What amazing episodes make up Part 1 of Dr. Who Season 7. If you haven't heard the news or watched the fifth episode yet, then this will be a spoiler for you - the 5th episode is the last with Amy and Rory as the Doctor's companions. The 2012 Christmas special will introduce the new companion (more on that later). Part 2 of Season 7 will air in spring 2013.
Last year, I waited until the combined Part 1 & Part 2 DVD set of Series 6 was available, instead of buying the two Parts separately. This year, though, I'm buying them separately. The amazon price for Part 1 is low, and if pricing this year is the same as last year, it will save a dollars to do so even with also buying the Christmas special separately. I guess I'll have to see if its worth it.
EXTRAS for Doctor Who: Series Seven - Part One
Part 1, Season 7, November 2012 region 1 DVD release:
1. "Pond Life" Billed as a prequel to Season 7, this has 5 parts, each only a minute long. Every month, the Doctor calls Amy and Rory, and leaves a message on their answering machine. He's having a lively time, because the TARDIS' Helmic Regulator is acting up, and he's having more trouble than usual getting to where he wants to go. Some consequences aren't so bad; the Doctor gets to meet Mata Hari, which leads him to muse, "What an interesting woman." Distractions aside, is the Doctor going to make it back to Earth? Earth at the correct time, that is?
2. "Asylum of the Daleks Prequel" (3 minutes) The Doctor is trying to enjoy his pastry at a Paris cafe, when a purple-cloaked figure approaches him. Then the tearoom disappears, and the figure assures him, "You were never in the tearoom." Aha - the Doctor realizes that it is a psychic projection. But if he's not in Paris, where is he? "Name the planet!" the voice insists. "Skaro", the Doctor whispers. And that's how episode 1 of season 7 starts. with the Doctor meeting Darla Von Karlsen on the derelict home planet of the Daleks.
3. "The Making of The Gunslinger" (2 minute) Episode 3 of Season 7, "A Town Called Mercy", features a cyborg gunslinger. This special is like a video report by Dr. Kahler-Jex to the powers that be. He describes the plan and execution for creating the ultimate living weapon. His unrepentant narrative includes this presager to "A Town Called Mercy": "A degree of duplicity was necessary to secure [the men's] participation. They were told they'd been selected for peace-keeping missions on off-world colonies."
4. "The Science of Doctor Who" (45 minutes) Commentary is included by scientists as well as fans, some of whom have shown up in other extras: Dallas Campbell (actor, screenwriter), Chloe Dykstra (actor), Maggie Aderin Pocock (space scientist), Michio Kaku (theoretical physicist), Steven Moffat (Show Runner, Doctor Who), Scott Adist (actor comedian), Jim Al Khalili (theoretical physicist), Alison Haislip (actress, G4 correspondent), Professor Chris Phillips (Imperial College, London), Godfrey (comedian), Kurt Braunohler (comedian), Professor Kevin Warwick (University of Reading). I love Moffat's job description.
The science is divided into several categories:
*The TARDIS: Spacecraft and Time Machine. Kaku explains, "The phone booth is not the TARDIS at all. It is a door. On the other side of the door there can be an entire universe."
*Invisibility: Is it Possible?
*Time Travel: Is it Possible? Ms. Pocock's explanation sounds logical, and also reminds me of the tesseract in "A Wrinkle in Time". However, traveling to the past is a horse of a different color than traveling to the future. Remember the butterfly effect of chaos theory.
*Regeneration, *Aliens, *Cyborgs, *The Doctor's Gadgets: Sonic Screwdriver and K9, *Human Cloning
5. "Doctor Who at Comic Con" (10 minutes) Matt Smith (the Doctor), Karen Gillan (Amy), Arthur Darvill (Rory), Caroline Skinner (co-executive producer) and Steven Moffat (Show Runner, co-executive producer, screenwriter), all took part in a panel in front of 5,000 people at the San Diego Comic Con 2012. (It doesn't actually state the year, but the host says that "this year" is the year we say goodbye to the Ponds.) This special has excerpts of the discussions. At one point, the host asks the panel what they would like to see in the show in the future, and Smith says he'd like to see something with Atlantis.
For this season, Dr. Who has gone to a short-movie format. This U.S. 2-disc DVD issue of Part 1 of Season 7 will be released November 2012. It has five episodes.
1. "Asylum of the Daleks" (one 50-minute episode) A woman in a monk's cowl is pacing in a ruined building. The Doctor walks in, not pleased, and tells her, "I got your message. Not many people can do that. Send me messages."
She wants his help getting her daughter, Hannah, out of a Dalek prison camp. The Doctor's face changes and he says, "It's a trap."
"What is?" she asks.
"You are. And you don't even know it."
A blue-tipped eye-stalk comes out of her forehead. A weapon stalk comes out of her hand. She is a Dalek!
Cut to London where Amy and Rory have just signed the papers for a divorce. Then, to Amy's amazement, her hair stylist turns into a Dalek. Rory is captured, too. Our three heroes are taken before the Dalek Parliament, where the Doctor is given an interesting proposition. One he can't refuse.
As usual, the writing is excellent. The Doctor thought he couldn't be more disgusted with the Daleks than he already is, when he has an epiphany and speaks to the Supreme Dalek, "You think hatred is beautiful!!"
The Supreme Dalek mutters back, "Perhaps - that is why we have never been able to kill you."
What a season opener! It has action, nano-particle clouds, Daleks revealed, and a poignant character in a big surprise.
2. "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" (one 45 minute episode) The Doctor manages to pick up Queen Nefertiti from 1334 b.c.e Egypt - why, I don't know. From there, he goes to future Earth, and finds out a space ship is on collision-course with Earth. The ship ignores all hailing frequencies, and UNIT gives the Doctor 6 hours and 19 minutes to turn it off course. If the Doctor fails, Earth will send missiles to disintegrate the space ship. This sounds challenging and fun. The Doctor zips around and picks up John Riddell, a big game hunter, Rory and Amy, and, by accident, Rory's Dad, Brian, to help him and the Queen.
This is a story of "piracy and genocide", with tons of humor, too, including two robots who could be named Tweedledum and Tweedledee.
Great dinosaurs. Remember the Silurians? They first appeared in the Pertwee years in "Doctor Who and the Silurians", but have lately made more appearances. They are also called Earth species Homo reptilia. What if they made an ark to allow dinosaurs to escape extinction?
3. "A Town Called Mercy" (one 45-minute episode) A cyborg in a Stetson chases down a man in the desert. About to die, the man asks, "Am I the last one?" The cyborg aims his gun and says, "There's one more. The Doctor."
Cut to the Doctor, Rory and Amy standing in front of a Wild West gateway. They aren't supposed to be there. The Doctor promised them a vacation in Mexico. Oh well. The gateway sign reads, "Mercy. 81 residents". In front of it, surrounding the town, is a low wall with a "Keep Out" sign. Gleefully, the Doctor steps over the fence and Rory complains, "The sign DOES say Keep Out." Rubbing his hands together, a grin on his face, the Doctor assures Rory, "I see 'Keep Out' signs as suggestions rather than orders. Like 'Dry Clean Only'."
The townspeople aren't friendly to begin with, and when the Doctor introduces himself, they get really angry, pick him up and throw him back out over the low fence.
The sinister Gunslinger approaches, but the Sheriff, a decent man, rescues the Doctor. The Sheriff explains, the Gunslinger "showed up 3 weeks back. We've been prisoners ever since.... Nothing gets ... in or out.... Pretty soon the whole town is going to starve to death.... He says he wants us to give him the alien doctor."
You know it's not going to be a simple story, but it has a feel-good ending. Did you know the Doctor can speak Horse? This is the first American-style Western Dr. Who since the 1966 "The Gunfighter" with William Hartnell.
4. "The Power of Three" (one 45-minute episode) Amy and Rory are having trouble choosing between Real Life and Doctor Life. Who wouldn't? Amy muses, "Every time we flew away with the Doctor, we'd just become part of his life. But he never stood still long enough to become part of ours. Except once. The year of the slow invasion. The time the Doctor came to stay."
Earth is blanketed by strange black cubes, maybe 4" x 4". The Doctor arrives because the cubes are certainly of alien origin, and must be an invasion requiring him to save Earth once again. But the cubes don't DO anything. For a whole year, the cubes don't do a thing, and the Doctor is going bonkers with boredom! Not even meeting the new head of UNIT, Kate Stewart, who shares his worry about the cubes, can keep him from boredom.
"When did you drop Lethbridge?" the Doctor asks her.
Finally, a cube opens on one side and investigates the Doctor. He examines the cube, floating in front of him and says, "Whatever you are, this planet, these people, are precious to me. And I will defend them to my last breath." And then the cube tries to shoot him.
5. "The Angels Take Manhattan" (one 45-minute episode) Someone is typing a story about a P.I., noire-style: "New York. The city of a million stories. Half of them are true. The other half just haven't happened yet. 'Statues', the man said. 'Living statues that move in the dark.' "
It's April 1938. The P.I. is Sam Garner, and he's been hired by Mr. Grayle to find out if statues can move. Grayle sends Garner to Winter Quay, an apartment building where he'll see the statues. Sometimes you want to shout at the screen, "Don't go in there, you fool!"? This is one of those times. Garner goes into the hotel anyway, and finds a room with his name on it. There's an old man lying on the bed. Wait a minute, he looks familiar! The old man awakes and tells Garner, "They're coming for you. They're going to send you back. In time. Back in time. I'm you!"
Cut to 2012 Central Park. Rory and Amy relax while the Doctor reads aloud from a 40's style novel by Melody Malone. Wait a minute - MELODY? Sure enough, things start to go desperately wrong.
The Weeping Angels are among the baddest bad guys ever imagined. When Rory is locked in a basement with a box of matches, you hold your breath. He lights a match. There doesn't seem to be much down there but a lot of putti cherubs. Cherubs... as in baby angels.
This is an awesome but confusing episode the first time through. I wish there had been more time to tell the story. The way Rory and Amelia Pond leave the Doctor is unexpected and creative.
(The Christmas special is not part of the DVD release of Part 1 of Season 7.)
The amazing Jenna Louise-Coleman will be the Doctor's new companion, meeting the Doctor in a Victorian Christmas 2012 Special. We saw her already, in episode 1, "Asylum of the Daleks", where she played Oswin Oswald. Steven Moffat, currently Dr. Who Lead Writer, says he chose Louise-Coleman as the new companion because "she worked the best alongside Smith and could talk faster than him." Now that's saying something.
Another fantastic set of episodes of the inimitable Dr. Who.