DVD Review: Doctor Who (Series Six, Part One)

The Doctor’s been everywhere and everywhen you can possibly imagine, but there’s one place he’s never truly explored: America. The big story for this season is that for the first time in the show’s fifty some odd year history, it was filmed in the United States, and perhaps appropriately given that this is a show about an alien, the first two episodes focus on the moon landing.

The previous season was really all about setting thing the new status quo. We had a new Doctor, a new companion, a new showrunner, and in general a whole new approach to the series. Series five also set up quite a few mysteries that play out in six: who is River Song? Who or what are The Silence? Why is Amy Pond so special? These questions (and more) are at least partially answered in this, the first half of the new series, but in proper Who fashion, the answers only lead to bigger questions.

As I’ve said in previous reviews, David Tenant will always be my Doctor, but I have to say that Matt Smith is just amazing in the role. I’ve heard his take on the character described as the world’s oldest twelve-year-old and that describes him pretty much to a T. He has this wonderful, manic energy and the wide-eyed wonder of a child a the beauties of the universe, but underneath all that is an incredibly old (and incredibly daft as he likes to describe himself) man who must constantly fight against the weight of time and experience.

It’s his companions that help keep him young—indeed, help keep him going. Amy and Rory, now newlyweds, once again take up residence in the TARDIS and travel to the ends of space and time with their friend. There’s always been a bit of a love triangle between Amy, The Doctor, and Rory, and this season really plays with it, but not in the way you’d expect. Rory really comes into his own here and proves time and again that he’s more than just a third wheel or Amy’s second choice. We already saw shades of heroism in the previous season and it’s great to see him rise to the occasion in this series.

Of course, the real star, the engine that drives everything in the show is Amy. She is, in a word, incredible, and she goes through hell in series six. She becomes the focal point for a massive conspiracy against The Doctor, and both he and Rory end up moving heaven and earth to save her.

If there’s a theme to this season is has to be death. The previous series centered around the concept of rebirth, of coming back into the world with a new face, a new attitude, and a new love for life. This time, though, the episodes focus on death and endings but with the tantalizing idea that death is not an end. It makes for some dark moments, but also for incredible ones as well, and that’s really all I can say without spoiling anything.

Each episode is presented in 16.9 aspect ratio with the audio in 5.1 surround sound. The extras on this set are pretty sparse, mainly just more Who monster files, but they are entertaining.

I really just can’t say enough for this set. Doctor Who just keeps getting better and better in my opinion and this is definitely something that fans should buy.

BBC presents Doctor Who: Series Six, Part One. Starring: Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, and Arthur Darvill. Running time: 310 minutes. Rating: NR. Released on DVD: July 19, 2011. Available at Amazon.com.

Tags: , , ,