Wednesday 29 April 2020

The (Special Edition) Power of the Daleks

Out of the blue it was announced yesterday that the animated The Power of the Daleks is to get a Special Edition release in July (6th July is the UK release date).
This is a little surprising as its original release was fairly recent (2016), and we had already been told that two lost Troughton stories were to get the animation treatment this year - The Faceless Ones, which is already available, and Fury From The Deep, which hasn't even got a release date yet.
So what is so special about this that it needs the Special Edition treatment? Well, it's not just more extras - though there are some.
The sales blurb mentions that this version will have new and improved HD animation with "authentic black and white visuals". This suggests that it hasn't been merely tidied up a bit, but pretty much redone, and hints at a closer similarity to the telesnaps which survive from the story. One minor gripe I had with The Faceless Ones, which I watched the colour version of, was that the exterior scenes were all too bright and bland. It could have done with darker, lowering skies to make it more atmospheric.
No images of the new version have been released yet - only the DVD / Blu-ray cover above - so we don't have anything to compare yet. I've bitten the bullet and pre-ordered anyway (Zoom have it around £5 less than the RRP for both DVD and Blu-ray versions).
All of the 2016 extras are present.
The new VAM material includes:
  • Two new documentaries about the story,
  • Tom Baker's narrated version of the soundtrack from 1993,
  • The Peter Davison presented "Daleks: The Early Years" which came out on VHS back in 1992,
  • The Alan Whicker interview with Terry Nation (I Don't Like My Monsters To Have Oedipus Complexes) - presumably the full version of the piece, extracts of which have already appeared on numerous documentaries.
  • A 1952 episode of Robin Hood, starring Patrick Troughton (an image from which appeared in Robots of Sherwood),
  • Plus sundry news items, Blue Peter excerpts and Easter Eggs.
Worth buying this again just for that lot, I'd say.
I posted last year about the new Blu-ray season box sets, and mentioned that I'd very much like to see a Hartnell or Troughton one sooner rather than later, and they did say that they weren't going to leave the B&W seasons until the very end. I pointed out that three of the B&W seasons were pretty much good to go - One, Two, and Six. There are only 2 stories which are totally lost across these three seasons (Marco Polo and The Space Pirates), and a mere 6 missing episodes creating 3 incomplete stories, 4 of which have already been animated.
But where are we with the other three seasons (Three, Four and Five) which have suffered the most losses?
The recent releases of animated Troughton stories, plus what we know is forthcoming, have helped with Seasons Four and Five. 
In best shape is Season Five. We have 2 complete stories - Tomb of the Cybermen and Enemy of the World, 2 almost complete stories - The Ice Warriors and The Web of Fear - and we know that Fury From The Deep will be animated in its entirety before the year is out. We can add a single episode of The Abominable Snowmen, and 2 episodes of The Wheel in Space - so every story is represented in some way with visual material.
Season Four is the one which has been benefiting from the early Troughton animation obsession. Sadly, there isn't a single complete story for this season in the archives, but what we do have is The Tenth Planet, The Power of the Daleks, The Moonbase, The Macra Terror, and The Faceless Ones - all complete using a mix of animation and orphan episodes. The Evil of the Daleks, unfortunately, has only the one surviving episode, but most people think that it is pretty much guaranteed the animation treatment. (This is one of the reasons I'm surprised they've been fiddling about with Power - couldn't they have done Evil instead?).
The only stories that we are missing in their entirety are the two historicals - The Smugglers and The Highlanders.
Finally, Season Three has a lot missing from the archives, and the animators haven't gone near a Hartnell story since the regular DVD release schedule ended.
It actually has more complete stories than Season Five - The Ark, The Gunfighters and The War Machines. Four stories are lost completely however - Mission to the Unknown, The Myth Makers, The Massacre and The Savages. The remaining stories are represented by orphan episodes only - Galaxy Four (1 episode), The Daleks' Master Plan (3 episodes) and The Celestial Toymaker (1 episode).
Whether or not people will be willing to buy a Blu-ray box set which comprises mostly animated episodes, we'll have to wait and see, but at the moment Season Three is the one that we're least likely to be seeing released anytime soon.

No comments:

Post a Comment