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"Doctor Who: The Complete Fifth Series" {Blu-ray}
Wayne Klein
Studio: BBC/Warner Home Video
TV - Series
Release Date:
Special Features:

PIP commentary tracks, deleted scenes, featurettes, "Doctor Who Confidential"


I'll admit I was a bit skeptical when I started watching the first two episodes of the fifth series for "Doctor Who". While Matt Smith is fine as the Doctor and brings his own quirky interpretation to the role, the writing for the first two episodes was, to be charitable, weak (in fact the second episode borrowed an idea from the pilot episode of "Star Trek: The next Generation" although to be fair "Star Trek: The Next Generation" "borrowed" the idea of the Borg so turn about seems to be fair play here.). I was surprised as writer Steven Moffatt had written the best episodes of the previous seasons in my opinion. The first two episodes introduce the character of Amelia Pond (Karen Gilan) who, as a child, encounters the Doctor (Matt Smith). It seems Amelia has a crack in her bedroom wall and somehow something has escaped into our world through this crack in time. In the second episode the Doctor and a grown up Amy try and discover what is happening to the residents of England in orbit around an Earth devasted and made temporarily uninhabitable by solar flares. The third two part episode brings back the Weeping Angels and Doctor Song two popular characters in a thrilling episode that improves the quality of the show. Luckily, things picked up by the third episode set in World War Two where PM Winston Churchill unveils his own secret weapon to take out the Nazi's with unintended consquences and results. "The Vampires of Venice" the sixth episode of the season continues the quality established by the third episode. The episodes after that vary in quality but overall are an improvement compared to the first two episodes of the season. ---

Image & Sound:

The transfer here looks better than any of the previous episodes on either DVD or Blu-ray. The first four series were shot on regular video and blacks looked more like very dark blues. The colors are quite good here although a bit subdued throughout. The fifth season looks quite nice in its high def premiere. If you've purchased the DVD I can't comment on the video quality as I haven't seen it. Detail is quite good throughout. ***

Audio is quite good and an improvement over the first three sets where the 5.1 mix was botched dialogue occasionally still gets lost in the aggressive mix when it is reduced to two channels. ---

Special Features:

The extras are, as always, quite generous. "The Eleventh Hour", "Victory of the Daleks", "The Time of Angels", "The Vampires of Venice", "Cold Blood" and "The Big Bang" all feature pip commentary tracks. We get deleted scenes, outtakes, "Doctor Who Confidential", video diaries and "Monster Files" for various creatures. There are three collectable postcards included in the set as well. The booklet that was in previous editions has been eliminated replaced by credits on the cardboard fold out cover. I dislike this packaging compared to the previous ones but it isn't horrible. The cover is a lenticular image of Smith and his lovely co-star Karen Gilan who plays the Doctor's new companion Amy Pond.

Final Words:

"Doctor Who: The Complete Fifth Series" is a bit inconsistent but the best episodes here more than hold their own with the best of previous seasons. New comer Matt Smith does an admirable job and quickly finds his way in the role as the "new" Doctor. Karen Gilan as the new companion Amy is a nicely realized character and the best companion since Rose Tyler demonstrating that Moffatt was the best choice as the Executive Producer and Head Writer on the show.


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