Given that, these days, a lot of people “record” Doctor Who in perfect digital quality, it seems a little daft to talk about the Series 6 boxset in terms of the episodes (especially as they were released earlier this year in two parts). You probably already know how you feel about the stories and possibly own them in some form.
The purpose of this review is to look at the Extras, if you want my opinion on the episodes themselves, then check out the episode review section HERE, where you’ll find my thoughts on this year’s stories.
EXTRAS (full rundown HERE) Shoddy is perhaps the best word to describe this offensive collection of special features. Actually, that’s not quite right. It’s what’s missing that’s the offense here: NO deleted scenes; NO outtakes; NO Doctor Who 2010 Proms (so, if you want it, you’ll need to go and buy the A Christmas Carol “vanilla” release); NO Time Runs Out trail (or any TV trails for the individual episodes); you get the idea.
There’s also no mention or clips from Doctor Who LIVE! or last year’s Nintendo games, or the special sketch featuring Dermot O’ Leary for the National Television Awards, (though, I’m assuming that’s a rights issue), or any interviews from Matt, Karen and Arthur from shows like BBC Breakfast or The One Show. It is far from complete (much in the same way the Series 5 boxset managed to omit the episode of Doctor Who Confidential announcing Matt Smith as The Doctor).
The commentaries (no in~vision ones this year – sorry Beth Willis fans) are also a mean collection. Five. Just five commentaries. Sadly, the people chosen will hardly whet your appetite. The Impossible Astronaut features two producers and Arthur Darvill whilst an FX supervisor pops up on A Good Man Goes To War (with another show from Darvill). The Wedding of River Song fares slightly better with SteeMo accompanied by the director (Jeremy Webb) and actress Frances Barber.
The problem is, the episode they’re watching hasn’t been finished. Not only that, this was the first time Barber actually watched it. Hardly informed commentary; there’s no insight or anything particularly interesting to note. Thankfully Neil Gaiman puts in an excellent performance for The Doctor’s Wife – and he’s by himself! Aside from his wonderful tones, the writer manages to pepper the commentary with numerous facts and secrets about the story.
Sticking with the positives, the “mini~episodes” are an excellent bunch with The Doctor being caught by Amy, nipping out to have some night~time fun whilst his passengers sleep. Although there’s much fun and laughs, it’s Amy’s uneasiness that’s the key here, and certain questions about existence are broached. River also turns up, again at first for giggles, but a more serious tone takes over with their relationship examined almost as thoroughly as it’s ever been. Despite their brevity, the stories leave quite the impression. A brave move for DVD “extras”.
The final “night” mini~ep doesn’t include the Doctor, Amy or River – choosing to focus on Craig and Sophie from Closing Time. It’s completely different to the others and one wonders if this was actually a prequel but someone forgot about it. Not hard to imagine as it’s utterly dispensable. The Comic Relief sketches are also included, keeping the tone light – though I should state I do find them a little bit on the tasteless side (durty boy!).
Oddly A Christmas Carol is listed as en extra which just goes to show that the “people” who put this together care not a jot for their work. And there are more inconsistencies. We get the full Confidential for the Crimbo episode yet the rest are “Cutdowns”. Why give the full length version of just one? There’s certainly nothing particularly special about that one – it’s as delightful as the rest. Also, the mini~eps are spread across three discs, so you can’t simply just watch them all at once. Amateur hour, frankly.
The Complete Sixth Series is anything but complete. In these days when we all have to save money, this set offers no value whatsoever. I suggest you either stick to your recorded versions off the telly (some people still do that, right?) or buy the Part 1 and Part 2 boxsets that were released earlier this year or wait for this product to come down in price. It’s simply not worth it.