Doctor Who: The Complete Specials Blu-ray Review

Over the years Doctor Who has gone through 10 different lead actors, this current season holds the 11th actor, and the series is likely to go through this change over the course of time. Does this affect the show/series? No, it does not affect the series. The fact that these changes go without any sort of big announcement or without making much deal, the series moves on. It’s really one of a kind aspect of the show, that you never truly know who will portray Doctor Who next, but what’s really more surprising is that the show itself remains strong. Keep in mind this is one of the shows that have remained on air for over a decade. Pretty impressive considering many other shows would have gone under if their main character were continuously being replaced.

The series is comprised of the last few shows of the current Doctor Who, which are “Planet of the Dead,” “The Waters of Mars,” “The End of Time Part One” and “The End of Time Part Two.” There is also a standalone episode “The Next Doctor” and I must say it feels a bit out of place. Doctor Who is a the last Time Lord and he travels through time in his shuttle, which come to think of its appearance is that of an English police box. Anyway, the Doctor encounters various figures and variety of different enemies along the way. Also, faces some wacky situations as he travels through time.

Sure my exposure to Doctor Who has been slim to none prior to watching this set of specials. However, I can see why this is one of the oldest sci-fi shows on TV. The well played out stories, imaginative themes and plots are sufficient to keep sci-fi lovers attention. The show really goes on and keeps the idea of travelling through time and exploring what those in the past did very fresh. I must add that the episode “The Waters of Mars” was very intriguing, since the dawn of man we’ve been fascinated by space and what it holds out there. The big red rock, as we call Mars, is poised to be the next goal for human kind and the Doctor sure enough visits Mars in 2059 as humans first begin colonizing. The show explores some of the ideas that are still fresh in the minds of many, it’s creative and entertaining. David Tennant’s time as Doctor Who may be over, but the show will go on. I can’t wait for what’s next.

Doctor Who: The Complete Specials arrives on Blu-ray with a 1080p VC-1 encode framed at 1.78:1. The transfer for this release fluctuates; it does improve as the series moves on, but overall there is some inconsistency from episode to episode. I suppose is much easier to begin with those episodes that look best and of the episode that look best are those that were captured in high definition, “The End of Time, Part 1” and “The End of Time, Part 2.” These two episodes have some artifacts on screen, but nothing too distracting. The two episodes on discs two and three, “The Planet of the Dead” and “The Waters of Mars”, have quite a bit or artifacts on screen and the detail on the image appear soft at times. The colors are vibrant and skin tones appear natural. Lastly, “The Next Doctor” this special suffers the most, why? Because it wasn’t originally in high definition and once you start the show you can start seeing some of the issues that it has. If you take a closer look, you will probably see some haloing around the edge which it have been inherent of the up-scaling done on this particular episode.

Doctor Who: The Complete Specials arrives on Blu-ray with a 5.1 DTS-HD lossless audio track. The track is fitting for the series and like the video it also gets better as the episodes move on. The dialogue is clean and clear, it never suffers with the surrounding music score. The score of the film is subtlety reproduced throughout all the speakers. Although the series has a good amount of bangs the audio is a bit of a disappointment, as it doesn’t really reproduce the explosions, there is much distortion during these sequences. All in all the audio is not bad, but it does lack that last punch.

Doctor Who: The Complete Specials arrive on Blu-ray with over 7 hours. Now the complaint many times over releases is the lack of extras to a particular show or movie, this time BBC has included an extensive array of extras. Each episode contains a “Confidential” bonus feature detailing the episode you just watched. Check out below for a breakout of these extras.

Audio Commentary – Features David Tennant, Catherine Tate and Euros Lyn and they talk about “The End of Time, Part One.” It’s very straight forward and it only deals with the aforementioned episode.

Audio Commentary – Features David Tennant, John Simm and Euros Lyn and they talk about “The End of time, Part Two.” Again it’s very straight forward and it only deals with the aforementioned episode.

The Next Doctor Confidential – A behind the scenes look, quick interviews, and recap for the episode.

Doctor Who at the Proms – Concert event celebrated at The Royal Albert Hall in 2008. I must say it’s rather entertaining, the entire feature is about an hour long.

Planet of the Dead Confidential – A behind the scenes look, quick interviews, and recap for the episode.

The Waters of Mars Confidential – A behind the scenes look, quick interviews, and recap for the episode.

The End of Time, Part One Confidential – A behind the scenes look, quick interviews, and recap for the show.

David Tennant Video Diary: The Final Days – This is another extra featuring David’s preparations to wrap his role as the doctor. Plus, there’s some backstage footage and personal anecdotes from David.

Doctor Who BBC Christmas Idents – This is just a look at some Christmas commercials.

The End of Time, Part Two Confidential – A behind the scenes look, quick interviews, and recap for the episode.

Doctor Who at Comic-Con – A look at the reception at Comic Con in San Diego last year (2009) and their Guinness Book of World Record Award.

Deleted Scenes with Introduction from Russell T. Davies

Doctor Who: The Complete Specials is an entertaining set of specials bidding the farewell of the current Doctor, David Tennant. The video and audio go from bad to good, they do have their problems, but ultimately it was a good release. This was my first exposure to Doctor Who and I must say I was greatly surprised. The imaginative stories and plots were really entertaining; however, the show probably won’t appeal to everyone so I recommend a rent first.