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DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
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Dr. Who Series 7 Part 2 Blu-Ray ReviewBlu-ray BBC
Jun 30 2013 07:36 AM | mattCR in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
- Studio: BBC
- Distributed By: N/A
- Video Resolution: 1080I/AVC
- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA
- Subtitles: English, English SDH
- Rating: Not Rated
- Run Time: 44 Min per episode
- Package Includes: Blu-ray
- Case Type:
- Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
- Release Date: 05/28/2013
- MSRP: $29.99
The Production Rating: 4/5This is good, as Part 1 of Season 7 seemed to give all the indications of why Smith made this season his last with Dr. Who, moving on to do other things. But Jenna-Louise Coleman provided a breath of real fresh air that picked up a lot of the light attitude of the show that seemingly drifted away in Season 7 Part 1.
This isn’t to say that it made Season 7 great, I would personally rank it in the lower echelon of all Dr. Who seasons, but it managed to move Dr. Who away from the down energy of Part 1 that was just not as much fun for this Who fan.
That said, Part 2 suffers from some of the issues of Part 1.. episodes where last minute abracadabra events solve everything, some scripts that seemingly run nowhere, and a few staging problems. Then again, it’s Dr. Who, and I guess over the years I’ve come to appreciate those things as part of the storytelling as well.
The Bells of Saint John. We begin Part 2 by following up immediately with an episode regarding the Great Intelligence. Coming from his first meeting with Clara in the Christmas special, the doctor encounters her again in modern day London. The Great Intelligence has taken over an internet company that begins to manipulate people by using WiFi to control them, to enhance or diminish their intellect and manipulate their emotions. All of my doubts about a new companion were erased with this episode, which was rompy ridiculous fun and Clara is at the heart of it. Frankly, after this episode, I had a much better feeling about the direction of the season as a whole.
The Rings of Akhaten. Clara tells the good doctor that if he has access to all of time and space, she wants to see something truly amazing. Taking her to the area of the universe where people believe it “all started” gives her a chance to see something she hasn’t encountered. This is where Clara’s bounding energy really pays off. The script here isn’t sensational, or really that unique – this plot seems to borrow heavily from past doctors – but Clara’s energy helps really sell this episode.
Cold War. Set in a 1983 Submarine, we bring back to life a traditional Dr. Who bad guy in the Ice Warrior, found and brought back, this time determined to exterminate those on Earth after his long slumber. There is a great cast here, but it never achieves the energy I thought it could have. This to me is a typical Moffat episode, where we spend the entire show painting ourselves into a corner and then last minute resolution.
Hide. Clara and the Doctor investigate a haunted house mystery that turns out to be a far more complex matter. This episode is a one-off, but a great one off. We take the horror genre and spin it around, giving the doctor a chance to blend in multiple time frames, pocket universes, and some great levity. This is one of my favorite episodes of Season 7.
Journey to the Center of The Tardis. This is hands down one of the dumbest episodes of Dr. Who, any season. The core concept makes no sense at all, and after a while you start to wonder what is going on. Smith seems to realize this as he smirks an incredible amount in this episode, seemingly cueing up that he knows the entire concept is rubbish, and probably Moffat at his worst. Don’t worry, this episode also is a stand alone of sorts, if you skip it you won’t miss much.
The Crimson Horror. Ok, I’ll say it: Jenny. Vastra. Strax. Considering how much I enjoy these characters, it’s good to have an episode where they are a big part of the picture. I really enjoyed the Crimson Horror, which minimizes the doctor and Clara but gives some meaty roles to Jenny and Vastra, and Strax. Strax to me is one of the things I enjoy most about Dr. Who, so if you’re a fan of the supporting cast, this is a pretty good episode for that.
Nightmare in Silver. Enemies from the past keep coming in Season 7, as a trip to an intergalactic space park on hard times re-introduces us to the Cybermen, a classic and much beloved enemy in the Who universe. That said, the episode really suffers in scripting, the forward movement in Nightmare in Silver is a bit of a plodding story that feels a real let down from the fun of Crimson Horror.
The Name of the Doctor. It’s very hard to get into this episode without giving away the biggest twists and puzzle of the season: who is Clara Oswald? There are a lot of mixed thoughts about this episode, but I found that it’s brisk conclusion of the Part 2 puzzle really worked for me as a way to both solve the riddle and not string the audience along. Clues are setup from the beginning, the storyline moves fast and there are some great moments of Who dialog here that I imagine will stick forever, as well as a conclusion that leaves Who fans wondering what comes next. It’s not perfect, but it’s one of the better episodes of the season, and a fitting way to conclude series 7.
Video Rating: 4/5 / 3D Rating: NA
Presented in 1080I, Dr. Who series 7 part 2 presents the good doctor in perfect form from it’s BBC presentation. This shouldn’t be a shock as Dr. Who was filmed in this format, so we assume a straight digital copy from master to Blu. While this presentation is as good as we are going to get, there are still issues that will bother some videophiles. Black crush, some minor rainbow effect and a few scenes of blurring do exist within the episodes. While I would love to fault the transfer, I tend to believe these were in the original encode, so I’m unsure what BBC could ever do to rectify those issues. As such, the discs continue to look from the Christmas special in providing one of the best presentations the Doctor has had.