Now, I'm not a big Hartnell fan - I think the show was too early, and there's too few complete stories to convert me - but from what I'm seeing on DVD, I'm enjoying.
And now, five reasons/statements about why you should go out of your way to check out this DVD.
- It's one of the few complete Hartnell stories - One of the backup documentaries on the disc discusses how this story was put together from clips, beat up films, and sock puppets. OK, I'm kidding about the sock puppets, but this is one of the few 60s stories that looks really good. I can't say that it could have been shot today, because....
- This absolutely reeks of the 1960s - From Anneke Will's dolly bird get-up to the hip and groovylicious slang, this is a story that could only be made in the 1960s. (The decade's ever-present fear of technology also rears its head). It's not campy (well...ok, the actual War Machines' design is kind of clunky), but it's better than the "space hippy" episodes of Lost in Space and Star Trek. Honestly.
- Best. Companion. Departure. Ever. - Ah, Ms. Dodo Chaplet. Generic companion - gets hypnotized, then basically leaves mid-story. Never comes back again. Compared to this, Adric's departure was filled with pathos and warmth.
- It's UNIT five years early - Taking a page from Quatermass, this is Doctor Who exploring the threat-coming-to-modern-day theme before The Invasion. Yes, it's been compared to other British science-fiction-ish shows...but this is Who starting the process. And though it doesn't always work...it is rather interesting.
- William Hartnell - badass: end of episode 3/beginning of episode 4. Hartnell's Doctor stands still as a War Machine bears down towards him. He stands, no way to defend himself, soldiers running behind him in fear. And he makes it through unscathed.
If that doesn't scream "classic Who moment", I don't know what does.