Doctor Who Series Six, Part One
By Chris Zimmerman
July 29, 2011 - 15:01
Writer(s): Steven Moffat, Stephen Thompson, Neil Gaiman, Matthew Graham
Starring: Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill
Directed by: Toby Haynes, Jeremy Webb, Richard Clark, Julian Simpson, Peter Hoar
Produced by: Marcus Wilson, Sanne Wohlenberg
Running Time: 310 minutes
Release Date: July 19. 2011
Distributors: BBC America
Doctor Who is a sci-fi and cultural icon in Britain. His reign as one of the longest running shows is solidified and his fanbase ensured. But few could have imagined that the Doctor’s reach would touch US borders with the effect it has. The series has undergone a transformation in both tone and quality, reducing the level of camp cluttering the series and instilling it with a more serious and darker tone. The newest series has not only reinvigorated the franchise but has also established the Doctor as a worldwide icon of popular culture.
Series 6 begins in explosive fashion, instilling viewers with enough shock value to hold their attention for the whole of the release. Never shying away from thrills, the latest series see’s the Doctor meeting up with President Nixon, dueling pirates, and of course, saving the world. The DVD packs in seven episodes brimming with the expected quirkiness and sense of fun that has accompanied the series since Steven Moffat took over as the show-runner. The quality of the season is uniform throughout and arguably outshines that of the previous season.
This series marked several landmarks for the Doctor, including arriving in America for the first time (meeting the president no less), introducing new alien life forms that are uniquely memorable, as-well-as seeing an episode written by popular Brit novelist Neil Gaiman.
The season kicks off with a bang; literally, with the Doctor being shot dead by a mysterious astronaut. From there the season opts to give viewers the slow burn, placing the main plot on the side while spotlighting the origins of River Song, a character Moffat had described as being crucial to the series. The character’s initial appearance during the previous season resulted in more questions than answers, many of which are addressed here. As the series progresses, all the pieces fall into play and all the cards are laid on the table, resulting in an epic battle that reveals the truth behind River and will have Who fans eagerly anticipating the next half.
Given the popularity of the Doctor and the miniscule episode count, one would have thought the BBC would go the extra mile in providing in-depth extras and/or commentaries. Sadly this was not to be, with only two short featurettes focusing on the new monsters being supplied. This is an incredible disappointment and the only real drawback to purchasing the series on DVD.
Considering the brilliance on display with this handful of episodes, it should come as no surprise that this DVD is a must. Unfortunately the lack of bonus features does hurt it slightly, but given how thoroughly engrossing these episodes are, fans of the series will be more concerned with having to wait it out to resolve the cliff hanger that closes out the set.
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