Dr Who: Season 6 review by Captain Video

Full disclosure - I'll be upfront about things, firstly I am a huge fan of all the Dr. Who series from the early black and white episodes to the current day offerings. Secondly, I will avoid any puns about "Who" as a name or pronoun.

With all the recent news about allegedly faster-than-light Neutrinos being discovered, surely time travel is just around the corner. Right? Step 1 make things go faster than light. Step 2 time travel. Well ok, maybe we aren't ready to re-write all of reality based on just one or two experiments. It is going to take a lot more evidence to convince me that particles can travel faster than light. But wouldn't it be nice to think about what would be possible if you could travel through time? Well, there is no shortage of television and film stories to explore those possibilities and one of the best is the Dr Who franchise. Doctor Who is the longest running science fiction television show in the world. Dr. Who began in 1963 (if you take a linear approach to time).

Even if you are not a Dr Who fan, here is a list of reasons to pick up this Blu-ray set:
  1. From a purely technology point of view:
    • You can fast forward through the upcoming movies and adverts section of the DVD. This alone should always be rewarded
    • Decent audio mixing between dialogue and the rest of the sound track
    • Removing the Blu-ray disc from the packaging doesn't make you feel like you are about to crack the disc
    • The discs load up pretty fast in my Blu-ray player, yet another feature that should be support. No waiting ten minutes to load up the Blu-ray
  2. Support the Gingers! Despite Cartman's smear campaign gingers are people too and we should support the forward thinking and the use of a Ginger as a lead character. Besides, Amy Pond is cute.
  3. Support the BBC or BBC America , in the U.K. and the U.S. they are producing some great stuff
Even Ginger-Hater Jackass Matt agrees, Amy Pond is cute! OK well, maybe you make your purchase decisions on things like plot and content, we will get to that momentarily.

The Complete Sixth Series Blu-ray set includes 6 discs. The final disc is entirely extras. The first 5 discs also include extras as well, these extras range anywhere from monster files, cast interviews, prequels and trailers to other things like a mini series, comedy sketches, and the Dr Who Confidential. Even with all these extras, I still wanted more. They are all watchable and entertaining not just out-takes or filler materials. My favorite extra was a bit that included what would happen if the Tardis (the Dr.'s time travelling ship -- Time And Relative Dimensions In Space T.A.R.D.I.S.) landed within itself. A little recursive thinking is always a fun thought exercise. And that little segment had it's very own bonus material explaining how that segment was shot.

Series Background
If for some reason you are not familiar with the Dr. Who TV series, here is a quick refresher. Dr. Who (who goes by the moniker "The Doctor" his real name is a tightly held secret) is a time traveling alien, the last of his kind, from a planet of time travelers. He travels through time and space in his time machine, the TARDIS. Of all the beings in all the planets of all the galaxies, the Doctor has a soft spot for the human race and is often stepping in when needed to save humankind. Even though the Doctor looks human, he is in fact very old, in the current series he is over 900 years old. If he is killed or if his current body wears out, he can regenerate taking on a whole new body while retaining all previous memories and experiences. This is pretty handy to keep a TV franchise going strong. Luckily the Dr Who world avoids other time traveling cheats. The doctor does not interfere within his own timeline, this means that he doesn't simply go back 3 minutes in time to avoid getting shot. And speaking of getting shot, the Doctor avoids another gimmick that would be easy for a time traveler. He doesn't go into the future and get the biggest baddest gun. He only uses a tool called a sonic screwdriver to help him open doors, disable computers etc. In particular he hates guns. The plot is moved forward by quick thinking and dialogue not big guns or advanced technology. Ultimately the stories are morality stories including what it means to be human and the basics of right and wrong.

Production values for Dr. Who have come a long way since the early b+w episodes with low budget effects and monsters. The most recent Doctors (Dr's 9,10 and the current one Dr 11) are part of BBC big budget series with state of the art special effects and very high production values all around. Gone are the days of enemies that looked like upside down garbage cans painted silver with a plunger tacked on. Despite the modern budgets and special effects, the story itself is still center stage. Each episode it well written, thought provoking and character driven. Speaking of well written, one wonderful episode this series was written by Neil Gaimon, be sure to look out for that episode.

Series 6 is as strong as the rest of the recent ones, and clearly Steven Moffet and the other writers keep the Dr Who universe fun, frightening and fascinating. This series has a mixture of two-part episodes and self contained single episodes, but throughout there are underlying unifying threads tying the whole season together.

Characters Amy Pond and Rory Williams are the Doctors adventurous companions for the majority of this season. This season is also when many secrets of River Song are revealed, although sometimes leading to more questions than answers. This season also introduces some new foes and even a frightening monster or two (although I won't provide any spoilers).


All in all this is a great series, some episodes are on the light side and some on the dark side, some are multipart, and some stand alone. There is consistency in the overall season long story arc and themes, with enough variety to keep it interesting. The only drawback for me was a shortage of extras, with 6 Blu-ray discs, I would have liked just a little more of the extras.

9 out of 10 Jackasses
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