Doctor Who - Series 3 Vol.1  [DVD] 
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The third series of Doctor Who is full of new thrills, new laughs, new heartbreak and some terrifying new monsters. From the moment the Doctor walks into the life of medical student Martha Jones he changes it forever. In Elizabethan London they meet William Shakespeare at the Globe Theatre, while back in present day London 76-year-old Professor Lazarus recaptures his youth with consequences that threaten Marthas entire family. And, the Doctors sworn enemies the Daleks, who have been hiding in 1930s New York, return with a terrifying plan for humanity.
"Smith and Jones": When Martha Jones finds herself on the Moon, she meets a mysterious stranger called the Doctor, and her life with never be the same again.
"The Shakespeare Code": The Doctor takes Martha to Elizabethan England, where William Shakespeare us under the control of deadly witch-like creatures.
"Gridlock": The Doctor takes Martha to New Earth, in the far future, only to find that an entire city has become a deadly trap.
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I shed a tear during the final ten minutes of DOOMSDAY and realised (on that beach in Norway, Wales) that we were not just facing an ending, but also a plateau. And then, a bit further beyond that, a new beginning. BILLIE PIPER had to go, but her work was done; the series itself had reached a point where the only way forward was up. And 'up' for Doctor Who means one thing: regeneration. Not for the lead, no - he's as perfect as we're likely to have for a long time - I mean the series itself. So what did we get after a three-month production hiatus?
SMITH AND JONES. A wonderful opening episode. Full of excitement and spectacle. Outrageous in execution yet supremely light on its feet (surprisingly so, given the uber-heavy Alien Menace on display). Oh, and did I mention a new companion for the Doctor? MARTHA JONES...she's excellent too. As is the little old lady with the straw (sorry, Plasmavore - aka: villain of the piece). The effects on the moon are wonderfully imaginative (the JUDOON spacecraft reminded me of the transport shuttle landing from 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY with that little red flight-deck light at the top, an incredible detail). That a full adventure with a satisfying resolution can be had within forty-five minutes - and still leave room to introduce Martha's family - is testament to the supreme creative understanding of, and confidence in, a show that just keeps on getting better.
THE SHAKESPEARE CODE also displays loving attention to detail. The background shots of Olde London Town look superb are are integrated seamlessly with the live-action. The witches are firm and fruity and the idea that words can act as numbers (with the aid of the Globe Theatre) to unlock a curse is fascinating. It helps, of course, that those words belong to The Great Bard himself. Yes, there's a lot of knowing references here, but there's also no better setup in the world with which to exploit them. A joy to watch and a superb episode.
GRIDLOCK has the most intriguing story of all and is the visual treat to match. A seemingly endless traffic jam under the dead city of New New York leads to the return of Cat-Novice Hame (from NEW EARTH), a surprise monster reveal for fans of a certain age and a quasi-religious 'quiet moment' that actually brings a lump to the throat in its simplicity of execution. Other outstanding treats include an amazing CGI shot of the city that wouldn't seem out of place in THE PHANTOM MENACE, The Face Of Boe's demise and The Doctor's sad recollections of his homeworld, Gallifrey. A terrifically downbeat ending.
Also check out the performances of all the characters in these three episodes. Not one lets the side down. That's because they all know it makes for a heck of a reference on their cv and is unequivocal proof that pride in the job still matters. The same goes for the entire production team. I just think of the cynical age that we live in and feel bloody lucky that a tv show like this can still be made.
Buy this DVD and enjoy the best escapism in the universe.
"Smith And Jones", introduces us to the Judoon, hulking rhino-like policemen who have a very unorthodox way of pursuing non-humans like the Doctor. They mark humans with an X mark on their hand, and with a humourous twist anyone who hits them from behind is executed. Their target is Annie Reid as a Plasmavour who does away with poor Roy Marsden very easily, and her two leather-cladded henchmen with motorbike courier gear.
"The Shakespeare Code", is in my opinion the best episode of Doctor Who so far this series. The great bard is superbly brought to life by Dean Lennox Kelly, (Kev in, "Shameless") with a great deal of humour, and detail to the period. Three witches want Shakespeare to write, "Loves Labours Won", the lost masterpiece which has an element of truth in real life. It didn't exist. The play opens a gateway for the witches so their sisters can come through, and terrorise Elizabethan England. The final scene of the episode shows Queen Elizabeth I appearing, and recognizing the Doctor she shouts, "Off with his head!!!". An excellent script from Gareth Roberts, and superbly directed by Charles Palmer.
"Gridlock", is what the third series is all about. The words from The Face Of Boe, played by Struan Rodger, "You Are Not Alone" = YANA, played by Sir Derek Jacobi in episode 11, "Utopia", neatly sets the tone for this episode, and a marvellous performance from Ardal O'Hanlon as Thomas Kincaid Brannigan.
All in all. A great start for Freema Ageyman, and our David.
A great start to the new series it jumps higher then the last series opening with David Tennant doing his thing as the Doctor, and Freema Agyeman finding her feet as Martha Jones.
The Shakespeare Code - The Tardis takes the Doc and Martha to Elizabethan England where Will Shakespeare is under the control of strange witch-like creatures 10/10
A fun episode with the Tardis crew meeting Shakespeare and trying to stop history from being destroyed.
Gridlock - In the far future New Earth is a death trap, Martha is kidnapped and the Doctor not only has to save her but rescue everyone on the motorway from a crab like creature, from his far far past 8/10
I liked this one because not only does the Face of Bo return but he gives his final message to The Doctor "You are not alone"
Smith And Jones is possibly the best series opener of Doctor Who ever. Not only does it introduce Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman), but it also has incredible special effects and the Judoon are so cool.
The Shakespeare Code is another delight from the past as the Doctor (David Tennant) meets a genius that is almost clever as him. Also look out for the scary Carrionites.
Gridlock is my favourite episode on the volume, because the special effects are fab, there's the sad death of the Face Of Boe and the return of the Macra after 40 years away from the series. And also I love episodes set in the future.
So, go out and buy this DVD on 21 May 2007 and keep watching Series 3 of Doctor Who.
To finish off, here is a list of release dates for the remaining volumes:
Volume 2 (Daleks In Manhattan, Evolution Of The Daleks, The Lazarus Experiment, 42): 25 June 2007
Volume 3 (Human Nature, The Family Of Blood, Blink): 23 July 2007
Volume 4 (Utopia, The Sound Of Drums, Last Of The Time Lords): 20 August 2007
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