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 Gaita