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Doctor Who: The Complete Second Series
DVD | Box Set
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Can Rose trust a man with a new face? David Tennant (Viva Blackpool, Harry Potter) steps into the role of the Doctor, now in his 10th incarnation. Following on from the phenomenal success of the first series, the second series is full of more thrills, more laughs, more heartbreak and some terrifying new aliens and old acquaintances. The Doctor and Rose meet Queen Victoria, an evil race of Cat Women, K9 and Sarah Jane, and the dreaded Cybermen.
Other:Doctor Who is the longest running sci-fi franchise in television history
Outtakes:Doctor Who is the longest running sci-fi franchise in television history
Christopher Eccleston's tenure as the time-traveling title hero in the venerable UK sci-fi series Doctor Who lasted just 13 episodes, but he left enough of a impression on fans to make some wonder how his replacement, veteran television performer David Tennant, might fare in the role. As this second-series boxed set proves, the answer is: he's a near-perfect Doctor who combines the eccentricities of earlier incarnations (most notably Tom Baker) with a fresh and youthful interpretation of his own, and even brings a healthy dash of romantic chemistry with his sidekick, Rose Tyler (the equally charming Billie Piper). And their adventures retain the solid blend of thoughtful speculative fiction, pulp action, and quirky humor that typified the series at its best. Among the 15 terrific stories contained in the six-disc set are the "Children in Need" (a.k.a. "Pudsey Cutaway") mini-episode from the 2005 Children in Need telethon that showed Eccleston's transformation into Tennant; "School Reunion," in which Elisabeth Sladen returns as Sarah Jane Smith; "The Girl in the Fireplace," which draws together robots in 18th century France with a derelict space station in the distant future; and the season finale, "Army of Ghosts/Doomsday," which not only revives the series' most popular villains, the robotic Daleks, in a head-to-head struggle against the Cybermen, but also marks the final appearance of another series regular. For fans and first-time visitors to the TARDIS alike, the Second Series is simply thrilling sci-fi TV.
As with the First Series set, the supplemental features are plentiful here; commentary by the show's cast and crew is provided on each episode, and four feature picture-in-picture commentary tracks; deleted scenes and outtakes are also included, as are video diaries by Tennant and Piper, and a lengthy featurette, "Doctor Who Confidential," which covers nearly every aspect of the series' production, including the introduction of the Torchwood Institute and the return of Sarah Jane, both of which would be featured in their own respective spin-off series (the first in Doctor Who's long history) in 2007. Paul Gaita
- 15 episodes on six discs
- Commentary by cast and crew on all episodes
- Picture-in-picture commentary on The Girl in the Fireplace, The Age of Steel, The Impossible Planet, and Doomsday
- David Tennant's video diaries
- Confidential cut-downs
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The discs worked great in our little DVD players and we enjoyed the extras that come along with a fun behind the scenes look. I hope you'll enjoy it just as much as we did.
For those of us of a "certain age," as we say in England - that's the wrong side of 40! LOL! - and remember the origins of the series waaaaaaaaay back in the 60's, then spent the subsequent decades suffering through more cardboard sets and rubber monsters than you could shake a stick at - the Daleks being honorable exceptions of course! - the rebirth of the venerable Doctor in 2005 was a revelation.
The stories had been tightened-up considerably - no running up and down endless corridor filler here! - the budget for a single episode appeared to be more than was spent on an entire series from the good-old-days, the production values/sfx were stellar, the writing tight and dramatic, bringing the Doctor and his Companion thoroughly up-to-date without losing the essence of the original. In Chris Eccleston they had, at last, a genuine, heavyweight Thesp playing the Doctor, an actor who could not only handle the edgier, more grown-up aspects of the new stories, but could also inject an element of the manic/slightly unhinged into his performance, similar to the much-loved Tom Baker. And any worries that Billie Piper would not be up to the job, dramatically, were soon laid to rest... and how!!!
To say that us fans were spoiled by the 2005 series was putting it mildly, then as the season climaxed with the superlative "Bad Wolf" and "Parting of the Ways," we were all thrown for a loop when given a "regeneration scene" and a NEW Doctor! What were the BBC thinking about, were they crazy?!?!?! The short answer is "No," the casting of David Tennant was every bit as inspired as his predecessor; he actually managed to up the manic-quotient without going completely bonkers, and brought a kind of geeky coolness to the character we hadn't seen before!
And then there was "Rose;" oh my goodness, in all it's years, there has NEVER been a companion for the Doctor like Rose Tyler. Unlike practically all previous companions, Rose is a character in her own right, with her own back story, fully realized, she is, dramatically at least, the Doctor's equal. Her development, from London shop-girl, to time traveler, explorer of the universe, and killer of Daleks, helps drive the stories in a new, more emotionally fulfilling direction.
After the roller coaster ride of Season 1 with it's "Bad Wolf" story arc, Season 2 scaled things back ever so slightly, but invested even more time and effort in exploring the relationship between the unearthly Doctor, and the all-too-human Rose. This is tackled head-on in the 4th episode, "School Reunion," which goes some way to answering the question of what happens to the companions after they have stopped travelling with the Time Lord; a stand-out episode, it re-introduces Elizabeth Sladen's "Sarah Jane Smith." I don't want to say too much about any particular episode for those who haven't seen the series yet, but the scene where Sarah Jane discovers the TARDIS and its owner made the hair on the back of my neck stand up! Later in the episode there's an affecting scene between the Doctor and Rose as he tries to explain to her why he can't allow himself to become emotionally involved with his Human companions... he's practically immortal, we're not.
The next episode, "The girl in the fireplace," perfectly illustrates the preceding point, when the Doctor allows himself to become attached to Madame de Pompadour, whilst simultaneously battling clockwork androids on a derelict starship in the far future! "Rise of the Cybermen" and "Age of Steel" successfully reinvents one of the Doctors most popular adversaries, whilst "The impossible planet" and "The Satan pit" set-up some very Alien-esque chills in a wonderful two-parter.
The series ends, just as did Season 1, with another amazing two-part story, "Army of Ghosts" and the aptly titled "Doomsday," which sees the Daleks fighting it out with the new-and-improved Cybermen for control of planet Earth; to steal a line from the totally execrable AvP, "Whoever wins, we lose!" LOL! It's difficult to know which fate would be worse, having the whole planet "upgraded" by the Cybermen, or flayed and filleted through the Daleks genetic labs to help create an even bigger and more murderous Dalek army!!! This is a superb story to end the season, but be warned, the finale is... emotional!
There's a nice recurring theme in the series concerning the "Torchwood Institute," which becomes central to the final two episodes, and if this set is the first you've seen of Season 2, DO make sure you watch the "Children in Need" episode in the "Special Features" section of the set FIRST. It acts as a coda to Season 1, as well as a prologue to Season 2, and explains the somewhat crazed materialization of the TARDIS, as well as the Doctor himself, in the rollicking first episode, "The Christmas Invasion."
Any worries I had that the quality of the first season could not be maintained were unfounded... if you enjoyed Season 1, grab Season 2 immediately, you won't regret it!