Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Action > Adventure > Time Travel > British TV > Doctor Who: Frontios (Story No. 133/BBC DVD)

Doctor Who: Frontios (Story No. 133/BBC DVD)


Picture: B-     Sound: B-     Extras: A     Episodes: B



Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.  Doctor Who and his companions arrive on a strange planet sometime in the distant future, and the place faces certain doom.  The human colonists are stricken with division in their ranks, and they’re stalked by a mysterious force that’s responsible for hundreds of unexplained disappearances.  Sound familiar?  Frontios follows this all too familiar pattern well, right down to the appearance of some pretty bizarre “rubber-suited” aliens, the real menace behind all of the troubles on Frontios. 


Just because a Who story sticks closely to its standard tropes does not make it poor, and Frontios does have its fine moments.  Peter Davison’s Doctor is ever resourceful, dashing, and contemplative.  Janet Fielding’s Tegan provides invaluable assistance to her Doctor, and Mark Strickson’s Turlough explores new depths of his character when met with the alien horror of the Tractators.  This group of worm-like burrowing aliens victimized his own people eons ago, and coming face to face with them awakens a terrible racial memory in him.  The scenes following this really allow Mr. Strickson to stretch his acting wings, and he does so admirably. 


Like many other Who episodes where inhuman aliens appear, Frontios suffers a bit from their lackluster presentation.  Whether it’s their stubby arms, stiff movements, or strange baby faces, the Tractators and their leader, Gravis, come off as a bit silly at times, and not terribly threatening.  Fortunately, they possess weird gravity powers that make them plenty dangerous, and Gravis is truly evil in his desire to use humans as engines to run his foul machines.  Perhaps a bit too easily tricked at the end, Gravis still makes for an interesting villain in the Doctor’s rogues gallery of “one-hit” wonders.


BBC loads this disk with usual excellent extras, including a mini-documentary on the making of the four-episode serial, commentaries, deleted and extended scenes, photo galleries, and a production note option that one can run while the episodes are playing to provide interesting tidbits of information.  While not the best of the Davison run, Frontios provides worthy tidbits to make it worth having in the collection.



-   Scott Pyle


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com