Mindgame, Reviewed by Kathryn Sullivan
Reviews on this page: “Mindgame” and “Mindgame Trilogy”
FRIENDS OF DOCTOR WHO Volume 10, Number 4 Spring 1999
reviewed by Kathy Sullivan
Mindgame, a new video by Reeltime Productions, is a 34 minute two room drama written by Terrance Dicks and directed by Keith Barnfather.
Mindgame opens on an asteriod, where a mysterious being talks about acquiring specimens for an experiment. A touch of a dial, and an upset Sontaran materializes in a room, followed by a short time later by two other beings. On one level this is a simple story–a Sontaran, a Draconian and a human have been transported to a prison cell by an unknown being, who intends to pit one against the other. It’s an interesting study in the differences between the three cultures, as the captives discuss their differences in why they fight and their ideas of honor. Given the limitations of the video–short filming time, two sets–it works very well.
There is another possible another level to the story, as both the Draconian and human have lines that hint they know someone in common. Since there will be a sequel, ‘Mindgame Trilogy’, I’m hoping that those clues will be explored.
There is one problem caused by the short filming time–overrelying on stereotypes. Too much time is wasted by both the Sontaran and Draconian being amazed that the human is both female and a warrior–the Sontaran demonstrating how much of a clone it is by repeating Linx’s lines from ‘Time Warrior’. And the Sontaran is one of the more stupid models, with only one flash of brilliance. There have been intelligent Sontarans in the past, starting with Linx, and I would have liked to have seen how an intelligent Sontaran would have handled the situation, rather than wondering why the Sontaran-Rutan war has continued so long with clones like the presented version in the front lines.
‘Mindgame’ is a good short story with nicely-done costumesand special effects. Also on the same tape is the 33 minute ‘Making of Mindgame’.
The cast consists of Sophie Aldred as the human, Toby Aspin as the Sontaran, Miles Richardson as the Draconian, and Bryan Robson as their captor. Recommended.
‘Mindgame’ is available on NTSC for $24.99 from Ambrosia Books 1-888-47-DRWHO
FRIENDS OF DOCTOR WHO Volume 11, Number 1 Summer 1999
"Mindgame Trilogy", a new video by Reeltime Productions, follows up on the three characters from "Mindgame".
The first story, "Battlefield", was written by Terrance Dicks and focuses on the Sontaran, Field-Major Sarg. Returning from captivity, Sarg tries to report to its superiors about its alien captor. But the communications equipment is damaged, and Sarg discovers that it is alone in the middle of a battlefield and
the Rutans are closing in.
"Prisoner 451" was written by Miles Richardson, who also stars in the story as the Draconian. Imprisoned for subversion, he complains to spy cameras about the events that led up to his imprisonment, betraying, for a Draconian noble, a surprisingly large amount of familiarity with Human literature and drama. But what was his subversion, that it has earned the death penalty?
"Scout Ship", written by Roger Stevens, opens with the human, now named Pilot 6927896, adrift in a damaged ship. With only two hours of life support remaining, can she repair the ship in time?
Those expecting a story similar to "Mindgame" or–as I was– hoping for a possible exploration of clues dropped in the previous video will be surprised to find a quite different series of stories. These stories are much darker–giving the actors an opportunity for powerful performances–but leaving this viewer rather depressed by the end. There is also a segment on the making of "Mindgame Trilogy" with the interesting title of "The Mismanagement of Mindgame Trilogy". Miles Richardson (the Draconian) puts his own somewhat cynical spin on events, but the behind-the-scenes look at directors Nicholas Briggs and Keith Barnfather in action is interesting.
Sophie Aldred and Miles Richardson return as the human and the Draconian, while John Wadmore (from "Auton", "Republica" and "The Stranger Chronicles") takes on the role of the Sontaran. The entire video is approximately 80 minutes.
"Mindgame Trilogy" is currently available on PAL, but should be available on NTSC soon from Ministry of Sound and Vision,
2457A S. Hiawasse Rd., Suite 135, Orlando FL 327835,