To buy or not to buy, that is the question for DOCTOR WHO fans. Fork out on these extras-free three-episode compilations of the triumphant new series or wait for the extras-heavy TARDIS-shaped boxset due at the end of November? Well, you can track these releases down online for about a tenner so it? a worthwhile investment for these pristine, gleaming, interruption-free instalments. Go on, you know you want tozbr />
Here they are then, episodes one to three of this long-awaited reinvention of a TV icon. It? a treat to sit and watch these episodes together, free of Graham Nortion voiceovers and continuity announcements. They?e great episodes – although, as we know, the best of the series was yet to come (and may still be yet to come). Series opener ?ose?came in for a bit of flak from the fan community when it was broadcast due to its breathless pace and under-nourished narrative. They?e missed the point of the episode, though; ?ose?is about?ell, it? about Rose Tyler. It? about establishing, in tightly-edited sequences, the tedium of her everyday existence and it? about how she? taken away from everything she knows and understands by the sudden appearance of this larger-than-life, leather-jacketed Northerner with a grin as wide as the English Channel and a nice line in bigger-on-the-inside-than-outside Police Boxes. ?ose?is a thrilling ride and it really does improve the more you watch it. Russell T Davies? lively script is high on character (as it should be for a first episode) with far too many highlights for a forty-five minute television episode. Piper is impressive from the off and Eccleston has a manic energy and comic sensibility which explain exactly why he was so keen to take on the role. He? never been better. Episode two ?he End of the World?sees the pair travelling 500 million years into the future, to the dying moments of the planet Earth. The Doctor and Rose join a menagerie of outrageous aliens gathered together on a space platform to watch the Earth consumed by the sun. Loads more fun here with the show flexing its production muscles and Davies turning in a script which just about manages to stay the right side of the dramatic. The show moves up a gear with the first non-Davies script, Mark Gatiss? ?he Unquiet Dead?which drops the Doctor and Rose in Victorian Cardiff coinciding with a Christmas recital from a visiting Charles Dickens (Simon Callow). Meanwhile the dead are being reanimated by a desperate gaseous alien life form? The best of the bunch this is textbook classic DOCTOR WHO, the Victorian era lovingly recreated and with some stunning visual effects and a witty, exciting script.
Endlessly rewatchable, these are episodes to cherish. The first signs are here, though, that whilst Davies? contributions to the series are arch and fun, it? the other writers who have really gotten to the heart of what makes DOCTOR WHO work and crafted stories which the hardcore fans and the show? huge new audience will love in equal measure. Who? have thought we? ever have it so good again?
THE DISC: No extras at all but the picture transfer is superb and the sound mix, though not advertised as 5.1, makes a good use of my surround sound system so?rUwho knows?