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Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol Blu-ray and The Sarah Jane Adventures Season 3 DVD Reviews

 

“A Christmas Carol” is far and away the best “Doctor Who” Christmas special to date.

The third season of “The Sarah Jane Adventures” is full of fun-filled adventures.

Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol

The story: After learning that the spaceship Amy and Rory are on is about to crash, the Doctor must try and convince a mean old man named Kazran to help out in this situation. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done as Kazran is a seemingly heartless powerful heir who doesn’t care about anyone. The Doctor isn’t about to give up, however, as he decides to jump around from past to present to make Kazran see the error of his ways and become a more compassionate person. There’s more to the story than that, of course, but I don’t feel like spoling the journey entirely.

In the past, the Christmas episodes have been decidedly hit-and-miss, but Steven Moffat has managed to create an episode that is leagues above the past specials. “A Christmas Carol” is a flat-out creative spin on Charles Dickens’ classic story that cleverly uses time travel as a storytelling device (which seems to be a Moffat speciality). Not only that, but Moffat has also crafted a heartfelt story to boot thanks in part to stand-out performances by guest star Michael Gambon (of “Harry Potter” fame) and the ever reliable Matt Smith. Singer Katherine Jenkins also shines in her first real acting role.

Really, the only thing I didn’t particularly care for in this episode was the flying shark and fish. It was just a little too cartoony for my taste.

Summary: “A Christmas Carol” is a must own disc for any Whovian. Note: I have heard that this episode will be released in the eventual season 6 set in case you want to wait for it. However, I have heard that the 2 great extras would not be included in that set.

The widescreen 1080i picture quality is gorgeous. From the opening shot in space to the TARDIS interior, everything looks snazzy as can be. With that said, there was one issue I noticed. Sometimes when there was a cut to another shot, I noticed a patch of black specs during the transition. It was distracting to say the least.

As per usual, the DTS-HD 5.1 audio track is full of life with the brilliant music score, sound f/x, and crackling dialogue.

Extras:
* “Doctor Who” series 5 trailer.
* “Doctor Who Confidential Christmas Special 2010”- Like all Confidential episodes, it features behind-the-scenes footage, discussions about the episode, a table read, etc .Also included is footage of the cast at a public Christmas event. A fun watch.
* “Doctor Who At The Proms 2010”- A concert special with a live performance of the great music score from “Doctor Who”. Cast members (as well as costumed aliens) also make appearances. This is a great event for the whole family.

The Sarah Jane Adventures Season 3

Sarah Jane Smith, Rani, Luke, and Clyde are back again with new adventures that have them encountering the Blathereen (aliens from the same planet as the Slitheen), a Judoon Captain who is trying to track down an escaped prisoner, the villainous Mona Lisa, the Trickster, “ghostly” occurences, and a mysterious carnival. Best of all: Sarah and company team-up with K-9 and the tenth Doctor.

The third season of SJA turns out to be the best season to date. Not only are most of the stories generally well-written (aside from “Mona Lisa’s Revenge”), but there’s more character development for characters such as Rani (as seen in “The Mad Woman In The Attic” episode). The real highlights, however, are the references to and appearances by “Doctor Who” characters. As mentioned above, the tenth Doctor appears here in “The Wedding Of Sarah Jane Smith” episode and it’s absolutely delightful and emotional especially knowing that this is the last thing Tennant ever filmed as the Doctor. As an added bonus, the best alien species in the new series (the Judoon) show up for the season premiere “Prisoner Of The Judoon”. Don’t ask me why, but I love the Judoon aliens and the new Judoon character Captain Tybo was a great creation. I hope he will appear again sometime in a future season as he easily steals the show.

Unfortunately, the third season does have one blemish in “Mona Lisa’s Revenge”. Not only is the story mediocre at best, but the episode features some of the most obnoxious overacting by Suranne Jones (who played Mona Lisa). The less said about this episode the better.

Summary: If you love “Doctor Who” or “The Sarah Jane Adventures,” this is a must own set simply for the first 3 episodes alone.

The widescreen picture quality is the best to date for a SJA season. The Dolby Digital Stereo is also adequate and does its job well.

The only extras are an audio clip for the audiobook “The Sarah Jane Adventures: The White Wolf” and trailers for “Doctor Who” series 5 and “Torchwood: Children Of Earth”.

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February 20, 2011 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review, DVD review | , , , , , , , , , ,

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