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Doctor Who: The Complete Sixth Series Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080i/60
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD High Resolution 5.1
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Run Time: 585 Mins.
  • Discs: 6 (6 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: BBC
  • Blu-ray Release Date: November 21, 2011
  • List Price: $89.98

[amazon-product]B005M2A4DE[/amazon-product]

Purchase Doctor Who: The Complete Sixth Series on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Series
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:4/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Series

[Rating:4/5]

The Sixth Series of Doctor Who lands on Blu-ray with Matt Smith as the titular Doctor and Karen Gillan as Amy Pond as his ginger-haired companion Amy Pond now comfortably in their roles. Long known for its lightheartedness and fun sense of adventure, Doctor Who seems to ave taken a bit of a darker turn in this sixth series.

The sixth series finds The Doctor racing to save himself from his own death at the hands of the mysterious River Song (Alex Kingston), battling The Silence, insidious creatures who have instilled themselves in the history of humanity, but are instantly forgotten whenever they are not in plain sight, and going to war (“A Good Man Goes to War”) to rescue Amy (Gillan) and her baby from a religious army led by headless monks. If that weren’t enough, there are the usual doses of Who monsters, like an alien Minotaur in a space prison who preys on faith and converts it to energy to feed on (“The God Complex”), smart flesh that steals not only one’s identity, but one’s soul (“The Rebel Flesh”; “The Almost People”), and what’s a Doctor Who series without the return of some classic foes? The Doctor and a previous acquaintance battle the Cybermen in a department store (“Closing Time”).

The Complete Sixth Series brings together both parts I & II in one six-disc set, which also includes the Doctor Who Christmas special, A Christmas Carol, their own Who-vian twist on the Dickens tale, as well as several mini-episodes and episode-prequels that serve to both expand the world of Doctor Who and help with the continuity of the series, including Night and the Doctor, “Space,” and “Time.”

Video Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

Doctor Who is captured in high definition, and if memory serves me correctly, its native frame rate is 50Hz. It arrives on Blu-ray in the United States, however, at 1080i/60 in an AVC/MPEG-4 encodement. Never fear, however, any noticeable motion judder is negligible, which hasn’t always been the case with these BBC series here in the States. The first season of Torchwood, for example, was very juddery.

The issue with Doctor Who is often overwhelming video noise in darker scenes and the tendency for darker colors to wash out a bit as well. Overall contrast also isn’t as wide as we’d like to see it, but colors do pop nicely and foreground detail in particular tends to look nicely textured. Flesh tones are also spot on.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

Doctor Who continues to be provided with only the lossy DTS-HD High Resolution codec on Blu-ray by BBC. It’s not as bad as the low bitrate Dolby Digital, but t still doesn’t quite have the impact of the lossless DTS-HD Master Audio or Dolby TrueHD. Still, the 5.1 mix isn’t too bad for a television series. There are all the expected bleeps and blips in the surround channels when in the Tardis and a lush amount of reverberation as well. There is decent “oomph” added to explosions and such, but high frequencies are a bit jagged sounding and the midrange isn’t as clean and punchy as it could be.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:4/5]

This set is supplied with a bounty of extras that fans should certainly enjoy, including the enjoyable behind-the-scenes featurettes “Doctor Who Confidential” and several mini-episodes and episode “prequels” that expand the Who storyline. Some these prequels are an absolute must to keep the continuity of the series going.

The supplements provided with this release:

Disc 1:

  • A Christmas Carol Confidential (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:56:04)
  • Comic Relief Sketch “Space” (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:03:58)
  • Comic Relief Sketch “Time” (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:03:03)

Disc 2:

  • Audio Commentary: “The Impossible Astronaut”
  • Monster File – The Silence (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:10:58)
  • Episode 1 Prequel (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:01:43)
  • Episode 3 Prequel (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:01:26)

Disc 3:

  • Audio Commentary: “The Doctor’s Wife”
  • Audio Commentary: “The Rebel Flesh”
  • Monster File – The Gangers (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:13:02)
  • Night and The Doctor “Bad Night” (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:03:40)
  • Night and The Doctor “Good Night” (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:04:53)
  • Night and The Doctor “First Night” (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:02:17)
  • Night and The Doctor “Last Night” (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:03:34)

Disc 4:

  • Audio Commentary: “A Good Man Goes to War”
  • Monster File – The Anti-Bodies (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:09:04)
  • Episode 7 Prequel (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:01:38)
  • Episode 8 Prequel (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:01:57)

Disc 5:

  • Audio Commentary: “ The Wedding of River Song”
  • Monster File – The Cybermats (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:10:15)
  • Episode 13 Prequel (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:01:13)
  • Night and The Doctor “Up All Night” (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:01:56)
  • Part 1 Trailer (1.78:1; 480i/60)
  • Part 2 Trailer (1.78:1; 480i/60)

Disc 6:

  • Doctor Who Confidentials (1.78:1; 1080i/60):
    • Episode 1 – Coming to America
    • Episode 2 – Breaking the Silence
    • Episode 3 – Ship Ahoy
    • Episode 4 – Bigger on the Inside
    • Episode 5 — Double Trouble
    • Episode 6 – Take Two
    • Episode 7 – The Born Identity
    • Episode 8 – River runs Wild
    • Episode 9 – About a Boy
    • Episode 10 – What Dreams May Come
    • Episode 11 – Heartbreak Hotel
    • Episode 12 – Open All Hours
    • Episode 13 – When Time Froze
  • Doctor Who Confidential: The Nights’ Tale (1.78:1; 1080i/60)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

The Sixth series of the Doctor Who reboot is simply awesome. Matt Smith and Karen Gillan prove themselves more than worthy and arguably the most likeable duo to come along in sci-fi in a long time. The story arc is complex for this season, switching timelines and universes, dealing with time travel paradoxes, and, most of all, the suspenseful question of how or will The Doctor survive his inevitable death.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B005M2A4DE[/amazon-product]

Purchase Doctor Who: The Complete Sixth Series on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Series
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:4/5]

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