DVD Review: Doctor Who: Complete Series Five

PUBLISHED: 15:27 14 October 2010

Doctor Who Series 5

Doctor Who Series 5

Archant

All 13 episodes from the 11th Doctor's first series

(2entertain, £69.99)

IF you had your own TARDIS and travelled back in time to the end of last year, when David Tennant’s 10th Doctor regenerated into Matt Smith’s 11th incarnation, the sense of anticipation for the new incumbent was probably outweighed by the burden of responsibility being placed on the 27-year-old’s bony shoulders.

As the youngest ever Time Lord, and a virtual unknown to boot, both fans and casual watchers of the show found it hard to believe he could possibly live up to Tennant’s celebrated performance, and the tabloids were swift to get their knives sharpened in preparation for a savaging of Smith’s Doctor.

They couldn’t have got it any more wrong…

Matt Smith was firmly established as the latest Doctor well before the end of his first episode, appropriately titled The Eleventh Hour, and by the time he reached the end of his first series he was being applauded as a contender for one of the all time best.

His portrayal drew on the idea that the Doctor was a nine hundred year old man in a young body, was often at odds with what passes for “normal” life in any society, yet possessed the same wild and erratic genius, flair for adventure and eccentricities found in each of his previous incarnations.

Picking up the reins from series rejuvenator Russell T Davies, new showrunner Stephen Moffat has crafted an elaborate journey of discovery for latest companion Amy Pond (Karen Gillan), as she explores time and space alongside a man she thought was her childhood imaginary friend, and learns what role she has in saving the universe itself from utter destruction…

The first few episodes find cast and crew establishing the new direction of the series, and although the quality is always high, there is nothing truly outstanding here, even with the return of the Daleks in a World War Two setting. It’s the return of the Weeping Angels where this series of Doctor Who unquestionably steps up a gear. Boasting production levels on a par with a big budget movie, it’s a remarkable story which succeeds in redefining the Angels’ menace whilst also propelling both plot and characters for the rest of the series.

By the time we reach the two-part finale The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang, the stakes have never been higher, and we finally see the sheer genius of Moffat’s masterplan, which has been seeded throughout the previous episodes. Smith and Gillan are simply incredible, and by the time that famous music crashes into the dying seconds of the final episode there is no denying that the 11th Doctor and Amy Pond, (together with her new husband Rory) are truly here to stay…

This complete series box set features a wealth of extras including specially-filmed scenes set between episodes, Matt Smith’s video diary, Doctor Who Confidentials for each episode, commentaries, outtakes and Monster Files.

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