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Doctor Who: The Complete Second Series (DVD Review)

31 Dec, 2006 By: John Latchem

Street 1/16/07
BBC Video
$99.98 six-DVD set
Not rated.
Stars David Tennant, Billie Piper.

The fine line between sci-fi and fantasy is the difference between technology and magic. American audiences have been spoiled by “Star Trek” into expecting a modicum of logic and scientific extrapolation with their sci-fi. As far as the British are concerned, the technology may as well be magic, so long as it doesn't get in the way of the heart of the story, or the effectiveness of the character interactions.

It's the latter that is the strength of “Doctor Who.” As absurd as the plots may be, the emotional subtext is real, especially considering The Doctor “died” at the end of the previous season, and his time-traveling companion, Rose, has to adjust to the inevitable changes spawned by his regeneration.

Audiences have to adjust as well, but David Tennant makes it easy. He injects a sense of fun and wonder into his Doctor, the tenth incarnation of the character since its debut in 1963, whereas the ninth Doctor, Christopher Eccleston, was more serious and driven by duty.

Tennant inhabits the role with greater comfort. The stories are still quirky (think “X-Files” meets “Quantum Leap”), and it's best not to dwell on the logic (or illogic) behind them, but Tennant sells them well.

One notable episode this time around is “School Reunion,” in which the Doctor re-encounters Sarah Jane Smith and K9, companions from the 1970s run of the show. The episode also features a villainous turn by Anthony Stewart Head, better known in America as Giles from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

Also of note is the season finale, “Doomsday,” featuring a battle between notable “Doctor Who” villains The Cybermen and The Daleks.

The DVD also has a season-two prequel that wasn't shown on Sci Fi Channel.

Like the previous season, the DVD set is loaded with extras, thoroughly dissecting each episode enough to appease any fan. All the episodes have commentary, which is always a plus. Unfortunately, the commentary can only be accessed through the set-up menu, which is really annoying.

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