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Doctor Who Series 8 Blu-ray Review

Doctor Who Series 8 Blu-ray

Peter Capaldi carries the eighth series of “Doctor Who.”

In the 12 episode eighth series of “Doctor Who,” Whovians are at long last introduced to the 12th Doctor. In this season, The Doctor once again comes face to face with the villainous Daleks, Clockwork Droids, Cybermen, and an old foe that makes a surprising return. On top of that, the good (or is he bad?) Doctor meets Robin Hood, becomes embroiled in a heist, travels to the moon, meets a deadly mummy on a space train, encounters the killer Skovox Blitzer and becomes shrunken down in size along with his TARDIS. Clara, meanwhile, finds herself becoming overwhelmed as she must juggle her job at Coal Hill school, a new boyfriend (teacher Danny Pink), and constant trips through space and time with The Doctor.

While Steven Moffat has arguably written some of the best episodes of the RTD era, his own era has been a decidedly up and down affair. Alas, the inconsistent writing is still an issue in the show’s eighth series.

First off, don’t fret too much as there is much to enjoy in this series. Right out of the gate, you get two good old fashioned Who tales with the clever and gimmicky “Into The Dalek” and the uproarious old school adventure“Robot of Sherwood” (which is my personal favorite of the season). Other highlights include the underrated “Ocean’s 11” esque episode “Time Heist,” the Clara centric “Flatline” (which essentially has her taking on The Doctor’s role), and the grandiose 2 part finale “Dark Water” and “Death In Heaven” which sees the return of the Cybermen and another villain (won’t spoil who). On the subject of the 2 parter, not only will many fans be happy to see Moffat address a common complaint, but they’ll also be wowed by the performance by Michelle Gomez. Again, I won’t say who she is playing, but I just hope we will see more of her character in the near future.

Highlights aside, series 8 also boasts some serious low points. In the 51 years since the show’s inception, I’m hard pressed to think of an episode that is as embarrassing as “In The Forest of the Night.” The well intentioned Eco message is lost amidst nauseating soap opera drama and irritating child characters. “Kill The Moon” was another episode that fell apart at the seams due to a dodgy concept and a completely ridiculous ending that had many fans throwing their hands up in defeat. Both of these episodes also demonstrate the fact that there should be a moratorium on kids in the TARDIS from here on out.

One thing that wasn’t inconsistent this season is Peter Capaldi (who portrays the 12th Doctor). Capaldi brings a much needed edge to the series by making this incarnation bookish, secretive, and sometimes downright rude and inconsiderate. Capaldi also brings some genuine humor to the series mostly due in part to the character’s extreme arrogance. Since Capaldi has been a longtime fan of the show, it’s clear in every scene that the actor is having a blast playing this once in a lifetime role. Hopefully, he will be able to stick around for a few more seasons at least.

As for Jenna Coleman’s Clara Oswald character, she continues to be a thorn in many fans’ side. Aside from her intriguing introduction in “Asylum of the Daleks,” the writers just don’t seem to know what to do with the character. Moffat and company try to spice the character up by giving her a boyfriend in Danny Pink, but that story fizzles out quickly. Simply put, she’s just a bland character who is dragging the series down.

Note: I reviewed a screener copy so I cannot comment on the picture and audio quality.

Extras:
* “Doctor Who,” “Sherlock,” “The Honorable Woman,” “Miss Marple,” “The Intruders,” “The Game,” and various detective series ads.
* “Doctor Who Live Pre-Show”- Chris Hardwick and Wil Wheaton host this “Deep Breath” talk show pre-show.
* “Doctor Who After Who Live”- Chris Hardwick, Wil Wheaton, Natalie Morales, Alton Brown and more appear on this post “Deep Breath” special.
* “Tour of the TARDIS”- The title says it all, folks.
* “London Post-Premiere Q&A”- Zoe Ball hosts a half hour “Deep Breath” Q&A with Steven Moffat, Jenna Coleman and Peter Capaldi.
* “Earth Conquest- The World Tour”- A 48 minute behind-the-scenes special on the 7 city publicity tour that took place in 2014. One of the best extras on this set.
* “Doctor Who Exclusive”- A 4 part extra in which Steven Moffat chats about casting Peter Capaldi, the series, and season 8. Basically, it’s an extra that sells the show and the new season.
* A jovial commentary on “Into The Dalek” by writer Phil Ford and episode director Ben Wheatley.
* “The Ultimate Time Lord”- Peter Davison hosts this delightful 45 minute extra in which he talks to cast and crew members past and present about “Doctor Who.”
* A dry solo commentary on “Robot of Sherwood” by director Paul Murphy. It would have nice to hear Gatiss or even Ben Miller on this track, but alas no.
* Commentary on “The Caretaker” by Paul Murphy, Kate Walsh, Pete Hawkins. Better than the ‘Sherwood’ commentary, but still not thrilling.
* “The Ultimate Companion”- Peter Davison hosts this companion piece special to “The Ultimate Time Lord.” In this one, he interviews “Doctor Who” companions (and other cast/crew members) past and present. Another extra well worth watching.
* A passable commentary on “Kill The Moon” by director Paul Wilmshurst and assistant director Scott Bates
* A music video for the Foxes “Don’t Stop Me Now” song.
* Behind The Scenes segments for all 12 episodes.

Overall Thoughts: Seris 8 was far from perfect, but this Blu-ray set is well worth picking up just to watch Peter Capaldi in action.

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December 8, 2014 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , , , , ,

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