Courtesty BBC Home Entertainment

(Special thanks to BBC Home Entertainment for providing a complimentary DVD for review)

On paper, this should have worked – an animated, online version of Doctor Who to help celebrate the show’s 40th anniversary. An online reinterpretation that could have served as a creative reinvention of the show.

But as history – and the recent DVD release of Scream of the Shalka – proves, sometimes what you get is better than the alternative.

To be fair, by the time Shalka was “broadcast” online, the new series had been announced, meaning that this particular story became….well, a footnote. It’s not a bad story, by any stretch, but the six episodes (the longest of which clocks in at just under 15 minutes) feel a bit underwritten, with entire scenes seemingly removed. It’s a basic Who-by-numbers story, and although most of the acting is exceptional, the only exception is….Richard E. Grant. His Doctor – who is supposed to be detached – never quite sounds, well, Doctor-ish. It’s not bad Who – it reflects this particular story’s production history.

Doctor Who Scream of the Shalka

Courtesy BBC Home Entertainment

It’s that history – as well as the history of BBC online – that provides the bulk of the behind-the-scenes features, and these are where the true heart of Shalka lies. This story had a very uneasy genesis, and….well, let’s just say that much of the behind-the-scenes work was fraught with needless drama, drama which led Russell T. Davies (in an interview clip) to make sure that such things never happened with current new Who.

So is Scream of the Shalka worth viewing? If you’re interested in a different take on Who, or you’re the kind of fan who must see everything ever made….then yes, it’s worth viewing. Otherwise, you might want to save your pennies…or purchase the recent reissue of The Ice Warriors instead.

One Response to The Doctor That Never Was: DOCTOR WHO – SCREAM OF THE SHALKA

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