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on 13 March 2011
The 2010 series of 'Doctor Who' is, at first glance, very different to what went immediately before. Lead writer and executive producer Russell T Davies has departed, to be replaced by Steven Moffat, and David Tennant has handed over the keys to the TARDIS to Matt Smith, the youngest actor to play the role to date. There's a look and feel to Series Five that marks it out as different from its predecessors, but ultimately, it's still cut from much the same cloth as before, mixing exciting adventure with great writing, and still being one of the best things on British television in years.

Matt Smith had a tough job, following in David Tennant's footsteps, but from his first moments in series opener, 'The Eleventh Hour', you know everything is going to be fine. His relative youth seems irrelevant, because he feels so at home in the role of the Doctor that you can absolutely buy into him as a 900-odd year old Time Lord. In many ways, his performance brings back memories of Tom Baker and Patrick Troughton - he's a natural, juggling the dramatic and the comedic effortlessly. He's ably supported by Karen Gillan as the feisty Amy Pond, and Arthur Darvill as her sometimes-bumbling fiancee Rory, not to mention a stellar guest cast that boasts names such as Ian McNeice, Sophie Okonedo, Tony Curran, Iain Glen, Helen McCrory and Toby Jones, as well as Alex Kingston making a glorious return as River Song, the mysterious woman whose life keeps intersecting with the Doctor's.

As usual, there's a real ambition to some of the stories told here, both in their scale and the complexity of the storytelling - 'The Eleventh Hour' takes place across fourteen years of Amelia 'Amy' Pond's life, whilst 'Amy's Choice' slides between a number of realities, only one of which may be real, and season finale 'The Big Bang' features all manner of jumping forwards and backwards in time, alternate realities and other such head-spinning concepts. The series has lost none of its epic potential, either - 'Victory of the Daleks' is a WWII epic in under 45 minutes, 'The Time of Angels / Flesh and Stone' by turns a creepy horror and epic sci-fi action thriller, and 'The Hungry Earth / Cold Blood' presents an entire underground civilisation living beneath the Earth. For me, the stand out episode was 'Vincent and the Doctor' by Richard Curtis, a wonderful character-driven piece treading the difficult ground of exploring issues of Vincent Van Gogh's terrible depression, whilst also throwing in an invisible giant space turkey for good measure. The fact that it manages to do both of these - and throw in a scene-stealing uncredited cameo from Bill Nighy - just shows how good the series can be when it's firing on all cylinders. It's not all perfect, of course - some episodes don't work as well as others, and the attempts to reinvent Who icons such as the Daleks and the Silurians don't quite come off as planned. But it's certainly up there with the best the series, past and present, has to offer.

This Blu Ray release presents the episodes in stunning high definition - as they're meant to be seen, really. The 2009 Specials didn't always exploit the potential of HD to the max, but this series really does - whether it's the space battles of 'Victory of the Daleks', the sky lit up with alien spacecraft in 'The Pandorica Opens', or simply the gorgeous (and incredibly detailed) new TARDIS interior. The episodes have, quite simply, never looked or sounded better than they do here on BD (though you may need a bit of tinkering with your player settings to get the sound mix right if you don't have a surround set-up - switching audio output to 'Bitstream' may help), and it's definitely worth opting for this version over the slightly cheaper DVD set.

Extras wise, there's plenty here for viewers to enjoy - perhaps most notably two new scenes penned by Steven Moffat, exclusive to DVD and Blu Ray. These sequences feature the Doctor and Amy in the TARDIS, and serve as preludes to 'The Beast Below' and 'The Vampires of Venice' respectively. They're a lot of fun, and are a nice little bonus. It would be good to see more of these in future, if possible. As with previous boxsets, there's a bonus disc housing the 15 minute cut-down editions of 'Doctor Who Confidential' covering each episode, which offer behind-the-scenes access and insights, and are consistently enjoyable. There are commentaries, too, although disappointingly compared to previous sets, these are only on selected episodes, and are in-vision commentaries, which aren't to everyone's tastes. Aside from that, there's an array of video diaries, trailers, and 'Monster Files' focusing on some of the Doctor's enemies throughout the season.

All in all, 'The Complete Series Five' is a fantastic Blu Ray release for a series which not only continues the 'Doctor Who' legend in the quality to which we've become accustomed, but also reinvents it in style. Minor issues over the extras shouldn't deter you from giving this a go, as it really is the best way to watch the Eleventh Doctor's first adventures.
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on 19 May 2011
How could I not love it? After all the angst about "Who is this young upstart?", "Who decided to have an incredibly 'young' Doctor?" and most of all "Who was the idiot who decided that Matt Smith would be the perfect follow up to David Tennant?" this first series (in my mind) proved all the naysayers to be completely wrong.

This young man, under Mr Moffit's aegis, has shown us a multifaceted character, a young man's face that can express such old emotions, that depth of anger that links all three new doctors and a wonderfully whimsical surface that can occasionally make me laugh out loud.

As far as I'm concerned Matt Smith's performance is the perfect antidote to the doomed darkness of David Tennant's last days as the Doctor and this first series has been such fun. Okay, many adult viewers have complained that the stories have been simplistic or ridiculous but they certainly showcased the new team's acting chops whether you liked them or not. Amy is growing into a strong, modern woman and if I had daughters I'd be proud to think that she was as determined, caring and intelligent as Ms Pond. We all thought Rory would be a damp squib that would turn up whenever he was needed but, instead, he became Rory the Centurion: Amy's guardian, a man the Doctor can trust and, bless him, the man who dies, all the time, over and over... and every time I'm as horrified as the last!

So, yes, remember Chris Ecclestone's powerful, playful Doctor, weep over the little death of David Tennnant's demise but don't belittle young Mr Smith's performance. Remember that last episode where he sat beside Amy's bed telling her all those wonderful things, his face mirroring his emotions, the shadows of the old man drifting across his face and then tell me he's not the right man for the job.

Long live the Moff!
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on 8 November 2010
Ok so here we have the fith series of britains favourite long running series.
And where to start? well firstly the packaging, it's very well made (Limited edition steelbook) It looks good, but does unfortunatley get scratched very easily, which is a shame, on the inside the six discs are placed with two on the inside front and two on a flap in the middle and two on the back, this can be seen in my product images.
The series is well written and good for a fan of it, but some of the episodes in the middle of the series are a bit unintersesting for me.
Matt Smith jumped onto our screens, with an air of excitment which he holds throughout the series. The other characters are well acted aswell.
The main reason to buy this and not the plain releases are the special features, however this dvd box set seems to be lacking in them, you get the 15 minute cut Dr. who confidentials, and two mini scenes that were added inbetween the stories, however not all episodes have comentary as was usual in the old box sets.
Overall, worth it if your a collector and like collectables, but otherwise if you just want the episodes buy the regualr box set or 'plain' releases.
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on 3 September 2012
Matt Smith's new Doctor had unsettled me to some extent. The paradigm shift was even more pronounced with Moffat replacing Davies, as the focus of the episodes became more interlinked in an abstract & complex way (nothing like the visual "BADWOLF" clues). I used to think that absolutely nobody can beat Rose (Sarah jane is beyond comparison and rather sui generis) as the Doctor's companion in these post-modern days, but I was pleasantly surprised by Amy Pond, and Rory, and the recurring presence of River Song, and ...... To cut the things short, this was a brilliant continuation of the rebooted Doctor Who, and Matt Smith was a revelation. Highly Recommended.
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on 29 June 2012
What I liked:

- The episodes are awesome. There is not one bad episode.
- The boxset isn't like the previous 4 series, instead it is in the style of a book where you flip through the DVD's.
- The quality of the DVD's (Standard definition) is fantastic.
- There are a lot of special features on each DVD.
- There is a 6th bonus DVD for the confidential cut downs which I really enjoyed.

What I didn't like:

- Instead of having 3 episodes on each disk, on some there are only 2. The boxset would be better having 5 disks instead of the spread out 6.
- Because of it only having 2 episodes on some disk it messes up some 2-part stories. For example on the weeping angle episodes you have to change the disk to watch the second part.
- No episode guide included.


If you are a Doctor who fan I would definitely recommend buying this box set as it is fantastic!
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on 26 October 2013
Firstly I must say that what I am about to write will be very one sided as we all have different tastes. With that out of the way I must say that this is the best series of the show I have ever seen.Matt Smith was perfectly cast for this role as the new Doctor and I will be sad to see him leave also Karen Gillen was a surprise that lass knows how to act. Each episode is brilliant 13 amazing episodes that leave you wanting more. The doctor must battle weeping angels,Darleks Vampire fish , a beast that he cant see a race that lived on earth before the humans. all this as well as learning the secrets of the Pandorica and what the phrase silence will fall means. This series made me fall in love with the show all over again after a disapinting year with only 4 episodes.the picture and sound qualituy are amazing and after this series the next two are also amazing.To conclude the new Doctor is my favourate of all this is the best pieece of telivision i have seen in years and a perfect jumping on point for new fans and returning old ones alike 10/10 for me
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on 16 August 2015
Matt Smith certainly had an unenviable task of following in the footsteps of the very popular David Tennant but in his very first season, at least, he more than matches up to him. Sadly, imho, his performances deteriorate in series 6 & 7, so much so, that I became incredibly frustrated by him & the general direction that showrunner Moffat steered the show but that's a gripe for another time. Series 5 is, without question, Smith's & Moffat's finest, though not quite as good as Series 4. As well as a new Doctor & showrunner, we also have a new companion...Amy Pond. Here are my views on each story:-

The Eleventh Hour - Matt Smith hits the ground running in one of the finest debuts of any Doctor. It's a cracking script from Moffat, full of wit & verve & Karen Gillan makes a great impression as the new companion. My one criticism is the lazy resolution, which basically amounts to the Doctor defeating the enemy by telling them who he is. Sadly, it's not the last time this particular device is used.
The Beast Below - Moffat's poorest script up this point, with many many plot holes. We also see the first of his many poorly written smug females, in the character of Queen Liz & her terrible mockney accent! Thankfully, both Smith & Gillan continue to impress but it's a let-down as a story nonetheless.
Victory Of The Daleks - The dodgem Daleks have been heavily criticised by fans but I'd rather criticise the story, which leaves a lot to be desired & amounts to nothing more than the Doctor telling the Daleks who they are! Also, it is Amy who saves the day for the second week running!.. What's this programme called again?..
The Time Of Angels/Flesh & Stone - A lot was at stake with this one, as we saw the return to the series of both River Song & the Weeping Angels but it turns out to be one of the highlights of the season! It was the first that Smith made & he is excellent! Contrast this with his performances in later seasons where there is much arm-waving & general silliness - if only he'd stayed like this!
Vampires Of Venice - A so-so story, with Toby Whithouse using many of the same plot strands as in his earlier script for the far superior School Reunion. It also marks the point in which Rory joins the TARDIS team.
Amy's Choice - Lovely little episode with Toby Jones making a fine villain but a worrying trend begins here, as Kenny - I mean Rory dies!
The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood - A decent first episode but it loses it's way in the second, what with the silly voice-over & the portentious dialogue. Contrast this with the two Pertwee stories it mines for inspiration & ask yourself 'which showed the greater ambition?' It also lacks the the more adult oriented storytelling of those Pertwee classics. Oh, Rory death count...2!
Vincent & The Doctor - Perhaps a little over-emotive towards the end, it's still a fine episode by Richard Curtis, with some good performances!
The Lodger - A more light-hearted, witty episode from the pen of Gareth Roberts which manages not to be smug, unusual for this writer. The resolution is basically love conquers all but I'll let it go on this occasion. Smith & Corden make a fine comedy double act, unfortunately this is how Smith's Doctor would be written from now on!
The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang - Great first episode but it then descends into timey-wimey madness, which is still quite entertaining but then the TARDIS blows up & Amy remembers the Doctor back into existence, before trying to snog him on her wedding!? This is the beginning of Moffat's idea of Dr. Who as a fairy-tale, which seems to mean that a script no longer requires a logical conclusion & no-one need ever die! If that's your cup of tea, you'll love the next two series!.. If not...dark times lie ahead.

All in all, it's a fine season & well worth having in your collection.
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on 15 February 2013
Am a great Doctor Who fan, have been since William Hartnell !!!! but David Tennant & Matt Smith are the bees knees!!!!
really enjoyed this series
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on 15 March 2012
I'm not one of those old Doctor Who fanatics that has watched every single episode ever made BUT I have watched every episode of the newer era of Doctor Who starting at Christopher Eccleston and working it's way up to Matt Smith. And this is easily one of, if not, the best since Season 2. The episodes are always entertaining and often gripping and there are new baddies to get your head around that are always fairly scary (ignoring the alien turkey that plagues Van Gogh obviously) The build up throughout the series is really good leading up to the EPIC finale that sets up the story nicely for the sixth series.
A lot of people criticised David Tennant for not being as good as Eccleston and now people do it for Matt Smith. In my opinion Matt Smith is brilliant, if anything he is the best Doctor for me especially when he goes into one of his Doctory rants. Brilliant acting and co-stars are also brilliant, Karen Gillan- easily the best (and most believable) companion yet and then you have Rory the Roman who dies and dies again. Equally brilliant and perfect to be Matt Smith's accomplices.
All I'm saying is, whether you prefer David Tennant or Christopher Eccleston or even the older Doctors, don't be put off the series for it not being any of those. Watch it for yourself and find out how good it really is, you'll hopefully find that it is definitely worth the money.
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VINE VOICEon 19 January 2011
There is a received wisdom that Russell T Davies' time on Doctor Who divided fans and that he delighted and appalled in equal measure. Well, all that seems a long time ago now, and as nothing compared to reactions to Steven Moffat's first series at the Who helm. Of course, Moffat has a long and accomplished track record, including the underrated Coupling and, in the last year, co-writing the superlative Sherlock  and the screenplay for the upcoming Tintin movie. And this is before we even start to consider his contributions to Series 1-4: The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances, The Girl In The Fireplace, Blink and Silence In The Library/Forest of the Dead. Unlike Davies' broad emotional sweeps, Moffat seemed more adept at dealing with tricksier elements of plotting and continuity, something which would play a large part in series five's arc. Reaction to the series was polarised between those who thought that he had trashed the entire franchise to those, like me, who thought he had breathed new life into it. It was not an unalloyed success, but there were many wonderful highlights to justify the rating.

Episode one introduces us to a new Doctor, a new TARDIS, a new companion and, shock horror, new titles! Matt Smith is surprising, looking (as some have noted) like a young man built out of parts of old ones, but sounding as beautifully eccentric and alien as The Doctor should be. Frankly, from the moment of, "Fry something, you're Scottish" and "Fish custard", I was sold. It was an episode that took lots of chances, including the wonderful time lapse sequence where The Doctor first meets Rory. And it was a nice touch to position Smith in the canon in his meeting with the Atraxi (who still sound uncomfortably like a brand of handcream to me).

In contrast, the promised thrills and spills promised in episodes 2 and 3 were a bit underwhelming. The Beast Below was a serviceable pot boiler to introduce us further to the new TARDIS occupants, though the much heralded Smilers turned out to be something of a red herring in the larger scheme of the plot. If episode 2 was underwhelming, then the Daleks' appearance in episode 3 was probably the biggest let down of the entire series, feeling as much of a misfire to me as series 3's clunking Daleks in Manhattan. The design of the new generation Daleks aroused huge amounts of anger and negativity. These were almost secondary matters compared to the story, which simply did not work. It was also disappointing that the solid Bill Patterson was not that well used in his role.

After this lull, however, things started to pick up again with the Weeping Angels double bill The Time of Angels and Flesh and Stone. Reintroducing the high point of series 3 was a risky gambit, but one which allowed both Smith, Gillan and the returning Alex Kingston some time to develop their characters and really let them fly. The second part in particular was stunningly good. In comparison, the following Vampires of Venice could have been a real disappointment, but happily wasn't, managing to maintain some of the two parter's momentum. What is noticeable by this stage is the crackling dialogue and the rapidly developing interplay between the Doctor, Amy and Rory: it's this kind of writing that the Moffat Who really manages to excel at.

Next came the Silurian two parter: The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood. In retrospect, these episodes, while serviceable, are not hugely spectacular. They left me feeling much the same as I had with series 4's Sontaran encounter: glad that they'd been revisited, but not wedged in the mind in the same way other episodes were. Such things are common in mid-series, where it's possible for the pace to drop off a little in anticipation for the run-in to the end.

In contrast, Vincent and The Doctor was simply stunning. It's an episode resonating with colour and real emotional power (though some accused it of being emotionally cheap and manipulative), and possibly my favourite full episode of the run. Tony Curran's van Gogh is by turns inspirational, irrational and convincingly tortured; it's a fine performance and does Richard Curtis's script justice.

I wasn't expecting much from The Lodger, having a difficult relationship with James Corden. Thankfully for me, the Corden of the The History Boys showed up, instead of the one from Horne and Corden. The main thread of the plot was almost incidental here; we got much more fun from Smith playing for laughs and the rather sweet relationship developing between Corden's Craig and Daisy Haggard's Sophie. It was a fine appetiser for the inevitable finale...

..which didn't disappoint. One of the big criticism's of RTD's time at the helm was that series finales tended to be lots of noise and plots holes colliding in a big messy heap at the end. In Moffat's hands things were very,very different. Things which seemed inconsequential or just wrong (like the jacket in episode 5's forest scene) suddenly took on huge amounts of extra meaning. And of course, there was Moffat's delight in playing with the narrative structure, the timeline and the expectations of the audience. None more so than episode 12's threat from all of the Doctor's adversaries being nothing more than a cypher for the wonders of what was to come in the final episode of the series. The Big Bang manages to make the end of all creation an intensely personal experience, centering everything around Amy and her life. It's a masterstroke, and one that is tightly and nimbly written. The "Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue" moment had the hairs on the back of my neck standing on end, jumping up and down with glee. The ends that needed tying were tied, while enough was left hanging to bring us into the 2011 run running

As mentioned before, the series did have its low points and longueurs, but these are easily outpaced by the highs, of which there are very many. Karen Gillan's Amy Pond has not met universal approval (I think she's fine), while Smith has a claim to have not only prevented himself becoming trapped in Tennant's long shadow, but to have surpassed his forerunner. Smith's Doctor is sparky, funny, occasionally and unexpectedly melancholy, lanky, otherworldy and, of course, obsessed with bow-ties. Series five represents good progress, and bodes well for 2001's split series six.
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