Doctor Who – The Complete Fifth Series DVD

I caught up with this over the last week or two[1], so it’s time for a quick review.

Now it used to be the case that getting the full DVD set was an especially Good Thing because that’s how you’d get the nice surround sound stuff. But now that the show is on HD TV (for those that have such toys), it has to come down to the extras.

Anyway, what we have here are the thirteen episodes of Matt Smith’s first year as the Doctor[2], in shiny DVD quality with shiny surround sound. The Blu-Ray version is no doubt shinier and better, but as I haven’t so far given in to that particular commercial pressure, I can’t comment. I’ve talked about those episodes at some length, so I won’t go into details here, other than to say that Matt Smith has totally got the point, and has done a remarkable job in following David Tennant. Karen Gillan has been good fun as Amy, and Arthur Darvill has been great as Rory, a nicely developed character. Oh, and Steven Moffat is completely bonkers, in the best possible way.

Anyway, what about the extras? Well, they’re not quite as impressive as they might be, but here we go:

  • In-vision commentaries for just six episodes. I’m not really convinced that seeing the people talking about the episode in a little box laid over the scene really adds anything, as most of the time they’re not actually doing anything interesting. Sound only commentaries on every episode would have been better – it’s definitely a bit odd getting a commentary on only one half of a two-part story. But the commentaries we get are mostly pretty good. More next time, please.
  • Monster files: little bits of fun from the Doctor Who Confidential team, looking at some of the creatures the Doctor faces. Suffers a bit from not having clips from the classic series (I believe this is because it gets complicated and expensive securing the necessary contractual wossnames from various people, but I could be wrong), but still interesting.
  • Video diaries – Matt and Karen provide most of the fun here. Nice to have
  • Out-takes – lots of on-set silliness, good fun
  • Teasers and trailers – loads of these
  • Doctor Who Confidential Cut-Downs – the short versions of all 13 of these. Again, nice to have, but the full-length ones would have been nicer.
  • And, saving the best till last, two “Meanwhile in the TARDIS” additional scenes, which act as links between episodes. There’s a lovely bit where the Doctor explains to Amy how the TARDIS can instantly analyse its surroundings, work out what would be nicely inconspicuous, then always appear as a 1960s Police telephone box, which sounds like a nod towards the highly advanced drinks machine in The Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy which always produces a drink almost, but not entirely unlike tea…

So, if you’re a serious fan, you’ll want this several months ago and you’re probably wondering why I took so long[3] to post about it. If you’re less serious, you may want to wait a bit and get it much cheaper in a year or so.

[1] Which is why I’m behind with watching Primeval and other things…
[2] This came out before Christmas, so you’ll have to wait for the Christmas episode
[3] Quicker than I was for the last full series, though