on January 2, 2010
Although Amazon doesn't give any details about what special features will be included in this box set, BBC America does. Region 1 box set should have the following:
Special Features:English Subtitles for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired
* Doctor Who at the Proms
* Doctor Who Confidential - The Next Doctor (New)
* Doctor Who Confidential - Planet of the Dead
* Doctor Who Confidential - The End of Time, Part One
* Doctor Who Confidential - The End of Time, Part Two
* Deleted Scenes
* David Tennant Video Dairy - The Final Days
* BBC Indents
* Audio Commentary
* Doctor Who At Comic Con
* 5.1 Surround Sound
If you're a fan of Doctor Who, or just good science fiction, who's been putting off the upgrade to Blu-ray...here's a most compelling reason to make the switch now. These 4 special episodes shine brightly in the hi-def format. BBC gave us a taste of this with last year's release of Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead [Blu-ray] (which was the first episode to be filmed in HD) as well as the 3 series of Torchwood. I'm not sure what the British are doing different from the U.S. or other countries, but their hi-definition programs are simply the best I have seen in the format.
On the chance that you're not familiar with these special episodes themselves, here's a quick run-down. Please note, this review does contain minor SPOILERS:
THE NEXT DOCTOR: The 2008 Christmas special. The Doctor visits Victorian England, where he encounters another man claiming to be the Doctor. I won't spoil the surprise, but there are some nice twists and a standout performance from David Morrisey in the title role. This was the first of the modern Doctor's episodes without a regular companion. It was also the last episode before the switch to hi-definition, but the upconvert used here looks fantastic, so it's really a non-issue as far as I'm concerned.
PLANET OF THE DEAD: Aired on Easter, 2009. The Doctor and a woman on the run (The Bionic Woman's Michelle Ryan) are among a busload of passengers who find themselves stranded on a desert planet overrun with terrifying flying creatures. Most folks agree this one's just an average adventure. But, it looks stunning.
THE WATERS OF MARS: A great, creepy tale set on mid-21st century Mars. The Doctor has some hard choices to make when he realizes a group of Martian colonists are destined to die on the day he arrives. It's also one of David Tennant's finest hours, as he begins to confront the prophecy regarding his own death that he was told at the end of Planet of the Dead.
THE END OF TIME: This two-parter was the end of David Tennant's tenure as the famous Time Lord. While confronting his own mortality, the Doctor also must face the enemy who knows him best. . .and the power of a forgotten race that is using the power of time itself to reshape its own destiny. It's a bit of a mixed bag (particularly part 1), but it's still highly engaging and a fitting resolution to the 10th Doctor's journey.
As with the individual season episodes, each special includes an hour-long documentary, Doctor Who Confidential. These are typically well-made and informative shows that die-hard fans will appreciate. Most everyone else will probably watch them once (if at all) and not again.
More interesting (to me, anyway) is "Doctor Who at the Proms," an hour-long special. It features the music of the show performed live at the Royal Albert Hall. But this is no mere concert; it features actors in costume as Cybermen, Judoon, etc. that interact with the audience. And it's hosted by Freema Aygemen, with an appearance by Catherine Tate.
As I said at the outset, these shows look fantastic on Blu-ray. If you're a fan, this is really a no-brainer. As Doctor Who moves into a new era with a new actor in the role, it's very gratifying to know that BBC is providing fans with the best possible versions of these final adventures with the 10th Doctor.
on December 13, 2009
Ordinarily, I'd have to agree that this might seem a little steep. Five episodes, five disks, $40+. But if this is comparable to the British release, in addition to the specials you're also getting the full Doctor Who Confidential episodes for each special (as opposed to the 'Cut Downs' normally included in the Doctor Who boxed sets), David Tennant's video diaries (which are always good for a laugh, in my opinion) and the Doctor Who at the Proms special from last year which hasn't been released in this country at all.
Of course, I'd really prefer to see some confirmation from Amazon that this release matches the Region 2 release in the UK (which is out in January, incidentally). If it does, I'd say it's worth what they're asking.
on November 12, 2010
While there are legitimate concerns about packaging and the extras, it's difficult for me to really complain, simply because I found the stories in the collection to be worth the money. David Tennant has become one of the most beloved incarnations of the Doctor, and his send-off is suitably dramatic. The specials take the Doctor through a roller coaster of emotions, and for the first time we truly get to see the Doctor at his darkest. It's both exhilarating and frightening (as the Doctor should be) and it helps to balance the disappointment of knowing that this is the last of Tennant we'll see in the role. This is partly because it's a satisfying conclusion and partly because the events that transpire force the Doctor to become something that viewers understand is a bit of something twisted--a character arc that comes full circle in the two-part finale. These are dark episodes, bittersweet and powerful, and Tennant's acting ability is impressive. For the first time, we see him manipulate the world to his own liking, and it provides a sense of the necessity of the regeneration. At the end, Tennant's doctor, for all of his fear of being left behind, manages to convey the impossibility of following this path. He's tired, he's a little broken, and he's losing his way, and a fresh incarnation manages to be almost a relief, as I was left with a sense that I would rather see him regenerate than self-destruct.
That doesn't mean that the last three episodes don't leave you with a bit of a broken heart to see Tennant go, but it's the kind of ending that dazzles. As much as I loved the Parting of the Ways, I really appreciated being able to see the emotions and tribulations of a regeneration in more depth, and to witness his attempt to say his farewells was lovely. And frankly, I needed the opportunity to wallow.
on January 4, 2010
Normally $40+ for five episodes of any show would be steep, but when you put things into perspective, the price isn't bad.
These are the final five episodes of David Tennant as The Doctor, who many viewers, (especially newer viewers,) consider to be one of the best doctors throughout the show's history and all of them are amazing episodes.
Russel T. Davies, (who wrote all the episodes,) is now stepping down as executive producer of Doctor Who and many people admire him for helping to bring Doctor Who back to life and for his many other works, which are incredible.
All of the extras are completely worth it. The Doctor Who Confidential and the David Tennant video diaries are not only good for a laugh, but they're very interesting to say the least.
Overall the show is brilliant and with all the bonus material, it's worth the price. That and the run time must be a typo. The final two episodes alone are roughly an hour each, and the other three are forty-five minutes. There's no way the run time could be that short, just to help clarify if anyone was confused.
on September 24, 2013
I'm sure by now everyone knows these episodes mark the end of David Tennant's time as the Doctor and Russell T. Davies time as show runner. This is a wonderful set, a must own for any fan of Doctor Who. That being said I have two warnings for people who want to buy this set.
1) These are some of the most depressing episodes of Doctor Who or any series I've ever watched. Tennant's Doctor stole my heart and then broke it quite a few times, especially in these final episodes. During "The Next Doctor" and "Planet Of The Dead" it's not so bad. "The Waters Of Mars" shows a darker side of The Doctor but then he just gets sad again and it bums me out. "The End Of Time" episodes are brilliant but the end of part 2 is heart wrenching so if you're emotionally unstable like I am, beware.
*Also I would have preferred having the last two episodes on the same disc. I think that would have made more sense and disc 5 could have been nothing but extras but what do I know.
2) The price. If you're thinking of buying this newer slim box version you're financially challenged like I am, be patient. The price drops down to $20 something fairly often. I ended up paying $39 only to see the price drop a couple days later. I was aware of this but let impatience get the best of me. Just a warning.
Yes, it's sad to see Tennant go but it was inevitable. Don't worry, Matt Smith is awesome, we were left in good hands. I'm more bothered that this was it for Russell Davies. I certainly hope this review helps someone.
on April 24, 2010
I wasn't at all sure I would like David Tennant as the Doctor after Christopher Eccleston, but in the last 3 years he has made his way into my "hearts". From "Christmas Invasion" to "The End of Time", he has evoked emotion and laughter. He showed incredible talent as a comedic actor when possessed by "Cassandra" in Series 2's "New Earth", then the complete emotional breakdown in series 3's "Human Nature". Each story grabbed my heart, but the final joy came when in "Journey's End", I could accutally see how the TARDIS was supposed to be flown and that it was being flown by the Doctor's "family".
I thought "The Next Doctor" was wonderful with David Morrissey's pain and David Tennant's sincere compassion as the two sorted out Morrissey's pain while overcoming the Cyberman invasion. This is an incredible episode, very satisfying.
"The Planet of the Dead" is a pretty good episode. It shows what the Doctor does best. He thinks on his feet and solves the problem in a somewhat logical matter. As Michelle Ryan's "Lady Christina" says "...you are the brain box, so start boxing." What made the episode complete was the comedic banter between Tennant and comedic actor Lee Evans. In the process of solving the problem Evans' "Malcolm" and the "Doctor" become "best friends". The ending when the Doctor refuses to allow Christina to travel with him shows how emotionally tired he really is. As he tells Christina, he loses all of his companions.
"The Waters of Mars" takes us back to the "behind the couch" era, humans infected by alien parasites turning into monsters. The most important part comes at the end wirh rhe Doctors crisis of "faith".
"The End of Time" pts 1 and 2 broke my heart. I knew they were to be David Tennant's last episodes, but nothing prepared me for the depth of writing talent and acting that was involved. Russell T Davis' writing was superb as always. I don't think there could ever be another such emotionally charged episode such as this one. David Tennant's young/old Doctor with Bernerd Cribbins' old Wilfrid Mott was sentimental with a simple father/son affection developing. The Doctor allowing himself to be taken care of by this old Earth man showed his incredible neediness. In the end when the Doctor saves Wilf's life at the cost of one of his own it seemed only right. As the regeneration progresses, the Doctor gets in his TARDIS and for the last time visits several of his companions. He saves Micky and Martha from a Sontarran attack; Sarah Jane's son, Luke, from an oncoming car and he gives a lonely and dejected Jack Harkness, sitting in an inter-galatic bar, the name of a young man who may or may not fill that emptiness. He visits Donna's wedding, knowing that only her mother and grandfather, Wilfrid, will know who he is.
Then in the final moment before his transformation he goes to the one place on Earth he felt he belonged, Rose Tyler's "Powell Estates". He watches her celebrate 2005's New Year, knowing that they will meet for the first time later that year in the personna of Chrisopher Eccleston. Then he heads for his TARDIS accompanied by Ood Sigma who relays the Ood song which spans the Universe. I cried.
Music adds a wonderful feeling to any show, but I have never seen the likes of Murray Gold. I'm sorry, but even John Williams pales in comparison.
I will give Matt Smith a chance, because the Doctor is one man, a Time Lord, with many different faces, but I will never forget David Tennant's important contributions to the new series. I will look forward to his other works to come.
I recommend this product, if you hadn't guessed already.
on March 19, 2015
If you are here, you love Doctor Who so I won't be reviewing the stories. What I will do is list all of the episodes in this set because when I was looking to purchase ALL of the episodes including the specials, I had trouble finding out exactly what was in each set. Not knowing that, I had to order them and compare the episodes against the actual master list from the BBC.. These episodes originally aired after season 4, and before season 5. These episodes fill the gap for those collecting all the shows. They are not included in "The Complete Forth Series" or "The Complete Fifth Series".
Included in The Complete Specials:
"The Next Doctor"
"Planet of the Dead"
"The Waters of Mars"
"The End of Time" Part One
"The End of Time" Part Two
Note: The Complete Seventh Series did not include "Doctor Who - The day of the Doctor (50th Anniversary Special)" or "Doctor Who - The Time of the Doctor" and must be purchased separately. These are two absolutely awesome episodes not to be missed.
If you want to see a little more of the David Tennant Doctor after watching the last of the (new) series four and before passing to the new doctor, these specials are for you.
In the Next Doctor, does the Daivd Tennant Doctor get to meet his successor Doctor? Or is something sinister going on here? You'll have to watch to find out.
Planet of the Dead features a double decker bus ride to another planet. Earth could be wiped out by what is on this other planet. How will the Doctor prevent this? Again, watch and find out.
The Waters of Mars is creepy like Night of the Living Dead. Very well done suspense. The ending is very sad.
In the End of Time, the Time Lords are trying to make a come back. Why does the Doctor want to stop them? Some real creepy parts here too. The new Doctor makes an appearance.
I am sorry to see Tennant go, but I am looking forward to see how the new Doctor works out.
Now the question may be begged - should you get the Blu-Ray or the regular DVD set... well, I got the Blu-Ray, and in the grand scheme of things, this may be one of those rare occasions that it really doesn't offer anything much more than the regular mastering. There is only one episode that has been filmed in HD and thus really benefits from the Blu-Ray treatment. That's it really - nothing else of import except for one small detail that actually may be the deciding factor: the sound separation from background music and vocals seems to be far better on this set than my previous non Blue-Ray season sets, and for those who have struggle, like I have, with sometimes trying to hear the actual dialogue over the swelling music themes, this can be pretty significant.
That question aside, and now for my own little subjective two-bits... the COMPLETE SPECIALS is Tennant's acting tour de force. These episodes bring extraordinary depth and breadth to the Doctor's personality, and Tennant brought it off magnificently. No other past Doctor, nor yet succeeding Doctors, have brought such emotive power to the role, and as far as I am concerned, Tennant rightfully stands in Pantheon of one of the most dynamic and beloved Doctors of all time.