Doctor Who: The Key To
Time Special Edition (1978 – 1979/BBC DVD Set)
Sound: C+ Extras: A
one of the most compelling and sought after series of stories in the history of
the BBC's most senior science fiction series, The Key to Time features Tom Baker as the Doctor and Mary Tamm as
the ravishing Romana. This seven-disc boxed set
covers story numbers 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, and 103, originally aired from
September 2, 1978 to February 24, 1979.
The development in the chemistry between Baker's Doctor and Tamm's Romana (also
a Time Lord) ranges from adversarial at the onset to one of mutual, if
grudging, respect at story's end. Fan favorite robotic companion K-9 also
features in some of the episodes, making for a nice "three-man" team
of adventurers. Broken into six
segments, the search for the Key to Time is the perfect story device, sending
the Doctor and company scattering across time and space to the most exotic of
locales. In the process they
face off against an array of truly deadly and bizarre villains.
As one might expect from a box of this size, the package is loaded with a bevy
of extras, inclduing audio commentaries with Baker, Tamm, and others, and a
series of "Making of" featurettes. A number of deleted and extended scenes are
also included. The 1.33 X 1
analog PAL video once again looks good on this NTSC DVD and Dolby Digital 2.0
Mono are both also fine for their age.
The BBC is doing their best to make these shows look good, especially
since the low-def shows are not sharp enough to be HD.
The Key to Time features a number of
twists and turns and wonderful "reveal" at the end which sets up a
new "super" villain who rivals the Doctor's arch-nemesis, the Master,
for sheer cleverness and evil. This gorgeous re-release of this most critical
story arc will please Doctor Who fans of all types, and with so many Tom Baker
fans regarding him as the quintissential Doctor,
it is sure to be one of BBC's most sought after boxed sets.
- Scott Pyle