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Doctor Who: Series Seven, Part One(TV) (2012)
Daleks? Dinosaurs on a spaceship? Interstellar cowboys? The longawaited, much talked-about seventh series features five episodes and a wild array of new thrills-and dangers. While the eleventh Doctor continues his time-travelling adventures, it's the final farewell for Amy and Rory.
For more about Doctor Who: Series Seven, Part One and the Doctor Who: Series Seven, Part One Blu-ray release, see Doctor Who: Series Seven, Part One Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on January 9, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill, Alex Kingston, David Tennant, Christopher Eccleston
Narrators: Nicholas Briggs, Marnix Van Den Broeke
Directors: Adam Smith, Ben Wheatley, Jeremy Webb, Toby Haynes
» See full cast & crew
Doctor Who: Series Seven, Part One Blu-ray Review
A short but solid five-episode opener...
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, January 9, 2013
Doctor Who had, until recently, been trapped in a nebulous limbo of sorts for what seemed an eternity. Does the good Doctor need a twelfth facelift? New companions? A greater, grander mystery? More terrifying enemies? Or more of everything fans have eaten out of former showrunner Russel T. Davies and current TARDIS captain Steven Moffat's hand over the past seven years? Questions, questions, questions, with very few concrete answers. Moffat finally came to a decision, though; a weirdly publicized decision in which he and his cast repeatedly confirmed Matt Smith's Eleventh Doctor would be jetting off on further adventures without companions Amy Pond and Rory Williams (actors Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill, who turn in their guns and badges in the seventh series' fifth episode). So much for the element of surprise.
Slightly more disconcerting (and yet somehow both reassuring and exciting) is the fact that the recently aired, wonderfully conceived 2012 Doctor Who Christmas special, "The Snowmen" (technically the sixth episode of Series Seven), introduces a bold new direction sans Pond and Williams, making the five episodes that comprise the 2-disc Series Seven, Part One Blu-ray something of an episodic retirement party bound by the inevitable rather than the wildly unpredictable. Fortunately, it doesn't amount to a serious detriment, even if it does lessen the impact of the seventh's opening salvo. It's a minor nuisance; a bump in the space time continuum. But it also happens to be a cleverly penned, fun-filled diversion that takes its time and bids a fond, fitting farewell to Pond and Williams, all in spectacular Who style.
Later this year, BBC Video will release two, possibly even three additional Series Seven Blu-rays: an individual release of "The Snowman," a two-disc Series Seven, Part Two release and, eventually and most importantly, a five or six-disc The Complete Series Seven set loaded with additional extras not found on any of the other releases. In the interest of brevity, the following list provides a quick snapshot of the five episodes featured in Part One. I'll provide a full and more in-depth review of the entire seventh series after watching all fourteen episodes.
Doctor Who: Series Seven, Part One Blu-ray, Video Quality
Like the Blu-ray releases of Doctor Who: The Complete Fifth and Sixth Series, Series Seven, Part One materializes with a formidable 1080i/AVC-encoded video presentation that, interlaced or no, looks fantastic. Oh, there are the usual bursts of noise, problematic CG shots and less than attractive quirks, all inherent to the source, mind you, but sure to irritate those itching to nitpick Who's every last tick, no matter how minor. But it hasn't bothered me before and it doesn't bother me now. Contrast and color saturation stay on target, primaries pop with veracity, skintones are lifelike (or perfectly alien when called upon), and black levels, though a touch muted on occasion, are dark and satisfying on the whole. Delineation is dead on too, as is detail, which is as refined and revealing as ever. Edges are crisp and clean (minus some intermittent, altogether negligible VFX aliasing), textures are capably resolved, and rare is the shot that doesn't impress (budget constraints notwithstanding). Add to that a proficient encode free of serious artifacting or compression anomalies and you have another Who BD-companion worth adding to your collection.
Doctor Who: Series Seven, Part One Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Part One also features a precise and sprightly 2.0Mbps DTS-HD High Resolution 5.1 surround track, not to be confused with a full-fledged lossless Master Audio mix. Not that anyone would be likely to notice the difference if it were. LFE output is strong and sturdy, with bombast aplenty. Explosions, weapons fire, TARDIS landings, lumbering creatures and massive Weeping Angels only scratch the surface, and no episode is left powerless. The rear speakers are quite active as well, with playful (albeit sometimes restrained) directional effects, slick cross-channel pans and involving ambience. There are a few prioritization issues -- overrun voices, inconsistent dynamics and somewhat overwhelming surges of the show's score -- but dialogue is largely clear and intelligible, without any significant distractions. In the end, the Series Seven, Part One high resolution track is comparable to its Series Five and Six counterparts. Most fans will come away without any complaints.
Doctor Who: Series Seven, Part One Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Doctor Who: Series Seven, Part One Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Doctor Who: Series Seven, Part One is more concerned with setting the stage for the second half of its season, retiring the Doctor's companions a few too many episodes after Moffat and company ran out of things to do with them. Still, Amy and Rory earn a classy exit, and everything that comes before is good, episodic Whovian fun. If the most recent Doctor Who Christmas special is any indication, Series Seven, Part Two is already off to an intriguing. Sadly, we have to wait to see if the payoff is greater than the setup. Not that fans will have much to gripe about when it comes to the 2-disc Blu-ray edition of Part One. Well, other than the lack of special features, which is par for the course when it comes to BBC's initial Who Series releases. (Watch for the inevitable Complete Seventh Series box set to remedy that little issue.) Other than that, though, it's all faithful video presentations and engaging DTS-HD High Resolution tracks, which should delight any Who junkie this side of the pond.
Doctor Who: Other Seasons
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Doctor Who: Series Seven, Part One Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Exclusive Giveaway: Doctor Who Series Seven Prizes - November 10, 2012
Blu-ray.com and BBC Home Entertainment are offering three members an opportunity to win a copy of Doctor Who: Series Seven, Part One, starring Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill. One grand prize winner will also receive an official Doctor Who Sonic Screwdriver ...
• Doctor Who: Series Seven, Part One Blu-ray - September 1, 2012
BBC Home Entertainment has officially announced that it will release on Blu-ray Doctor Who: Series Seven, Part One. The two-disc set will include all five episodes and will be available for purchase on November 13th.
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