Doctor Who – The Complete Fifth Series (Blu-ray Review)

The latest entry in the long running Doctor Who series is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.  Starring Matt Smith as the new “Eleventh Doctor,” who has taken over the role from the well-regarded David Tennant.  Joining him as the new companion is Karen Gillan as Amelia Pond (or Amy as she prefers to be called later).  The show’s amazing longevity is truly impressive considering that it started in 1963 and it’s still playing today.  The show is popular across the world and for all ages and it’s currently listed in the Guinness World Records as the longest running science-fiction show.


The clever touch that’s allowed the show to last this long is thanks to the the Doctor’s ability to regenerate every time he dies, which changes his appearance and some personality quirks which allows other actors to step into the role if needed.  The role originated by William Hartnell who was followed by Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, and currently by Matt Smith who was the youngest Doctor when he was cast at the age of 26.

The success of the show depends a lot on who is cast as the Doctor which wasn’t even the role that Matt Smith auditioned for originally, as he was trying to be cast as John Watson in the new show called Sherlock which was being cast at the same time.  Executive Producer Stephen Moffat thought he would be a better fit as the new Doctor although he had to convince others as they thought he was too young and that he wasn’t experienced enough to play the difficult role.  As Moffat said, “The Doctor is a very special part, and it takes a very special actor to play him. You need to be old and young at the same time, a boffin and an action hero, a cheeky schoolboy and the wise old man of the universe. As soon as Matt walked through the door, and blew us away with a bold and brand new take on the Time Lord, we knew we had our man.”

I have to say that Matt Smith made the role his own in the first 10 minutes of his appearance and solidified it by the episode’s end.  It’s rare to see someone come into an established role so confidently and act as if he’s been playing the role for years but he somehow pulls it off.  His companions are equally good and I enjoyed the back-story of his meeting young Amelia Pond and telling her he would return in five minutes only to return 12 years later.  It gives an interesting dynamic to their relationship from then on, as she still thinks of him as her knight in shining armor but also as the man who lied to her and completely let her down.  Her boyfriend at the start of the series is Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill) who provides a lot of the comedy relief but later on shows his devotion to Amy and his true mettle.

As with other seasons of Doctor Who, this one doesn’t lack for a variety of interesting villains.  There’s inter-dimensional prison wardens, vampires, Daleks, and more who show up to cause trouble for the Doctor and his companions.  A lot of people are put off by the special effects and the prosthetics  makeup used on the show but I think it’s part of the show’s charm much like the original series of Star Trek.  Plus, I think the effects have improved over time for the show so it’s going to keep getting better and better.


After watching another recent BBC release – Sherlock which had a great picture but was almost colorless due to the nature of the show, this 1080i transfer with it’s 1.78:1 aspect ratio is a huge difference!  The colors are vivid and just pop and this is such a colorful show that you end up spending a lot of time admiring the picture quality.  Flesh-tones are pleasing and the contrast is excellent and this is a very nice picture overall.  There is a little softness during some of the CGI effects but nothing too bad and not enough from me to lower the rating.


Now we come to my favorite part of this set…the fantastic DTS-HD 5.1 surround track!  This is an extremely playful track with sound effects swirling around the room and hearing the LFE kick in when the show’s theme kicks in is great!  Dialogue is clear and although the music can be aggressive, it never drowns out the actor’s voices.  The satellite speakers are used really well and you will hear sounds pan across your room to your delight.  This is a superb surround mix especially for a television show!

Special Features  

This is a pretty impressive effort – especially for a television show.  With it’s six picture in picture commentaries and over four hours of extra content, this one will keep you busy for awhile.  All of the extras are in HD except for the Video Diaries.  I personally liked the picture in picture commentaries the best because a lot of material is covered such as the production of the show, creating a new Doctor, writing the scripts, and the challenges they faced making the show.  Since the talk is given by the producers, it’s more technical oriented but I still found it interesting.

In-Vision Video Commentaries:  Six informative Picture-in-Picture commentaries for:

  • The Eleventh Hour – with executive producers Steven Moffat, Piers Wenger,  and Beth Willis
  • Victory of the Daleks –  with writer Mark Gatiss, Dalek voice-over actor Nicholas Briggs and Dalek motion actor Barnaby Edwards
  • The Time of Angels – with Moffat and Karen Gillan
  • The Vampires of Venice –  with director Jonny Campbell, writer Toby Whithouse and Alex Price
  • Cold Blood – with director Ashley Way, second assistant director James Dehaviland, and Alun Raglan
  • Big Bang – with Karen Gillan, director Toby Haynes and Arthur Darvil

Doctor Who Confidential
– A behind the scenes featurette is provided for each of the thirteen episodes and covers the usual basic fluff that that isn’t very substantive but there are some interesting tidbits included.

Video Diaries – Video diaries from the actors that portray the Doctor, Amy, and Rory, where they take you through an average day of filming while showing off a behind the scenes tour that includes the previous TARDIS.

Monster Files – A talk about the various antagonists the Doctor encounters – from aliens, weird creatures, the Weeping Angels, the Silurians, and of course the infamous Daleks.

Meanwhile in the TARDIS – Two scenes added as a bonus to bridge what happens between the episodes.

Outtakes – The usual mistakes captured on set.

Final Thoughts  

This is a fun show and if you liked the previous incarnations of Doctor Who, I can safely say you will enjoy this one too.  Matt Smith brings a good sense of humor, some welcome physical comedy, and just enough strangeness to make this latest version of the Doctor a success and a worthy addition to the pantheon of Doctors. Combine that with a set that has an excellent picture and sound and you have a solid reason to pick this set up!

Order yours today!


4 Responses to “Doctor Who – The Complete Fifth Series (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Gerard Iribe

    My GF is a diehard fan of this show and loves David Tenant.

    We’re watching the first season right now with Christopher Eccelston as Dr. Who. It’s kind of funny, because if you’ve seen Christopher he’s always playing bad guys and never looks happy. He’s the total opposite in Dr. Who. It’s so weird. No wonder he was the Dr. for just one season. lol

    I hope the rest of the series get the blu-ray treatment.

  2. Aaron Neuwirth

    This is the kind of show that I know I’d love, but will just never have the time to get around to. Damn. It sounds so great too. I guess I’ll just have to keep reading what Sean thinks about it.

  3. Brian White

    Hmm…this does sound very interesting!

  4. Sean Ferguson

    If you guys want to start watching the show, I recommend starting at the first series and working your way up to this. But if you don’t want to do that, I think you can start here and figure out what’s going on pretty quickly. The good news is that you can start watching them from the beginning on instant netflix!