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Question for All You "Doctor Who" Fans Out There


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#1 of 13 OFFLINE   MattAlbie60

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Posted March 22 2013 - 09:24 AM

So I'm looking to get into the series, but the many, many (many) DVD and Blu-ray releases over the last few years are scrambling my brain.

 

It looks like the first few series are only available on DVD. Is this correct? Is there any chance of eventual Blu-ray rereleases?

 

There are a few random releases beyond "The Complete ______ Series" ones. Are those just standalones for people who don't want the full series, or do they contain episodes/Christmas specials/whatever that are not in those "Complete" releases?

 

Do these things ever drop in price? Series 2 in particular is going for a million dollars on Amazon (note: exaggeration for dramatic effect). It looks like starting a DOCTOR WHO collection is a very expensive hobby for those of us in the United States.

 

Thanks, all.



#2 of 13 OFFLINE   MatthewLouwrens

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Posted March 22 2013 - 11:37 AM

Firstly, just to confirm, you're clearly talking about the new series that started in 2005 - correct? 

 

Okay, yes, the first four series are only available on DVD - they were all shot in SD, so a Blu-Ray release is unlikely.

 

After the fourth series, they had a year of special episodes - The Next Doctor, Planet of the Dead, The Waters of Mars, and The End of Time (a two-parter). These are collected in a box, "The Complete Specials". These are available on Blu-Ray - they started HD for Planet of the Dead, but the Blu-Ray box also has an upconverted version of The Next Doctor.

Then there's the fifth and sixth series which are both available. 

We're currently in the seventh series - the first half aired late last year (and is available as Series 7 Part 1), then there was a single Christmas special, and the rest of the series starts again next week. (There will no doubt be a complete series 7 Blu-Ray release later in the year.)

 

And in terms of price drops, I see series 5 is currently $35 at Amazon. And I would personally recommend series 5  as a starting point. It introduced the current Doctor, a new companion, and the show had a new showrunner at the same time. So it was consciously intended to be a clean slate and an easy starting point for new viewers (although I would strongly recommend you try to watch the Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead two-parter from series 4, just for the introduction of one key character).

(I also personally think the current showrunner is better than the previous showrunner, who I would often have issues with).

 

There are lots of single releases - they picked up a pattern of releasing DVDs throughout the year, and then releasing a combined box at the end. But I believe the sound is better on the combined box (I certainly know the earlier single disc releases only had 2.0 sound and you needed the complete series boxes for 5.1), and I believe they usually don't have special features.

 

Christmas specials are included in the complete series boxes - so as long as you've got the six series plus one specials boxes, you'll have everything you need to have.

 

(And obviously there's also the classic Who releases - most of those are individual releases with one multiple-part story per disc, although a few of those have been released in boxes - sometimes logically grouped, sometimes not. I'm pretty sure you're not talking about those, but I just felt I should acknowledge their existence. There's a lot of great stuff in the classic series that is worth digging into.)



#3 of 13 OFFLINE   sidburyjr

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Posted March 22 2013 - 11:38 AM

My daughter is a bigger expert on current Who than I am so assuming that what she says is correct...

The first several series were recorded cheaply and it's not worth putting them out in Blu.  I purchased both series 5 and 6 (as well as several torchwoods) from BestBuy at very good prices... $20 each but these were on special sales, so if you keep looking then you might find what you're looking for.

 

Dick



#4 of 13 OFFLINE   David Weicker

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Posted March 22 2013 - 11:46 AM

First of all, there are two types of Doctor Who releases. You have your 'classic' stories (1963-1989) which are released story by story. These were, for the most part, shot on video, so will not see a Blu-Ray release (one story was filmed and will see a BR release this Summer).The other releases are the current series (post 2005). The first four and a half series were shot in SD, so they are unlikely to see a Blu-Ray release (some of the stories on the Specials release were upconverted)As for the kinds of releases, the smaller 'current' series releases were generally vanilla releases (few to no extras) to tide people over until the Complete series was released. As for the term Series, that is the British term for what we call Season.As for the price, it rarely comes down. It is a BBC product, so just watch out for salesDavid

#5 of 13 OFFLINE   MattAlbie60

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Posted March 22 2013 - 11:47 AM

Wow, thanks you guys. That's literally exactly what I was looking for.

 

Yeah, I was talking mainly about the new stuff from 2005 and beyond. I had briefly toyed with the idea of "Well, I'll just start from the BEGINNING beginning!" but that is *super* intimidating as there's just so much of it, ha.



#6 of 13 OFFLINE   The Obsolete Man

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Posted March 22 2013 - 02:14 PM

Wow, thanks you guys. That's literally exactly what I was looking for.

 

Yeah, I was talking mainly about the new stuff from 2005 and beyond. I had briefly toyed with the idea of "Well, I'll just start from the BEGINNING beginning!" but that is *super* intimidating as there's just so much of it, ha.

 

If you were to start from the beginning, now would be the best time.

 

There are only 5 or 6 more serials left to be released before the existing classic Doctor Who is completely available on DVD.

 

As for NuWho... start from 2005's season 1. It explains the premise much better than starting with season 5. Plus, you kind of have to be invested in the series to survive the current show runner's seasons, where the show has been more about an annoying 20-something redhead than the Doctor.



#7 of 13 OFFLINE   moviepas

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Posted March 22 2013 - 04:55 PM

You will never get all the first Dr Who episodes. They don't exist anymore. Stupid BBC policies over all years into the 80s. 1970s was the worst as far as I know. BBC Radio the same. All episodes as produced were shown on Australian TV and I assumed they either returned them later or they had to destroy them after a certain time. I have never had any beat on this situation. As the Australian network and the BBC were government groups, I guess any early ones still here would have been found and shipped back by now. I heard that about the first 50 are gone but I have no actual documentation of that. Methods of recovery with audio tapes etc have also been done here and there. 



#8 of 13 OFFLINE   The Obsolete Man

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Posted March 22 2013 - 05:08 PM

You will never get all the first Dr Who episodes. They don't exist anymore. Stupid BBC policies over all years into the 80s. 1970s was the worst as far as I know. BBC Radio the same. All episodes as produced were shown on Australian TV and I assumed they either returned them later or they had to destroy them after a certain time. I have never had any beat on this situation. As the Australian network and the BBC were government groups, I guess any early ones still here would have been found and shipped back by now. I heard that about the first 50 are gone but I have no actual documentation of that. Methods of recovery with audio tapes etc have also been done here and there. 

 

http://en.wikipedia....issing_episodes

 

106 still unaccounted for, with seasons 4-6 (Patrick Troughton's run as the Second Doctor) being hit the hardest. At least 4 serials are getting or have gotten animation work done to them to complete them for DVD.

 

And actually, Australia didn't always air the episodes as produced... they made various cuts to episodes so they complied with stricter censorship codes down under. The reels of material cut by Australia censors now provide some of the only glimpses of missing episodes we'll probably ever see.

 

But, no, the first three serials/13 episodes exist intact. In fact, only 9 episodes from the entire first season are missing: the 7 episodes of Marco Polo, and two episodes of Reign of Terror (which were animated for DVD, so they're not quite missing any longer).

 

William Hartnell's early run as the Doctor mostly escaped wiping because of overseas sales for the first couple seasons. Unfortunately, sales dropped off over time, leaving us with the sorry state of Patrick Troughton's run.



#9 of 13 OFFLINE   AndyMcKinney

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Posted March 25 2013 - 11:26 AM

Wow, thanks you guys. That's literally exactly what I was looking for.

 

Yeah, I was talking mainly about the new stuff from 2005 and beyond. I had briefly toyed with the idea of "Well, I'll just start from the BEGINNING beginning!" but that is *super* intimidating as there's just so much of it, ha.

 

Is your DVD player "Region-Free" (i.e. able to play Region 2 DVDs)? If so, you could go on Amazon.co.uk and purchase "The Complete Series 1-4" boxset and save quite a lot of money compared to purchasing the four individual titles in the US. That's what I did (of course, I'm also buying the R2 releases of the Classic series for the same reason: they're cheaper, plus my players and TV are compatible with PAL anyway).



#10 of 13 OFFLINE   AndyMcKinney

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Posted March 25 2013 - 11:27 AM

Is the "Edit" button now gone? I was going to add another plus of the Region 2 Complete 1-4 set is the cases are smaller than those ginormous DigiPaks they originally came in. Five plastic multi-disc cases, about the thickness of a VHS tape each (or maybe less).



#11 of 13 OFFLINE   MattAlbie60

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Posted March 25 2013 - 12:39 PM

I don't have a region free player, unfortunately. I'm on a PS3.



#12 of 13 OFFLINE   The Obsolete Man

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Posted March 25 2013 - 12:56 PM

Is your DVD player "Region-Free" (i.e. able to play Region 2 DVDs)? If so, you could go on Amazon.co.uk and purchase "The Complete Series 1-4" boxset and save quite a lot of money compared to purchasing the four individual titles in the US. That's what I did (of course, I'm also buying the R2 releases of the Classic series for the same reason: they're cheaper, plus my players and TV are compatible with PAL anyway).

 

Did you also know that by buying the R2 versions of The Chase and Planet of Fire, you get a documentary for Planet of Fire that couldn't be cleared in the US because of music rights, and with the R2 version of The Chase, you get the unedited version of the first episode of the serial, which had to have a small snippet of a Beatles performance cut out of the US release because of the hell that is music clearance in the US?

 

/The Brits are much more civilized when it comes to music rights for classic TV on DVD. The UK releases of shows like Quantum Leap were released unaltered, while the US versions were horribly butchered, music-wise. Plus, you can't get stuff like Da';s Army or Blake's 7 in the US.


Edited by The Obsolete Man, March 25 2013 - 12:57 PM.


#13 of 13 OFFLINE   AndyMcKinney

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Posted March 27 2013 - 07:38 PM

Did you also know that by buying the R2 versions of The Chase and Planet of Fire, you get a documentary for Planet of Fire that couldn't be cleared in the US because of music rights, and with the R2 version of The Chase, you get the unedited version of the first episode of the serial, which had to have a small snippet of a Beatles performance cut out of the US release because of the hell that is music clearance in the US?

 

Yes, there is also that, which I forgot to mention!

 

Also, for the New Show, there's a commentary track on Series 3 (think it might be the last episode) that couldn't be cleared in Region 1 because John Barrowman (and the rest) started singing a song (I think) and it would've meant rights clearances, so the R1 version uses the online 'podcast' commentary for that episode instead!

 

Of course, there are also a few disadvantages on some of the UK discs. Since the UK gets them first, if there's a mistake, it sometimes gets fixed in time for the R1. The original, as-transmitted black van 'blooper' in Dalek Invasion of Earth cannot be seen in R2 as only the 'corrected' version can be played, the UK post-Eccleston regeneration Children in Need bonus scene has a temporary sound FX track on the R2 instead of the as-transmitted one (that was corrected for R1). There were other mistakes/omissions, but most of those have been fixed by the Special Edition releases thus far.

 

For me, the decision was based on two factors: economy (the UK discs are, simply, less expensive over the long haul, given the more generous discounts and the fact many stories can be picked up in multi-story boxsets, meaning bigger discount per-story) as well as picture quality (since I have PAL-compatible equipment, I get the slightly higher resolution--540i vs. 480i--and I don't have to watch a standards-converted picture, though I'm sure the standards conversion given to the US discs is as good as possible, as the ones given to other UK shows like 'Allo 'Allo and Are You Being Served? are first-rate).






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