Top critical review
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Fantastic Opportunity. An okay set, could have been so much more
on 14 November 2013
First things first, this is a very reasonably priced product. I know there have been claims of "overpriced" etc, however, if you examine that Seasons 5-7 are still priced at £35+ for bluray, then you have the Specials and seasons 1-4 included also, then £165 is quite decent.
Secondly, the product is very nicely packaged - The cardboard box is nicely designed and of good quality. The new cover designs on seasons 1-4 are VERY nice, and in my view a definite improvement on the previous packaging. ONLY problem I have is that they changed the "Doctor Who" logo from its "new credits" logo to that of the "classic doctors", which is fine, but from Season 5-7, the logo remains that of the "Matt Smith" era, completely breaking any continuity. My own thoughts are if they updated the packing from 1-4, then surely a logo change would have been easy to do on the newer series.
Now, there has been a lot of complaints about "slowing the show down" and that it runs longer on season 1-4. This sounds ridiculous to people, and yes, it is. The picture quality has DEFINITELY improved, lets get that out of the way first. In fact, my own thoughts are that the later seasons actually seem slightly grainer in comparison with the up conversions. If the show has been slowed by ANY amount, it isn't something you'd notice.
The sound quality is fantastic, I can honestly say that when Murry Gold's "Eleventh Doctor Theme" kicks in, it's amazing.
Now, my issues with this box set:
If you aren't bothered about extras or bonus features, then this won't be an issue, but for others there are some problems:
1. The bonus features are actually reduced in number from previous releases, not only on season 1-4, but on Season 5-7 as well.
2. The advertised bonus features of the Proms performance in 2010 is NOT included. And it has no plans to be.
Other minor niggles: The time that the disks take to reach the menu on season 5-7 is MADDENING. There is a whole series of unskippable "Accessibility" screens etc to go through, having timed them, it takes anywhere from 3-5 minutes JUST to get from one advert/access section through to the start screen. It's at times ridiculous. BBC - For future releases, whilst I very much appreciate your drive to make dvds and blurays accessible to all, please make the screens skippable for those of us that do not require them.
Again, it does slightly irk me that the extras on this are actually less than when bought on DVD or indeed, bought separately. This box set is meant to mark the return of the longest running sci-fi franchise in history, and its 50th Anniversary. I fail to understand why some additional features or documentaries marking this fact were not included.
Lastly, the BBC has again, sold the UK license Payers short with this. The American release comes with EVERYTHING plus additional content in the manner of the above paragraph; namely the features regarding the shows 50th anniversary and also the "best of" moments from the show since it's return. Why is it that the American release gets these and the UK is left short again?
The UK is overlooked on special features from NUMEROUS American studios in the Region 2/B releases. Why are we now being overlooked from our own establishments?
In short, the picture and sound quality as well as the price, DO make this a pretty decent buy. However, the oversights, ommissions and shortcomings are very noticeable, and I think show a bit of a hash job from the BBC. Not an issue for those just wanting to watch and enjoy the show, in that instance, I couldn't recommend this set more. But, if you're a big fan, and want ALL the bells, ALL the whistles and ALL the extras, then, in my view, the level of the picture quality improvement on 1-4, don't make this a "must have purchase" over the DVD's that contain everything else you could want.
If you're after extras, additional content: DVD and single season blu ray releases are the way forward.
Just after the show and quite a few extras in decent quality and at a pretty good price? This is the set for you!