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Tennant makes his mark,
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This review is from: Doctor Who: The Complete Second Series (DVD)
When Doctor Who returned to our screens in 2005, even for the disinterested, it was probably THE British TV event of the year. For the die hard fans, it was a dream come true. Finally the BBC was giving it the profile, the budget, the schedule and the kudos that they felt it had always deserved. Russell T. Davis had reinvented a classic TV icon and made it even more exciting than ever and Christopher Eccleston brought a new edge to the world's longest running sci-fi TV hero.
But before the first season had even run its course, Eccleston was gone. Never explaining why, after the huge relaunch, the BBC were already having to recast the role, running the risk of losing everything they'd built up in such a short space of time. Thankfully, (unlike so many times in the 1980's) the production team made a truly inspired decision to cast David Tennant in the role of the Doctor and keep the new found dynamism on track.
Here is the complete first season of Tennant's stint as the Time Lord from Gallifrey, which I personally hope will be the first of many. He really has taken the role to heart and developed a truly engaging and charismatic Doctor - one that's on a par with the great Tom Baker for sure and outdoing many others who've taken the role in the past. All 14 episodes are included, starting with the hour-long 2005 Christmas special, followed by the 13 45-minute episodes from the spring of 2006.
There are many fans of course who aren't particularly enamored of the new approach to their favorite time traveler. It is fair to say that the whole concept has become rather `soapy'. It's certainly no stretch to see that Eastenders seems to have a big influence over the style of the new direction. Whereas it brings an edge of reality to the series to flesh out the lives and emotions of the Doctor and his companions, it has to be said that in this particular season, that emotion is being somewhat overplayed. Sarah-Jane Smith is back at the Doctor's side in `School Reunion' after having been dumped from the TARDIS back in 1976. It's great to see Elisabeth Sladen back on form, but from a continuity point, it's not really true to the original series. Sarah-Jane did already meet up with the Doctor again, back in the 1983 20th anniversary special, The Five Doctors, and the hurt and despair explored now ignores that particular narrative completely. Every episode seems to have some emotional turmoil between the Doctor's current companion, Rose, and the Time Lord himself, which seems to always be edging them towards at least a romantic relationship, if not a full-blown sexual one. After a while, it seems this sub-text is always getting in the way of the main narrative of each story. Even the long awaited and definitely overdue clash between the Doctor's two most famous enemies, The Daleks and The Cybermen, is eventually pushed into the background to develop more of the Doctor/Rose relationship. It's not necessarily a bad thing, it's just overplayed. I for one would like to see less of Rose's emotions and those of her family and hopefully in the 2007 season, new characters will be handled differently.
There are fewer extras than were included on the Eccleston season release, possibly to accommodate the extra episode. The short interim piece shown on the BBC's Children in Need charity telethon is included and there's a commentary for each story, often with on-screen visuals. A sixth disc includes the accompanying Doctor Who Confidential, behind the scenes documentaries, but there's little else. It's still a great package nonetheless.
I hope the rumors of David Tennant's departure during the 2008 season are false. He's such a great Doctor; it would be a shame to lose him. But so far, most of the rumors about the series that have done the rounds have all pretty much turned out to be true. Still, they moved effortlessly from Eccleston to Tennant, so presumably they can do the same again. In the meantime, here's some wonderful Doctor Who to enjoy again.