DOCTOR WHO: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SERIES
MOVIE: ****1/2 (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
With the Tenth Doctor’s body exhausted and spent, it regenerates into the Eleventh Doctor, played by newcomer Matt Smith. As this Doctor learns about his new body, he encounters a new companion, Amy Pond (Karen Gillian), whom he has had a connection with since her childhood. There’s also a connection with a rift in space-time that follows the Doctor and Amy across the universe and threatens to tear apart reality.
WHAT I LIKED
I have been a fan of “Doctor Who” ever since PBS ran the series in the mid-1970s. I grew up with Tom Baker as possibly the most famous incarnation of the unique Time Lord, and in spite of alarmingly low-rent special effects, I absolutely loved the show.
The only Doctor to come close to Baker’s portrayal has been David Tennant in the last several years. So, you can imagine my disappointment and nervousness for the character when I learned the Tenth Doctor was going to regenerate. The early shots of Matt Smith were unimpressive for me, but seeing the man in action has renewed my faith in the show, as well as made me a fan of showrunner Steven Moffet.
Not only does Matt Smith shine as the Doctor, embodying the child-like wonder he should have with his unmatched brilliance while maintaining an appropriate level of silliness and fun, his new companion is one of the best of the new incarnation. I think I liked Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman) a little better, but Amy is different. Like Rose, she can give the Doctor what for while showing a version of a schoolyard crush. Amy has spunk, and that works as a perfect pairing with Matt Smith’s Doctor.
This season takes a page from the “Bad Wolf” arc that spanned the first couple seasons of the “Doctor Who” reboot. The crack in space-time follows the Doctor and Amy around, showing that they have a deeper connection. And the stories for the most part manage to tell intriguing science fiction sagas. They also manage to pull in old familiar characters, like the Daleks, River Song and even the return of the Weeping Angels.
Not only is Matt Smith a fine replacement for David Tennant, Stephen Moffet is a fine replacement for Russell T. Davis. Rather than a 13-episode season, “Doctor Who: The Complete Fifth Series” offers thirteen installments in a greater story that literally spans all of time and space.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
Like any great season of television, there are a couple clunker episodes. Fortunately, these are buried in the middle of the season which is the place to hide poorly written episodes. In particular, the episode “Cold Blood” tries a little too hard to draw character analogies to current warring factions and just gets too preachy. And the whole Native American apologist angle of this episode was clunky and as subtle as a sledgehammer.
Still, a single bad episode is entirely forgivable here.
Like previous releases of “Doctor Who” series, there’s plenty of extra features buried in the six-disc set. There are two blocks of deleted scenes, four episode of “The Monster Files” which examine the big uglies of this series, a three-part video diary, “Doctor Who Confidential” installments for each episode, six in-vision commentaries, outtakes and a whole mess of teasers and trailers for the series.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Fans of the ongoing series and anyone willing to give Matt Smith a chance (and you’ll be glad you did).