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Doctor Who: Series 1-7(TV) (2005-2013)
The Complete Doctor Who Seasons 1-7, plus Complete Specials and bonus disc.
For more about Doctor Who: Series 1-7 and the Doctor Who: Series 1-7 Blu-ray release, see Doctor Who: Series 1-7 Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on December 5, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill, Alex Kingston, David Tennant, Christopher Eccleston
Director: Adam Smith
This Blu-ray bundle includes the following titles, see individual titles for specs and details:
Doctor Who: Series 1-7 Blu-ray Review
An exhaustive, frankly exhausting box set. And I'm still hungry for more!
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, December 5, 2013
Whovians, rejoice! Doctor Who has arrived on Blu-ray in its entirety in an arguably must-own set sure to be the envy of fellow fans this holiday season. Though notably pricey, the 29-disc Complete Series box set is worth consideration... if, that is, BBC's hefty, beautifully constructed, high-quality Sonic Screwdriver Universal Remote (MSRP $100) strikes you as an enticing collectible; enticing enough to justify splurging now rather than waiting for the individual seasons and remasters to receive separate releases. (Personally, I find the screwdriver pack-in to be a fun, entertaining treat. It even comes with a plastic-domed display stand. Although I will say my son, recognizing a top dollar, top shelf toy when he sees one, commandeered the device within a day of its arrival.) The complete Doctor Who series comes packaged in an oversized box with individual, standard-sized Blu-ray cases devoted to each season, the 2008-10 specials collection, and the set's exclusive bonus disc and documentaries. In other words, significant shelf space isn't a prerequisite.
Along with the Sonic Screwdriver remote, the 29-disc Doctor Who treasure box also features:
Doctor Who: Series 1-7 Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Doctor Who collection is a tale of two presentations: Series 1-4 and 2008 David Tennant special "The Next Doctor" have been upscaled to 1080p from a take-it-or-leave-it standard definition source, while the remaining 1080p presentations of Series 5-7, the additional Tennant specials and the 2010-12 Christmas specials have been created from a native high definition source. The differences are quite startling if you aren't prepared for the changeover, and the boost in color, clarity and crispness when moving from Series 4 to The Complete Specials or Series 5 is dramatic and dazzling. That doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with Series 1-4, though. Nor is there a feasible way BBC Entertainment could have delivered the first four seasons any other way. The upgrade from DVD isn't blatantly obvious, at least not initially, but if you know what to look for, improvements abound. Colors are a touch stronger, saturation is a bit more lifelike, black levels are both deeper and purer, contrast is more consistent, and several eyesores from the DVDs are MIA (particularly compression artifacts and encode-born macroblocking, which have all but been eliminated). The softness inherent to any upscaled presentation and the anomalies that frequent the show's visual effects sequences (aliasing especially) are really the only irritations to be had, and again, none of it could have been prevented or lessened. The first four seasons aren't going to wow anyone, no argument here. But, all things considered, the first four seasons couldn't look any better than they do here.
The rest of the seasons and specials have already been released on Blu-ray in one form or another. The Complete Specials, The Complete Fifth Series, The Complete Sixth Series and Series 7's four individual releases all topped out at 1080i. Until now, only The Complete Seventh Series box set offered a 1080p Doctor Who presentation. That all changes with BBC's 29-disc set. Everything is AVC-encoded 1080p, including all of the seasons that were previously released in 1080i. And, for all intents and purposes, the new 1080p presentations are as close to perfect as any Doctor Who fanatic could hope for. Now, the old 1080i releases were no slouch in the video department, so the upgrade we're discussing isn't game-changing or life-affirming. Most viewers won't even notice the difference without comparing screenshots or scrutinizing any given episode. That doesn't mean there aren't notable improvements, though. Superior quality abounds -- slight as it may seem at times -- and the few issues that haunted each season and special's 1080i counterpart have, for the most part, disappeared. Any unsightly business that remains is merely a product of the source or the show's modestly budgeted VFX. Nothing more sinister.
Colors and primaries are striking, fleshtones and saturation are lovely on the whole, black levels are bold and wholly satisfying, edge definition is clean and refined, textures are exceedingly well-resolved, and delineation is excellent. Moreover, significant artifacting, banding, ringing and other mishaps are kept at bay. Yes, blink-and-miss-it aliasing still manages to creep in from time to time, grain-like noise is an inherent part of the image and, every now and then, contrast is superheated to the point of growing a wee bit overbearing. But once again, the series' source and photography are the culprit. And none of it amounts to anything of consequence. The Doctor Who box set could have been a lazy double dip that slapped all the previously released discs in one premium-priced package. Instead, the studio has taken the road less traveled, honoring fans with the best presentations possible for each and every episode. There's absolutely nothing here that should be cause for legitimate disappointment. The first four seasons were shot in SD. Deal with it. Better on Blu-ray than not. The specials and last three seasons have never looked better. Embrace it. Enjoy it. Eat it up. This is the set every Who fan should have at the top of their wish list. If I wasn't lucky enough to already own a copy, it would certainly be sitting at the top of my own list.
Doctor Who: Series 1-7 Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Pleased as I was with the video presentation, the Doctor Who set offers a more consistent audio experience. Each season, episode and special is presented in all its lossless glory with terrific DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround. (Note: the majority of the previously released DW Blus offer DTS-HD High Resolution audio, but no lossless mix.) Subjectively, listeners will note a slight uptick in perceived -- key word perceived -- quality from one series to the next. Objectively, though, every season's mix is as proficient and precise as any other. Any "improvement" should be chalked up to the show's steadily increasing production values and other ingrained factors; not a quality discrepancy of any sort. The first season in particular is rougher than the rest, while Series 5-7 feature the most progressively cinematic sound design of the seven. So what does any excitable fan have to look forward to? LFE output is aggressive and booming, throwing its weight behind every explosion, implosion, TARDIS crash, hurtling spacecraft, doomed planet, Dalek blast, Cybermen assault, lumbering beast and destructive interstellar event the Doctor(s) encounter. The rear speakers are convincing and nicely populated too, with slick, smooth pans and accurate directionality (especially in more atmospheric or frightening episodes, where nightmarish happenings are made that much more intense by the already engaging soundfield). Better still, dynamics are quite excellent, and dialogue remains clean, clear and carefully prioritized throughout all seven seasons. The series' music comes on a bit strong on occasion, but it hardly amounts to an issue. Short version: no complaints here.
Doctor Who: Series 1-7 Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
If there's one quibble to be had with the box set's supplemental package it's that Series 1-4 doesn't include any new special features, nor is any of it presented in HD. Be that as it may, I'm a happy boy. Most everything available has been transplanted to the 29-disc set, and if that isn't enough for you, a bonus disc with even more content tops of the collection. Would I have liked to see an high definition Tennant retrospective? An HD look-back at Eccleston's run? Absolutely. Is it a deal breaker? Not at all. The set is bursting with value, especially for those who don't already own the DVD versions of Series 1-4.
Discs 1-3: The Complete First Series
Series One Special Features
Discs 4-6: The Complete Second Series
Series Two Special Features
Discs 7-9: The Complete Third Series
Series Three Special Features
Discs 10-13: The Complete Fourth Series
Series Four Special Features
Discs 14-16: The Complete Specials - Remastered
Discs 17-20: The Complete Fifth Series - Remastered
Series Five Special Features
Discs 21-24: The Complete Sixth Series - Remastered
Series Six Special Features
Discs 25-28: The Complete Seventh Series
Series Seven Special Features
Disc 29: Doctor Who Bonus Disc
Doctor Who: Series 1-7 Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Doctor Who isn't necessarily the ideal candidate for a sprawling 29-disc Blu-ray box set. After all, its first four seasons weren't shot in HD, making theirs a decent but decidedly upscaled presentation. Even so, every season, episode and special is delivered in 1080p with DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround, and AV quality remains as impressive as it could be from start to finish. Add to that hours upon hours upon hours of special features, audio commentaries, documentaries, Doctor Who Confidential featurettes and much, much more -- including a first class Sonic Screwdriver remote sure to bring out the kid in every Whovian -- and you have a pricey but tempting box set worthy of any fan's collection. Add this to your Wish List, your Christmas List... whatever list has the best chance of getting the Series 1-7 mega-set under your tree this year.
Doctor Who: Other Seasons
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Doctor Who: Series 1-7 Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Doctor Who: Series 1-7 Limited Edition Blu-ray Giftset Detailed (... - September 5, 2013
Warner Bros. and BBC Home Entertainment have detailed the 29-disc Blu-ray release of the Doctor Who: Series 1-7 Limited Edition Giftset, which features all seven seasons of the series (with the first four seasons making their Blu-ray debut), hours of extras, a ...
• Doctor Who: Series 1-7 Limited Edition Giftset - July 17, 2013
BBC Home Entertainment is bringing Doctor Who: Series 1-7 to Blu-ray in a Limited Edition giftset. The first four seasons of the long-running show's relaunch are making their Blu-ray debuts. Special features have yet to be detailed, and BBC has not announced if ...
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