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< Attack of the Cybermen
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Vengeance On Varos

Rating Votes
10
11%
11
9
20%
21
8
44%
45
7
17%
17
6
6%
6
5
1%
1
4
2%
2
3
0%
0
2
0%
0
1
0%
0
Average Rating
8.0
Votes
103
Director:
Writer:

Latest Community Reviews

From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
8
Plot Rating:
8
Acting Rating:
8
Replay Rating:
8
Effects Rating:
5
Has Prerequisite(s):
Unsure
Reviewed By: MercuryReview Date: 2/18/19 1:43 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

Vengeance on Varos was a dystopian vision of a corrupt and grimly exploitative society. I enjoyed it at the time as a decent Doctor Who story. As I write this in 2019 I find it has become a sadly accurate prediction of our society's degradation. A society with a corrupt political system, ill informed people voting in referendums unwilling to listen to reason as ignorance and propaganda drown out the weakened efforts of those trying to help them, people watching exploitative and trashy TV while their lives are blighted by poor decisions and dishonest dealings which leave the workers poor and wicked big business leaders keeping all the wealth. All very familiar. It is this political/societal allegory which I find is the strongest aspect of this story and a lot of it is done very well. It is grim viewing much of the time, hardly a fun family fantasy but I enjoyed it sufficiently at the time and still do. There are flaws though which I disliked at the time and still hold it back in my view from being a top standard adventure.

My problems with this start with the long drawn out scenes in the TARDIS where the Doctor wallows in self pity and gives up easily on any effort to get out of the TARDIS malfunctioning. I strongly dislike the narcissistic characterisation of the 6th Doctor where he shows weak and cowardly self pity, arrogant and obnoxious aggression and pompous egotism. Another aspect of the 6th Doctor I dislike is his tendency to violence and morally questionable behaviour. It is totally out of keeping with every other incarnation of the Doctor until a few incidents with the 11th and 12th Doctors. In this story the Doctor fires weapons, leaves a booby trap which kills a guard and makes a humorous quip after a fracas with two guards leaves them both falling to their deaths into an acid bath. Neither of those events where guards are killed features the Doctor deliberately killing them otherwise I would judge it a lot more negatively but his lack of care about deaths caused by his actions is something I do not accept as how the Doctor should act. It does detract a bit from my view of this story as does his unlikable attitude in the early scenes in the TARDIS. Peri is also her usual annoying, whining and unconvincingly acted self.

There are some scenes that are unimpressive such as the mental projections of a giant fly and a desert which I find weak ideas of how to halt the group's escape, the easy resolution to the cell alterations of the two women and a fake execution. There are other scenes that are much better with Martin Jarvis as the Governor and Nabil Shaban as Sil particularly bringing great quality. Sil is an excellent villain as he is a fun and well designed alien with believable wicked motivations. I also like the debating couple who represent the population of Varos.

I feel like this was a conscious effort to capture the feel and success of the wonderful The Caves of Androzani. It is similar in its bleak atmosphere, political shenanigans, mining colony setting etc as well as featuring a masked disfigured villain. That villain in this story is the feeble and unimpressively acted Quillam who is not worthy with comparison to the fantastic villain from Androzani but fortunately Sil provides some more satisfactory villainy in the story.

With a usual characterisation of the Doctor and a few better handled scenes this could have been a 9/10 but the weaker scenes and the choices in how to portray the behaviour and attitudes of the 6th Doctor detract a bit from the excellent ideas and strong dramatic scenes. Overall I rate this 7.5/10 for both episodes.

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From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
9
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Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
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9
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Reviewed By: BrainofMorbius23Review Date: 12/5/17 2:33 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

Excellent casting and a glorious classic tier villain make this one of Colin’s few great stories.
Sil is a evil sucker and has one of the creepiest laughs I ever darn heard!

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From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
8
Plot Rating:
9
Acting Rating:
7
Replay Rating:
9
Effects Rating:
9
Has Prerequisite(s):
Unsure
Reviewed By: TCar96Review Date: 11/20/16 7:48 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Philip Martin really is a treat, packing this story to the rafters with meta-fiction, world-building and some genuinely engaging questions for the more sober viewer to chew on - whilst letting the rest of the audience tuck into an entertaining, if somewhat morbid story.

Well lit; slowly paced; diverse cast; focus upon world-building. Varos' strengths are well circulated - so I'd prefer to focus on what for me holds it back from a 9 or 10 / 10.

Vengeance is far from perfect. A bizarre complaint, but in some respects I don't think it's violent enough. Effects not quite cutting the mustard leave the acid bath and transmogrify scenes a little bereft of shock - and since its shot in a very orthodox 'show all' fashion, little is left to the imagination. As such, whilst other stories can show far less, in far less gruesome scenarios, the body horror can shock and impact to a greater extent.

There's also a pretty big issue of botched resolutions scattered throughout. The transmogrify concept is built up in truly horrendous fashion, with a great sense of dread. Whilst the effects are poorly handled, the potential is strong - before simply reversing the cellular mutation and having Peri and Areta leave utterly unharmed. Compare this to Seeds of Doom, where the dramatic focus on the impact of total cellular change is treated sympathetically; or to Creed of the Kromon, where Martin delivers a 'no turning back' gut-punch with long run emotional impact upon K'rizz - both far greater ways to make the most of a great idea.

One hanging scene, again horrible in build up and excellent in execution and world building - is left sucked of tension by some bland direction (revealing straight away the slack rope) and punchy pace (without cutting to provide the illusion of the Doctor being off screen for a protracted length!).

Finally, of course, the resolution itself. After a great hour plus of building a well crafted world with a sense of real stakes, one online memo effectively has the whole plot resolved without any proactive decisions on the part of the Doctor. In hindsight, if the Doctor were not to have appeared, one prisoner aside, nothing would have actually changed with regards to the resolution of the piece!

Despite these three complaints, VOV is still a real treat - almost that superb first episode of Armageddon Factor extrapolated for a whole story. Well worth adding to any collection.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
4
Plot Rating:
8
Acting Rating:
4
Replay Rating:
3
Effects Rating:
4
Has Prerequisite(s):
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Reviewed By: YorickReview Date: 2/7/16 12:14 pm
0 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Far from the best of Doctor Who but not the worst either.

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