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Latest Community Reviews

From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
8
Plot Rating:
8
Acting Rating:
8
Replay Rating:
8
Effects Rating:
8
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: adamelijahReview Date: 7/16/16 1:12 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

This rediscovered story is a gem.. The Doctor finds himself thrust into international intrigue over his doppleganger, a scientist called Salamander.

This has some great action scenes, with Mary Peach in particular turning in a strong performance. The story moves along at a solid pace and has several suprises along the way, making for a very smart thriller. The story gives a very good preview of what the best of Doctor Who would be like when Director Barry Letts took over in Season 7.

However, the best of the story is Patrick Troughton's performance as the charismatic and enigmatic Salamander, easily one of the best human villains in Doctor Who. It's a very unique story and we're very fortunate to have it.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
7
Plot Rating:
7
Acting Rating:
8
Replay Rating:
7
Effects Rating:
7
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: adamelijahReview Date: 7/7/16 11:47 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

This story finds the Doctor, Jamie, and Victoria arriving at a base in the 31st Century in the middle of a new ice age that threatens to destroy the Earth. The Doctor is quickly recruited to help, but before he can do anything, an Ice Warrior awakens and kidnaps Victoria.

This is a very good introduction to the Ice Warriors, in the first of their four appearances in the Classic series. Here, they are at their most brutal and intimidating with little of the redeeming characteristics that would emerge in later stories. There's also a very real conflict over the role of computers that's certainly has its moments. There also are some very well-asdone performances.

The story does suffer from padding as we as a few extraneous moments, however overall, it's a wonderful story that sets up the Ice Warriors as a strong and memorable foe for the Doctor
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
9
Plot Rating:
9
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
9
Effects Rating:
10
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: Lord SlarrReview Date: 6/29/16 9:09 am
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

There hasn't been a type of story which has grown in my estimations over the years more than the pure historicals. (For the most part) they feel very sophisticated and intriguing more than some of the more fun Hartnell stories and John Luccarotti was undoubtedly the best writer of said genre writing the amazing Marco Polo, The Aztecs and The Massacre. However in season 2 one my favourite writers, David Whitaker was challenged with writing one. Now bearing in mind that when I was little I hated the surviving episodes, let's get into this review with a more mature perspective than I had back then.

I'm honestly confused as to why I used to hate this, The Crusade is absolutely brilliant! A great atmosphere, a collection of very engaging characters that you actually care about, a love to hate villain and some pretty well researched middle Eastern culture on display. So let's start off with the plot, basically Barbara is captured by Saladin's men while the Doctor must appease King Richard in his court in hopes to get her returned while Ian sets out to find her. That's an incredibly gross summary as theres much more to it than that; lots of friends and enemies are made leading to a pretty rough time for all the characters.

I do enjoy all members of the TARDIS crew in this story with the Doctor constantly using his cunning to twist situations, Viki helping the Doctor in court and steal clothes in Jaffa and Ian even getting knighted which is a great moment (the knight puns at the end of episode 4 are too good). However it's Barbara who really shines in this story with Jacqueline Hill putting in an amazing performance.

I mean she has a really rough time in this episode after getting bound and gagged and taken to Saladin, she makes an enemy of El Aquir who is an evil man who as revenge kidnaps her back to his palace but she escapes from the guards and is taken under the wing of Haroun. Haroun is an incredibly likeable character but also a sad one as his family were either taken or killed by El Aquir other than one of his daughters and the actor really pulls off the role well. I think my favourite moment in the entire story is when Haroun is about to leave the house and hands Barbara the knife and tells her to kill his daughter and herself if the guards find them and Barbara's reaction is while looking at the knife "life is better than this" which I think is not only an eloquent point by David Whitaker about how cheap life was back then but also showing how bad life is under El Aquir as life for them, obviously isn't better than that.

The Doctor and Viki in court is a lot of fun as well! I do sense a lot of chemistry between Hartnell and many members of the cast but specific to this episode its Julian Glover who plays Richard The Lionheart. It's just great watching him in the Kings court and actually getting on very well with a historical figure for once. Jean Marsh also plays an excellent Princess Joanna who really shines when she refuses to marry Saladin's brother, Safadin by threatening to get the pope involved. Julian Glover puts in a very good performance as King Richard too and really manages to convey the weariness and frustration he feels at this point in The Crusade and still manages to be likeable. Plus, there's nothing not to love about William Hartnell and Maureen O'Brien is there.

Ian's quest as a knight is definitely the weakest part of the story but to make up for that it's also the shortest part. Everything feels a bit rushed but nothing really happens other than the events with Ibrahim (who is a very funny character) and Barbara makes her own escape from El Aquir so he just arrives to facilitate it with horses. Theres not much to say other than William Russell is amazing as always, this part just doesn't feel fleshed out.

El Aquir is another one of those characters you love to hate, in a similar vain to Tegana but to a larger extent as El Aquir is far crueller using bribery to make the lives of his enemies miserable. I mean not only do you get to see how cruel he is to Haroun's family but also those menacing words at the episode 3 cliffhanger, "the only pleasure left for you is death. And death is a very long time away". This contributes to make El Aquir one of the best love to hate villains and when *spoilers* Haroun manages to kill him it is a truly satisfying moment which demonstrates Whitaker's amazing writing ability.

To conclude while The Crusade isn't quite perfect with Ian's plot being a bit rushed and bland, its fully worth it for Barbara's captivating ordeal and The Doctor and Viki in court. This episode demonstrates Whitaker's amazing ability as a writer and stands out as one of the best pure historicals.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
9
Plot Rating:
9
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
9
Effects Rating:
10
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: Lord SlarrReview Date: 6/29/16 9:05 am
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Marco Polo was the fourth ever serial made for Doctor Who and is the first proper example of a historical, sure An Unearthly Child was first but it was a bit silly and didn't have much in the way of history as we don't particularly know famous people or events from those times. However here the TARDIS crew encounter the explorer from the 1200s, Marco Polo.

The plot is that Marco Polo wishes to give the TARDIS, or a flying caravan as he knows it to his master, Kubli Khan as a gift so that he may be dismissed and return to his home in Venice but out of guilt take the Doctor and co with him and promises to help them build a new "flying caravan" despite the Doctor insisting that it's an impossibility. As they travel through Asia in Marco Polo's caravan they have to survive the many schemes set out by the War Lord Tegana who is also in the company of Marco Polo on a peace mission and attempt to escape into the TARDIS.

So overall when you look at it, not a lot happens in this story for 7 episodes but it's the amazing level of engagement John Luccarotti creates with his writing that keeps you invested. All of the characters are masterfully written and you'd be mad not to want Marco Polo and Ping-Cho to get on with the TARDIS crew as at points they are really good friends but due to the fact Marco has taken the TARDIS and the schemes set out by Tegana to stir distrust amongst the travellers its not meant to be which adds a lot of dramatic conflict as you as the audience should want them to get in which keeps you thoroughly engaged.

The War Lord Tegana is a brilliant enemy, while the actor is no Kevin Stoney, Derren Nesbitt does the job admirably in bringing the character to life. Tegana is scheming, devious, treacherous and when he gets the chance, bloodthirsty. It's a perfect character which you love to hate as he is the source of all trouble in the story which makes it all the more satisfying when *spoilers* he meets his death at the end.

Marco Polo is also a fantastic character, you really do want to like him as he his a strong sense of morality and anything wrong he does is only out of desperation to see his home again. Him and Ian are really great to watch in this episode as they really get on and I do detect a bit of chemistry between William Russell and Mark Eden which certainly helps a lot. He's a very torn man, stuck in limbo between wanting to do the right thing and wanting to see his home again. In the end it's heartwarming to know in the end he gets to go back.

One of the best parts of this episode other than the excellent character interaction is all of the Chinese culture and history explored. This is edutainment at its finest as you do learn a lot about politics in Asia in the 1200s and their many customs and issues facing the populace, you even get to hear a myth told by Ping-Cho to everyone which was a very nice moment. All the sets and costumes are clearly well researched with lots of love care and attention put into it. Sure some of the outdoor sets look a little shabby like the Gobi desert but you could swear they were filming in China when they are in a building or in a city.

If I was to highlight any problems I'd struggle as the episode is beautifully constructed and one which I really do enjoy. However if may not be to everyones taste as not a whole lot happens on the whole so unless you like the characters you're not going to enjoy it at all. Plus I might add that the first three episodes are definitely stronger than the subsequent four, they're not bad, the drop in quality is very small, but it's there and I'm struggling to think of negatives.

Overall this episode is a beautiful little tale in ancient China which while it may not to be to everyones taste, it's certainly to mine as I love it and consider it the best of the "pure" historical serials.

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