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Doctor Who: Season Six, Part One (Blu-ray Review)

16 Jul, 2011 By: John Latchem

Street 7/19/11
BBC Video
$24.98 two-DVD set, $29.98 two-disc Blu-ray
Not rated.
Stars Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill, Alex Kingston, Mark Sheppard.

One of the signature traits of “Doctor Who” through its 48 years (other than its fantastical time travel plots) has been trying to create new memorable creatures. Season six introduces the Silence, creepy aliens who people forget about when they aren’t being looked at directly. The Silence are supposedly responsible for the 1960s moon missions (tell that to Michael Bay and the Transformers), although nobody remembers them.

The Silence play a huge role in the story arc of the first half of season six, which begins with the Doctor (Matt Smith) getting killed by someone in an astronaut suit; sets off to solve that mystery with a younger version of the Doctor and companions Amy (Karen Gillan), Rory (Arthur Darvill) and River Song (Alex Kingston); and ends with a plot revelation that most attentive viewers (and a few inattentive ones) will have seen coming a mile away, but a satisfying one nonetheless, since the affection for these characters is so high.

Another highlight is the special episode “The Doctor’s Wife,” by acclaimed graphic novel writer Neil Gaiman, which explores the relationship the Doctor has with his ship, the TARDIS.

But the only extras on the DVD and Blu-ray containing these seven episodes are two “Monster Files” — short featurettes about two of the season’s main baddies: the Silence and the Gangers (short for doppelgangers — artificial flesh that can mimic the people who created it and absorb their memories).

Not included are any of the behind-the-scenes featurettes that aired with the episodes on BBC America, including the “Doctor Who in America” special about shooting the show in the United States for the first time. Such omissions make this one of the lightest “Doctor Who” discs in terms of extras to come along in a while.

Fortunately, the discs do away with the ridiculous prologue explaining the premise of the show that was attached to the episodes when they aired in America.

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