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DVD Review

DVD cover

Doctor Who
The Monster Collection
The Silurians


Starring: Jon Petwee and Matt Smith
Distributor: BBC DVD
RRP: £10.20
Certificate: PG
Release Date: 30 September 2013

When they came to choose which villains to showcase in the new monster collection, I don’t think that they meant it as a racial slur. Most of them, including the Cybermen and Daleks represent threats born out of the desire to dominate. The Silurians, on the other hand represented the original sentient life on Earth, who, in order to survive the Earth's capture of the Moon went into hibernation only to wake up several millennium later to discover that hairless monkeys were squatting in their home.

The Monster Collection: The Silurians is a double disc presentation of two of their stories. The discs contain no extras.

The Silurians (1970 - Colour - 7 Episodes) sees Jon Pertwee’s Doctor and companion Liz Shaw (Caroline John) being called in by UNIT to a new type of nuclear reactor which is suffering both technical difficulties and worker stress. On investigation the Doctor discovers that the warmth from the power plant has awoken Earth's original inhabitants, who want their gaff back. Although the Doctor approaches this turn of events with compassion and understanding, the humans, typically, meet the new arrival with kidnap and violence. The Silurians react to this by releasing a virus, which has the potential to wipe out the whole human race.

While the latest version of the Doctor struggles with the idea that his interference has made him an enemy to many of the universe's races, this story harkens back to a time when the Doctor tried to counter most threats with understanding. Unfortunately, both the Humans and Silurians meet violence with more violence, escalating the conflict. It took a while for the new show to return to the Silurians and we had to wait until Matt Smith took up the role of the Doctor.

The Hungry Earth & Cold Blood (2010 - Colour) and the Doctor, with Amy and Rory, find themselves in a Welsh mining village where scientists are drilling deep into the earth, unknowingly causing great disruption to the Silurian Society. From their previous appearances it would seem that they have given up on the idea of taking over the Earth and now are living apart from the humans in underground cities, sleeping in peace. You can understand their position, having lost one home; the hairless monkeys are trying to ruin their new home. In order to stop this act of vandalism the Silurians open up travel tubes, which appear as holes in the ground to capture the scientists. Once again the Doctor finds himself trying to stop a war between the two species.

Even within the show itself the Doctor explains to the humans that the Silurians are no more inherently evil than their human counterparts, so it’s unfair to brand them as monsters.

In many ways this is just a retelling of the first Silurian tale, with many of the same themes surviving their reinvention, including the misunderstanding which brings the races closer to war and a military section of the Silurians more than ready to start a new apocalypse. Even more so, the story places the humans in the role of the monsters. The new prosthetic masks are more impressive and there is also a nod back to the original story when the Doctor admits he has already met a similar, but not the same race.

So, two good stories which examine the problems of racial conflict, both which call for harmony, but both of which understand the problems involved.


Charles Packer

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