Doctor Who Series 6, Part 1 [Blu-ray]
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Doctor Who: The Sixth Series, Part One (Blu-ray)
Matt Smith's sophomore outing as the 11th incarnation of the BBC's science-fiction hero Doctor Who retains the charisma and energy that made his debut an immediate hit with fans worldwide. The two-disc set contains the first seven episodes of the sixth series of revamped Doctor adventures. It kicks off with an extraordinary two-part story ("The Impossible Astronaut" and "Day of the Moon") that reunites the Doctor with companions Amy (Karen Gillan) and Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill) to defeat a race of aliens called the Silence (the subject of the "Silence will fall" references throughout series five), which have influenced the course of human history through post-hypnotic suggestion. The two-parter also sets in motion an overall story arc that runs through the subsequent five episodes and reveals some stunning surprises, most notably in regard to Amy and the true identity of River Song (Alex Kingston). Meanwhile, the Doctor also contends with a 17th-century pirate ship plagued by a monstrous siren (Lily Cole, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus) in "The Curse of the Black Spot" and encounters a physical manifestation of the TARDIS's matrix in "The Doctor's Wife," which features a script by Neil Gaiman (The Sandman) and the voice of Michael Sheen as a sentient asteroid. The first part of series six heads for its conclusion with a second two-parter, "The Rebel Flesh" and "The Almost People," which pits the Doctor against synthetic clones that assume the memories of the humans they replicate, and brings the seven episodes to a stunning close with the action-packed "A Good Man Goes to War," which brings the arc full circle and undoubtedly leaves viewers clamoring for the series' remaining six stories.
Doctor Who: Series Six, Part 1 offers fans concrete assurance that the venerable series remains in good hands with Steven Moffat as head writer and executive producer, as well as a tantalizing direction for the program in the episodes to come. Extras on the Blu-ray set are limited to a pair of Monster Files featurettes, which explore the creation and execution of the Silence and the Gangers in considerable detail, including interviews with the cast and crew (save Smith) and behind-the-scenes footage. --Paul GaitaSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Yet it was mishandled by the packaging and distribution. I thought, in getting this one, they were not releasing it as a whole series. So purchasing it, I then lost out on the other great bonuses: back at the Tardis, Confidential, video diaries, etc.. Instead, there is just this: a bare bones, no frills collection of just the episodes...when a month later, they published the release of the whole box set.
Do yourself a favour: wait for the whole series in one package, including all of the great extras.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Starts things off with a bang (rather literally). The word "impossible" in the title is well-deserved: something you would never have expected to happen really does. Feels more like a typical DW series finale in scope rather than a premiere, and makes for a nice change from the norm. Lots of new plot threads introduced, some new development added to old ones...including the revelation of the Silence, definitely the scariest monster Steven Moffat has created so far.
Episode 2: Day of the Moon
It's hard to believe after watching Episode One, but this episode is even more incredible and jaw-dropping. All the stars get a chance to stretch their acting muscles and add some layers to their characters. Plus, we're treated to what is probably the most shocking cliffhanger ever to be seen in Doctor Who.
Episode 3: The Curse of the Black Spot
Fun but forgettable. A simplistic romp which adds little to the main story arc. It's not terrible, but it falls far short of the show's usual standard of quality (which admittedly was pushed very high by the premiere).
Episode 4: The Doctor's Wife
Definitely the best of this set of episodes. It's so surprising and incredible that I can't say much about it without spoiling the genius of its premise. You aren't a true Whovian unless you've seen this, and even if you're not an avid fan, I guarantee you'll love it.
Episode 5: The Rebel Flesh
An enjoyable return to traditional Who. Very creepy "monsters" (though I'm not sure the term actually applies here). Thought-provoking and engaging. Plus, some things introduced in this episode will become very, very important in the future...
Episode 6: The Almost People
Even better than Part 1 (a rarity in two-part stories). Provides a satisfying, unpredictable conclusion to one of the thorniest ethical dilemmas the Doctor has yet encountered. Some of the FX are a bit over-ambitious, but that doesn't detract from the fun. And finally, we get some more plot development on the main story arc, in the form of yet another gasp-inducing cliffhanger. You really, really won't see this one coming, and you won't be able to keep yourself from watching the next episode.
Episode 7: A Good Man Goes to War
How should I put this? It's a mixed bag. The first half of the episode feels a bit like a rerun of Journey's End, and there are a few irritating bits and pieces randomly thrown in. Then the Doctor makes a mind-blowing discovery, and the second half changes everything for him and his companions - perhaps permanently. And we finally find out who the mysterious River Song is. If you've been watching very carefully thus far, and if you're the kind of person who sees the solution to mystery novels before you finish them, you may not find the revelation surprising. However, it's no less fascinating, and there will be parts of it you won't have been able to guess beforehand. In addition, we really don't find out everything about her in this episode. It'll be a long, long wait until autumn...
So overall, this first half of Series 6 gets five stars from me. We finally get some real, honest-to-goodness shocks and surprises, and all the main characters are far better developed than they were last year. Order today and enjoy.
I for one will wait until they release the entire set, all 14 episodes, with the Confidentials, the episode prequels, the commentaries, and all the other goodies. Frankly, if you don't get those, then why should you pay for something you could just as easily torrent?
All hail DOCTOR WHO, back for this Series 6 and more awesome and mind-warping than ever. And this time there's a neat swerve as show boss and head writer Steven Moffat plonks the Doctor (complete with Stetson on noggin) in the American West. The Doctor's close associates - Amy Pond (the amazing Karen Gillan) and her long-suffering hubby Rory (Arthur Darvill) - each receive an invitation (in Tardis-blue envelopes) from the Doctor and off they go to rendezvous with him in a desert in Utah. The enigmatic time-traveler (and prison inmate), Professor River Song, also shows up, her own invite in hand, and to quote her now: "SPOILERS." They all go have a nice picnic, in the middle of which the Doctor gets murdered by an astronaut emerging from a lake. And Series 6 is off to a twisty start. That bloke, Steven Moffat, seems to think he's some sort of clever clogs, and maybe he is. Amy Pond is absolutely inconsolable; the Doctor had perished before regeneration could initiate. It looks like it's eleven and done.
The fantastic two-parter - "The Impossible Astronaut" and "Day of the Moon" - goes a ways into resolving certain questions left dangling from Series 5. We learn the nature of the Silence, and there are inroads made in fleshing out River Song's back story and her connection to the Doctor. As usual, this series plays fast and loose with time and space, and that's in a good way. Temporally, the venue shifts from the present to the year 1969, and, as the Doctor cautions his friends: "A lot more happens in '69 than anyone remembers." In 1969 the Doctor and his companions stroll into the Oval Office and meet a President Nixon early into his term and receiving constant phone calls from a terribly frightened little girl. In two episodes chock full of swerves, one of the really surprising ones is that Nixon comes across as a fairly likable guy. On two occasions he actually intervenes on our protagonists' behalf.
We learn the true reason behind man's quest to reach the moon, and also that America had long been occupied by a race of malevolent aliens, aliens that lurk in the corner of your eyes and had been surviving off man's accomplishments from the very beginning. And I'll tell the world that these boogeymen are easily as terrifying as the weeping angels. Like the weeping angels, these aliens in 1969 possess a disturbing and creepy knack for distorting perception. How the companions get around that, and how the Doctor ultimately gets the best of the aliens are simply some of the biggest grin getting experiences in my time watching this show. Matt Smith brings his usual eccentric and lively take on the Doctor, and, in his interpretation, there's a sense of an old soul inhabiting a giddy young body. And Smith really is terrific in those rousing "Gotcha!" moments. "Silence will fall." Indeed.
There are so many things to love about this two-parter. British aplomb rubs elbows with American bravado, and results in dynamic synergy. And maybe it's this more impartial perspective from overseas that lends a refreshing feel to this 1960s era. As mentioned, Nixon comes off in a good light. The episodes also benefit from the presence of FBI Agent Delaware, and the final exchange between him and Nixon in "Day of the Moon" is priceless. I love the notion of the two time travelers - the Doctor and River Song - having to sync up their diaries each time they meet. I love the sheer scope of the story, the ballsiness of it, and the constant shifts from chilling horror to political drama to slam bang sci-fi thriller. I also love that, unlike the ninth and tenth Doctor, this one looks to last a bit longer. At least until he meets a sinister Apollo astronaut. I'm loving Series 6 so far; these first two episodes come very strong. As usual the show thrives on the element of surprise. And if we know Steven Moffat, clever clogs that he is, there are even more epic surprises in store.
Just don't expect it from the third episode, "The Curse of the Black Spot." With the Tardis behaving all wonky, the Doctor, Amy, and Rory are stranded onboard a 17th century pirate ship of which crew members are being steadily decimated by a beguiling (but homicidal) sea siren. On this ship, one tiny bloody scratch spells doom. But, as usual, things aren't what they seem. Maybe the best bit in this episode is Amy Pond, sword in hand, taunting the ship's understandably cautious crew: "What kind of rubbish pirates are ye?" A decent episode, but not all that.
Episode 4 makes up for episode 3's lack. "The Doctor's Wife" raises the possibility of other living Time Lords as the Doctor and his companions track a distress signal emanating from a bubble universe. The story begins with a knock at the door even as the Tardis hurtles thru deep, deep space. "The Doctor's Wife" hits those wonderful emotional beats I've come to expect; and, in unexpected ways, it explores the Doctor's connection to the Tardis. I really liked this one.
Then comes the thought-provoking two-parter - "The Rebel Flesh" and "The Almost People" - which features doppelganger drones (made out of programmable living flesh) that rebel against humanity in the near-flung future. Moral implications and an exploration of identity abound, as do disconcerting doubles of our core cast. A moody, claustrophobic, and rather compelling tale of which body horror and gothic sensibilities take hard core fans back to the 1970s era of Doctor Who.
The rousing, action-packed mid-series finale, "A Good Man Goes to War," reveals the long-awaited true identity of River Song and finds the Doctor contending with Cybermen and headless monks and calling in favors across the galaxy to amass his own army. All in all, a satisfactory episode to go on hiatus with. Six strong episodes out of seven so far in this supremely self-assured Series 6. Matt Smith is THE man, consistently in fine and sometimes spectacular form, even if he tends to drop phrases like "wibbly-wobbly" and timey-wimey."
Not much in the way of bonus features, just these two featurettes: "Monster Files: The Silence" (00:10:57 minutes long) and "Monster Files: the Gangers" (00:13:00 minutes long).
The opening two-part story--"The Impossible Astronaut" / "Day of the Moon"--is a trip. Literally. The gang packs up and relocates to the United States for a tale that introduces us to a new (albeit quiet ancient) spieces the likes of which only the twisted mind of Steven Moffat could provide. Think the Weeping Angels were creepy? Wait until you get to know The Silence.
Given there are only seven episodes in the first half of this series, there's not much time to waste on extraneous adventures. Yet sandwiched between two crucial two-parters are what may well be considered throwaway episodes...or not. Doctor Who doesn't often pander to popular culture, but one can't help think this may be the impetus behind "The Black Spot." Capitalizing on the worldwide love for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (box office, not critical), The Doctor, Amy (Karen Gillan), and Rory find themselves stranded aboard a pirate ship with a skeleton crew being tormented by a bloodthirsty siren.
On the other hand, if Doctor Who didn't allow for these thematic pit stops, we never would have encountered "The Doctor's Wife," author Neil Gaiman's first (and hopefully not last) foray in this world. In all sincerity, I have not seen an episode with so much reverence for a franchise that can also propel its 40+ year mythology into brash and bold new directions. Without question, it's the highlight of this set and a breakout performance for Suranne Jones (Coronation Street).
"The Rebel Flesh" and "The Almost People" uncover a huge piece of the larger puzzle, but do so in a long drawn out way. Since "A Good Man Goes to War" is arguably part three of this tale, the triad could have easily been boiled down into a meatier experience.
Presented in 1.78:1 1080i widescreen, the image is just as sharp and mesmerizing as was broadcast on BBC America HD. Eagle eyes will likely point out a handful of flaws here and there, but that's nitpicking at best. The colors exude emotion, be it the warmth of the TARDIS, the blackness of space, the green evil of House, or the magnificence of Monument Valley. And the visual effects continue to improve by leaps and bounds. I don't know if Moffat has scored a bigger budget from the BBC or the artistry of his production team grows by the day, but you'll be hard pressed to find a more convincing sci-fi series. As for the DTS-HD 5.1 surround mix, it may be step down from true Master Audio, but none but the techiest of viewers will notice. Between the ambient effects and Murray Gold's score, your system will thrill you and annoy the neighbors, if given the chance.
Bonus materials are sparse, as seems to be the trend with this partial season releases. All you'll find here are two Monster File featurettes, one on The Silence, the other on The Gangers (Flesh), both of which run about 11 min. Seems like we'll have to wait for the complete Series Six box set to get the full treatment, which includes all of the Doctor Who Confidential episodes, plus interviews, commentaries, and other behind-the-scenes treats. Until then, you can rewatch these episodes in anticipation of "Let's Kill Hitler" on August 27.
-Full review at [...]
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