TARDIS: Did you ever wonder why I chose you all those years
The Doctor: I chose you. You were unlocked.
TARDIS: Of course I was. I wanted to see the universe, so I
stole a Time Lord and I ran away. And you were the only one mad enough.
If the idea of The Doctor having a two-way conversation with
the TARDIS (in an episode written by Neil Gaiman (!)) isn't enough to
your interest in this latest series, nothing I can say will change your
mind. Go ahead and skip over to the next
review. Don't worry, it won't hurt my
Okay, now that they're gone we can talk about head writer/
exec producer Steven Moffat's sophomore season on Doctor Who. I thought his first season in charge of the
show was brilliant (read my review here)
and I was eagerly awaiting this follow-up.
While they've decided to split the season into two parts (for
original broadcast and home video release) which is an irritating
show is still great, though the overall plot is a bit more convoluted
has been in the past.
(Warning: The first
episode sets up the major plot for
this season, and I'll reveal a spoiler that takes place in that episode. If you don't want to read it, skip down to
the technical part.)
Amy and Rory are back on Earth enjoying married life without
The Doctor until a mysterious blue card arrives. It
has a time, date, and place (the middle of
the American desert) listed on it, but nothing else.
The pair show up to find River Song (who
received a similar post card) and The Doctor wearing a cowboy hat. ("Stetsons are cool!")
The quartet go down to a lake and have a picnic, where the
Doctor lets it slip that over 200 years have passed since he's last
and that their next mission has to do with the Moon landing in 1969. Just then, someone in a 60's era NASA space
suit walks out of the lake. The Doctor
warns his friends not to interfere, and walks down to greet the
being. They talk for a minute then the
person in the suit shoots The Doctor dead.
He starts to regenerate but he's shot a second time interrupting
process. His friends rush to his aid
(River unloading her gun into the back of the suit that's walking back
lake) to find him totally dead (presumably) permanently.
Just then an old man shows up, bearing
another blue envelope, and gives the three grieving friends a can of
before leaving. They burn the Doctor's
body and retire to a café to figure out their next plan when
they see a fourth
blue envelope lying on an empty table.
Out of the bathroom walks the Doctor and warmly greets them all. It turns out that this Doctor is 200 years
younger than the one who was killed. In
other words the Doctor will die, but not for a while.
Amy desperately wants to tell The Doctor what happened, but
River forbids her. He can't learn
anything about his own future, since that would set up a paradox. (If she tells him and he avoids being killed,
Amy won't see him die. So she can't warn
him. Which will lead to his death. Which means she'll warn him....)
Just who or what was in that space suit and
why did they want to kill The Doctor?
Their only clue is The (older) Doctor's clue about going back to
and the NASA Moon landing. So off they
go to 1969 where they discover something odd is happening... to President
Nixon. With his help, and that of a
discharge Fed, they start to unravel a complex story.
Steven Moffat has always had interesting ideas, his crack in
the universe storyline from last season was great, and he's come up
with a few
great plotlines for this season. The
only problem is that the subplots are a bit convoluted, with different
time-lines intersecting and a new creature "The Flesh" that can make
duplicates of anybody, it can get a bit confusing.
They also seem to drop the mystery of the
person in the space suit for a large part of this half-season (that
not wrapped up by the end of this set) and focus on another odd event. There are also a pair of two-part shows this
time around, and the second of those could have been done in one
and consequently dragged in places.
Having said that, this is a very entertaining set of shows
that builds on what has come before and also expands on the legend of
Doctor. While Russell T. Davies did
great job bringing the Time Lord and his most famous enemies into the 21st
Century, Moffat expands, adding new creatures and villains without
the earlier foes. The last episode in
this set, which is one of my favorites (and I'd rave about it in more
but I don't want to give anything away), features the Cybermen and the
while also including a new group of baddies, the Headless Monks. He also comes up with The Silence, a unique
race of creatures that are unlike any other monster I can think of.
The writing is just as strong as ever. The
plots are well thought out and most
involve clever twist that are fun, but don't come across as
unfortunately happens way too often.)
The Doctor has some great lines that are very quotable too,
which is a
hallmark of Moffat-penned episodes. When
The Doctor discovers that he's being imprisoned in a cell made of dwarf
matter he excitedly exclaims "you're building me the perfect prison!"
gets serious and growls "it won't be enough."
That's great stuff.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention The Doctor's Wife,
an episode penned by Neil Gaiman (Sandman, Coraline)
a great tale where The Doctor gets a distress cube from a
fellow Time Lord in trouble that originated outside of the universe. It's a tale that takes a surprising twist
that will have fans of the show talking for years to come.
This half season contains seven episodes on two Blu-ray
discs. The Christmas Special
from 2010, which was released separately a
while ago, is not included.
Like the previous Doctor Who HD
releases, this set comes with a VC-1 encoded 1080i image which did look
overall. The level of detail is nice,
and the colors are strong and vibrant. There
is a little banding, but nothing too significant. Overall a nice
The show comes with a DTS HD audio track that suited the show
is a lot of aural action in the show; the TARDIS taking off, various
with monsters, etc., and those sequences were engulfing and
a good amount of subwoofer action in some of the more dynamic scenes
too. The dialog was crisp and clear and
placed in the soundstage. Overall I
very happy with the why this set sounded.
This is the really disappointing part of this collection.
While the earlier full season sets had a good
amount of bonus material, this half season set has very little. No commentaries, no Doctor Who
Confidential episodes, just two Monster Files
that look at The Silence and Gangers. *yawn*
From start to finish this was a fun set that passed way too
quickly. Matt Smith is still doing a
great job as The Doctor and his companions, Amy and Rory, are wonderful
too. The only real complaint that I have
is that this is only half of a season (the second half has not yet
aired as of
this writing) and the lack of extras.
Otherwise if you enjoyed season five, strap in for an exciting
while watching this collection. Highly
Note: The images
review are not from the Blu-ray disc and do not necessarily represent
quality on the disc.