The home of Critic, Writer and Film-maker: Liam Walters

Review: Doctor Who Series 1 DVD Boxset


[ Review Written By: Liam Walters ]

[Originally posted: July 18th 2010]

8.3 / 10

[Minor Spoilers]

Introduction:

Doctor Who is a science-fiction television show that ran on the BBC from 1963 to 1989. A television movie was then created 1996.
The series was revived by Russell T Davies (whom had previously created the TV show ‘Queer as Folk’), who became the executive producer. The revival launched in March 2005 in the UK, and the show is still currently running, although with new executive producers as of starting 2010.

Synopsis (Taken from Tardis.Wikia.com):

The show is about the adventures of a mysterious time-traveller known only as the Doctor. The Doctor travels through space and time in a craft known as the TARDIS, an acronym for “Time and Relative Dimension in Space”. The Doctor is usually accompanied by one or more companions, who are often females.

Characters:

The new series of Doctor Who changed some of the aspects of what the show once was. This was evident in characters, as unlike in the shows original run, the revived series also looks into the companions family and friends, adding some drama plot elements.

The Doctor is a 900 year old Time Lord, from the planet Gallifrey. When a Time Lord begins to die, they can regenerate, changing every cell in their body, but still retaining their memories. In the first series of the revival, the Doctor is in his 9th form, as is played by the actor Christopher Eccleston.

Rose Tyler is a 19 year old cockney chav girl. She lives a pretty normal life up until one night, when strange happenings are going on in the basement of the shop where she works. As she starts getting attacked by living plastic dummys, she meets a man, who takes her hand, and tells her to run. Shortly after he blows up the shop she works at, thereby making her unemployed.

Mickey Smith is the boyfriend of Rose Tyler, and in for all intents and purpose, is basically the whipping boy of the show. He is often referred to by the doctor as ‘Mickey the idiot’, and during the first series, is shown to just want a normal peaceful life with Rose. Despite being a bumbling idiot, it should be noted that he has mad hacking skills, and is able to hack into most, if not all government computers.

Jackie Tyler is the typical cockney mother of Rose. Her husband Pete died when Rose was a baby, and so raised Rose by herself. She has a loud mouth of her, and is not afraid to start shouting at anyone, including the Doctor.

Soundtrack:

The soundtrack to for the new series was composed by Murry Gold. The music is a big part of what makes the show so thrilling and entertaining. Nearly all of the music uses a big, orchestra band. This is most notable in the opening theme, which is an orchestral remix of the original theme.

Cinematography:

The cinematography is great. There was a wide mix of lots of different camera angles, and with 6 directors taking certain episodes throughout the series, you get to see a lot of variety in the way it is shot and the lighting used. The inside shots look like inside shots, like the outside shots look like outside shots, and the other-world shots look otherworldly.

DVD Extras:

The DVD comes with a lot of extra features to keep you entertained long after you have watched all of the episodes. The DVD box boasts about over 2 hours of special features, which of these include a host of different interviews, behind the scenes footage, videos diary’s by Billie Piper and Russell T Davies, and many more. There are also audio commentaries for every episode, although some of these can be hit or miss, depending the episodes you watch.

[Major Spoilers For Episodes 4 & 5]

A Quick Note: Alright, the in-depth part of last weeks review went on for way too long, and that was just for a 90 minute movie. I am now reviewing a whole series, which is 13, 49 minute long episodes.

So what Ive opted for instead is to focus on the the worst story, which happen to be the first mid series 2-parter. Originally I was going to do the best story as well, which is the second mid series two-parter called The Empty Child and The Doctor Dances, although I decided to cut this out for length. I may go back and do a follow up, reviewing these two episodes if it is requested.

The (Not So) Whole Story:

Episodes 4 & 5: Aliens of London and World War Three.

This may be two episodes, but its part of the same story so I’ll be counting them together.

So we start off with a look back of the first episode clips, before we see the TARDIS materialise on the local council estate… Yeah, because that’s not going to get gratified at all. Anyway, the doctor tells Rose that its only been 12 hours, and so she goes off to say hi to her mother.

As the Doctor walks around the estate, he see’s something that troubles him, as he goes off running. Meanwhile, Rose walks into her home, acting casual as you do after youve stayed out for 12 hours. Her mother looks in shock as we find out. Rose has been gone 12 months, not 12 hours. Ahahahaha, what is that Doctor like, eh. Always getting stuff wrong.

So after a brief talk with a police officer, who asks if the Doctor chose Rose so he could get some… lets say ‘Poontang’. The Doctor denies this, although Jackie isnt convinced, going as far to bitch slap the doctor… Yeah, I’m sorry… What was that? The Doctor, one of the most feared men in the universe, so much so that the Daleks even fear the Doctor. The Doctor, who in later series’ only has to tell a species his name for them to back off… And he just got totally owned by a middle aged cockney woman… Oh wait, that’s suppose to be the joke… Ha ha ha.

Anyway…

The Doctor and Rose go to the roof to have a nice little chin waggle… As you do, when they see a giant spaceship crash through Big Ben and lands in the River Thames… Damn Aliens, don’t they know your not suppose to drink and drive!

Anyway, the Doctor decides to do like everyone else, and see it on TV, as he watches with glee (Watches with glee, he doesn’t actually watch Glee… That hasn’t been invented yet, though I’m sure the doctor probably has every episode on DVD)

Since for some reason the Tylers are now having a party… Maybe to welcome Rose back, I don’t know, the Doctor is finding it hard to listen to the TV, and so decides to, even though he said earlier that he should use the TARDIS, because there’s already been one Alien spaceship today… He figures to ignore himself and go take the TARDIS anyway… Oh, and he lies to Rose about doing this as well… For what ever reason.

Anyway, as the Doctor and the TARDIS goes bye bye, Mickey Smith runs out and tries to stop the doctor, but instead the TARDIS de-materialises and he runs into the shutters behind it… Because you know… That’s funny right?

Oh, I forgot to mention. The TARDIS got tagged by some street punk saying ‘Bad Wolf’

So whilst all this hilarity is going on, serious business is going on else where. The government is having meetings about what has happened, and are planning on gathering all of the worlds experts together to discuss what it could all mean. Also, Harriet Jones backbench MP for Flydale North is buzzing around doing something or other.

Meanwhile, in a hospital which was closed down to have a look at the Alien, we see Tosh from Torchwood, ah I mean a unnamed woman doctor, as she starts to hear strange banging. In an act of utter coincidence, the Doctor steps out of the TARDIS, in the very same building. He goes through a door to be met by arm soldiers, although then when they hear a scream and he starts shouting random pattern formations, they all fall in line behind the mysterious stranger WHO APPEARED FROM NOWHERE AND FOLLOW HIS EVERY ORDER… THIS IS THE MILLITERY!

We see that the alien is actually some kind of pig creature, and one of the armed soldiers shoot it dead as they see it running towards them… And the Doctor shouts at them, saying the pig as scared… Right… So a pig alien starts running towards you, and your a normal human solider who’s never seen a alien before… You may think its trying to attack you if its running towards you like that.

Anyway, we go back to Downing Street where we see the government isn’t actually what they say they are. Wow, a government with secrets and a hidden agenda… I hope you like this plot line as Davies makes sure that we all soon learn that Governments are BAD!

The Doctor explains to the woman that we don’t know as Tosh that the pig isn’t the real Alien, but a decoy. The real aliens strapped the pig alien into their spaceship and have it crash into Big Ben to gather attention.

Anyway, we haven’t had an episode of Eastenders for a while, so we go back to the Tyler’s flat, where Mickey bursts in on the party and confronts Rose. Apparently Jackie was blaming Mickey for Rose’s disappearance, and he was questioned by the police. To be honest, I think he’s just upset that she left him for an Alien who over 800 years older than he is.

Mickey tells Rose that he saw the Doctor leave, and she runs off to see for herself, annoyed that this man who she barely knows and who’s put her life in danger quite a few times since they met has now lied to her.

Rose, Mickey and Jackie all go outside to have a nice friendly argument as the TARDIS re-appears. As they all go inside, Jackie sees that its bigger on the inside, frightening old Jackie and making her run away. The Doctor, Rose and Mickey all go inside to natter as Jackie phones the government to tell them her daughter is travelling around with one of them aliens.

They all hear commotion outside as it seems as though the government have tracked the Doctor, and are bringing him to Downing Street. Mickey, misunderstanding the situation runs away, not wanting to get arrested, and the army fail to catch him… WHAT! Your fucking kidding me. The British Army cant catch one guy who they have basically surrounded!

Its lucky that in Doctor Who there are no wars, well, only with Aliens but we get the Doctor’s help with that. I mean, it just seems like the British military cant do anything.

Anyway, the Doctor is taken to , is gathered with the other experts and then they all start getting electrocuted, as the Aliens begin to reveal their true form.

Oh, and a one of the aliens has gone after Jackie, and another has gone chasing

And that’s our cliff hanger for the episode… Yes, we are only half way through this crap-fest.

Of course, any climax that had build up is automatic destroyed because of the next time trailer playing STRAIGHT AFTER.

Anyway, lets jump into the next episode.

The Doctor manages to survive the no so deadly electricity because he isn’t human, and somehow reverses it to electrify the aliens instead. It some how effects all of them, even the one going after Jackie, and the one whose after Rose and Harriet. Mickey walks in on Jackie and the electrifying Alien, and I have no idea what his first thought was when walking in, but he decides to take her back to his place.

Anyway, the Doctor runs into the soldiers, telling them that the government people are the real aliens and of course they don’t believe him, and they start chasing him believing him to be the one who killed everyone earlier.

Meanwhile the aliens keep up the chase after Rose and Harriet, but they out-whit the aliens and manage to find the doctor. They are cornered in a room as the Doctor tries to fight them off using his sonic screwdriver and a bottle of port… Wow, I have so gotta try that one day.

So Mickey gets Jackie back to his place and makes her a steaming hot cup of tea, as they chat a bit. We then see the aliens chat a bit, before Rose, Harriet and the Doctor chat a bit. The Doctor the chats with Mickey on the phone and he tells him to hack the government, as they see that the aliens are trying to cause a nuclear war to go off. The doorbell rings and its Mr. Alien again, and he’s coming to get them.

The Doctor figures out that the Aliens, who call themselves the Slitheen, although that’s their family name, are from a planet called Raxacoricofallapatorius. I remenber about a year ago I was going to go make an doctor who a-capella band with me and 3 of my friends. We were going to do a-capella versions of Doctor Who music, and we were called The Raxacoricofallapatorius Experience. Fortunately for the world of music, we never even met up to sing once, still, we designed a t-shirt…

Well anyway, apparently they don’t like anything with vinegar in. Maybe that means I’m a Raxacoricofallapatorian, because I absolutely hate vinegar. I mean, I don’t explode when it touches me, but I just don’t have it on my chips is all.

Anyway, a lot more talking goes on as the Slitheens plan starts coming together. The Doctor eventually finds a way to win by firing a normal missile, getting Mickey to send it to Downing Street to kill all the Slitheen. Luckily the room the Doctor and co happen to be in is a bunker of some sort, and is one of the safest places in the whole of Great Britain.

Anyway, lets wrap this up.

The Doctors plan works and all the Slitheen die, or at least he believes so. Him, Rose and Harriet are all fine, as Harriet goes off to talk to the media. The Doctor retires back to the TARDIS as Rose returns home. She speaks with her mum and tells her she going to keep travelling with the Doctor, because she wants to see the universe for all its worth or something like that. I don’t know, at this point I cant pay that much attention.

After the Doctor gets the punk who gratified on his TARDIS to wash it off, he asks Mickey to come along, but Mickey refuses because… I dunno, maybe he wants to see how it goes with Jackie. Anyway, Mickey and Jackie see the two of them off as the TARDIS fades away.

Roll next week trailer and credits!

Average Episode Plot Scores:

Episode 1: 8/10
Episode 2: 8/10
Episode 3: 7/10
Episode 4: 5/10
Episode 5: 5/10
Episode 6: 8/10
Episode 7: 7/10
Episode 8: 9/10
Episode 9: 9/10
Episode 10: 9/10
Episode 11: 8/10
Episode 12: 8/10
Episode 13: 8/10

Average: 7.6

Summary:

In essence, Doctor Who is what it is. Whether you grew up with the old series, or started with this new series, it is still a great show with lots of laughs and adventure along the way. Although this series may not have some of the best episodes of the show, which would come with later series, it also does not have some of the worst episodes, despite the episodes I reviewed.. With an alright Doctor and a good companion, this is a great place to start if you have never seen the show before, or a great pick up if you loved the old series.

Episode Plots: 7.6 / 10
Characters: 8 / 10
Soundtrack: 9 / 10
Cinematography: 8 / 10
DVD Extras: 9 / 10

Final Score: 8.3 / 10

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