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  1. #1
    RGA
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    Doctor Who (2005): The Complete First Series (Boxed Set)

    Well this won't appeal to too many here but what the hell. Note this is not a review because I don’t own a surround system but more of an advert/my take on the new Doctor Who series.

    The series primary audience is 10-14 year olds (yeah well I’m a big kid).

    The LONGEST running Science fiction show in history starting back in 1962 the Doctor, from a planet called Galifrey, travels through time and space saving the universe from evil-doers. His space ship is called the Tardis (Time And Relative Dimensions In Space) which when landing on planets would morph to camouflage itself so that it would blend in with the environment.

    However, due to budget constraints the BBC decided that the camouflage device would be broken beyond repair and the time traveling device would be locked into what is a 1950's Emergency Telephone Police Box. The inside of the spacecraft is vast (larger on the inside than the small outside).

    Before going on it may be interesting for some sci-fi nuts out there to know that a great deal of the content in shows like Star Trek as well as the film the MATRIX have copied large chunks of information from various Dr. Who episodes over the years. The term Resistence is Futile for example was in one of the Tom Baker DR. Who shows from the late 1970's where a mania called the master went inside a matrix to control a civilization through their minds. And that was just one show.

    The show was brought back to life after a 15 year hiatus and the new series has revamped special effects. Indeed the second episode has twice as many special effects shots than the film Gladiator which is impressive for a show that has always had a history of low grade visuals with clunky set pieces. The look and the effects are solid enough to compete with the likes of Babylon 5 and Star Trek but with the British flair for costume design.

    The Doctor who is over 900 years old at this point and in his 9th regeneration meets a spunky young 19 year old girl, brilliantly played by pop singer turned actress Billy Piper, who will be his traveling companion to thwart the evils that are out to harm planet earth. For those not up on Doctor Who lore, regeneration occurs when significant damage is done to the Doctor such that if he were a normal human he would die. Indeed, the regeneration saves the essence of the Doctor but forces him to take another form. (This was a great way for the BBC to have a new actor play the part of the Doctor to keep the immensely popular show going when the lead actor decided to leave. The Doctor is said to have 12 regenerations in him before he is out of lives. Of course this is science fiction and there would naturally be a way around that if the show became immensely popular again. After the success of this first season in Britain – the BBC has announced that two more seasons have been signed off on.

    From the press issue

    “The venerable science fiction program Doctor Who returned to British televisions in 2005 after a 15-year absence and delighted the majority of fans and critics with its adherence to the adventure and charm of the original series while making admissions for a new generation of viewers (hipper editing and score, CGI effects). Thirteen episodes were generated, all starring Christopher Eccleston as the ninth Doctor and pop-singer-turned-actress Billie Piper as his companion Rose; acclaimed writer/producer Russell T. Davies (Touching Evil, ***** as Folk) oversaw the show as chief writer and executive producer. The new series proved so popular that the BBC agreed to revive the program for second and third seasons--though without Eccleston, who has since been replaced by David Tennant. This six-disc set comes with all 13 episodes plus the battery of supplemental features now customary to all Doctor Who DVD releases.
    Eccleston is very engaging in the title role, bringing a manic curiosity tempered by occasional bouts of gravity (which befit a personality with a long and dramatic a lifespan as the Doctor's) that hew closely to the (arguably) most popular Doctor, Tom Baker. Piper is equally adept as department store clerk Rose--she's afforded more of a back story than most of the Doctor's sidekicks have received in the past, and she more than handles her own alongside Eccleston. Highlights among the 13 episodes include the season opener, "Rose" (which sees the return of an old foe, the Autons, and their controlling force, the Nestene Consciousness); the revamped Daleks in "Dalek" and the two-parter "Bad Wolf" and "The Parting of the Ways"; a trip to Victorian England to aid Charles Dickens in "The Unquiet Dead," and of course, the arrival of the tenth Doctor at the conclusion of the action-packed "Parting of the Ways." The episodes strike the right blend of quirk, excitement, and imagination, thanks largely to the engaging performances and the guidance of Davies, whose admiration for the show and its history is evident throughout.
    Supplemental features--and there are many--including commentary on all 13 episodes by members of the cast and crew, including Piper and Davies; numerous making-of featurettes, including a profile of Davies; a video diary by Piper; an interview with Eccleston, and best of all, a glimpse at the 60-minute Christmas special, "The Christmas Invasion," which picks up where the series concludes. Who fans won't be disappointed. --Paul Gaita”


    PS - I went to Amazon.com and they do not seem to have a price for this yet. Strange. Amazon.ca the Canadian outfit has the boxed set available and Canada is the same region so I don;t know why there is a delay. I purchased the series for $84.00Cad. http://www.amazon.ca/exec/obidos/ASI...372799-5492336
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    Last edited by RGA; 02-23-2006 at 06:50 PM.

  2. #2
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Good rundown on that DVD set! I'm tempted to order it from a Canadian vendor because the U.S. release date has been pushed back to July. (No issue with regional playback restrictions on the DVDs because Canada and the U.S. are both part of Region 1) But, the reason for the delay is because Sci-Fi Channel picked up the Doctor Who first series (FINALLY!) and will insert it into Battlestar Galactica's time slot on the Sci-Fi Friday night lineup after that series' season finale airs in March.

    The DVD set in the U.S. was originally set for the same release date as Canada, but Sci-Fi Channel picked up Doctor Who in January. Sci-Fi Channel is the logical place for Doctor Who to air, and IMO this deal should have been done a long time ago. But, considering that the series will inherit the highly rated Battlestar Galactica timeslot, this is about as good a chance as the series will likely have to find an audience in the U.S. (the original rumor was that Doctor Who would air on SpikeTV, which would have planted the Doctor between airings of pro wrestling, reality TV, and Blind Date repeats)
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  3. #3
    RGA
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    I am curious to see if it flies in the US. I believe it did well for the CBC but I don;t know the numbers. I can say I far preferred it the second time around.

    I think it took me quite a while to get Tom Baker out of my head and it's really hard to compare. In an interview Eccleston said he knew he would be in for some criticism but hoped that he would catch on with younger viewers as he would be their first Doctor.

    Though he grew on me over the series such that in a way it's sad to see him go. Billy Piper though IMO is terrific and she is not relegated to the usual companion who is there to get into trouble to be saved. It's updated from the male dominated series so she actually takes center stage in a number of episodes.

    Also try and watch all of them in order. The entire season is linked together in a culmination.

    I love satire like our obsession with consumerism as presented in the original Dawn of the Dead and Dr. Who takes shots at:
    The president and WMD
    The way we live our lives and how it could be so much more
    television game shows, television news and our brain deadery of being mindless viewers

    And then you get the time travels.

    My Favorite episode is Father's Day, least favorite would be the first episode "Rose" and the two parter "Aliens of London/World War Three." The latter more geared to kids.

    It's a 5 disc set not 6 as stated earlier. In other news Genesis of the Daleks is coming - d'ohh I'll be in Korea. Oh well.

  4. #4
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Great non-review RGA. Thanks for the insight to this show.

    Thanks to Wooch also. My DVR will pick it up when BSG breaks for summer then.
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  5. #5
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    I am curious to see if it flies in the US. I believe it did well for the CBC but I don;t know the numbers. I can say I far preferred it the second time around.

    I think it took me quite a while to get Tom Baker out of my head and it's really hard to compare. In an interview Eccleston said he knew he would be in for some criticism but hoped that he would catch on with younger viewers as he would be their first Doctor.

    Though he grew on me over the series such that in a way it's sad to see him go. Billy Piper though IMO is terrific and she is not relegated to the usual companion who is there to get into trouble to be saved. It's updated from the male dominated series so she actually takes center stage in a number of episodes.

    Also try and watch all of them in order. The entire season is linked together in a culmination.

    I love satire like our obsession with consumerism as presented in the original Dawn of the Dead and Dr. Who takes shots at:
    The president and WMD
    The way we live our lives and how it could be so much more
    television game shows, television news and our brain deadery of being mindless viewers

    And then you get the time travels.

    My Favorite episode is Father's Day, least favorite would be the first episode "Rose" and the two parter "Aliens of London/World War Three." The latter more geared to kids.

    It's a 5 disc set not 6 as stated earlier. In other news Genesis of the Daleks is coming - d'ohh I'll be in Korea. Oh well.
    If Doctor Who makes a go of it this time around in the States, Sci-Fi Channel is by far the best broadcast vehicle for the series. Their revamped Friday night lineup with Battlestar Galactica and Stargate has generated consistently high ratings for the past couple of years, and drew a far bigger audience than UPN's Enterprise despite Sci-Fi Channel's smaller audience reach.

    If you still haven't seen Genesis of the Daleks, you could always go with VHS (well, provided that you still own a VCR), until you're back in Region 1 and can get the DVD. I read that BBC Home Video is clearing out its entire VHS inventory, so you might be able to find that episode, along with several others, for very cheap.
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  6. #6
    RGA
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    VCR - no VCR lol.

    On a side note I purchased The Green Death with Pertwee and the Resurrection of the Daleks with Davidson.

    I enjoyed the Green Death's storyline and unfortunately laughable special effects - giant maggots LOL. Anyway the story about toxic dumping and the computer work efficiency over people's lives is strikingly relevant today.

    Resurrection I was a bit dissapointed by. It's been a long long time since I've seen the old Doctor Who series and even longer since seeing anyone other than Baker. I felt Davidson was a bit flat here. Is he always like this? It seems to me that he is less persoanble/funny/charming so much so that he seems like a morality preacher.

    Pertwee is the scientist minded father figure which works. Still Baker seems to get criticism for "needing to be reigned in" which I personally find bogus. He steals most of the scenes.

    David Tenant from the Christmas Special looks to be similar in many repsects and with arguably the very best side kick that I have seen in Piper (largely because there is so much backstory given to here) then it could be a truly impressive pairing over the next two seasons.

    I'm on the hunt to buy a couple(three more) more before I leave but I can't remember most of them. Any suggestions as to good ones - Horror at Fang Rock, Pyramids of Mars, and the Leisure hive are out. (I have Robots of Death and Talons of Weng... on tape and seen them not long ago).

    I have never seen an episode with the Second doctor so that's tempting. And I can;t find the very first one on DVD - Unearthly child?? I know they didn't lose the print because I've seen it on TV. You'd think they'd have this one.

  7. #7
    RGA
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    oops just saw a DVD boxed set of the First Doctor with three episodes including the Unearthly child -- so i shall order me one.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    Before going on it may be interesting for some sci-fi nuts out there to know that a great deal of the content in shows like Star Trek as well as the film the MATRIX have copied large chunks of information from various Dr. Who episodes over the years. The term Resistence is Futile for example was in one of the Tom Baker DR. Who shows from the late 1970's where a mania called the master went inside a matrix to control a civilization through their minds.
    Not to mention Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, which completely lifted the time-travelling phone booth.
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  9. #9
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by caniac
    Not to mention Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, which completely lifted the time-travelling phone booth.
    Ahh I forgot about that one LOL.

    In further review:

    You know after buying a couple older Doctor Who's and just watching the Leisure Hive. I have to say that the new series is IMO so vastly superior to the old series that it's not funny.

    Aside from the far superior special effects (though I'm not convinced by CGI generated Fire in the first episode it's acceptable enough given a TV show budget, the acting, writing, pacing have all been greatly improved.

    I wish that the first several episodes had been a bit better because the last half of them were generally excellent. The first show had just 43 minutes to introduce the two main characters, give some sort of overview of the show, set up the time machine, and also have a villain. So it was a little too fast paced.

    The second episode is where the money effects go and they spent the most money on this episode. The story wasn't overly interesting though and seems to be there to fill in more of the title character's history and to show viewers that the effects, make-up, costuime design etc are not going to be the shaky sets and weak grainy images of the 1970's.

    Where I think the stories elevate from the previous shows is that they are not routinely about some megalomaniac who wants world or universe domination which the Doctor must thwart. This gets highly repetitive after awhile and when the Daleks do it at least it's a bit more plausible as they are basically total racial cleansers and like the Nazi's we always like to see them get punched out. (Which is why any good indian Jones movie has to have Indy beating some nazi brains in .

    It took me two views to appreciate Eccleston -- but IMO he's second only to Baker. With K-9 (the precurser to R2-D2) coming back as a laser firing brilliant DATA like Robot Dog the kids are gonna love him. See store shelves for remote K-9 toys.

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