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Doctor Who - The Complete Series 3 Box Set

Series 3 Amazon Box SetThere 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."

However, taken as a whole, series three is about as good as anything that’s 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.

Blink 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.

Doctor Who - The Complete Series 2 Box Set

Series 2 Box SetMost 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?

Absolutely. 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 think about.

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.

Yet 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 round.

Doctor Who: The Key to Time

Ribos - Pirate Planet - AndroidsUniting 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.

New Beginnings - The Master Trilogy

Keeper of Traken - Logopolis - CastrovalvaA 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 show’s catalogue releases. Beginnings is the underlying theme, with the stories following the introduction of the late Anthony Ainley’s take on The Master, the swansong of Tom Baker’s 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. It’s 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 it’s he too who plays a crucial part in "Logopolis", Tom Baker’s final story in the title role. It’s 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.

Davison’s 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 you’d expect, that all isn’t as it seems. Sadly, the premise isn’t really realised, resulting in one of the more tepid stories of Davison’s 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 there’s plenty on offer to justify the asking price.

Doctor Who - Time-Flight & Arc of Infinity

Tegan Box SetTwo 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.

Series 2 Vol 1 - Christmas Invasion & New Earth

Christmas Invasion & New EarthDavid 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 Tennant’s 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. It’s the witty script and Tennant’s confident performance that define the episode.

In 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, there’s something more sinister going on, and there’s the returning, unscrupulous last surviving human Cassandra (played again by Zoe Wanamaker) to deal with.

Series 2 Vol 2 - Tooth and Claw & School Reunion

Tooth and Claw, School Reunion, The Girl in the FireplaceThree 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.

The 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 disk.

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!

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