Doctor Who: Key to Time set any good?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Eric F, Mar 19, 2003.

  1. Eric F

    Eric F Screenwriter

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    I love SF, although I've never seen a Doctor Who episode.

    I like smart SF, and own quite a few BBC produced TV shows- so it seems like a match for me. Is this a good blind buy?
     
  2. Richard Ruffner

    Richard Ruffner Stunt Coordinator

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    If you want an intro to Doctor Who without investing a chunk of change, pick up the Five Doctors special edition DVD. This is the best inrto for a non-fan. Although Tom Baker isn't in it, (the doctor in the key to time series), it give you an intro to all the other Doctors and gives you a feel for the series.
     
  3. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    Here is my take on it.

    If you're a Doctor Who fan, you'll want to get these. The video and audio quality are adequate, and the supplements are okay. The quality and amount of extras are NOT as nice as on other DW releases, though...yet the price charged is the same on a per-disc basis. I saw 2 copies at my local Best Buy the other day, and if I recall right the price was $99.99 for that box set. That's the best you'll find it for; basically buy-5-get-1-free.

    If you want to own this, you don't have much of a choice. I doubt this will ever be re-offered in a different quality level. In their rush to get it out, they bypassed the Restoration Team and put it out the way they had it. It's not bad, it just doesn't sparkle like the ones the RT processed do.


    Having said all that, I agree with Richard that FOR YOU who is NOT a fan so far, then The Five Doctors is a better introduction to the world of DW. And it's a better release, too. Other good choices are The Ark In Space for a color/modern episode, or if you prefer the classic black-and-white instead then check out the excellent Tomb of the Cybermen.
     
  4. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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    I'm not a diehard Doctor Who fan, but I am familiar with it and have viewed several of the DVD's and watched it on TV. I'm not fan enough to buy DW, but I do loan swaps of STTNG and Space:1999 sets for DW with a friend.

    That said, I was completely underwhelmed by Key to Time. It didn't do a thing for me.

    I would recommend:
    Tomb of the Cybermen
    Spearhead from Space
    The Ark in Space
    Robots of Death
    The Five Doctors
     
  5. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    Hmmm. Scott, I think the - forgive the pun - key to enjoying the Key To Time series is being a Doctor Who fan. Face it, it's an entire season (oh, all right: series to use the Brit term) of DW all at once. And not an early one, either: it's the 16th series.

    Concepts had long been developed, and this was a way to have fun without Daleks. The "Pirate" arc was pure silliness - albeit in a good sort of way - from the king of silly, Doug "Hitchhiker's Guide" Adams.

    No, I don't think KtT is a good starting point at all. All the ones you mention are good starting points. Five Doctors or Tomb Of The Cybermen are perhaps among the best.

    Sigh...I've GOT to make time to watch The Aztecs this weekend. That's one I've actually never seen! [​IMG]
     
  6. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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    You're quite right, David... that's why I pointed out the fact that I'm not an extreme fan of the show... to give perspective to someone who has not seen the show (the original poster).

    Even among the more extreme fans of the show I know, Key to Time is not their favorite. Fans of the series think much more of it than I do, though.

    I think viewing shorter collections and including different doctors may be the way to start. Most outsiders are most familiar with Tom Baker, but I think John Pertwee was my favorite.

    -Scott
     
  7. Neil White

    Neil White Supporting Actor

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    $81.00 at Buy.com and about $75 at some Canadian etailers.

    N
     
  8. Eric F

    Eric F Screenwriter

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    It's on sale at Amazon.ca for ~$63US shipped to the US with a $10 coupon. That's why I asked.
     
  9. James Reader

    James Reader Screenwriter

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    Er. David I'd have to say 'The Five Doctors' is the worst of the Doctor Who discs available to be used as an introduction to the programme.

    Doctors, Companions and Monsters are thrown into the script with little or no introduction. Not that this is a criticism as such - it's supposed to be a celebration of the show's (then) 20 year history - but for somebody just beginning their association with the Doctor it will be "totally incomprehensible"

    Out of all the American discs available, I would recommend either Arc in Space (sort of like Alien), Robots of Death (sort of like Death on the Nile) or Caves of Androzani (sort of like... well, I don't know really). True, none of them feature the 'big bads' of Who, the Daleks, Cybermen, Ice Warriors, Yeti or Sontarans, but all three are good solid stand alone stories.

    Personally, I think it's a shame the Universal co-produced TV Movie isn't available in America. No matter what some fans of the programme think about it, it is by far the best introduction to the series a new viewer could experience.
     
  10. Todd K

    Todd K Second Unit

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    I vote for the "Ark in Space." It's usually ranked higher than anything in the Key to Time season. It's also Tom Baker's second story, and gives a great introduction to his character. It's his first story where he leaves Earth after his regeneration and begins his travels in the universe. I think Baker also claims it's his favorite story.
     
  11. Will_B

    Will_B Producer

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    Ditto on the Robots of Death being the best intro to Dr. Who that is currently available.

    Though personally I can't bring myself to spend $20 per storyline. It is worse price gouging than Star Trek.
     
  12. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    James, my take on The Five Doctors is that the viewer gets to realize that there ARE all these different versions of the same guy, and that each has had many adventures with different companions, and that each has a very different style.

    But no need to get into a debate over it. I already said Ark In Space would be a good choice. I doubt there is a single "best" choice unless you go back to the beginning! Hence my sideways mention of story #6, "The Aztecs". This is the earliest episode released to DVD. However, I haven't seen it yet and don't know how the release is.
     
  13. PhilipG

    PhilipG Cinematographer

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  14. MishaLauenstein

    MishaLauenstein Supporting Actor

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    I agree that The Five Doctors is not a good starter, but I think if you can get Key to Time for a good price, it gives you six different stories, one written by Douglas Adams, all featuring Tom Baker at his best.

    They all contain the most important extra: commentary tracks.

    I personally can't see anything wrong with the picture quality. I saw maybe 5 bits of sparkle during the entire 13 hours! Maybe I missed some because I was so engrossed in the programs, but it was one of the things I was most worried about when I bought them, and I have no complaints at all with the image quality.

    These shows contain some of the most hilarious lines too:

    "Doctor, sometime I don't think you're quite right in the head."

    Misha
     
  15. James Reader

    James Reader Screenwriter

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  16. James Reader

    James Reader Screenwriter

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    Well Talons of Weng-Chiang is coming to the UK soon. Hopefully America will not be far behind.

    That's the best starting point - fantastic Baker story which showcases almost everything which is good about the series (the Jago and Litefoot 'double act' shows how dialogue is used in the series to compensate for 'poor' special effects) while one of the bonuses is a 50 minute documentary which explains a little about the series' history while also covering the making of Talons.

    Oh and David no worries. I agree the Five Doctors would be a good introduction story, if only the disc had as many extras as they do now (it suffered as it was the first). A production notes subtitle track would do wonders for the first time viewer.

    And the Aztecs is superb. You won't believe how good it looks (remember it was filmed taped in 405 line PAL, not 625 as it is now)

    Edited to make the distinction between the original recording, archived filmed off monitor master and new VidFired DVD (preserving the original 'fluid' videotape feel) clearer.

    And yes, Seeds of Death is superb too [​IMG] But The Aztecs impresses me the most.
     
  17. Duncan Harvey

    Duncan Harvey Stunt Coordinator

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    David - Must sing the praises of The Aztecs - its the first DVD to use the incredible VIDFIRE technique which takes telerecordings (kinescopes) and re-creates the missing fields to effectively give 50 fields per second interlaced video.

    As there is precious little extant 625 line black and white VT material around (let alone 405 line) its easy to dismiss pre colour TV material as being inherently poor quality. This is because in the UK (unlike the US) film was very rarely used to originate programmes and so the programme makers used Quad tape. Fine and dandy, but due to economic constraints only film recordings tended to be retained and these effectively "distance" the viewer from the image as it was originally transmitted.

    VIDFIRE changes this! And praise be to the extremely talented Peter Finklestone for developing it!!!

    The Aztecs is excellent, but wait until you see The Seeds Of Doom. This season six story survives on good quality telerecordings, and with the VIDFIRE effect in place the quality is simply astounding. Black and White Doctor Who hasnt looked this good since original tx'ing of the episodes in 1969!!

    As for the Key To Time - six good entertaining stories and well worth getting, but my vote goes to (in my view) the greatest Doctor Who story ever - The Talons Of Weng Chiang - hopefully coming to R2 DVD next month!
     
  18. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp

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    Talons is absolutly fantastic! I always likedPatrick Troughton though, so my pick for a starter would be "Tomb of The Cybermen". It was the first Dr. Who I watched, and hooked me into the series.

    I'd recommend staying away from anything with Sylvester McCoy (I type while ducking the flame thats about to shoot out of my monitor!), and for the record, I liked the DW movie, it was so bizare to see Eric roberts as the Master!
     
  19. Eric F

    Eric F Screenwriter

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    What was my question again?

    So is there a general consensus that Key to Time isn't a good place to start? I get there are lots of arguments about "where" that is.
     
  20. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp

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    Based on cost, I'd say no, as even though what has been posted above puts it in a good price point, if you watch it and decide you DON'T like the show, it's better to have spent $20 rather than $70. If you do like Doctor Who, than by all means pick it up. I havn't seen the DVD of Keys, but the shows were good. To be perfectly honest, I don't expect to upgrade any of the Who I taped off PBS to DVD. Seeing as I have nearly all the series as broadcast, I don't see the reason to upgrade. I doubt that the BBC quality would be that dramatically improved.
    (again ducks flames shooting out of monitor by offended beeb fans...)

    Back to your question, for a good Baker DVD, you can't go wrong with Ark in space, or hold out for Talons of Wing Chiang. Or that one were he takes on Devros... Or the one were he is shrunk and injects himself into his own head to fight a alien parasite... or the one...
     

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