Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Doctor Who: Series Seven, Part One Blu-ray Review

Having recapped/reviewed all five of these episodes for Vulture back in September, I’m not going to talk specifically about each of them, but since the folks at BBC America were kind enough to slide me a review copy of this set, it seemed like the decent thing to do would be to write a few words about it.

Aside from the stellar audio and video quality, I was most taken with the extras on the second disc. The entirety of the web series “Pond Life” is available on here with a “play all” feature, effectively turning it into a seven-minute short film, which now makes for quite the nice preamble to the mini-season which saw the exit of the Ponds. Likewise, the prequel for “Asylum of the Daleks” should also be viewed prior to watching the episode itself. Really, this stuff should’ve been placed on the first disc, but that minor gripe aside, it’s all a welcome inclusion. However, a second prequel, entitled “The Making of the Gunslinger,” is best viewed after watching “A Town Called Mercy,” otherwise it robs the story of some of its dramatic heft.

Beyond those narrative-enhancing bonuses, the set also offers up one of the four 45-minute specials – “The Science of Doctor Who” - presented by BBC America in the weeks leading up to the premiere of “Asylum”; the other three specials are available on their own disc in the massive and probably now hard to find Doctor Who gift set that was released last month. Lastly, there’s a ten minute piece with Smith, Gillan, Darvill and Moffat fawning and being fawned over at Comic Con.

All in all, this is a fine set and an excellent stocking stuffer for the Whovian in your life. Sure, most of what’s on here will be duplicated on the inevitable Season Seven box set, but this Blu-ray makes a lovely placeholder for those who don’t want to wait another six months to see these final adventures of the Doctor and the Ponds in full, uncompressed 1080i glory.

P.S. Asylum of the Daleks gets better with each viewing; best Dalek story since 2005's “Dalek from Rob Shearman, by a mile.