Since I've been interested in Doctor Who, I've been a bit skeptical of these Special Edition sets of previously released episodes that promise enhanced picture and audio quality. Frankly that tends to be a marketing gimmick. Fact is though, a lot of the 60's era Doctor Who stories were in a very bad need of restoration. This set was pointed out to me as a gift suggestion on my birthday by my father at a Barnes & Noble a couple hours away. He had no idea why I was so interested in the DVD as I had the original copy already. What he didn't know was it largely had to do with the inclusion of a restored "lost" first doctor era story called "Galaxy 4",using a compilation of production stills and the lost third part of the serial. I will review the "Galaxy 4" reconstruction at a later time separately at another time,however. Since this remains one of my favorite "classic" Doctor Who stories, I am going to do what I am going to call a Doctor Who Review Rewind-present my original review of the story itself I did hear and my opinion on the bonuses.
The TARDIS finds itself landing in a tomb in ancient Mexico during the height of the reign of the Aztecs. Barbara in particular is enthusiastic about this. But upon appearing before a group of Aztec warriors wearing a bracelet she'd found in the tomb she is believed to be the reincarnation of Yetaxa,the high priest of their people. Believing the Aztecs to be inherently civilized,Barbara begins using her position to effect social change among the tribes and end the practice of human sacrifices. Though the doctor sensibly insists she mustn't rewrite "one word" of history she is able to convince Autloc,another high priest of her wishes. Of course the high priest of sacrifice Tlotoxl stands in the way,continually attempting to convince almost everyone Barbara is a false god,even to the point of an attempted poisoning and the sacrifice of Ian. Meanwhile the Doctor finds himself being the romantic interest of Cameca,widow to the builder of their temple. She uses her influence along with Autloc to assist the doctor in rescuing Ian and Susan,who was sent to an Aztec monastery to study the culture upon her showing ignorance to their marriage rituals. They succeed in this,though Tlotoxl actually succeeds in a further sacrifice at which time Autloc loses his faith against such practices as the TARDIS departs.
The bonus disc of this set includes some terrific bonus features that are more than worth the price of admission alone. While true disc one is definitely the same content and presentation as the original DVD,the picture quality is clearer and the audio is a definite improvement. My favorite bonus feature is the 1969 episode of Chronicles called 'The Realms Of Gold',narrated by Julius Norwich that discusses the symbiotic relationship in history between Cortex and Aztec the divided leader Montezuma. Very well rounded and progressive take on what is still viewed today as a controversial subject. 'The Celestial Toyroom' is a delightful and funny documentary about Doctor Who toys-including three favorite parts for me in a pair of Tom Baker boxer shorts,a Whovian's set of hand made Daleks by his father and a game of Doctor Who trump cards between the narrator and Ian McNeice-who portrayed Winston Churchill of course in 'Victory Of The Daleks'. 'It's a Square World' is a hilarious skit-the first comedy skit of Doctor Who featuring a wonderfully comic William Hartnell impersonation. This is a wonderful time capsule of the original Doctor Who cast and I'd highly recommend this Special Edition to all Whovians and Wholigans out there for all the fun and educational bonuses especially. For those who've never seen it at all,must have story and a must have edition. More than worth my...well little more than two cents.