on 14 January 2015
The series is great. The quality of the product produced by the BBC, however, is less than brilliant. Series 7 suffers with the same issues that Series 6 does: in some episodes, particularly with dark scenes the very distracting scan-lines appear, rending the video quite unwatchable IMO.
Unlike Series 6, the BBC are flatly refusing to replace these discs, despite being perfectly aware of the fault. As with the Series 6 discs, their claim is that; it's not them, it's you. You and your rubbish equipment that you should never have bought!
They tell me that the TV and/or blu ray player is to blame. Having tried this with several TVs and BluRay players I can assure the BBC that it is not my TV and Blu Ray player - it is their incredibly shoddy product that is the issue.
on 19 November 2013
Occasionally fantastic, often mediocre and frequently awful: those are my memories of Season 7. Episodes like The Angels Take Manhattan, The Snowmen and The Crimson Terror are a sheer delight but much of the rest is, at best, forgettable and too often un-watchable.
Things start off in a depressing vein with the highly disappointing Asylum of the Daleks, a story that promised "Every Dalek Ever" and gave us Daleks acting as set dressing for scene after scene of people talking in rooms and a "threat" that didn't manage to bump of a single solitary person in the entire episode. Threat-free and, as a result, tension free. Watchable yes. Fun? Occasionally. But far from "The Moff"s best work.
Better stuff from Dinosaurs on a Spaceship (good fun) followed by the dull and terribly predictable wild west-a-like A Town called Mercy. Chris Chibnal then returns to (depressing) form with the deeply pedestrian Power of Three - thirty minutes of discussion, repeated meemes and redundant monsters followed by 10 minutes of frantic plot and the waste of, arguably, the greatest character actor of the 20th century.
By this point I was thoroughly fed up. How nice it was to see a diamond in the rough; Angels Take Manhattan is absolutely stonking. Sure, the ending makes no sense (think about it) but it's so nicely written and played that all is (almost) forgiven.
And it gets better: The Snowmen is easily the best Christmas Special of the post 2005 run. Brilliant stuff from beginning to end.
This is followed by season 7.2 opener The Bells of St John which is fun and functional, with a great baddie. But then it all goes downhill. Again. Fast.
Rings, bar it's absolutely lovely realisation of an alien culture, is so dull that I actually changed channel while watching it. Cold War had a great tension to it but was, essentially, an un-inspiring "base under siege" story by-numbers. Hide was a schizophrenic mash up of ideas that didn't know what it wanted to be - so failed at everything it tried (it didn't try hard enough to be scary, there wasn't enough time for a decent love story, the sci-fi element felt out-of-place). Journey to the Centre of the Tardis was a mess of half-written characters that lacked anything more than the gimmick on which it hung.
Crimson Terror, on the other hand, was a very pleasant surprise! Finally, Mark Gatiss got his mojo back and delivered a corking, rollicking and occasionally hilarious story. The easy stand-out story of 7.2.
But then,... Nightmare in Silver. Neil Gaiman is better than this. Much, much better. An absolute stinker - terrible pacing, cheap scares, half-baked ideas and, just to top it off, god-awful directing. The great Warwick Davis is the only watchable thing in it. Dire.
The Name of the Doctor was another jewel from the Moff, if a little tarnished by an over-familiarity with his style and substance. Still, it was fun and contained lovely elements of classic Doctors past.
There were a number of failures in this season but they can all be traced back to 2 things. Number one was a decision to "format" the show in a "movie of the week" way (eliminating 2 parters and introducing gimmicks as the propelling force of the storytelling, over and above character and plot). Second was the writing, most of which felt like it was 2 or 3 drafts from completion. Did they even have a script editor?
I feel that there is some truth to the idea that there were troubles in the production office. There simply didn't seem to be much care lavished on the season: no oversight. It's Doctor Who treading water.
When it was good, it was great. But the rest of the time, it felt like the series had lost its way.
on 15 August 2013
Very simple review really.... the title says it all cos Series 7 delivered the goods as far as I am concerned. The series was very satisfying mix of humour, thrills, action, along with some stunning and incredibly powerful emotional scenes - the Ponds departure was a particular heart breaker. Even the least great story ( The Power of 3 ) had it's moments!
Matt was in incredible form & it will be a real sadness when he goes cos I feel he has lots more to give to the role....Loved the Mysterious Girl arc...and of course - the mysterious John Hurt character!! Cant wait to see how all this plays out in the 50th.
Doctor Who is in the rudest of health at the age of 50 & is in the very safe hands of the masterful Moffat!
on 1 November 2013
I am a really big fan of Series 7, and despite what anyone has negatively said about the split season, the poor storytelling and development of Clara, I would urge them to watch this boxset and appreciate in a new way. Seeing these episodes in a continuous run, as I have twice since receiving the boxset five days ago, these problems seem like minor quibbles and add a certain credibility to the episodes and their characters/themes not present in the original weeklly viewings.
Disc 1 contains episodes 'The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe' which still remains the weakest Christmas Special since the shows return. Its not as bad upon repeat viewings, but its incredibly twee and uneventful. However this is followed up by the spectacular 'Asylum Of The Daleks' which includes the humble beginnings of the Clara/Oswin mystery and a positive spin on making the Daleks scary again. 'Dinosaurs On A Spaceship' is a bold and original style of Doctor Who episode, fitting in with the themes of episodic blockbusters they were attempting this year. Its a great episode, very undervalued with some beautiful themes, sharp dialogue and ideas that make it simialr to 'The Beast Below' - another underrated modern Who ep.
Disc 2 contains 'A Town Called Mercy' which despite high production values and a few morally thoughtful themes is not really the most original idea for Who. However, 'The Power Of Three' is a fantastic episode with the Cubes and the Shalka (ideas that I hope get expanded upon in a future episode) the introduction of the Brigadiers daughter Kate Lethbridge-Stewart and a different episodic structure than what Who is used to. But 'The Angels Take Manhattan' is a fantastic episode: noir in tone and a fittingly dark goodbye to the Ponds, which despite a few lapses in logic is stunning in its sentimentality
Disc 3 contains 'The Snowmen' which is a fantastic episode and ironically the best seasonal special, considering the poor effort from the previous year, and is stunningly well made and a fitting continuation of the Clara character. A great episode to re-watch, not something that can always be said of a seasonal special. 'The Bells Of Saint John' is an intriguing story, very modern, beautiful looking and with a few twists (and a start turn from Celia Imrie as baddie Miss Kizlet. The Rings Of Akhaten is the weakest episode here, but it does improve with repeat viewings which showcase its ambition and scale and both Smith and Coleman exercise their emotions in a moving final act.
Disc 4 has 'Cold War' a brillianty atmospheric piece showcasing the return of the Ice Warriors and 'Hide,' a gothic inspired, atmospheric and beautifully tonal episode with some lovely rich themes on life and love. The final episode on the disc is 'Journey To The Centre of the TARDIS' which boasts some inventive visuals, impressive storytelling and an engaging look into Who's history in this anniversary year. Very cool
Disc 5 has the final episodes with the comic and camp 'The Crimson Horror' which is a fantastic Mark Gatiss-penned script, full of wit, comedy and an engaging performance from all involved, particularly Rachael Stirlings performance. The slightly sub-par 'Nightmare In Silver' shows a brave attempt at a Cyberman reboot, but fails somewhat, and is only really saved by Smiths performance as both himself and the Cyber-Doctor. However this is more than made up for in series finale 'The Name Of The Doctor' with the reappearance (in flasback) of all previous incarnations of the Doctor, the resolution of the Clara mystery, the return of the Great Intelligence and the sinister Whispermen and the trip to Trenzalore, which was first mentioned over a year ago in the series 6 finale. All in all a very satisfying purchase.
The DVDs all have beautiful artwork on them,(in particular Amy's image on Disc 2) and a vast array of features including specially filmed shorts (Rain Gods, Inforarium, Clara & The TARDIS), behind the scenes and interviews (the kind of thing that would have normally made up the bulk of previous Doctor Who Confidentials) and interesting prequels. There is lots to be had here, and rewatching it I see how much of it is good, with a few justifiable modern classics that make it a well worth it purchase
on 22 February 2014
Not bad, just mostly "meh" I can't say I will rush back to view season 7 very often. The opening Dalek story is fun, but the series soon flattens out into stories that never meet their potential on paper. I know there are big fans of this era and season - I'm not one of them, and i feel the best of the new Doctors is wasted in many of these episodes reduced to a shouty arm waving loon which spoiled my enjoyment. Such a good actor in search of better scripts.
Picture and sound are demonstration quality. Extras are plentiful and range from interesting to filler.
on 28 March 2016
"The Angels Take Manhattan" is possibly one of the most tear-jerking episodes of the whole Nu-Who to date - brilliant stuff. That episode alone makes this series worth buying and watching!! ;)
on 22 September 2013
I'm a strong defender of series 7. You see, while series' 5 and 6 are both rightly regarded as masterful, complex and seemingly part of a greater story, Stephen Moffat's head scratcher starts here, slap bang in the middle of series 7 in a little Christmas episode called The Snowmen (hypnotic christmas fairytale). If it weren't for the Great Intelligence wanting to take revenge for the Doctor's interfering in that episode (as well as others, including two Troughton stories), they wouldn't have forced him to his grave in The Name of The Doctor (episode 13 - sombre, compelling, tantalising) where, it's prophesied "Silence will fall when the question is asked" (the Doctors real name, opening his grave), thus causing the Silence to want to prematurely kill him in defence of their movement in series 6, nor steer the TARDIS to explode, causing the cracks in time in series 5. Phew. And fans complain that there was a lack of story arc.
As always Moffat writes the highlight episodes:
The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe (a Christmas special maybe too 'sap' heavy)
Asylum of the Daleks (the best series opener to date, epic & stunningly directed by Nick Hurran)
The Angels Take Manhattan (deeply heartbreaking)
The Snowmen (see above)
The Bells of Saint John (Murray Gold brings the goods for this fast, overlooked actioner)
The Name of the Doctor (see above)
However, there are some other serious highlights. The Rings of Akhaten was initially loathed by all apart from Dan Martin at The Guardian. But people have slowly and secretly started to understand it. Initial complaints were that there were too many songs, the aliens was underused and the whole thing stank of cheese. However, the songs have become fan favourites - my iTunes sends me a pop-up saying "really? Again?" every time I play The Long Song. The aliens are slightly underused, that still holds, but now you forgive that because the meat of the story isn't in the cool aliens, but the theme - civilisations living in holy fear of a warrior (the Doctor makes the comparison himself), and powering on to THAT speech at the end. The stink of cheese has now matured into a love of the good points of the Peter Davison/Colin Baker era, which the episode seems gleefully reminiscent of (a space glider ride between planets, chasing a girl who is being dragged across space is beautifully 80s).
Hide is another episode to admire. My housemate, who first got introduced to Doctor Who during Moffat's series 5 injection of intelligence, didn't have much to say for Hide, where I couldn't stop raving about the episodes horror content, the 70s setting, the 'twisted man', the beautifully conceived and designed 'pocket universe', the disappearance of the house in the woods leaving the Doctor stranded, the guest casting. It's a 5-star beauty.
Talking of star-ratings, Mark Gatiss brings us not one but two 3-star episodes, continuing his run of 'meh'. The Ice Warriors were brought back perfectly, with such a high concept it would take a submarine to bring it down. Oh wait.
The other episodes roughly average 4 stars each.
The stand alone storylines of series 7 were detrimental to its enjoyment when partnered with scheduled viewing. Now with blu-ray and DVD, the series can be enjoyed as it was meant to be. The Ponds' near divorce leading to their renewed commitment and Amy's eventual ultimate sacrifice. The heart-rending goodbye to the Ponds followed by the perfect remedy of hope in The Snowmen. The mystery of Clara unfolding and her surrendering of the leaf, a symbol of all the potential had her mother not died, to a soul-eating god. The opening of The Name of The Doctor. Trust me, Doctor Who has never felt and looked better.
on 9 November 2013
It was a great season, I absolutely loved it and watched the episodes millions of times. Matt Smith was at his best, especially in 7b, and the episodes were interesting and fantastic. I'm so glad I've bought it. And the special features!!
on 14 August 2015
Absolutely brilliant! 5 discs containing every single episode of series 7, I only wish it contained the Christmas special of 2013, 'The time of the Doctor'. Although, it does contain Christmas specials of 2011 and 2012, so that's really good.
on 1 September 2014
The last outing of Matt Smith as the Doctor and what a brilliant series. All I can really say is that if you love Dr Who you'll love it and if you don't you won't be buying it anyway. My only gripe. Adding the Christmas special, bit of a cheek when it was released singularly before the box set, did it with Series 6 too. All in all brilliant.