Two more Doctor Who serials have been released this week! With the 50th Anniversary just two months away now, fans of the classic series — and the new — will be delighted to see the original The Ice Warriors serial. The villains were rebooted this last season with Matt Smith’s Doctor battling one lone warrior on a submarine. The original story starring Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor is a two disc set that mimics previous releases.
The interesting thing about The Ice Warriors is that two episodes are missing. Previously, I had only seen these episodes pieced together with stills, noting the audio mostly remained intact. However, for the new release, the episodes are presented in animated form. For those dedicated to the storyline, it is a great way to see the episodes compared to the former incarnations available. The film episodes seem to be cleaner and clearer than previous formats, yet their age still shows. It is always nice to see things less dark, and the BBC is definitely taking measures to make sure their releases are worth the money.
There are tons of extras on these discs, as usual, including commentary, but again, the featurettes are the scene stealers. “Cold Fusion” is the making of the original episodes and includes both cast and crew. There is also a making of, “Beneath the Ice,” for the animated episodes. I should note that while I appreciate the animated episodes, and their recreation of the original lost film, I still felt a bit taken out of the story with them. However, as stated above, the BBC is committed to making DVDs that are worth the money for fans. That is why they also include things like the original VHS release introduction. It is funny to see this as it doesn’t seem like the world of VHS tapes was so long ago. Blue Peter, a children’s show from the UK, had a competition in 1967 to “Design a Monster”. Since this coincided with the original air dates of The Ice Warriors, it is included on the disc as well. There are also additional interviews, photo galleries, trailers and more. Well worth the price. However, the BBC may be turning to Blu-ray for all future restorations as has been noted in recent news. Hopefully this is true, as I was terribly spoiled by Spearhead From Space.
Also released was Scream of the Shalka. In 2003, in honor of the 40th Anniversary of Doctor Who, and two years before the return of the series, the BBC released this Flash animated serial. The ambitious story follows a 9th Doctor — not to be confused with the Ninth Doctor. The Shalka Doctor was originally intended to be a continuation for the series and it does do so in nice form. The serial is exactly as any normal episode would be, broken into six parts, although their run time is shorter. Richard E. Grant is great as the Doctor and Paul Cornell’s writing is superb. The issue I have with the serial is the animation is terribly distracting to me, personally. Listening to the story is far easier than watching the Flash animation. This is my personal opinion and of course, for the time, the animation was tip top. The fact that Doctor Who was getting any sort of new episodic story was great, as well noting the series had ended in 1989 and the 1996 TV movie was more or less a commercial failure.
This disc includes, yet again, more bonus features! Interviews, the soundtrack, and a nice making of featurette “Carry On Screaming”. It is as informative as most of these documentaries are. There are also interviews from 2003 titled The Screaming Sessions, the explore the process through the cast and crew’s eyes.
While The Ice Warriors is definitely a fan must have, Scream of the Shalka is only for those who simply must own everything.