A very interesting show that allows itself to mirror society and still entertain.
This show is steeped in so much lore, it's a little confusing for us newcomers.
Doctor Who: The Complete Second Series is a 14 episode show about a time traveling Doctor (David Tennant) and the adventures he finds himself in. Whether Earth is being invaded on Christmas ("Christmas Invasion"), or there is a plot to kill Madame de Pompadour ("The Girl in the Fireplace"), or The Doctor is battling Satan ("The Satan Pit"), this show continues to work because it takes itself and the subject matter it is putting across seriously. Following in the long tradition of the popular show that started in 1963 and ran an astounding 26 seasons, what might seem impossible on other science fiction shows, is merely grist for the ever evolving creative mill.
What attracted me to this show on DVD was how it was able to hold up a mirror to society, even when dealing with situations (and beings) that are not of this world. The Doctor and his trusty traveling companion Rose (Billie Piper) always seem to find the right way out of any situation. However, their adventures never get old because they are so unlike anything viewers are used to seeing. When you are dealing with a show that has so much faith in it's viewership, it seems to make sense that it would take a good deal of creative liberties.
Ultimately, I could see fans of the series and newcomers getting quite excited about Doctor Who: The Complete Second Series.
Billie Piper and David Tennant's Video Diaries
Even though these are different and not cut together, I decided to review them this way because they are similar and they follow the main characters of this show. Billie Piper's Video Diaries break down specific scenes that are being shot, they explain the use of green screens, and, among other things, they juxtapose what was captured for the video diaries vs. what the final product ultimately was. This played as more of a traditional behind the scenes featurette, only Piper was a much bigger part of it. David Tennant's Video Diaries are bit more personal and they begin right as he's starting rehearsals for this role. He talks about playing this legendary character, what he's hoping to do with the part, and he takes us inside what an actor feels when he comes on to a new show. Overall, I found these pretty entertaining, even though at times I felt a bit lost among this show's mythology.
Deleted Scenes and Outtakes
Commentary and In-Vision Commentary Tracks
There are commentary tracks from the following episodes in this 6 disc set: "New Earth," "Tooth and Claw," "School Reunion," Rise of the Cybermen," "The Idiot's Lantern," "The Satan Pit," "Love and Monsters," "Fear Her" and "Army of Ghosts." These commentary tracks feature some different people on each one, as well as some holdovers who appear on multiple tracks. I listened to some of the commentaries on a few of the discs, and the people hosting them discussed where certain episodes were shot, how they made certain terrestrial beings seem real, and how, in order to pull of a show like this, you need very good scripts.
Also on these discs are "In-Vision" commentaries which show us the people who are doing the talking. I have never really understood what is supposed to be so great about these things, but I guess if you are really a huge fan of the show you'd probably get a kick out of it. Or, maybe you just like watching other people talk. A lot of the same ground that was discussed in the regular commentary tracks is also gone over here, and there are "In-Vision" commentary tracks for the following episodes: "The Christmas Invasion," "The Girl in the Fireplace," "The Age of Steel," "The Impossible Planet" and "Doomsday."
13 X Cutdowns
On the 6th disc of this set they packed it with 13 episodes that look at different aspects of the making of this show. They examine aspects of the production, archived information that pertains to the new stories, and they even offer up clues to mysteries surround such places as Torchwood. If you know absolutely nothing about this show (which I didn't), you might want to start off taking a look at this disc (which I didn't before I began watching the show). All in all, this release from BBC Video is the kind of fan friendly set that should really make fans of this series excited about it's release.
Aspect Ratio - 16:9 Enhanced. This show looked good, but there is something about the washed out, almost sunny look that a lot of BBC shows have that really gets to me. I can't fully explain why this is but I think it's because it makes these shows look more like videos than they are. My only other bone of contention is that the picture on these discs is so clear, the effects don't look that great. I can't really say why that is they just seem superimposed on the images and not really a part of them. Other than that, everything about these shows works, I just found a few technical flaws.
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround. Subtitled in English for the hard of hearing. Considering the amount of effects and mayhem that seems to be going on in all these shows, I was impressed that A) the audio was so evenly leveled, B) I could keep up with everything that was going on and C) the sound effects seemed to go out their way to recall older science fiction shows. These shows move almost frenetically (each episode of Doctor Who has a lot of ground to cover and not a lot of time to do it in), and considering that I am American, I also sometimes have a bit of a hard time with the accents. All in all the audio for this set is pretty darn good.
The Doctor and Rose stand back to back on this clear plastic covering that shows space and the flying Police Call Box behind them. The back portion of this clear plastic covering lists out all the episodes on the discs, the Special Features, and also offers up system specs. All of the discs pull out in one piece of artwork that has images from the show laid all around it. The elaborateness of the images is really eye-catching. Helping people navigate around the discs is a very thick booklet that lists the episodes, provides a description, and lets viewers know where all the Bonus Features are on each disc. Aside from feeling a bit bulky, this release is quite well contained.
In my opinion the most interesting thing about The Doctor is how he is able to become someone else when he is close to death. I have been hearing about this show ever since I was a young boy in the 1980s. I never knew what it was about, I just knew that the only person I knew who liked it was a real, true blue fan. I think he claimed to have all the episodes on videotape, and considering how long this show ran for that is some feat to be sure. What also makes The Doctor so interesting is his ability to come into various situations, and because he has been through so much in his life he is almost unfazed by who (or what) he is going up against.
At first I was a little leery viewing this show, simply because I was coming into it without any recognition of what it was. I had no idea who the characters were, what the doctors did or anything else of that nature. However, once I put in the first DVD, everything about Doctor Who: The Complete Second Series began to crystallize. I utilized the "Series 2 Episode Guide" and some sites on the internet, and in no time at all I felt I was as up to date as was necessary to become involved in the show.
Doctor Who was released .