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“Doctor Who: The Complete Third Season”
Wayne Klein
Studio: BBC/Warner
Genre: TV - Series
Special Features: Commentary tracks, Doctor Who Confidential, Music and Monsters, David’s Video Diaries, Freema’s Tour of the Studio, Dr. Who Teasers, Preview, Outtakes and Deleted Scenes

The third season of Doctor Who had a lot of changes. First we get a temporary companion a bride that gets transported to the TARDIS as she’s walking down the aisle, a new traveling companion Martha Jones, the return of the Daleks, Captain Jack returns and so does the Doctor’s most powerful adversary the Master. All of this happens in 14 episodes. ***

In “The Runaway Bride” a woman (Catherine Tate)is mysteriously transported to the TARDIS in mid-flight. The Doctor must discover how she got there and return her to her wedding which is already in progress. More importantly he must discover what is so special about this woman that she should just appear on the TARDIS. ***

Still reeling from the loss of Rose, the Doctor (David Tennant) is the walking wounded when he first meets Dr. Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman) in a hospital that has been transported to the moon. The Judoon an alien police force for hire have isolated the hospital as they track down a plasma vampire hiding there. ***

The strongest episodes outside of these two are “Blink” a creepy episode that involves creepy statuary that move and attack people when they aren’t looking. The three part story arc involving the Master’s return “Utopia”, “Vote Saxon” and “Last of the Time Lords”. The former is little more than an excuse to reintroduce the Master (John Simm). The Doctor, Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) and Martha go to the end of time and find a small group of humans trying to escape to Utopia a planet at the other end of the Galaxy. They are dependent upon Professor Yana (Derek Jacobi) in figuring out how to launch their rocket. ***

In “Vote Saxon” and “Last of the Time Lords” the Master escapes taking the TARDIS to modern day England where he masquerades as Prime Minister Harold Saxon. He uses his position to enslave the Earth and capture the Doctor. *** The weakest episodes for me were the two stories involving the Daleks set in 1930’s New York. It’s enjoyable for the period décor, performances and the action sequences but suffers from some silly elements that undermine the show. “Gridlock” reintroduces the Face of Bo (and we finally find out about the relationship between the Doctor and this enigmatic character). Even the weakest episodes though have something to enjoy about them. ---

Image & Sound:

The first season looked good but the blacks weren’t very solid. This set looks much better with solid blacks, accurate colors and detail. ***

The audio is still problematic however. The 5.1 mix allows the music to often drown out the dialogue (unless you crank up one speaker at the expense of the others). This has been a common complaint for the previous two sets as well. I’m surprised the BBC hasn’t fixed this issue as it has been a common complaint among those who have purchased the show. ---

Special Features:

Once again the BBC comes through with some terrific special features for this set. We get a commentary track on every episode (many of them featuring star David Tennant and writer/producer Russell Davies). Curiously, Freema Agyeman who plays Martha only appears on the final episode of the set in a commentary with John Barrowman. ***

We also get “David’s Video Diaries” which takes us behind-the-scenes on various episodes throughout the third season. It’s a nice “informal’ peak into the production of the show. This crops up in three parts on separate discs for episodes including “The Runaway Bride” and “The Lazarus Experiment”. ***

“Music and Monsters” was a special that the BBC did on the music of Doctor Who hosted by David Tennant and featuring brief interviews/appearances by various cast members from the three season revival. ***

“Doctor Who: Confidential” the BBC TV series that takes fans behind-the-scenes over the last three years appears solely on the final disc. These are edited versions of the programs that appeared on each Sunday. It’s narrated by Anthony Head (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) and features interviews with cast and creative crew for the show. ***

We also get teasers for various episodes, outtakes/deleted scenes and previews for other BBC on DVD TV shows. Included as well is a booklet with a brief description of each episode, credits and a brief introduction written by David Tennat.

Final Words:

Overall the third season was a strong one with a number of terrific episodes. Even the weaker episodes had something to recommend them. As always the set impresses with the special features. The image quality is improved over previous sets but the audio is a bit more problematic with an oddly overpowering 5.1 mix.


Copyright @ Teakwood Productions 2000
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