Let’s continue on with ‘Dr. Who: The Complete Fifth Series’. If you haven’t already, consider reading the review of the Fourth Series, first.
We have a new incarnation of The Doctor (Matt Smith). He encounters a little girl named Amy and vows to return in a short while. His instant is her 15-20 years and he returns to find little Amy (Karen Gillan) now grown up. She travels with him despite her fiancee Rory (Arthur Darvill).
Breaking with tradition, let’s start with the cast. If you are wondering how Smith handles his lofty position, he is excellent. Younger, cockier and seemingly more impulsive than previous incarnations, he never-the-less still conveys his otherworldly capabilities. As a companion, Gillan brings back a youthful exuberance that compliments Smith’s take on the Doctor. Her Amy also has Rory in tow (at least at various points) which lends another factor to our travelers’ journeys. River Song (Alex Kingston) is a mysterious character we have seen briefly before. It is interesting to get to know a little more about her.
The other major change this year is the ascension of Steven Moffat as the man in charge of the series. In previous series, he has written some of the best, and darkest, episodes. The two-parter in the middle of the series ‘The Time of Angels’ and ‘Flesh and Stone’ brings back those creepy statues that operate like Shy Guys from Super Mario Brothers. These episodes and villains were genuinely startling and enjoyable. Things also end in a big way which is how you want a transitional year like this to go.
One or two quibbles are the Doctor’s encounters with some historical figures like Winston Churchill and Vincent Van Gogh. It’s not that the stories or actors were particularly bad, especially the latter had some real emotional weight to it, but it was just an odd choice. Also, vampires? We had werewolves before but, these vampires are a little dull. Plus, the Daleks are just thrown into one of the stories again when they could have been given a rest for a series.
Special features include: some supplemental scenes that help to fill in gaps between episodes, a look inside the episodes, the Doctor’s newest foes, commentaries, outtakes, video diaries, teasers and trailers.
While it is a transitional year, this fifth series is remarkably strong and shows that it should be in good hands with a new showrunner and new cast.
Not Rated 655 minutes 2010