In this edition of “Worth It?”, we take a look at two DVD releases of the 2017 version of “Shada”.
Hello again! Welcome back to “Worth It”. Today we’re taking a look at not only the standard version of Shada (2017) but the Limited Edition Blu-Ray Steelbook. I originally purchased the Steelbook version shortly after Christmas 2017 for just over $40 + shipping and handling. It’s the only Steelbook in my collection. I then picked up the Standard edition of Shada at my local Wal-Mart nearly a year later for about $20. But which is more worth it?
The cover art is fantastic on both versions. I really love how that the Standard Edition fits better with the rest of the Region 1 Classic Who releases (something Power of the Daleks unfortunately didn’t have). It fits with many of the Season 17 Classic Series covers, but has a more artistic feel.
Meanwhile, the Steelbook and the comic-book style they were going for look incredible! It’s very different and makes this set stand out on my shelf of Doctor Who DVDs. It’s reminiscent of the Doctor Who webcast animation style from the early 2000’s and definitely shows there is love put into it.
Disc One on both the Steelbook and standard release has the 2017 version of Shada. While I will not be going into my thoughts on the story itself (I’ll wait for the Mini Review to happen), I will say the animation is great. This was a huge improvement on the animation used in Power of the Daleks in 2016. The shadows were much better and the lighting was dramatic, so the world feels so much more three-dimensional. It made this story seem so much bigger than it really was. And it meshed very well with the live-action scenes, which I had feared would be an issue.
Though you can tell that the voices in the animation are of the now older actors, it doesn’t really detract from the experience. I personally find more menace in Skagra’s voice in the animated portions. He even looks more menacing there! However, the audio quality on the standard edition is pretty different from the Steelbook version. It seems on the standard version that the pitch is different, which is a shame, really. That does affect my viewing experience just a little.
While we’re on the subject of sound, I want to take a moment to talk about the soundtrack. Mark Ayers has mimicked the late Dudley Simpson’s style almost effortlessly. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say Dudley did the music for it himself. Compared to the soundtrack of the Shada VHS release in 1992, done by Keff McCulloch of all people, I’d say this is more period-appropriate. The music was a fitting tribute to one of Doctor Who‘s greatest composers.
Disc Two has all the bonus features one could ask for. It has your behind the scenes stuff from both the 1979 and 2017 productions, title sequence tapes, and even bonus features from the original release of the 1992 version of Shada on DVD (“The Legacy Collection” for my friends across the pond). For the standard version only, Disc Two also includes the 2003 version of Shada starring Paul McGann and Lalla Ward.
Exclusive to the Steelbook, Disc Three includes not only the 2003 version of Shada, but the 1992 VHS version featuring Tom Baker doing the linking narration. Interestingly, for the 2017 version of Shada, they used different takes from the 1979 footage. Personally, I believe the 1992 cut used the best takes, but that’s just me.
So, which is more worth it? Steelbook or the Standard release? Well, this probably all comes down to what you want. The Standard version is probably best if you want nothing more than to have this version of Shada. But, if you are into the bonus features and want an upgrade to the original DVD Release (AKA “The Legacy Collection”), the Steelbook version is the way to go. I find the Steelbook was more worth it simply because it was a region free release, it had all the bonus features and the Blu-Ray and audio quality is unmatched.