Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Doctor Who: The Complete 5th Series on Blu-ray

When I'd last visited with the UK's most notable Doctor, he was tall and thin with crazy, manic eyes and boundless energy used for getting in and out of world shattering trouble. For those new to this phenomenon known as Doctor Who, here's the skinny...

The "Doctor" is a Time Lord, easily over 900 years old, somewhat forgetful, definitely a little on the "mad as a hatter" side, and feared by most things that go bump in the night, as he generally is able to find a way to destroy their plans and armies simultaneously without lifting a weapon. THAT is a skill to be respected. Easily bored, the Doctor has developed a nack for popping up in periods throughout time where he is needed most, which usually means lots of running and barricading doors to avoid a sticky death. In his travels, he often stops to pick up a human passenger to drag along behind him, so that he can experience the wonders of our existence all over again, through their eyes. Of course, the passenger is always a girl. He is..sort of a man after all. So the two wing around time and space in something called the Tardis, which looks like a vintage 60's police call box on the outside but is unbelievably huge on the inside. Seeing new people enter for the first time never gets old. The show doesn't take itself too seriously, even though most circumstances are life and death, with the lives being everyone on the planet, or ship, or universe, and the action moves along at a brisk pace, making for excellent entertainment. The 5th series was brilliant in this respect.

The series kicks off with the introduction of a new Doctor. Every now and then, the Doctor's body morphs onto a whole new person, though his thoughts and memories remain the same. This series has a Doctor who looks far younger than any who have come before, but it doesn't change the dynamic of the show or how people perceive him at all, for some reason. Landing in the yard of a young Scottish girl, the scenes play out like a "Cat in the Hat" romp, slowly evolving into a classic Peter Pan scenario, which you'll find is relevant all through past series as well. If you'd like to climb aboard the Tardis for adventure, but you've got work the next day, no worries! You can be returned 10 minutes from the time you left with enough sleep to slug it out in the morning, providing you've not been eaten by bloodthirsty aliens of course. You will be aging as you romp through the cosmos as the Doctor remains unmarked. "Come fly with me!" A Peter Pan story if I've ever seen one. At any rate, the young girl shows the Doctor a crack in her wall that whispers to her and scares her immensely, so with a promise to return immediately, the Tardis disappears and the young girl waits with baggage at her feet. Fast forward some years and HE'S BACK!! Apparently the intricacies of time travel are very tricky and he's overshot his target date, but the crack is still there and adventure awaits with a beautiful red headed girl friday just begging for a reprieve from her tiny town life.

The pair, played by Matt Smith and Karen Gillan, have undeniable chemistry and at the very least, compliment each other with their whimsical way of approaching every obstacle. For the Doctor, the solution to even the gravest of circumstances is only a thought away and just needs a bit of time to surface. For Amy Pond, having the last thing on your resume listed as "Kiss-a-Grahm" doesn't qualify you for much, so when the evils of the universe rear their multiple heads and those in peril ask if she has any idea what is happening, she answers with a quick, cheerful and succinct "NOPE!" and urges them to flee with all due haste. Perils of the series include invisible snakey alien creatures with mind control powers, vampires (sort of), Doctor Who fan favorites "The Weeping Angels" and now iconic Daleks as well as the previous owners of our planet Earth. All in a day's work...quite literally when all of time is at hand.

Along side the last season of Supernatural and perhaps the final season of Avatar: The Last Airbender, the 5th series of Doctor Who is the most brilliant complete series I've ever watched. Each episode stands alone as a highly enjoyable adventure which doesn't delve too deeply into the Scifi aspects as to lose you in near Trek-level doldrums, but also ties into the one before and what is to come with the ominous "crack in time" ever present. The series climaxes in some mind blowing scenes, which were probably moreso for those already fans of Doctor Who to begin with, and wraps up with the most perfect, fairy tale ending I've seen in years. With phenomenal writing, beautiful alien creations, an engaging cinematic viewpoint and a cast you'll love more with every passing minute, you can't lose. Excellence at every turn makes the 5th series of Doctor Who the perfect addition to the ultimate geeky Blu-ray collection.

Of course a series so loved as this has to be jam packed with extras, and the 5th series does not skimp. On every disk you'll find gems like "Meanwhile, Inside the Tardis", showing extended versions of scenes that ran a bit long, Monster Files explaining the origins of the alien mennace in each episode and how they were created for their scenes by a killer FX makeup staff and Video Diaries from the Doctor himself and the beautiful and deliciously dorky Karen Gillan AKA Amy Pond who does all but snort when she laughs. Some episodes also get commentary from creators and actors (which I'll admit to only a quick watching, but will say they are more enjoyable than most.) Also included are out takes and one whole disk of "Doctor Who Confidential" which takes you behind the scenes like a somewhat pretentious version of Entertainment Tonight with a horrific dancey version of the Doctor Who theme at the intro and voice overs in the meat of it. I only got 4 episodes into this before calling it quits.

Doctor Who is a phenomenon for good reason and the 5th series continues this awesome tradition. The action is engaging enough to hook you, smart enough to not question your intelligence, and light enough that you could gather your family in front of the TV, provided that your youngest aren't prone to nightmares from some of the more creepy aliens you'll be introduced to. Get this series today! You won't be sorry. Just remember...Bowties.Are.Cool.

Doctor Who: The Complete Fifth Series [Blu-ray] is available in stores NOW, on DVD as well.

And for those of you who have already seen some of this excellent series and want to scoop up something extra special for the nerdiest in your life, here are some figure pics to wet your appetite...

All available from underground toys via your favorite comic shop or here > Doctor Who 'Stone Dalek' Six Figure Set with Exclusive Underhenge Drone Dalek Figure and heeere > Doctor Who Eleventh Doctor Crash Set Action Figures

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