Galaxy 4 (2021 Animated Release)Bookmark and Share

Friday, 12 November 2021 - Reviewed by Ken Scheck
Galexy 4 (Credit: BBC Studios)Galaxy 4
Written By: William Emms
Starring William Hartnell, Maureen O'Brien, Peter Purves
Released November 2021 - BBC Studios

I was quite pleased when they announced an animation of Galaxy 4.  Not because I think it is a particularly good story (it is not), or that I even have some guilty pleasure love for it (I do not), but after a few years of animations focused primarily on the Second Doctor, it was nice to see the First doctor get a look in.  I can only hope that they are secretly working on "Marco Polo" and we can get the earliest missing story animated for the 60th Anniversary year.  

First, the story of Galaxy 4 I find to be rather average.  The Chumblies are really lame robots. While I like the idea of the more attractive aliens turning out to be alien, it has been done much better elsewhere (both in and out of Doctor Who). I also think for a four-parter there is a tremendous amount of filler in this story.  

But as for the animation?  I think it is pretty good.  It is certainly on par with the other recent Troughton animations.  Is it the greatest animation ever?  Certainly not, but with the budgets they can have they really do a really nice job of bringing these lost stories back to life, flaws and all.  For this review, the colour versions were made available.  I prefer black and white, as they originally aired...but then again I'd prefer the stories exist, so really none of that matters.  I do think, at least with past animations I have viewed, the color versions can be vibrant, but the black and white almost make me forgive the limited nature of the animations more.  Maybe that is just a quirk of my brain.  That said, I think having the animations in color is nice, as really having the stories revived with this much life is pretty amazing no matter what.  

In this story, we do have one original version currently existing, and I did watch that for some comparison, just out of curiosity.  At one point in this episode, The Doctor and Vicki must escape the Chumblies, and I actually think the animation is a lot clumsier with this.  In the original, they sneak behind a table to avoid detection, in the animation they just sort of walk past them and the Chumblies just seem to ignore them.  It makes it seem odd.  That said, they then run out of the building and a door comes down to lock Vicki in...and in the original that door looks cheap and wobbly as hell, and the animation makes it seem like a genuine barrier.  

In all, this is a fine addition to the animated line.  Is it perfect?  When compared to the existing episode it seems to fall short in some areas while excelling in others.  As a story I think Galaxy 4 is pretty lame and feels oddly padded for a 4-part adventure...but honestly, any Hartnell or Troughton given the animated treatment does please me, so I will take it.  

 

 

Order Galaxy 4 from Amazon





Power of the Daleks (2020 Animated Release)Bookmark and Share

Monday, 20 July 2020 - Reviewed by Ken Scheck
The Power Of The Daleks - Special Edition (Credit: BBC Studios)

Power of the Daleks
Written By: David Whitaker
Starring Patrick Troughton, Anneke Wills, Michael Craze
Released July 2020 - BBC Studios

In 2016, BBC Studios released an animated reconstruction of the first Second Doctor serial Power of the Daleks. This was not the first animated reconstruction of lost episodes, but it was the first time that an entirely lost story was animated. Previous stories had just been one or two lost episodes in an otherwise complete serial. It also marked the start of the project being overtaken by BBC Studios, as the earlier projects had been animated by various different studios. 

Power was animated on a limited budget and time constraints. As a result there were elements the creators wished they could improve. When they tackled The Macra Terror, they had more time and a slightly bigger budget. This made them want to go back and improve their first effort. And four years after the initial release, they have done just that. It is easy to wonder why they have decided to re-animate a story they’ve already done, especially when there are so many adventures left missing...but my guess is the cost to redo the animation here was minimal. I was struggling to see too many changes, so I went back to the first attempt to see where the changes were. 

In the end it seems that there are a few cosmetic improvements, but it does seem like a minor spruce up at best. I would guess that they reused 90% of the elements from the first one, it is just all around more polished. It is certainly a story that deserves to be given a more polished effort.  It is a very important story in the history of the show, so it doesn’t deserve a more shoddy animated reconstruction than, say, The Faceless Ones. I applaud the effort to improve this very important adventure, even if the end results aren’t shocking.  

In terms of Special Features, having some more of the newly discovered footage of the original is certainly a bonus.  It's nice that they use this release to add as much new content as they can. As a collector, I'd probably be just as inclined to wait until the inevitable Season 4 boxset for "The Collection" range that will no doubt contain everything on this release and more. 

If you bought the 2016 version, I find it hard to recommend upgrading. This is certainly an improvement...but is it really that much of an improvement? Not really. If you missed it the first time around and aren’t sure which to get...the 2020 version is the better looking presentation. Beyond that it is just a collector’s game. 

 

Power of the Daleks Special Edition can be ordered from Amazon