dbskyler: (freema_peter)
One of my favorite things about DVDs of Classic Who episodes is the commentaries, and I love it when a commentary is good. [personal profile] lost_spook recommended the Black Orchid commentary to me ages ago, and I have finally gotten around to listening to it.

I should explain here that I never liked Black Orchid. As it turns out, Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, and Matthew Waterhouse didn't much care for it either. (Sarah Sutton tried to defend it a little, but gave up early on.) Peter spends the commentary pointing out the numerous plotholes and ridiculous tropes, except for when he's complaining about the dressing gown and Harlequin costume he had to wear.

Oh wait, Peter did one other thing, too. See, the episode has a cricket sequence, and Peter excitedly went on and on about the way the sequence showed off his cricket-playing skills. Then came Matthew's observation: "It's amazing how it's only a two-parter [episode], and yet we're spending five minutes watching cricket."

But the best part of the commentary was the following exchange:

Peter: "But see, his neck shouldn't be broken."
Janet:" I bet the BBC are now glad they asked us to do this commentary."
Matthew: "I want to say something in favor of the staircase."

And then everyone agreed that it was a very fine staircase, and they all started looking for other good things to say, but gave up after wall sconces.

Anyway, I'm really glad I finally listened to it. It was like the Doctor Who version of MST3K! Now can we get Peter and the rest of the crew in to do a commentary on Last of the Time Lords?
dbskyler: (Default)
So I just listened to the commentary for "Frontier in Space," and they did something I had never before heard of: they had someone on the commentary who was unconnected with the making of the show, whose function seemed to be to play the role of "instigator" for the others (Barry Letts, Katy Manning and Terrance Dicks), and to pose questions and just generally make sure that the flow of commentary kept coming and was reasonably interesting.

It's a great idea, and I have to say that it really worked, and I hope the BBC does it again. So well done, Clayton Hickman, who while not having made "Frontier in Space," is apparently a former editor of Doctor Who Magazine, at least according to Google. He definitely was knowledgeable about the show, and he did a wonderful job instigating the commentary.

Now for some other interesting tidbits of information from the episode and from the commentary:

spoilers for Frontier in Space )
dbskyler: (tardis)
I recently rented "Arc of Infinity" because I was in the mood for some Fifth Doctor, and because I hadn't seen it in a very long time. The episode was on the mediocre side, as I remembered, but the commentary was one of the best I have ever heard.

In point of fact, Peter Davison, Colin Baker*, Sarah Sutton and Janet Fielding were hysterical. I highly recommend that everyone go listen to this commentary, even if you didn't like the episode that much. Yes, it's that good.

I think there's definitely something to be said for having actors do a commentary 20 years after they've been employed by the show. You get to hear what they really think! And by the way, do not dare Colin Baker to cluck like a chicken every time a certain feathered hat appears on-screen, because he will. : )

*If you're confused about why Colin Baker did the commentary for a Peter Davison story, it's because this is the story where he plays Maxil, a Time Lord guard. On the other hand, Collin and Peter played off each other so well, I now hope that Peter gets invited to do a commentary on one of Colin's stories just for the hell of it.
dbskyler: (school reunion comfort)
Just finished listening to the commentary on the "Battlefield" DVD and it was hilarious. Basically script editor Andrew Cartmel and author Ben Aaronovitch spent the entire time making digs at the production values, pointing out dodgy special effects, plot-crucial sound effects that were in the script but didn't make it into the episode, a spaceship that's supposed to be underwater but doesn't look like it's underwater, etc., etc. Aaronovitch also made multiple disparaging remarks about his own writing -- he said quite openly that he feels the script is not his best work. Meanwhile Angela Bruce (Bambera), Sophie Aldred (Ace) and Nicholas Courtney (the Brig : D) didn't seem to know quite what to say in response. It's pretty funny. At least everyone agreed that the acting was good, which it was.

I'm a little picky about commentaries because I sometimes find them incredibly boring, but I absolutely recommend this one. Definitely not at all boring, and full of interesting insights into what went into making the show (and what didn't go into making the show, but should have).

And I don't think the script was that bad, truthfully. Believe me, RTD has done far worse.
dbskyler: (Four smiling)
As a treat to make up for a really horrendous RL week, I went ahead and bought the 25th anniversary edition of "The Five Doctors" last night -- paying full retail because I hadn't gotten around to ordering it through Amazon -- and this morning I listened to the Easter Egg commentary with David Tennant, Phil Collinson and Helen Raynor.

I am still smiling. They were funny, they were entertaining, and they reminded me of how thrilled I used to be at seeing so many Doctors and companions interacting before I became complacent and let the weaknesses of the story ruin that initial excitement.

So now I'm glad I have the episode on DVD (and the quality of the picture really is much better than my old videotape) and happy to know that whenever I need cheering up, I can go listen to that commentary. It really was that much fun.

The only problem is, now I want the three of them to go do commentaries on other classic episodes of Doctor Who.

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