Doctor Who: The Complete Fifth Series (2010)

Actors: Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill, Alex Kingston
Format: NTSC, Color
Region: 1 (U.S. and Canada only)
Number of discs: 6
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: BBC Warner
DVD Release Date: November 9, 2010
Run Time: 655 minutes

Special Features

  • Meanwhile in the Tardis: Newly filmed scenes written by Steven Moffat, exclusive to DVD and Blu-ray, telling what happens between the episodes
  • Doctor Who Confidential: An inside look at each episode
  • Monster Files: Get under the skin and inside the minds of the new Doctor's most challenging opponents
  • In-vision commentaries
  • Outtakes
  • Video diaries



It takes one a few episodes to get used to Matt Smith, who at 26 is the youngest actor yet to play the so-called Doctor, a flamboyant and eccentric alien who travels across time and space in a blue telephone booth that is larger on the inside than on the outside. (Note to nitpickers: we know it isn’t technically a phone booth, but a police box that were quite common in Britain in years gone by. They were used to phone the police in emergencies and you couldn’t use them to dial up your granny or anyone else except for the police.)

The young actor is the 11th actor to have portrayed the 900 year-plus old time traveller in this British TV show that seems about just as old. (The BBC series ran from 1963 until 1989 and was successfully revamped in 2005. Initially Smith only seems to be doing his best David Tennant (the hyperactive actor to have previously played the role) impersonation, but gradually the role becomes his own.

In addition to the new lead actor, this fifth season also marks the arrival of a new executive producer and chief writer in the guise of Steven Moffat who takes over from Russell T. Davies, the brains behind the 2005 re-imagining (to use a tired Hollywood phrase). Moffat takes no major departures from the formula laid down by Davies, but still manages to stamp his own mark on the proceedings.

The 13 episodes of this season found on this disc may have the same strengths and weaknesses of previous Who episodes, but the tone is jokier and there is less focus on the Doctor’s love life. Some episodes are still pretty much over-the-top (Spitfires in space!) while the overt emotionality of an episode such as Vincent and the Doctor (in which the Doctor meets up with Vincent van Gogh to battle a space monster) may tie into the show’s larger mythos however veers into mawkishness.

Episodes are however lighter in tone and there is even time to joke about the Doctor’s over reliance on his, er, sonic screwdriver, a plot device which performs more magic than Harry Potter’s wand.

Once one however gets used to the new lead actor it is time for the show’s finale appropriately titled Big Bang which brings things to a satisfying conclusion as long as you don’t try to apply plot logic to it.

In all, Doctor Who is still one of the best science fiction television shows out there and by the end you’d wish that this season ran longer than a mere 13 episodes. Intelligently scripted, well-acted and fast-paced; one can only hope that the show really runs for 900 years . . .

WORTH IT? If you’ve been worried about the new leads and creative team, then relax: Doctor Who is still worth checking out.

RECOMMENDATION: Fans should check it out. Newbies should preferably start with the 2005 season.



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