on 28 June 2013
Well, series 7 has divided fans, that's for sure. One first watch, I think it's fair to say that I found that most of the episodes were good rather than great. I miss the cliffhangers and within 45 minutes it's no possible to make good on the promise of 'a film a week'. But these stories are growers. Second and third time around, there's more to appreciate - perhaps a little more maturity in the storytelling and a little less self-consciousness. Matt Smith remains for me a great Doctor, one of the best of all time, working wonders with pretty much any material he's given. Rory and Amy go down as a classic set of companions, while Clara introduces a mystery that's as old as the Doctor's travels, without getting in the way of each episode's progress. If Doctor Who suffers from anything these days, it's too much hype and publicity - Asylum of the Daleks was only disappointing after Moffat's continued cries of "every Dalek ever!!". Watched with that set aside, it's a terrific Dalek episode. A great start to the series that leads us into the Doctor's 50th anniversary. On blu-ray, the image and sound are cracking.
on 11 February 2014
This set consists of the five episodes from the first part of the seventh series of revived Doctor Who. The five episodes are spread across two discs and, for some reason, the discs are in separate cases when they could have been put in the same case and they would have taken up half as much space.
The episodes are variable in terms of quality, but the performances from the cast are consistently strong and the episodes all look fabulous, really it's the writing that lets it down badly in places.
The series starts with 'Asylum of the Daleks', which is a triumph of style over substance if ever there was one. It's a plot hole and continuity error riddled mess. Admittedly the parliament of the Daleks looks breathtaking and the whole episode is very well shot and acted but it makes little sense. Another problem is that they had every Dalek prop ever used in the series on hand for this story but they do almost nothing with them.
Despite the fact that Steven Moffat only has 50 minutes to work with he still elects to waste time on an entirely pointless divorce subplot for Amy and Rory. By the end of the episode the pair are back together and it was as if they'd never divorced (which, let's face it, they never should have). The story ends with the revelation that the Daleks have had their memories wiped of all memory of the Doctor. 17 months on and still nothing has been made of this twist. All in all 'Asylum' is an unforgivable waste of a brilliant idea.
'Dinosaurs on a Spaceship' is the highlight of this part of the series; it's funny, well acted and well paced and the Dinosaurs look brilliant. David Bradley is compelling as the repulsive Solomon, Rupert Graves is as smooth as silk as Riddell and Mark Williams impresses in the role of Brian, erm, Williams. The two robots, voiced by David Mitchell and Robert Webb, are hilarious.
At first it looks as if 'A Town Called Mercy' is going to be a straightforward western but it later becomes a morality tale, with the moral dilemma being whether or not Kahler-Jex deserved to die for his crimes. Sadly it's too complex for its own good; at first Jex seems to be full of remorse for his crimes but later he comes across as a psychopath who doesn't repent after all, this weakens the issue. There is however some lovely Spanish location filming.
'The Power of Three' evokes memories of 'The Stones of Blood', in the sense that it starts out rather will set on Earth, but when the action moves to a spaceship it falls to pieces. The concept of the indestructible cubes just turning up all over the world is very good, there's a priceless cameo from Alan Sugar and it's great to see Mark/Brian Williams again. Kate Stewart is a nice addition to the series.
Sadly the resolution is very rushed, the Doctor simply waves his silly sonic screwdriver and all the people killed by the cubes simply come back to life and then the Shakri ship just happens to explode. All a bit convenient really.
'The Angels Take Manhattan' rounds off this set of episodes, and it's certainly enjoyable but it tries to do too much in 45 minutes; it incorporates the Weeping angels, River Song and New York location filming and on top of all this it has to provide a satisfying departure for Amy and Rory. Despite all these elements vying for attention, Moffat still elects to waste time with redundant characters and pointless scenes.
There are some very touching scenes between Amy and Rory and between Amy and the Doctor and these are superbly acted, but a final scene between the Doctor and Rory would have been nice (they don't even say goodbye to each other). Overall the story is rushed.
This mini season was certainly not a disaster, but it could have been much better. The lesson that should be taken from this is that while standalone episodes can work, Doctor Who really does need the odd two parter.
As for extras, there is a short 'Asylum of the Daleks' prequel. There's a short 'Making of the Gunslinger' feature which talks about how the Gunslingers were created in the context of the storyline.
The best extra is all five parts of 'Pond Life', these were five short online segments used to bridge the large gap between 'The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe' and 'Asylum of the Daleks'. These are very funny.
on 20 June 2013
Again, wheels within wheels and we may discover later that some things are a lot more significant than they appeared at the time, or have an explanation. Not everything worked for me though. The first episode illustrates some of the problems: suddenly Rory and Amy are divorced, Amy has turned into a model and single woman as we briefly saw in the alternative timeline when the Doctor found a cybership under a department store in Chelmsford: the image is that little time has passed, yet they have fallen out so badly and, despite having River as a daughter, they divorce because Amy can't have children (OK, normal ones, at least). Of course, it all turns out to be a misunderstanding and normal, married life resumes. Hmmmm. We then discover that the Daleks know that the Doctor has survived (how?) And that they have mastered a technology to turn humans into Daleks - if they could do that before and capture the Doctor so easily, how come they didn't kill him long ago? And then it turns out that they need his help to control a planet full of mad Daleks who threaten all Dalek-kind. The best part of it is Jenna-Louise Coleman's show-stealing performance as an infiltrator on the Dalek planet who is not all she seems to be.
I also expected rather more of the end of the Ponds. So, the Weeping Angels have taken over Manhatten (why and where did they come from)? Rory defeats the Angels, only for a survivor to appear from nowhere and send him into the past due to an unforgiveable piece of negligence.
There are some fun stories and some clever ideas, but unless there are surprises to come, not everything hangs together.
Incidentally, what has happened to Karen Gillen? I watched the two extras and there is an interview with a woman who is almost unrecognisable as Amy: she looks at least fifteen years older and to have put on a huge amount of weight. Has she been seriously ill?
on 13 October 2013
I have to say that my favourite doctor is David Tennant (sorry, Matt), but these way over the top tuned episodes are worth watching nontheless. Having said that I have to add that I find it annoying that season 7 is presented first in two box sets and one christmas special only to be released a few months later in a new package containing it all. Please leave that kind of picking the fans pockets to the americans...
on 23 September 2012
Doctor Who returns after a while to present us with another half and half season, this time with Christmas as the bridging point. After the excellent and complicated Series 6 with the most prominent story arc in the show's history, Steven Moffat and co. presents us with a five part series, five blockbusters of Doctor Who giving us things we could only dream of, Insane Daleks,Dinosaurs, a Western and the return of the Weeping Angels. Is this series good? Oh yes, this one is good, epic stories, big characters, a constantly changing title sequence and some real highlights. Let's begin.
Episode 1: Asylum of the Daleks 8/10
As you no doubt have seen this episode had a lot if images showing ever Dalek design in Doctor Who history. If you expect this to have any impact on the story, you will be disappointed. There's about three of four brief shots of the past Daleks and they do barely anything in the story. But that's really the only major negative. The premise is that the Daleks abduct the Doctor on Skaro and force him and his companions to take out a force field on their planetary asylum so they can finally blow it up after keeping it around for the admiration of their pure hatred. Meanwhile down below, a survivor of a crash, Oswin (Jenna Louise Coleman, the next companion in a surprising cameo), finds out about our intrepid heroes and gives them a helping hand in getting around a mainly dormant asylum. As the Doctor and Amy fight off the Dalek's new minions (in one of the most disturbing elements in the Dalek arsenal) Rory meets the Daleks who are now waking up and remembering they are scary again. As the Doctor races to get them off and Oswin out, Rory and Amy seem to be in a divorce position and tensions run high as Amy faces a potential end to her humanity. So what's good about this episode? The Dalek's return and the Time War design is back in force, meaning they no longer are the plastic mockery subjects of "Victory". The episode is dark, creepy, menacing, deeply tragic and features many a moment between the Doctor and his long-standing companions, as well as very dark revelations and a great twist ending. Doctor Who is back, and it's awesome.
Episode 2: Dinosaurs on a Spaceship 10/10
Could you ask for a better premise? Well, anyway, the Doctor and a gang consisting of a big game hunter, an Egyptian Queen and the Ponds + Rory's dad arrive on a spaceship heading for Earth to find the crew missing and Dinosaurs as the cargo. This episode is just a joy, a great romp and the first proper adventure story since Series 5 in 2010. We get the best of Britain with Mark Williams as Rory's dad Brian, David Bradley as our villain and Mitchell and Webb as a pair of robots reminiscent of Douglas Adams' work. The plot is fairly straightforward, Chibnall is at his finest and this time doesn't screw up the story like he did in "Hungry Earth" and its a fun, humorous romp with plenty of great CGI dinosaurs with "Primeval" contributing to designs and just generally a fun, memorable albeit silly episode of Doctor Who.
Episode 3: A Town Called Mercy 7/10
Doctor Who's first Western since 1965's "The Gunfighters" and we get a mainly good story with some weaknesses. The scenery and sets are fantastic, the effort made into making this feel genuine is extremely admirable and the fact that the lines of good and evil are blurred work well here. At heart a Western is the story of inner demons of heroes and villains, it's perfectly handled here as is the human emotion of fear and the desire for justice. Visually it's great with the Gunslinger cyborg looking awesome and a good back-story for what we have as the plot. So what's wrong with it? Well the emotions are there but sometimes executed weakly, the power is there just not enough and the ending is something of a fluke in the wrong direction as to if it even makes sense. It's still not a bad episode and it a good Western blockbuster for all to enjoy.
Episode 4: The Power of Three 7.5/10
Different from the other four in this series, The Power of Three is a slow invasion of Earth with billions of cubes which over time grow dangerously complacent and familiar to humanity, doing nothing but with a sinister motivation. And then the cubes begin to activate, and then the invasion truly begins. This episode however has the real strength in that it is revolutionary for examining the companions - it's the first to truly show the strain of the Doctor / home life and does what no other story has done, examined the issue of that strain. The Doctor here has a great scene confessing to Brian about the fate of his companions, albeit vaguely but with enough there. It's a deep story and the fact is, the Pond's are special, they have done things with the Doctor no other has done, seen Universe's end and reboot, had their lives stolen or lived and then come back, the Pond's are more than most companions in what they've done and this episode shows it in many a touching scene. But the invasion is still good, the menace of things you take for granted invented and potently realized. The only problem being the incredibly rushed third act which damages the episode with how quickly and transparently it goes by, but that's not the focus of the story and with UNIT, and a certain figure leading it, we have an excellent tale of the Doctor and his companions.
Episode 5: The Angels Take Manhattan 8.5/10
It promised to be the most heartbreaking episode of Doctor Who ever, although in retrospect I consider that to be "The Family of Blood" but this one's tear wrenching too. It's the departure of the Pond's and the end for this series. Bringing back two of the most beloved creations from Steven Moffat, both River Song (now Professor) and the Weeping Angels make a return in a dark, paradoxical and deeply emotional finale. Describing the plot for this is tricky but it basically takes that small little hint at the end of "Blink" and turns into it's full vision, terrifying cherubs and a certain landmark which you should never turn your back on. The episode is, well, it's not so much clever as simple, brutal, honest and does live up to expectations as a sad departure. It's emotional, it's wrong, it's heartfelt and unlike other companions, it feels right in how it ends, just right. It may not have exploited the Angels much but in truth, the focus is surprisingly not on them, because let's face it, we've seen their stories and the strengths, despite them being phenomenal in concept, were never the greatest focus, there was always enough in their stories to make them just a great part of it all. This at the end of it all and, was about being the swansong of two of the best to have traveled the TARDIS. It's a fitting finale to Series 7 Part 1.
And there we have it, five cinematic blockbusters of Who which took us from the Dalek asylum, to a spaceship filled with Dinosaurs, to a Western town of war crimes and penance, from a deadly familiar invasion to paradox monsters. From terrifying creatures to slow invasions, from romps on spaceships with the best of Britain to fear and justice in an isolated part of the world, Doctor Who gave us so much in five episodes, which whilst they all have flaws, could have perhaps benefited from longer running times for their colossal stories, should be and will be remembered for being tales which gave us an incredible end to the Pond's era on Who. Roll on Christmas, and bring on 2013. It's been a great, emotional ride.
on 15 May 2014
Prob one for fans only - "Asylum of the Daleks" is 1 of THE WORST Dalek stories EVER (with plot holes you could pilot a TARDIS through ! - only thing going for it is Jenna Louise Coleman as future companion (but we don't know that yet ! - Spoilers !) Oswin Oswald.
Dinosaurs on a spaceship - is a jolly romp
The gunslinger episode is ok
Prob the best of the bunch are the last 2 stories - Power of three & Time of the Angels - but have to admit though I'm sorry to see Arthur Darvill go, not sorry to see the back of Amy Pond as played by Karen Gillan, as by this point, I found her (the character) to be extremely smug & irritating
on 4 June 2013
Another great Doctor Who product - it delivers what it promises and more.
I just do not see the need to have separate cases for each Blu-ray. This is not required as you can have blu-ray cases that contain 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6. The Alien Anthology Blu-ray boxset I have has a smaller overall space requirement (that is it is thinner) then this box set, even though it contains 6 Blu-rays compared to this 2 disc set.
Surely it would be more economical for BBC Worldwide to produce this boxset in a 2-disc case containers then 2 single cases.
9 day delivery to Australia isn't that bad.
on 30 September 2012
After waiting NINE MONTHS for a new episode of Doctor Who, I was beyond excited for series 7, and I was hoping it would make up for series 6, which was, to me, a letdown (sorry, but I can count the episodes I actually enjoyed from that series on one hand).
Well put it this way, just 'Asylum of the Daleks' made up for that entire series, so I had a hunch this would be one of the best series yet. Was I correct? No. It IS THE best series yet.
ASYLUM OF THE DALEKS - Literally, an Asylum full of Daleks! Kind of let down though by the fact that you don't see as many classic Daleks as was first made out. On the plus side, JENNA-LOUISE COLEMAN WAS IN IT! How they managed to keep this a secret I don't know, but after that little taste, I'm really looking forward to JLC taking over at Christmas. Oh, and the Daleks say "DOCTOR WHO?", so that's godda be worth something. 9.5/10
DINOSAURS ON A SPACESHIP - A brilliant episode, made even more brilliant by the star guest cast. Mark Williams 'Mr Weasley' as Rory's Dad, Brian, with David Bradley 'Mr Filch' as Soloman (and a freakishly accurate William Hartnell look-alike may I add?). Rupert Graves - looks like Lestrade has found his division - as Riddell, and lets not forget David Mitchell and Robert Webb as Doctor Who's campest EVER robots. And there's dinosaurs too - they're on a spaceship! 8/10
A TOWN CALLED MERCY - If I HAD to pick a worst episode, I would pick this one, as I found it particularly slow at the beginning, but it really started to pick up round the middle, as the angry, more darker side to the Doctor is explored. There's a typical western fight at noon, and people die. I like death and darkness in shows like Doctor Who, it shows people that it is not 'just a kids show'. 7/10
THE POWER OF THREE - I was looking forward to this episode most out of the entire series, mainly because it was the least spoiled episode. I really can't understand why people give it so much stick. I mean, fair enough, the ending was rushed, but it was good as a 'kind of' light hearted episode before the dark and depressing finale. 9/10
THE ANGELS TAKE MANHATTAN - What can I say? In the words of the Doctor - just YOWZAH! Great story, brilliant music on behalf of Murray Gold, particularly in once scene involving Amy, Rory and a rooftop. A fitting send of for the Ponds, tying up ends all the way back to their first episode, 'The Eleventh Hour'. 10/10
Bravo, Steven Moffat. Just Bravo.
on 27 March 2014
This series will make no sense without first watching season 6. These episodes are very much drama based, rather than the classic monsters and tomfoolery that we all know and love - but once you've seen season 6, then you're a little more invested in the characters, so you don't mind.
Season 7 pt 2, in my opinion, is much better. However, there is one crucial episode in this lot that you HAVE to watch before 7 pt 2 or the whole season will make no sense.
In other words, go and watch season 6 first and go through it properly! :P
on 22 February 2014
I enjoyed this series very much because firstly it was less confusing than Series 6 and it had 2 brilliant episodes in this series including the Dalek one (Which also features Jenna-Louise Coleman, Who is the Doctors companion in Series 7 Part 2) and "The Angles Take Manhattan" Which is scary and sad at once as we say farewell to the Ponds who I will always remember for being great as well as Rose, Martha and Donna in the older series of the Program (Series 1-4)