As a family, we loved so many things about the most recently-concluded Doctor Who series.
The head-spinning convolutions of forking and back-flipping character timelines; the awesome creepiness of The Silence; the return of old friends like the Cybermen and Craig Owens; and of course, butt-kicking alternate-existence Amy Pond:
While two halves of the complete sixth series — spanning Matt Smith’s second full season in the role — have been available for separate purchase for awhile, this newly-released six-disc set not only includes the entire 13-episode arc and the usual bonuses, but the 2010 Christmas Special (“A Christmas Carol”) and several mini-episodes, including some created exclusively for this release.
For fans who like to listen to the behind-the-scenes insight, for instance, five of the episodes come with commentary tracks, and I was particularly excited to hear Neil Gaiman accompanying the fantastic episode he penned, “The Doctor’s Wife.” The set also includes 15 “Doctor Who Confidential” documentary episodes, the “Monster Files,” and trailers for the first and second halves of the season.
But if your family, like ours, just can’t get enough Doctor Who, you’re likely to find that the best extra bits are those which present new — if all-too-short — snapshots of the Doctor and his companions’ adventures. “Space” and “Time,” for example, are a pair of silly but fun three-minute episodes aired in March as part of the BBC’s Comic Relief charity telethon, and though they’ve been viewable on YouTube, this is their first official North American release.
There are also five short episode “prequels” originally released on the web and linked to “The Impossible Astronaut,” “The Curse of the Black Spot,” “A Good Man Goes to War,” “Let’s Kill Hitler,” and “The Wedding of River Song.”
The real joy of the extras, though, is found in the five mini-episodes collectively referred to as “Night and the Doctor,” written by Steven Moffat and produced specifically for this video release. They’re the perfect mix of humor and melancholy and wonder and manage to function wonderfully as both tiny, individual story-moments and pieces of the larger landscape that click neatly with the full episodes.
Every series of Doctor Who has its advocates and detractors, of course, and I know not everyone found this particular ride as enjoyable as others, but I thought the cast and writers and storytellers did an amazing job this time around, and I’m looking forward to taking the trip over and over again.
And guess what? You can, too!
BBC Worldwide has three DVD sets of the Complete Sixth Series to give away to GeekDad readers! Enter your information in the form below to enter, or if the form doesn’t work for you fill it in here instead. Only residents of the U.S. and Canada are eligible to enter, and all entries must be received by 11:59pm Eastern Time on Monday, November 28, 2011.
Disclosure: BBC Worldwide provided the DVD set for this review.