Doctor Who Series Six Part One Blu-Ray Review

The sixth series of the new Doctor Who has pulled out all the stops in the continuing effort to hold onto the success David Tennant brought to the franchise. Matt Smith seems to have won over fans (by and large), but the show clearly aims at raising the bar, instilling as much drama as possible, and working the long arc as much as possible.

It’s hard to imagine boring straight to the heart of series fireworks with more gusto than having The Doctor die in the first episode of the season, but you can’t say the show didn’t give it a go.

The Series Six – Part One Blu-Ray gives you the first seven episodes, and it is a surprisingly packed set of adventures indeed. The season kicks off with “The Impossible Astronaut,” which is a mind-bending episode even without the eventual demise the sent shockwaves through cyberspace. A trip to the Utah desert, a Who masterpiece of a baddie, and a jaunt over to the oval office, and it all leads to a young girl bizarrely trapped in a NASA spacesuit.

We also find The Doctor aboard a pirate ship, trying to keep people from falling victim to a siren, and on a desolate junkyard of a planet somewhere (somehow) outside the universe, in a brilliant episode written by Neil Gaiman. Another two-parter finds our heroes battling living flesh, a strange substance used to create copies of people, that would like to register a complaint about its work conditions.

It all comes together, what with Amy’s strange visions of an eye-patched woman staring at her, into a battle of epic proportions, and a revelation that threw fans for a loop they are still reeling from, and has put everyone on edge waiting for the season to continue.

Overall, the sixth series has thus far put the show into a sprint (continuing the trajectory we’ve been on with the rebirth of the franchise), whereas the “old” Doctor generally sauntered along. The new series has had its moments that gave us a real feeling of the personality that (one assumes) is meant to persist throughout, and Gaiman’s episode is a good example, but with the sixth series, events do not particularly allow for a mild-mannered approach, nor for the somewhat lackadaisical, absent-minded Doctor that long-term fans have come to love.

 

The most telling thing about the series is the new opening, which makes things into Amy’s story, rather than something outright Doctor in terms of its existence. No mere “companion,” Amy is the person leading you into the show, by telling you of her encounters with the man, who is clearly at the center, but no longer the “thing in itself.”

I’ve been watching Doctor Who since it was first on PBS, and while I love what Tennant did with the series and character, there is something about Smith that gets at the heart of The Doctor, even despite the rather un-Doctor-esque demands of the storylines here. Moreover, the episodes are as fun, clever, and exciting as anything to come from the new world of Doctor Who, especially packed into only seven episodes.

The release also includes two “Monster Files,” which give you an examination of The Silence and The Gangers. There isn’t a great deal to these, but they are rather interesting in what they give. The Gangers may not actually deserve quite as much attention, but The Silence made for great episodes, wild spins, and let’s face it, some interesting acting… and, they’re creepy.

 

I’m not a big fan of the half-season releases that have become all the rage, but this one is well worth the investment. I would normally say that this is the perfect thing to pick up so that you can catch up before the season continues, but this is a series that is absolutely worth watching again before the season continues as well.

Of course, the Blu-Ray looks fantastic, doing justice to the shadowy depths The Silence hides in, and the subdued pirate ship and junk planet, but also putting forward the panoramas of the Utah desert. That’s hardly surprising though. TV shows don’t usually get a great deal of praise for how they look, but Doctor Who makes (apparently) a serious effort in bringing things together as though it were on par with a film, and it shows up here brilliantly.

Pick this one up today!

 

Official Site: http://bit.ly/oa1ppC

 

Below check out a bit more info, several clips from the first part of the series, and a sneak at what’s coming up.

 

Doctor Who: Series 6, Part 1, a two-disc DVD and Blu-ray set, contains the first seven episodes along with two Monster files, “The Gangers” and “The Silence,” two of the Doctor’s most challenging opponents.

In the season opener, “The Impossible Astronaut,” four envelopes are received, numbered 2, 3 and 4, each containing a date, time and map reference, unsigned, but in TARDIS blue. Who sent them? And who received the missing number one? This strange summons reunites the Doctor (Smith), Amy (Gillan), Rory (Darvill) and River Song (Kingston) in the middle of the Utah desert and unveils a terrible secret the Doctor’s friends must never reveal to him. ‘Space 1969’ is their only clue, as their quest lands them – quite literally – in the Oval Office, where they are enlisted by President Nixon himself to assist enigmatic former-FBI agent Canton (Mark Sheppard) in saving a terrified little girl from a mysterious spaceman.

Following the two-parter, the Doctor, Amy and Rory journey on the high seas of 1696 aboard Avery’s (Bonneville) pirate ship to solve the mystery of the Siren (Cole). In a bubble universe at the very edge of reality, the Doctor meets an old friend with a new face, and in a monastery on a remote island in the near future, an industrial accident takes on a terrible human shape. And waiting for them, at the end of all this, is the battle of Demon’s Run, and the Doctor’s darkest hour. Can even the truth about River Song save the Time Lord’s soul? Only two things are certain. Silence will fall. And a good man is going to die…

 

 

 

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Marc Eastman
Marc Eastman is the owner and operator of Are You Screening? and has been writing film reviews for over a decade, and several branches of the internet's film review world have seen his name. He is also a member of The Broadcast Film Critics Association and The Broadcast Television Journalists Association.

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