that makes me feel sad.

1. Terrence Dicks' damn Pertwee bouffant story.
There are a couple of stories Doctor Who writer/script editor Terrence Dicks likes to tell on every single release. The most annoying of these is without a doubt the one about telling what year a Jon Pertwee story was filmed in based on how big his bouffant has gotten. Yes, or you could look it up, or having innate Whovian knowledge that tells you that Inferno is in his first year, for example. Every time he tells it, it's like the first time too. Oh, he's so funny, and they all chuckle, though I imagine they've heard it before as well. Sometimes he'll tell it in both the commentary and the making of documentary. Wouldn't want anyone to miss it, after all.

But on the whole, the Classic Who DVDs are some of the best TV DVDs ever, focusing intensely on each story individually, ferreting out old cast and crew members for new interviews, giving things a fun comedic spin, and looking at all facets of the Doctor Who experience. (They should really tackle the novels in some extra some time, just like they did the comic strips. It's sorely lacking.) The New Who stuff is less surprising, and missing some things (the Series 2 TARDISodes, the Graske tv game), so it could definitely learn from its classic cousin.

What are your favorite/least favorite Doctor Who DVD features?


snell said...

I wish the New Who DVDs would give us the full Confidentials, rather than the "Cut-Downs" that we get...

Siskoid said...

Apparently they get a little samey and obnoxious after a while. Certainly, I felt the ones included with the specials were a bit overlong in places.

Still, the New Who DVDs could draw on so much more stuff!

Dan McDaid said...

Some of these gripes are valid, but the complaint about the isolated score is VERY peculiar - how's it hurting you to have that on there? It's easy enough to ignore (indeed, you have to go out of your way to select it), but for those (masochists) who like a bit of Keff McCulloch, it's there if you want it.

And for what it's worth, I bloody love the continuity/trails/idents - they give a flavour of what it was like to see these shows at the time. It's pure nostalgia, of course, and maybe not the sort of thing which would appeal to non-Brits (who won't have quite the same associations). But again, you don't have to look at these things if you don't want to, and for those of who like their Who a bit "rose-tinted", they're a sweet, rather daft optional extra.


Siskoid said...

Don't take the article the wrong way. It's meant to primarily be a humor piece.

I like the continuity announcements too, but many of them (especially the 5th Doctor era's) have been very much the same.

As with the isolated score, I'm merely saying that I don't need them, as per the title, not that they are necessarily valueless as archival material.

Matthew Turnage said...

One of my favorite parts of any Pertwee-era commentary is Terrence Dicks' bouffant line. It wouldn't be the same without it.

I've really enjoyed the "Stripped for Action" docs I've seen so far.

De said...

Here's a preemptive one: I don't want to see Totally Doctor Who on any releases. The occasional Blue Peter bit is fine but Totally Doctor Who was pretty bad.

Siskoid said...

Oh? Describe it.

De said...

Totally Doctor Who was a kids' program that was truly geared to the 7-12 age set. The hosts were obnoxiously hyperactive. It's one thing to be excited but their exuberance reached an entirely new level of annoying. Even my daughter, who was the target audience for this show, didn't want to watch it.

This show was where the 15-minute segments of "The Infinite Quest" animated adventure premiered.

More info on the series here:

LiamKav said...

My favourite bits are any time Davison does commentary. That man is brilliant. Tom Baker is sometimes amusing, but usually doesn't seem overly interested. I haven't got to Colin Baker yet but I'm curious to see how he'll be.

My favourite ever extra is the easter-egg on the second release of The Five Doctors, where they give Tennant, Gardner and Coulson some free booze and sit them down to watch it. Listening to Tennant inner fanboy, combined with them making good jokes about the Fifth Doctor intentionally blocking off the fake Doctor in the group shots, made it a great "hidden" extra.

Siskoid said...

That WAS pretty great, yes.

Colin Baker is, overall, excellent, I think. As is Nicola Bryant. They've made Timelash bearable.

Bill D. said...

I can never sit through the old British program segments that are only tangentially related to Who, especially if they feature an earnest, bespectacled newsreader/presenter type. They're dull, and they make me realize just how spot-on all those Monty Python send-ups of those types were.

Siskoid said...

Something I enjoying hating is those news show interviews where it's obvious the "journalist" doesn't know what they're talking about and in addition to poor research, are condescending to the Who actor.

LiamKav said...

I think it's pretty amazing that they kept the New Who 5 Doctors commentary hidden. Surely that would have been a hell of a bullet point for the back of the box? Or do they reason that only fans buy the classic releases, and they would know about the hidden extras anyway.

"Colin Baker is, overall, excellent, I think."

I imagined he would be. I think one of the biggest mistakes Doctor Who ever made was the treatment of Colin Baker/the Sixth Doctor. Watch that final minute of Androzani, and you'll see Baker do something pretty much no other Doctor has ever done... define their character and grab the audiences attention with 4 lines. If they'd have carried on the mellowing that we saw between his two seasons, softend his costume as time had gone on (maybe to the blue Big Finish outfit), but kept that ego and self-rightiousness, he would have been brilliant.

And, er, regarding the DVDs, I'm not keen on the usage of clips. It often means that by the time you've watched the DVD a few times you are sick of half a dozen scenes. Eg Earthshock and "this one calls himself 'The Doctor'..."

Siskoid said...

Colin was saddled with:
1) The costume (completely wrong)
2) A badly judged first story in which he strangles his companion, followed by a summer hiatus that allowed fandom to polarize.
3) That first story acting as template for writers, so they ramped up the violence and bickering. Why did no one ever tell THEM about the Doctor's mellowing arc?
4) BBC execs that hated the show and were aggressively making it impossible for it to become good.
5) A script editor on record for not liking Colin's casting. The stories he wrote for this era actually sideline the Doctor.

So yeah, badly treated, sometimes maliciously, sometimes negligently.

His performance in the audios (and the better writing - no Pip and Jane!) prove he could have been brilliant.

LiamKav said...

Does Colin do commentary alongside Pip and Jane on any of the DVDs? I wonder what he thinks of them. I think that McCoy does commantary on Time and the Rani alongside them, and they have said that they didn't like McCoy's casting so I can't imagine that goes over too well.

Siskoid said...

Yes, on Vervoids (perhaps others, not in a position to check). They seemed to get on well, and all three have a predilection for "run to your dictionary" dialog.

Bill D. said...

5) A script editor on record for not liking Colin's casting. The stories he wrote for this era actually sideline the Doctor.

Ah, so that explains the endless parade of mercenaries in fetish wear who always seemed to muscle their way into the A plot. Always wondered about that.

In the last few years Colin Baker has gone from one of my least favorite Doctors to one of the ones I like most. Part of it is nostalgia, I'm sure - he was the first Doctor that I saw as he was new - but also I think I appreciate the nuances of his performance a lot better now that I'm older, especially now that I realize what he had to act through on and off the camera to hit that characterization in the first place.

That costume never gets any better, though. I kinda like the jacket, but that combined with the vest and the pants and the spats and the boots and the EVERYTHING... yeesh. Awesome outfit for a clown, terrible one for the Doctor. I got the "Real Time" version of his action figure as an early Father's Day gift, and the outfit definitely works better in just a few subtle shades of blue.

De said...

One last thing: no "Doctor in Distress" video. Please think of the children.

Colin said...

I love the biography documentaries on Robert Holmes and Roger Delgado - more material that focuses on the people, not the stories or other elements within the fiction, would be most welcome here.


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