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Doctor Who The Complete Sixth Series is now available on DVD and Blu-ray. Over the course of the season, the Doctor (Matt Smith) worries about his impending death date in Utah, while learning more about the mysterious River Song (Alex Kingston, ER) and the Silence. He is still joined by Amy Pond (Karen Gillan, The Well) and Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill, Swimming With Sharks) on his missions. Together, they continue the very big job of keeping the universe, through time, safe from any number of threats.
Season six begins big, with the companions being entrusted with a secret that the Doctor cannot know, and all of them having to help Richard Nixon. Things heat up even more in the second part of the premiere, with the FBI on their trail, and aliens that can hide in plain sight, fooling everyone. In other episodes, the team also visits a 17th century pirate ship, explores 22nd century cloning, goes to Berlin in 1938, stays at a hotel that thrives on fear, and confront the Cybermen again. And, the bad guys aren’t all whom you may expect in series six, either. Both River Song and a future version of Amy could end it all if the Doctor isn’t careful. This spells a thrilling, intense, edge-of-your-seat batch of episodes that just may comprise the best Doctor Who season yet!
Perhaps because of the high quality of the stories, Doctor Who is able to continue to attract a very good array of guest stars. Sci-fi staple Mark Sheppard (Supernatural, Warehouse 13) gets into the action in the two-part series opener. Listen closely, and one will hear the voices of Michael Sheen (the Twilight movies, Frost/Nixon) and Imelda Staunton (Cranford, Harry Potter). American NBC anchor Meredith Vieira is in the series finale, and Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey), Suranne Jones (Coronation Street), Lily Cole (The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus), and David Walliams (Little Britain) are just a few of the other familiar faces. Plus, James Corden and Simon Callow reprise their Doctor Who roles as Craig Owens and Charles Dickens, respectively.
Arguably, an even bigger get is award-winning writer Neil Gaiman, who pens “The Doctor’s Wife,” in which the TARDIS is captured by a mind on an asteroid. It’s an exciting cat and mouse game, as the villain holds the Doctor’s companions hostage. Luckily, the Doctor finds allies in Uncle and Auntie, who are not, in fact, his uncle and auntie. Because of Gaiman’s reputation, expectations are high on this episode, and it fully delivers.
Series six was previously available as two separate sets, but this release is six discs containing all 13 episodes. It also has last year’s Christmas special, “A Christmas Carol,” which has had its own release, too. Thus, Doctor Who: The Complete Sixth Series is bringing together three different products in one.
Bonus features are not scarce either. Five of the series six episodes have short prequels to better set things up. There are two Comic Relief sketches from a charity event. Four shorts known as “Monster Files” delve into the Doctor’s best opponents, giving a deeper exploration of the rich guest characters. Plus, Doctor Who Confidential has an inside look at all 13 episodes, with a bonus Confidential concerning “A Night’s Tale” (see below). There are also audio commentaries on selected episodes.
Perhaps most valuable bonuses are five Night and the Doctor specials available only on the new release. They cannot be found online, at least not legally, and were not broadcast on television. As such, they make this release a must-own for any completionist fan.
With 1080i high definition, and 16:.9 aspect ratio, as well as DTS HD 5.1 surround sound, Doctor Who looks and sounds fantastic. It’s a science fiction show with a lot of special effects, and thus, fans will want the best viewing experience possible. They get it with this Blu-ray set, featuring crystal clear picture and sound that will look and sound amazing on any decent home entertainment system. Even better, many of the special features, which aren’t always up to the same standards, actually are in this set, having the same audio and visual stats as the episodes themselves. This is certainly a truly excellent set.
Doctor Who The Complete Sixth Series is, as you may expect, excellent. The blacks, and all other hues, are rich and deep. This allows for a lot of details, even when events occur in shadow. There is no static around the edges of any of the sound effects, which also are not abnormally loud. Sound levels are mixed to a fine degree, and will allow viewers to stay in the moment on screen effortlessly.
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Article first published as Blu-Ray Review: Doctor Who The Complete Sixth Series on Blogcritics.