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< The Robots of Death
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The Talons of Weng-Chiang

Rating Votes
10
65%
85
9
12%
16
8
11%
15
7
5%
6
6
2%
3
5
2%
3
4
2%
3
3
0%
0
2
0%
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1
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Average Rating
9.2
Votes
131
Director:
Writer:

Latest Community Reviews

From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
10
Plot Rating:
9
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
10
Effects Rating:
9
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: KamelionReview Date: 5/1/19 4:14 am
5 out of 6 found this review helpful.

The Talons of Weng-Chiang aired on PBS in the US in the early 1980's very shortly after I started to watch Doctor Who as a teen. I did not appreciate this 6 parter at the time perhaps due to the fact that it took over a month and a half to watch it since we only received one episode per week so by the time it was over I was tired of it. In reality I was looking for the barbarian woman with few cloths on hoping to enjoy some rare T&A on TV. Unfortunately Leela never wore the revealing skins and oddly enough the Doctor never wore his scarf either. I did enjoy Jago and Litefoot and at the time I may have actually thought they were Sherlock Holmes and his assistant. It was very difficult for me to understand the British accents. While I did see the humor in the portrayal of Asians it never crossed my mind that it might be racially offensive but since our parents never taught us anything about racism I'm pretty sure I would not have even known the meaning of the word.

In the last 30 years or so I have watched this story again about 10 times and it gets better every time. It is loaded with humor, Tom Baker and his crazy afro just add insult to injury in a really messed up masterpiece. Some television stations at some point quit airing this due to complaints of racism which must have been coming from people with weak self esteem issues whom were also unable to locate the on/off switch on their televisions. What is worse, dated racism or censorship? I would have to say censorship. And worse than censorship were the people taking it upon themselves to assume an agenda of attempting to decide what others can or should watch. That way of thinking shares similar values with historical figures such as Hitler.

One thing that stood out to me was when one of the characters used Opium to relieve the pain of what appeared to be a very serious and possibly fatal injury and it was a rarity at the time in the US for any mention of the use of drugs on TV, at all. Doctor Who itself was under fire by religious groups saying that it's current content was "Obviously designed to be viewed under the influence of psychedelic drugs." This is something I would not be able to fully comprehend until college and by that time VCR's were becoming mainstream so it was possible to record Doctor Who over time and watch the entire hours long stories all together. This story is one of the first in which I did just that.

The Talons of Weng-Chiang back then, today and in the future, did, does and always will have it's lovers and haters. Hat's (and scarf) off to the BBC and the massive cast for a job well done.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
10
Plot Rating:
10
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
10
Effects Rating:
8
Has Prerequisite(s):
Unsure
Reviewed By: MercuryReview Date: 11/30/18 2:10 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

The Doctor and Leela arrive in the 'pea-soup' thick fog of Victorian London and the perfectly realised atmosphere of that period with echoes of Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes makes this one of the great adventures. This is yet another classic from brilliant writer Robert Holmes and director David Maloney. Tom Baker is at his magnificent best and Leela is a feisty companion.

Girls have been going missing in the squalid streets around a theatre run by Henry Gordon Jago. Chinese performer Li H'sen Chang and his creepy dummy Mr. Sin are secretly serving Weng-Chiang, considered to be an ancient Chinese God. The Doctor and Leela team up with Professor Litefoot, a pathologist, and try to solve the mystery and stop Weng-Chiang from getting his hands on an item in Litefoot's possession which has powers unknown to its owner and dangerous to them all.

As well as capturing the Victorian setting perfectly there is a host of colourful and truly inspired characters all acted magnificently well. Jago, Litefooot, Chang, Weng-Chiang, Casey and even all of the small cameo parts are extraordinarily good. The dialogue throughout is also terrific and every aspect of the production and the exciting story is of the highest standard with the exception of the giant rats which guard the sewer. These rats are fine when they use an enlarged image of a real rat but not so good when using models. If this story was re-released with new computer generated effects re- creating the rats it would stop this one distraction from an otherwise near flawless production. If you accept the effects of the day as a charming and unimportant aspect like I do then this adventure is as good as it gets.

The horror and thrills of this story are simply superb and although perhaps a couple of scenes are slightly imperfect, due to limitations of the time, this whole story is sheer magic from start to finish and one of the all-time greats. 10/10

The whole of Season 14 is magnificent quality. This and Season 13 were the absolute peak of the show, the two greatest seasons and as good as Doctor Who gets. Simply magical.

Season 14 Average Rating: 9.67/10
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
10
Plot Rating:
10
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
10
Effects Rating:
10
Has Prerequisite(s):
Unsure
Reviewed By: TCar96Review Date: 7/26/16 2:41 pm
2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Stupefyingly spectacular!

Talons of Weng-Chiang is exemplary to a standard that makes it hard to see it fitting in with quality of Doctor Who in general - hard to see it fitting in with the standards of season 12/13 and 14 too, and that's truly saying something!
Talons is dripping in Victoriana, or to be true to Bob Holmes, dripping blood, guts, gore and gaffes into some rancid pool of horrors. Stellar location work; inspired casting; a breakneck pace; incredible lighting and a laugh-a-minute / skin-crawl-a-minute script all create this gorgeous masterpiece. In its cinematic production-values, I would not hesitate to claim that episodes 1-3 provide a moody Victorian landscape easily steaming ahead of BBC Victorian dramas produced today (i.e. Sherlock Special & Dickensian) and even Hollywood blockbusters (the RDJ Sherlock pictures).

Complaints about 'that rat' only illustrate the unscrupulous nature of Talons' detractors, with the frankly average 70's effect appearing on screen for a matter of seconds. Furthermore, allegations of racism only go to show why Doctor Who will likely never again reach the dizzying heights of TOWC. Victorian London is painted vividly not just through direction and design, but witticisms and characterisation - a morbid Victoriana pastiche complete with lexis inappropriate over one century later (who'd have kerthunk it?). Not only is the warts-and-all interpretation of the 19th century essential for the tone of Talons', but John Bennett delivers the definitive villainous performance. That Michael Wisher's only competition can be denied his awesome performance by lazy claims of 'racism' is a real disservice to Mr. Bennett.

Rant aside, from character development to gags and grizzly deaths, TOWC is a blank cheque to Robert Holmes and a cheque to be banked by us Doctor Who fans. Throughout, there's a sense that this is not business as usual, rather a letter of love to those who don't wish to be pandered to and demand a higher calibre of work to be spent on the show. This is as good as it gets, and I doubt we'll ever see the likes of it again. Talons of Weng-Chiang is simply a fantastic Doctor Who story to be praised and preached from every rooftop.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
10
Plot Rating:
10
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
10
Effects Rating:
10
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: Lord NiiiimonReview Date: 5/21/16 8:16 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

A killer vent doll, giant rats, Victorian settings, a laser-shooting dragon, Jago & Litefoot, Robert Holmes, Philip Hinchcliffe and David Maloney. A recipe for brilliance, and it delivers just that.