Doctor Who - Series 3 Volume 2 [DVD] 
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Episodes 4-7 from the third series of the BBC's relaunched version of the sci-fi classic, starring David Tennant as the legendary Time Lord. From the moment the Doctor walks into the life of medical student Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman) he changes it forever. In Elizabethan London, they meet William Shakespeare (Dean Lennox Kelly) at the Globe Theatre, while back in present-day London 76-year-old Professor Lazarus (Mark Gatiss) recaptures his youth with consequences that threaten Martha's entire family. Meanwhile, the Doctor's sworn enemies, the Daleks, who have been hiding in 1930s New York, return with a terrifying plan for humanity... Episodes are: 'Daleks in Manhattan', 'Evolution of the Daleks', 'The Lazarus Experiment' and '42'.
The latest DVD release from the third season of the revived Doctor Who is one many fans will have been eagerly awaiting, due in no small part to the return of the iconic Daleks.
A pity, then, that of the four episodes on this DVD, its the Dalek double-header thats the weakest. So lets deal with those two episodes first. "Daleks In Manhattan" and "Evolution Of The Daleks" are set in 1930s New York, where the Daleks have hatched their most daring plan to date: to use the biology of a human to evolve their own, resulting in a hybrid human/Dalek creature.
Yet in spite of some neat moments across the two episodes, the double-header never really clicks, and the hybrid creation utterly fails to convince. It leaves a few good lines, some neat action sequences and the sheer status of the Daleks to drag the episodes through.
Things perk up though with the other two episodes on this Doctor Who DVD. "The Lazarus Experiment" is a fun romp, with The League Of Gentlemens Mark Gatiss experimenting, with predictably chaotic results, in age reversal. What marks this episode out though is the intriguing building of the story thats set to pay off later in the series.
Finally, the best episode on the disc, 42. While derivative, its pacey, funny and has a real-time feel to the action that works extraordinarily well. Some smashing direction too, not least when the episode goes silent as the Doctor mouths "Ill save you" to a seemingly doomed Martha.
In all then, a mixed bag of Doctor Who, but still a terrific value DVD given the four episodes it contains. Even if the best of series three is yet to come... --Simon Brew
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The varied nature of the stories still means there's going to be some episodes better than others, but the beauty of it all is that the standard is so impeccably high. It's fair to say we have never had it so good.
DALEKS IN MANHATTAN and EVOLUTION OF THE DALEKS, a two-parter set in Depression-era New York, is probably the least effective story of the season. However, I will immediately qualify this by saying that the visuals are generally stunning and the scope is impressive, but the flaw remains in the realisation of DALEK/HUMAN SEC. It slightly diminishes the whole by not being 100% convincing and that's a terrible shame. Credit must go to Director JAMES STRONG, however, who is mostly on the money (note: I initially disliked the marching human/hybrid army dissolves, then saw in it a lovely homage to the Flash Gordons'/Buck Rogers' Republic serials of the time, a very nice touch) - but for my money, and for sheer visual and visceral impact, he'll need to sit on another Zarbi anthill before he tops THE SATAN PIT.
What an absolute delight THE LAZARUS EXPERIMENT is. Elements of Frankenstein, Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde, The Fly, Quatermass and The Pit - all rolled into one big, skeletal mess of a monster. MARK GATISS makes the most of his part as the age-reversal experiment gone wrong and draws out an effectively mean 'n moody performance from his best mate DAVID TENNANT. FREEMA AYGEMAN likewise continues to impress with her measured performance, wholly without the clinginess that made late-era BILLIE PIPER so irritating. The climax in the Cathedral is another great set-piece and leads nicely to the ending, where the "Mister Saxon" element is ramped up considerably to generate palpable fear in the mind of Martha's mother and the man her daughter's Tardishacked-up with. Great stuff.
'42' was never going to exceed expectations, mainly due to Danny Boyle's 'Sunshine', but for a primetime British television show, the story of a mining ship being dragged into a star was beautifully realised. With forty-two minutes left before destruction, there's a terrifying real-time twist to unfolding events which highlight the true nature of 'cause and effect'. That said, I tend to blow a little hot(!) and cold about Director GRAEME HARPER's work on this show (blame the slightly indifferent Cybermen for that), but the pace he generates and his striking colour palette cannot be faulted here. Allied to The Mill's superb CGI, there were moments as the escape pod fell into the sun that simply took my breath away. Hopefully yours too. "I'll save you!" "I'll Save You!!" "I'LL SAVE YOU!!!" I'll say no more.
I'm sure I've missed things out, but where do you stop? Music, performances, set design...everyone involved firing on all cylinders, all passionate about their work. How jealous am I? How lucky are we.
Wizzard were right. You know...the seasonal hit they had? Doctor Who is the fulfilment of that wish and we are spoiled rotten. Every Saturday night. Every Year. For thirteen wonderful weeks. And THEN Christmas Day comes and...
The Lazarus Experiment: This episode is much better. It's exciting and original and features dramatic fast paced action sequences and a thoroughly nasty baddy. The effects look pretty poor however, with the CG monster Lazarus looking very unrealistic (I realise the irony in this comment). The part is well acted by Mark Gatiss, and the inclusion of Martha's family is a nice touch.
42: This episode is OK, although it basically feels like a less entertaining version of The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit from series 2. There are some good moments however, the progression of the Mr. Saxon storyline from the previous episode here is also interesting. This episode did create some moments of genuine tension as Martha drifts towards the sun, but somehow just isn't that entertaining.
The DVD features mainly average episodes, but they are worth a look, I wouldn't recommend paying too much though.
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