were moments in the third season of the revived Doctor Who when you begin to wonder
if the bubble has burst. A couple of dodgy Dalek episodes, and a handful of forgettable
stories make you begin to think the show has (as Doctor Who Magazine said
in their bitter lampooning of Outpost Gallifrey users) "Jumped the Shark."
taken as a whole, series three is about as good as anything thats gone before
it, with some beautiful moments and some quite superb individual episodes. Whlist
for me, series three reached some new lows, it also soared to new heights.
is extremely clever, genuinely scary and has immense rewatch value. Proabably
the best episode of Doctor Who since Philip Hinchcliffe was around. While the
equally strong double-header of Human Nature and The Family Of Blood is a two-parter
in the traditional Doctor Who way, building up its story in a measured and really
effectively creepy way.
The finale however is not worth holding out for.
On one hand presenting the one of the most amazing cliff-hangars, followed by
a turkey of a conclusion. But don't take my silly rantings as read, go an buy
the flipping thing. You'll love it.
Doctor Who appeals to an extremely broad
age demographic, and woos over fans new and old in a manner that no show currently
on television can manage. And while the cliché of hiding behind the sofa
may not be as accurate as it once was, Doctor Who season three will undoubtedly
leave you gripped to the TV.
Who - The Complete Series 2 Box Set
have agreed that the BBC's decision to revive Doctor Who has proven inspired,
with the Christopher Ecclestone-led 'first' series proving a critical and ratings
success. Yet when Ecclestone announced he was departing the role after just one
season, eyebrows were raised. Could the momentum be kept going for a second series?
The seamless casting of David Tennant as Ecclestone's successor in the TARDIS
has been equally inspired, and while it's a fair debate as to whether he matches
the standards set by his predecessor, the show rarely lets you draw breath to
This second series collection kicks off with the 2005 Christmas
special, which finds the Doctor struggling to overcome the effects of his regeneration,
just as the Earth happens to be invaded. It's a smashing episode, and much of
the thirteen that follow manage to match it. Particular highlights? There's "School
Reunion", which cleverly works old favourites K-9 and Sarah-Jane back into
the mix, while "The Girl In The Fireplace" finds the Doctor in a slightly
more romantic frame, "The Idiot's Lantern" is a super, snappy episode
set just before Coronation Day, while the two part "Impossible Planet"
and "Satan Pit" shows just how far you can stretch a BBC budget.
the series will ultimately be remembered for different reasons. The triumphant
return for the Cybermen for one, and the depature of Billie Piper's Rose Tyler
in the superb final two-parter, which also happens to see two of the Doctor's
deadliest foes waging war. And while it's not unfair to say that this series of
Doctor Who hasn't been without one or two low moments too, the vast majority of
it has been really quite brilliant. Fast, energetic, well-written and cracking
entertainment, you're only left wondering how they can top all this next time
Who: The Key to Time
six complete stories across a full series of Doctor Who in one quest, the Key
To Time saga is an ambitious, sometimes too ambitious, piece of television that
nonetheless has plenty within it to recommend it.
Starring Tom Baker as
Doctor Who he's given a quest by the White Guardian to track down the six constituent
parts of the Key to Time. Thus, each of the six stories sees the Doctor and Mary
Tamm's Romana hunting down one of the segments.
In many ways showing the
highs and the lows of Doctor Who in the late 1970s, the Key To Time has some very
distinct highlights. The Pirate Planet, for instance, is a cracking story in its
own right (written by Douglas Adams), and we're also fans of The Androids Of Tara
and the story that wraps the saga up, The Armageddon Factor. Ironically, it all
gets off to a low start with the tepid The Ribos Operation, while The Power Of
Kroll is just silly. Even by Doctor Who standards!
Nonetheless, this is
a significant and very worthy entry in the Doctor Who canon, with both Tamm and
Baker on top form. There's also some cracking episodes within the Key to Time,
and a real feeling of risks being taken with a long-running property.
Beginnings - The Master Trilogy
good value boxset that unites a loose trilogy of stories of varying interest from
the back catalogue, Doctor Who: New Beginnings maintains the high standards set
of late by the shows catalogue releases. Beginnings is the underlying theme,
with the stories following the introduction of the late Anthony Ainleys
take on The Master, the swansong of Tom Bakers Doctor, and the debut of
Peter Davison in the title role.
The first story, "The Keeper Of Trakken",
tells of a living statue that poses a threat to Traken World. Its quite
a good tale, introducing Nyssa to the Doctor Who Universe, but more worryingly
for the Doctor it also plays host to a resurgent Master. And its he too
who plays a crucial part in "Logopolis", Tom Bakers final story
in the title role. Its the best story in the New Beginnings boxset, as the
Doctor battles both The Master, and the potential end of the Universe when the
mathematicians of Logopolis are threatened. Along the way, he also adds Tegan
to the crew of the TARDIS for the first time, with the first appearance of Peter
Davison as the Doctor, too.
Davisons first full story though, "Castrovalva"",
is the weakest link of the set. Again it features The Master, and it follows the
newly regenerated Doctor--in a very shaky state--as he heads for the supposedly
peaceful retreat of the title, only to find, as youd expect, that all isnt
as it seems. Sadly, the premise isnt really realised, resulting in one of
the more tepid stories of Davisons reign.
Ultimately though, Doctor
Who: New Beginnings delivers two very good stories. Yet this being Doctor Who,
each is backed up by enough extra features to paper over even the most telling
of cracks, and theres plenty on offer to justify the asking price.
Who - Time-Flight & Arc of Infinity
stories based around the character of Tegan, this union of Time-Flight and Arc
of Infinity is an interesting double header for any Doctor Who enthusiast. Both
stories see Peter Davison in the title role.
Time-Flight's big selling point
is neither Davison's Doctor nor Janet Fielding's Tegan. Instead, it's Concorde,
as the Doctor gets Tegan to Heathrow Airport, only to discover that the infamous
supersonic jet is caught in a muddle with a time corridor. And while truthfully
the story wrapping round this concept isn't top of the range Who, it's still both
entertaining and easy to watch, and good fun all round.
Arc of Infinity,
meanwhile, takes the Doctor back into the midst of the Time Lords, only to discover
that one of them has chosen him to be the victim of a strange creature. This creature
can only survive by bonding with a Time Lord, and when the High Council of Time
Lords rules that the Doctor has to be killed, the scene is set for an interesting
mystery, that also sees Tegan fall into dangerous hands too.
The two stories
in this Doctor Who boxset are, to be fair, fairly loosely linked, but while neither
comes from a particularly classic era of the show, both have plenty to make them
worth watching. Of the two, Arc of Infinity is the better, but backed up with
the usual top notch extras, this is a boxset that few Doctor Who fans will want
to be without.
2 Vol 1 - Christmas Invasion & New Earth
Tennant ably steps into the shoes of the famous Timelord, and the first of the
two is the excellent 2005 Christmas special, The Christmas Invasion, which
marked Tennants first full story in the role. Taking place during the festive
season, the story finds Earth under imminent threat of invasion, at a time when
the Doctor is still getting over his regeneration. Its the witty script
and Tennants confident performance that define the episode.
New Earth the Doctor and Rose find themselves billions of years in the future,
called to a hospital where the feline nursing staff have a cure for every disease.
Naturally, theres something more sinister going on, and theres the
returning, unscrupulous last surviving human Cassandra (played again by Zoe Wanamaker)
to deal with.
2 Vol 2 - Tooth and Claw & School Reunion
episodes featuring David Tennant as the tenth 'regenerated' Doctor Who and Billie
Piper as his companion Rose.
In 'Tooth And Claw', the Doctor and Rose
arrive in 1897 Scotland and meet Queen Victoria and danger at the Torchwood estate.
In 'School Reunion' Sarah Jane and Robot K-9 join the time-travellers
in a school that has been taken over by aliens.
In 'The Girl In The Fireplace',
The Doctor gets involved with Madame du Pompadour, mistress to King Louis XV.
Complete First Series - New Series 2005
For most viewers,
the Dalek episodes stood head and shoulders above the rest of the new series but
this box set on the whole is an absolutely must for anyone who remotely enjoyed
the new series of Doctor Who. Unlikely the previous individual releases of episodes,
the box set has extras coming out of its ears. And whereas some box sets just
have extras on the final disc, this brilliant package has a selection of extras
on each disk, plus the entire set of Doctor Who confidential (cut down) on another
Nothing much needs saying about the episodes themselves but commentaries
on certain episodes are almost worth the price alone. The commentaries of Rose,
The Unquiet Dead and Dalek are of particular note and the video
diaries of certain members of the team are very interesting and fun. The TARDIS
container is a nice package and overall, believe me this set of DVDs is well worth
the asking price, or probably more!