Review: Doctor Who - The Complete Sixth Series (12) / Directed by: Various / Written By: Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss, Various / Starring: Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill / Release Date: Out Now
2011 was an odd year for Doctor Who, a split series left many a die hard fan with an odd taste in our mouths. The termination of Confidential and the announcement that we will soon be deprived of our Rory and Amy goodness has not helped, but with the latest series available in one handy box set we can experience all the stories back to back and distract ourselves until the long wait is over and the leaves turn golden brown.
The inclusion of Christmas 2010 special ‘A Christmas Carol’, starts this run off well, (although, if you want to see the Doctor Who Proms will still need to buy the vanilla release) and we hit the ground running with the - apparently - fixed point in time that is 'The Impossible Astronaut'. The Grand Moff and co guide us on a breathtaking trip through the (largely) reverse life of River Song and witness the SF staple that is a rapidly aging child and a host of other topics that kept internet forums buzzing thorough the game of two halves.
I will not bore you with an episode by episode breakdown. Other reviewers have that covered elsewhere and I need to examine the box set as a single entity. Does watching these episodes in one sitting make it any better? An unreserved ‘Yes’. Moments of perceived dullness such as ‘The One with the Pirates’ or ‘The One with The Dolls House’ whizz by as we pop in on ‘The One By Neil’ and onward to the visual treat that is ‘The One Where We Know How it Ends by Watching the 'Previously On’.
A full disc of cut down Confidentials makes its last showing and shoots itself in its own foot with the infamous ‘Top Gear’ episode but it is with the River Song heavy ‘Night with the Doctor’ series of short episodes that this box set really gives us a reason to buy. The remaining parts of River's life are played out before us in a collection of moving and funny moments. Specially shot for the DVD. Maybe it's the future of DVD box sets to have whole episodes that never appear on television. Weather this signals the beginning of the end of televised Doctor Who or simply illustrates the standard of writing that the Moff era has to offer, time will only tell.
Another extra worthy of mention is the Neil Gaiman solo commentary on his episode. Basically it is the coolest chat you will ever experience, a peek into the mind of the king of the Goths.
Maybe it’s that I have been spoilt by the simply wonderful extras that are on the Classic series DVD release that these gems still leave me wanting more. Maybe those will turn up in twenty years time on a format not even on the drawing board yet...