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Doctor Who: The End of Time, Part One & Two (DVD)
A milestone in the history of the enduring UK sci-fi series Doctor Who is reached with this two-part serial: David Tennant, whose portrayal of the iconic Time Lord is arguably the most popular since the program's launch in 1963, ended his tenure as the Tenth Doctor, along with writer-producer Russell T. Davies, who revived the series to great acclaim in 2003. The End of Time pits the Doctor against his greatest foe, the Master (a terrifically wicked John Simm), as well as the Time Lords themselves (led by Timothy Dalton as an imperious Lord President), who seek to reverse their destruction at the hands of the Doctor at the end of the Time War. The crux of the plot is good old-fashioned adventure, with the Doctor and companion Wilf (Bernard Cribbins) attempting to stay one step ahead of the universe-wide doom the Time Lords hope to unleash, but the real raison d'être for The End of Time is to give Tennant a hearty sendoff for his four years as the Doctor. Davies provides a fond and, at times, quite emotional conclusion for his hero, complete with return engagements by many of his friends and companions (among them Billie Piper's Rose, Freema Agyeman's Martha, and even Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith) before his regeneration into the Eleventh Doctor, the much-discussed Matt Smith. As finales go, The End of Time is solid science fiction from start to finish, and most likely, will leave a few Who fans feeling a bit choked up after Tennant's final scene.
The supplemental features on The End of Time are more plentiful than on most of the Tennant/Who DVD releases, though still not quite on par with the archival disc presentations. Tennant is front and center, naturally, for most of the extras; he's on both commentary tracks, with Catherine Tate (Donna) and director Euros Lyn on part 1 and Davies, the amusing Simm, and Lyn on part 2. Both are exceptionally light and upbeat, as are his video diaries, which cover all of the 2009 special episodes. Then it's off to Comic-Con with Tennant and Davies for a 20-minute capsule of their appearance at the 2008 edition of the pop culture juggernaut, as well as some cute BBC Christmas IDs and a handful of deleted and mostly forgettable scenes. Episodes of the behind-the-scenes series Doctor Who Confidential round out the two-disc set. --Paul Gaita