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Pyramids of Mars

Rating Votes
10
37%
44
9
34%
41
8
18%
22
7
8%
10
6
2%
2
5
0%
0
4
1%
1
3
0%
0
2
0%
0
1
0%
0
Average Rating
8.9
Votes
120
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Writer:
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Latest Community Reviews

From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
10
Plot Rating:
10
Acting Rating:
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Replay Rating:
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Effects Rating:
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Has Prerequisite(s):
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Reviewed By: MercuryReview Date: 11/20/18 1:31 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

One of the finest Doctor Who stories of all time without doubt, this is pure genius throughout.

An Egyptologist, Marcus Scarman, enters an Egyptian tomb in 1911 and is taken over by a powerful being. This being, Sutekh was a God to the ancient Egyptians but it is later revealed that the Egyptian Gods including Sutekh and his brother Horus were actually ultra-powerful alien beings called Osirans. Sutekh is evil and exceptionally powerful. He wants to destroy all intelligent life he considers a threat and he was imprisoned thousands of years before by Horus and hundreds of other 'Gods' who united their powers to defeat him. Sutekh now begins to use Scarman to enable him to finally escape. The Doctor and Sarah arrive in 1911 England where Scarman is returning to his home. They must stop Sutekh or the Earth and many other worlds face destruction.

Sutekh is one of the best villains in Doctor Who. The power and evil shown by him is scarily impressive, The Doctor appears genuinely in fear of him and so is the audience. The sinister realisation of Sutekh himself is brilliant and Gabriel Woolf plays the part incredibly effectively. Those in his power also carry out some tremendously scary and effective scenes of evil. There are too many magnificent scenes to mention in this story and the effects are extremely well done, adding to the impact of many scenes. Just one great example is the smoke emitting from boots and gloves of a creepy black-clad villain as he kills a servant no longer considered useful.

The story itself is genius and the dialogue is marvellous, with so much intelligence and interest imbued in every scene. The acting matches the quality of the material with every main part being played perfectly. Michael Sheard as Laurence Scarman is a particularly interesting, endearing and wonderfully acted part whilst that character is also used to bring out some great insight into The Doctor himself. The dark side of The Doctor is explored fully in this story and light is shed on how he balances care for individuals with an ability to weigh up the 'bigger picture' of what is at stake. There are superb character based scenes across all 4 episodes. There is also a chilling and imagination capturing scene when The Doctor goes forward to 1980 to show Sarah what the Earth will be like if they left without stopping Sutekh. This scene is to prove that Sarah's knowledge (and the audiences) that the world was not destroyed in 1911 is based on facts that can change depending on their actions or lack of action. A scene of massive importance in bedding the whole series in some logical context. Another incredibly good aspect in this story is the exposition. Never in any TV show have motives, actions and events been so effectively and intelligently explained whilst still keeping you entirely captured within the drama.

Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen are perfection and the whole adventure is enthralling in every way. This is a real front-runner to be the best story of all time and it is set within season 13, a contender for best series ever along with season 14.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
7
Plot Rating:
7
Acting Rating:
8
Replay Rating:
5
Effects Rating:
8
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: TheBigChurroReview Date: 6/22/17 11:43 pm
3 out of 3 found this review helpful.

For years, people have praised this as one of the best classic serials, one of the best 4th Doctor stories, a breakthrough in storytelling. I just don't get it. In the 6 or so years i've owned the DVD, i've seen it maybe 4 times, trying to love this story like everybody else but it just doesn't get me. Episodes 1-3 drag, with some good moments mixed in with the boring stuff, Tardis scenes are a highlight, "I'm not a human being, I walk an eternity" and going to see the future in Suhtek's timeline.
Episode 4 is great, it has atmosphere, the stuff between the Doctor and Suhtek is spot on and the Doctor really does feel like an ant before Suhtek's power.
Gabriel Woolf as Suhtek is phenominal and can see why he was brought back for Big Finish and for the New Series as the Beast in series 2.
4 and Sarah Jane are on typical form, some great moments from them.
Overall I just find the Pyramids of Mars to be a very overrated story that I just don't click with like others do :/
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
9
Plot Rating:
9
Acting Rating:
9
Replay Rating:
9
Effects Rating:
9
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: JavierSeventhFanReview Date: 6/4/15 8:57 am
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

With the occasion that this month Big Finish will continue the story of Robert Holmes and Lewis Greifer with the box-set known as The Triumph of Sutekh, i decided to watch the serial that in a few months will comply nothing more nor less than four decades since its TV birth. Life is like this ... Tom Baker is still with us at 81 (even still portraying his 4th Doctor with 8 audios every year), but we lost the lovely Elisabeth Sladen 4 years ago. This review is for you Liz.

The Doctor and Sarah Jane travel back to the present to the headquarters of UNIT; but a strange interference displaces them 70 years before the time where they intended to aarive, landing in the priory that once stood where nowadays sit the headquarters of the organization lead by Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. There lives Professor Marcus Scarman, archaeologist who in one of his expeditions to Egypt, found during a tomb excavation Sutekh, the Egyptian god of destruction. And unfortunately for him, this discovery causes him to get possessed with mind control and become the tool of the deity on Earth, with one goal to achive: release him from the eternal confinement to which he was sentenced by Horus. In order to achieve this, its neccesary to turn off the pyramid on Mars that generates the energy that keeps Sutekh trapped. The journalist knows that the world did not end in 1911, but escape in the TARDIS is not an option: they are in a variable point of time; which gets demonstrated when The Doctor shows her the potential 1980 if they just leave: a desolate planet with a dead sun.

Sutekh is presented (like the rest of Egyptian gods) as a member of the Osirian alien race. He utilises his almost unlimited power to destroy all life in his path for fear that someone one day might be able to stop him. And his cruelty takes little time to surface when people start dying, trapped within the force field surrounding the house. No one is safe ... Even his Egyptian servant,from a family that for generations has venerated this God, and that until then had served him with complete loyalty, suffers a terrible death strangled by Sutekhs new puppet, Professor Scarman ,aided by a squadron of robo-service mummies.

I always say that these stories develop better secondary characters, as they have just over twice as long as a New Who episode : this way its much easier to empathize with them through more dialogue and scenes. In my opinion this formula works so much better than taking 6-8 supporting characters/extras and kill five to six of them (that just say one or two sentences in the whole episode) to see how dangerous the bad guy truly is. Like this, dramatic effect is doubled when get killed.

In this essence, an interesting sub-dynamic is generated for the Fourth Doctor. He is not all smiles and jelly babies: trying to stop the greater evil for the universe causes the loss of a number of lifes during the 4 episodes. Professor Warlock, Scarman's best friend is killed by the mummies (after also being shot and almost bledding out). Laurence Scarman, the younger brother of the archaeologist confronts The Doctor a couple of times, who insist to him that the man inside the house is no longer his brother, only a corpse moved by Sutekh. The poor devil, incredulous when he learns that Marcus has killed his best friends goes face to face with him, thinking there might be something left of the person who he was once, and that he can bring him back. His naiveness and blind brotherly love, and eventually Laurence becomes the next victim. Even Sarah ends up reproaching the TimeLord about his partial coldness towards what is going on: -They just kill a man- To which the Doctor replies: -Five. But they will be millions if Sutekh is released ...-

The final part takes place in the style of The Last Crusade with a chase through doors and corridors filled with puzzles of the pyramid on Mars, when the Doctor is subjected to Sutekhs mind control, and is coerced to carry Scarman in the TARDIS there to turn off the power source. Despite reaching his goal the Doctor, now released from this influence, at the eleventh hour manages to lock the Osiran within the Space-Time corridor that Sutekh is going through to come back, giving him a much more durable sentence than the life expectancy of their race. The last shot shows the mansion on fire, turning history to its original course ...

I dare say that is one of the most original dramatic scripts of the Holmes-Hinchcliffe era and Tom Baker was so comfortable within his Doctor like a fish inside water; but I also like those stories where the companion does leave his side for a bit, becoming are our eyes to see other sides of the plot.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
9
Plot Rating:
9
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
9
Effects Rating:
9
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: adamelijahReview Date: 4/1/15 9:38 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

The Doctor lands in 1911 at an English Priory and finds himself locked in a battle with the Egyptian demigod Sutekh.

This serial is superb. Other than a short cut scene of Laurence Scarman fiddling about, there's not really wasted moments or padding throughout the serial. Every moment is filled with action, suspense, or an appropriate dose of humor. There are frightening moments and Sutekh is a menacing foe for the Doctor to face and is helped by a very creepy atmosphere both at the priory and on Mars. Tom Baker is really superb and is the Doctor at his heroic best. Sarah Jane has some great moments including using a shotgun in one scene.

With a good mix of humor and terror, this is a top notch Doctor Who story.