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Doctor Who: The Complete Fifth Series (Blu-ray Review)

5 Nov, 2010 By: John Latchem

Street 11/9/10
BBC Video
$79.98 six-DVD set, $89.98 Blu-ray
Not rated.
Stars Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Alex Kingston.

What’s old is new again. And so continues the strange tale of The Doctor, whose bizarre adventures defy description to those who haven’t been riding along. But “Doctor Who” is also an easy show to pick up if you’re just willing to go along with it.

Matt Smith plays the 11th incarnation of The Doctor, a 900-year-old time traveler who first appeared on British televisions in 1963. The gag of late seems to be that The Doctor may be getting younger in his old age. Smith, at 28, is the youngest actor yet to portray the character.

The show’s producers have played up this notion in the fifth season with a plotline that echoes Peter Pan. Filling the role of The Doctor’s Wendy is Amy Pond (Karen Gillan), who seems to be followed by a strange crack in time.

Smith had some huge shoes to fill in taking over the role from David Tennant, whose raw enthusiasm and commanding presence made him one of the most popular Doctors in the history of the franchise. Smith’s Doctor is more laid back, still a bit wild eyed but relishing the opportunity to solve a problem. In that, Smith has succeeded greatly in making the part his own and has given this latest season the air of a whole new show despite numerous story arcs that play on the franchise’s longevity. “Doctor Who” always has displayed an enormous sense of its own history without getting bogged down in the details.

If you’re looking to sample the show without hooking on to the serialized storytelling, check out “Vincent and the Doctor,” in which The Doctor meets Vincent Van Gogh. Not only does this time-bending storyline focus on a notable historical figure, but it deals with the weighty subject of depression in a sensitive way, was written by Richard Curtis (Four Weddings and a Funeral) and features a cameo by veteran actor Bill Nighy.

Extras include behind-the-scenes featurettes for each episode as well as picture-in-picture commentaries on select episodes.

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