Doctor Who-Arc of Infinity (1983)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Main Menu Animation
Featurette-Anti-Matter from Amsterdam
Featurette-Under Arc Lights
Seamless Branching-CGI Effects
Featurette-The Omega Factor
Deleted Scenes
DVD-ROM Extras-1983 Doctor Who Annual
DVD-ROM Extras-Radio Times Billings
Informational Subtitles
Audio Commentary
Isolated Musical Score
Trailer
Gallery-Photo
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1983
Running Time 98:35 (Case: 100)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (24:45) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Ron Jones
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Peter Davison
Sarah Sutton
Leonard Sachs
Michael Gough
Ian Collier
Colin Baker
Paul Jerrico
Neil Daglish
Elspet Gray
Max Harvey
Andrew Boxer
Alastair Cumming
John D. Collins
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Roger Limb
Bernard Ashby
Graham Hutchings


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Isolated Music Score Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.29:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.29:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English Information
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    While meandering through space in the TARDIS with Nyssa (Sarah Sutton), a strange thing happens to the Doctor (Peter Davison). A sinister entity from another universe tries to take possession of the Doctor's body so that he may have corporeal form in our universe. The attempt fails, but it is enough to trigger the warning bells on Gallifrey, the home world of the Time Lords, and the Doctor's TARDIS is recalled to chambers of the High Council of Gallifrey. Treachery is afoot, as the only way the being could have made its attempt to control the Doctor would be if one of the 5 high councillors had secretly sent a precise DNA fingerprint of the Doctor to that other universe. Regardless, the damage is done and extreme measures are needed to prevent the creature's efforts - the Doctor must be destroyed!

    Ordinarily, a being travelling between dimensions would not cause so much fuss but this being is made of anti-matter and its presence may cause matter and anti-matter to collide, resulting in the obliteration of a part of the our universe. Unusually for a being from so far away, it also possesses great knowledge of the operation of Gallifrey and the corridors of time.

    Nyssa and some of the Doctors remaining allies on Gallifrey aren't too happy with their friend's predicament and lend a hand in his aid, only to be pursued by a trigger-happy Commander of the Gallifrean guard named Maxil (played by none other than Colin Baker, who would go on to succeed Peter Davison as the Doctor barely than a year later).

    Meanwhile, back on Earth, Tegan (Janet Fielding) has decided to visit her cousin Colin who is backpacking through Amsterdam. Having recently been left behind by the Doctor, Tegan arrives to find out that Colin has been enslaved by a strange creature that looks like a bit like a humanoid Pteradon. With a fresh set of clothes (finally), Tegan sets about investigating and it's not long before a rendezvous with the Doctor.

    Arc of Infinity is a great Doctor Who story, save for the final episode. Having built a sinister and rather involving story, the whole thing devolves into a ridiculous foot-race around Amsterdam (which really smacks of long time producer John Nathan Turner's meddling - "lets plonk in a rather pointless foreign setting and waste an episode justifying the cost").

    Forgetting its final bungle, Arc of Infinity does an excellent job of combining its own engaging story with wider Gallifrean folklore. The story gives a great insight into the affairs of the Time Lords society and history and isn't as heavy going in the back story department as many of the other Doctor Who stories set on Gallifrey. Anybody that can bear the cringe-worthy end will thoroughly enjoy Arc of Infinity, particularly existing fans who are hungry for a look into Time Lord lore.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video looks very good for a show that is nearly 25 years old. A commendable effort has been put in to the restoration.

    The episodes are presented in their original 1.29:1 full frame aspect ratio.

    The episodes are sourced from a mix of 16mm and video. The video scenes are reasonably sharp. The 16mm scenes are a little soft in comparison, particularly for shots at any real distance, and a bit grainy. A moderate degree of low level noise is present throughout the video-sourced scenes. Contrast levels and black levels are both good.

    The colour palette is a touch pale by modern standards, but fairly consistent for each source.

    There are no significant MPEG compression related artefacts visible. A number of analogue video artefacts are noticeable, however, none are terribly distracting (particularly to anyone used to the standard typically found in Doctor Who releases). The most noticeable are occasional comet trails and mild cross-colouration during those scenes that were shot on video (typically the in-studio scenes). The video-sourced shots also feature noticeable edge enhancement in a lot of the scenes, although this is fairly common in video of this age.

    The English subtitles are white with a black border. Based on the section I sampled, they appear accurate and well-timed.

    This is a RSDL disc. The layer change occurs between episodes 3 and 4.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    An English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) audio track and an isolated score in Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) are available.

    The dialogue is clearly audible throughout and at a good level in the mix.

    The score is fairly typical Doctor Who fare, although a little sparse. The score is clear and well mixed. The isolated score track sounds crystal clear.

    There is very modest pro-logic surround use throughout the episodes, mostly around music balance. Very little bottom end makes its way to subwoofer level, however.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Main Menu Audio & Animation

    Standard animation with clips and audio form the show.

Audio Commentary with Peter Davison (Doctor), Janet Fielding (Tegan), Sarah Sutton (Nyssa) and Colin Baker (Maxil)

    The four commentators provide a reasonably interesting and very chatty commentary. The obvious bases are covered (ho-ho we were both the Doctor) in due course and the four seem to be enjoying themselves more than anybody who gives it a listen will - not that it is a bad commentary track, the commentators just seem to be having a ball.

Anti-Matter from Amsterdam Making Of Featurette (34:57)

    A fairly slow "Making Of" featurette presented by, for no apparent reason, by Sophie Aldred (who played Ace in the last couple of series of the show's original run). This featurette mostly comprises interviews with various cast and crew, set in either a TARDIS backdrop or Amsterdam. This one is sporadically interesting, but not really worth your full attention.

The Omega Factor Featurette (14:57)

    A fairly pensive featurette on the character of Omega, the maniacal father of the Time Lords knowledge of space and time who was banished to the universe of anti-matter.

Under Arc Lights Featurette (11:33)

    Raw, pre-effects, production footage laid together to show a lot of the more interesting effects shots, stage direction and a few bloopers.

Continuities Clips (3:14)

    A series of clips of the continuity announcements bookending the episodes during their numerous broadcasts in the UK.

Seamless Branching to New CGI Effects

    A number of the effects shots in this story had not survived as well as the rest of the video and looked a little dated. 18 of the effects in the episode were re-done with CGI for this DVD release. The new effects have been designed to fit in with the age of the show and blend seamlessly into the existing video.

    Purists may be a little miffed that these new effects are on by default, although most people will much prefer the tidied up effects. It is possible to revert to the original footage using a seamless branching feature on this disc.

Deleted Scenes (2:55)

    A handful of relatively un-interesting extended takes, mostly padding out the Amsterdam involvement in the episode.

Photo Gallery (7:48)

    A fairly run-of-the-mill set of production stills done as a slideshow and backed by a passage of music from one of the episodes of the story.

DVD-ROM Extras - 1983 Doctor Who Annual

    A PDF copy of the 1983 Doctor Who annual, faithfully re-produced. Featuring stories, comics (with giant ants!) and behind the scenes snippets. This feature is also found on the Time-Flight disc.

DVD-ROM Extras - Radio Times Billings

    Five small snippets from the Radio Times, Britain's TV magazine, advertising the episodes' original airing, including an accompanying print image advertising an episode.

Trailer

    A trailer for the upcoming release of The Time Warrior.

Informational Subtitles

    A set of subtitles with production notes and other trivia about the episodes.

Isolated Score

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This disc is currently only available in a double-pack with Time-Flight in Regions 2 and 4 (although it comes in its own amaray case and features a separate barcode to the double-pack and Time-Flight, indicating that it will probably be released separately at some point), but is available separately in Region 1. The discs available in each region are identical, save for NTSC formatting of the Region 1 disc (converted from the original PAL found on the Region 2 and 4 discs).

Summary

    An excellent start to Peter Davison's second season as the Doctor, save for an awkward final episode.

    There are abundant extras, although some are a little dull. The video is very good for its age. The audio is quite basic, but good for its age.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Friday, November 30, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3, using HDMI output
Display Samsung 116cm LA46M81BD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX-D512. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX2016AVS
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, and a 100W centre and 2 surrounds, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE