Doctor Who Series 6 DVD Review

There was a time when the idea of owning even a single episode of Doctor Who on DVD would have been laughable. For me the series was a bit of fun but nothing worth dwelling on, certainly not worth revisiting or spending money to own. This all changed the day Steven Moffat took over the reins and brought in Matt Smith as The Doctor. Suddenly the series had an extra level of quality and complexity to it. Finally I understood what people had been going on about and finally I had found my Doctor.

While series 5 was the best the show had ever been with a finale that made every episode worth a re-watch as new information came to light, series 6 was slightly less awe-inspiring but remains a funny, scary and downright brilliant piece of TV.

The box set starts off on a strong footing with last year’s Christmas special A Christmas Carol which will be hard to beat this year and which I raved about last December. The rest of the series never quite matched the joy of this special and covers The Doctor’s potential demise, the battle against The Silence, one mysterious pregnancy and a classic sci-fi plot twist involving the identity of River Song.

Without a doubt this is the best Doctor Who cast and crew there has ever been. Steven Moffat is the best writer, Matt Smith is the best Doctor, Karen Gillan is the best companion and Arthur Darvill is the best husband of a companion. I love them all to pieces.

The DVDs certainly don’t skimp when it comes to the extras. Some episodes come with either short teaser prequels or commentaries but these are not what get me excited. Exclusive (possibly) to the DVD are five extra Night And The Doctor scenes which show what goes on in the TARDIS in between episodes. It was lovely to see Amy and The Doctor share a quiet moment and The Doctor struggle to juggle three different versions of River Song as they each turn up unannounced. These are complemented by the Comic Relief sketches in which the TARDIS lands within itself, caused by a short skirt and a glass floor and resulting in Amy flirting with herself.

The only place these DVDs let themselves down is with the inclusion of Doctor Who Confidential. Confidential is the complimentary TV series looking in-depth at the filming of each episode, a series I love and which was tragically cancelled at the end of this series. What the DVD does wrong is to cut these down to 10 minutes from their original 40, so much footage has been left out. Some of this footage is included in four Monster Files but it isn’t really a decent substitute.

If you are stuck for ideas for the nerd in your life, Doctor Who would be a great gift and is on sale now on DVD and Blu-ray. Doctor Who no longer needs to be a guilty pleasure.

Doctor Who Series 6 DVD provided by BBCShop.com

Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol – TV Review

Monday night saw Mild Concern sitting amongst children and stars at the premiere of this years Doctor Who Christmas special A Christmas Carol.

I’ll try not to give anything away in reviewing this brilliant episode of Who, though I’d say it is a slightly more low key affair than in previous years. I don’t think a single thing exploded and after last years epic mess a quieter, better crafted story was a welcome relief.

The first half of the episode was pure comedy as Matt Smith expertly delivered Stephen Moffat’s witty dialogue so naturally it was like he was an actor or something. Karen Gillan was sadly in a smaller role than usual but during her brief appearances was in her police uniform keeping the grown up men plenty happy.

Supporting Smith were guest actors Michael Gambon and Kathryn Jenkins who brough different qualities to the show. Gambon was a total powerhouse, playing both the good and evil of the episode and clearly revelling in the fun of being in Doctor Who. Jenkins however shows much lighter acting talent, mostly just looking pretty and doing the occasional song, thereby demonstrating what really got her the job.

What really came across watching Who on the big screen is just how cinematic the show has become. Toby Haynes did a wonderful job of directing, as the TV budget was well and truly stretched to create some stunning shots. The CGI is at its peak here too making for a perfect storm of good TV.

So the writing was great, the acting was (mostly) great and the directing too was… great, but what of the story? I’m glad you asked, the story is really Christmassy and imaginative as we get a truly Who version of a classic tale complete with snow, carols, sharks and time travel.

After the screening Caitlin Moran, everyone’s favourite TV critic, chaired a Q&A with Smith, Moffat and Jenkins which brought no real insights beyond Jenkins being nervous and Gambon having plenty of anecdotes. The main highlight came when “superfan” Karen Gillan asked the panel about their favourite types of fish before shouting out “I like blowfish” for no good reason.

You had to be there really… and you weren’t. Ha!

Tune in on Christmas Day and enjoy a family friendly Christmas treat.