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TV show review: CONTINUUM season 4


Blu-ray review by David Blackwell


DETAILS:  96 minutes, two documentaries, restoration comparison featurette, title sequence material

VIDEO: 1.33:1 (1080p High Definition)

AUDIO: English 2.0 DTS-MA

Subtitles: English SDH


STUDIO:  BBC/ Warner Home Video/ BBC Worldwide Ltd/ BBC Worldwide Americas Limited

RELEASE DATE: 8-13-2013

The Time Lords have banished the Doctor to Earth and forced him to regenerate.  The Doctor (Jon Pertwee) wants to get back into his TARDIS and travel time and space, but he learns the Time Lords have grounded the TARDIS and some of the Doctor’s memories.  Meanwhile, UNIT is investigating some strange meteorites that have landed.  Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney) has recruited Elizabeth Shaw (Caroline John) to help investigate the alien threats which keep getting attracted to Earth.  She is first skeptic about what  UNIT is hiring her to do, but she soon teams up with the Doctor to stop the latest alien threat known as the Autons who are operating out of a plastics factory.


SPEARHEAD IN SPACE is a unique Doctor Who story- it is the first story filmed in color, it was all shot on 16 mm film (due to an industrial strike) and it was the first story of my favorite Doctor aka the Third Doctor as played by Jon Pertwee.  The 51st story marked a series of new beginnings for DOCTOR WHO as it would lay out the format of many Doctor Who stories for the next five years with the Doctor, his assistant, UNIT, and an alien bad guy.   The seventh season of classic Who has to be one of my favorite seasons of the entire show with SPEARHEAD IN SPACE being the first of four fantastic stories in a row in addition to the Doctor having the underappreciated (at the time) and  intelligent Dr. Liz Shaw (Caroline John) as his assistant.


Since the whole serial was shot on film, this made the first Third Doctor story a perfect choice for the first Classic Who to debut on blu-ray. However, the HD transfer had a few hiccups along the way of a little clean-up having to be done to at least episode three due to the film going through a chemical process from the previous 2012 SD master for the Special Edition DVD.  SPEARHEAD IN SPACE is going to be the best looking Classic who on blu-ray due to every other story being shot in standard definition and not much improvement can be done by up converting any of the other stories to HD.   It is just a stroke of good and bad luck that lead SPEARHEAD IN SPACE being shot on film.


I wonder if the Time Lords sent the Doctor to Earth to protect the planet from alien threats more than just punishing him.  He wants to be able to travel freely and not be stuck on a planet he does love and the TARDIS comes back to like a homing beacon.

This first Third Doctor season also creates a family of characters that sets the tone for many of the stories during the next five years as we get to see The Doctor interact with his woman assistant and various members of UNIT (and verbally spar with the Brigadier at times). Maybe this is why I so appreciate the Third Doctor era the most out of classic DOCTOR WHO.



Don’t throwaway the DVD of this story since it is meant as a companion piece to the blu-ray.  They have created and presented some new extras for the blu-ray and none of the extras from the previous DVD versions have been carried over to the blu-ray.


A DANDY AND A CLOWN (42 minutes)- a tribute to the life and career of Jon Pertwee as told by family and friends (many of them actors including Katy Manning and writer Terrance Dicks) from Navy Lark radio show to Doctor Who to Worzel Gummidge to his final years with many personal photos included

CARRY ON: THE LIFE OF CAROLINE JOHN (29 minutes)- a tribute to the career of actress Caroline John with husband Geoffrey Beevers, daughter Daisy Ashford, brother Seb John, sister Priscilla John and friends Jennie Heslewood and Patricia Merrick.


TITLE SEQUENCE MATERIAL (22 minutes) shows all the individual elements that went into creating the title sequence

RESTORATION COMPARISON (2 minutes) compares the various versions of the story on DVD and blu-ray in addition to the problems faced when presenting the story in high definition.


Coming Soon trailer for THE GREEN DEATH special edition


FINAL ANALYSIS:   Whether you are a fan of the classic of new DOCTOR WHO series, you should give the SPEARHEAD FROM SPACE a spin on blu-ray.  The two tribute documentaries are also worth watching. 


This Blu-ray review is (c)8-25-2013 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.  Send all comments to feedback@enterline-media.com


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