Doctor Who is much more of a cultural phenomenon in the UK than it is here in the States. In fact, the series about a time traveler who fights evil is very much on par with the Star Trek series in North America in terms of its rabid cult following. The original series ran for a staggering 26-seasons on the BBC before finally fading away. The show has become one of the most popular Science Fiction programs of all time.
In 2003, the dead show was brought back as a new series, following the same ba…ic storyline as the original. The Doctor in question is actually an alien who fights evil with the aid of his rickety and unreliable time machine, which is cleverly disguised as a British police box. Though such boxes have become a bit rare in today’s society (in much the same way as the common pay telephone has disappeared in the U.S.), the boxes are still fairly inconspicuous, which allows the good Doctor to leave the machine sitting about without too much interference from the general public.
Just as the old program developed a very specialized and rabid cult following, so has the new series. Fans of the old show will undoubtedly be pleased with the reinvention, just as classic Star Trek fans were excited by Star Trek The Next Generation. It is slick, modern, and just plain fun. This show might be a bit difficult for new viewers to get into, but this reinvention offers the best opportunity for new viewers to get on board since the shows first aired in November of 1963.
The soundtrack here is presented in one format only. Lucky for the viewers, that one format is the ever-reliable movie standard of Dolby Digital 5.1. To be honest, it’s pretty rare to find a BBC program that comes with a quality audio presentation, but here it is. While the first show debuted in full screen with mono sound, it is great to see and hear this show in a new modern light.
It is interesting that this show is presented in a widescreen format, though it was not originally filmed in high definition. While the HD switch will officially be flipped in the shows third season, season one is presented here in its original standard quality widescreen format. Sure, the quality isn’t as sharp as it could be from a high definition source, but the quality is still pretty decent. For those of us that watch their DVDs on a high end, HD display, the widescreen format is always a bonus.
I can easily say that this is the most comprehensive set of special features that I have ever seen on a TV-on-DVD season set. Seeing as there are so very many of them here, I’m just going to list them all. Here we go…
Commentary on all episodes by combinations of writer Russell T. Davies, producer Phil Collinson, actors Simon Callow, Billie Piper, and John Barrowman, and other cast and crew
Interview with Christopher Eccleston on BBC Breakfast
Destroying the Lair
Making Doctor Who with Russell T. Davies
“Waking the Dead”: Mark Gatiss video diary
“Laying Ghosts”: the origin of the unquiet dead
Deconstructing Big Ben
On set with Billie Piper
Mike Tucker’s Mocks of Balloons
Designing Doctor Who
The Adventures of Captain Jack
“Doctor Who Confidential” – 165-minute collection of featurettes on the new series narrated by Simon Pegg
“Backstage at Christmas”: an exclusive look behind the scenes of Doctor Who Christmas Invasion
Storyboard of opening trailer
Wow! This is a television series that sets the standard of what television series’ on DVD should be.
Doctor Who fans are very serious about their passion. Unlike American science fiction fans, however, Whovians spend much more of their time in awe of their show instead of complaining about it. Even for the most hardened of fans, however, this new incarnation is extremely compelling. The time off was clearly good for the series, as it has emerged from the stagnation that it had fallen into after so many years on the air. This, coupled with the widescreen format and a fantastic array of quality extras makes this set a no-brainer for any true Doctor Who fan.
Special Features List
- Commentary on all episodes by combinations of writer Russell T. Davies, producer Phil Collinson, actors Simon Callow, Billie Piper, and John Barrowman, and other cast and crew
- Interview with Christopher Eccleston on BBC Breakfast
- Destroying the Lair
- Making Doctor Who with Russell T. Davies
- “Waking the Dead”: Mark Gatiss video diary
- “Laying Ghosts”: the origin of the unquiet dead
- Deconstructing Big Ben
- On set with Billie Piper
- Mike Tucker’s Mocks of Balloons
- Designing Doctor Who
- The Adventures of Captain Jack”Doctor Who Confidential” – 165-minute collection of featurettes on the new series narrated by Simon Pegg
- “Backstage at Christmas”: an exclusive look behind the scenes of Doctor Who Christmas Invasion