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Doctor Who Series 11 Blu-ray Review

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The new cast shines bright in the eleventh series of “Doctor Who.”

Having regenerated into a woman (it’s about time!), the Doctor (the thirteenth incarnation to be exact) has befriended a new set of companions for a new set of adventures in the ten episode eleventh series of the long-running British sci-fi television series. Joining her in her adventures through space and time are Ryan (a warehouse worker with dyspraxia), Graham (a retired and lost stepfather to Ryan), and Yasmin (a police constable). In this batch of episodes, viewers can expect to see plots involving a new foe named Tzim-Sha, a tragic death, an intergalactic race on the planet Desolation, Rosa Parks, giant spiders, a creature (Pting) that eats everything non-organic, spaceships, the Punjab in the year 1947, a galactic online shopping warehouse, witch trials, a portal in Norway, and telekinetic beings known as the Ux. Alas, the New Year’s Day special “Resolution” (which is easily the best of the thirteenth Doctor era so far) is not included and will be released separately.

After Steven Moffat, Pearl Mackie, and Peter Capaldi departed the series, it was time for a brand new era. Chris Chibnall came on board as the new showrunner, Jodie Whittaker became the first female Doctor, and the cast of companions were now comprised of Bradley Walsh (Graham), Tosin Cole (Ryan), and Mandip Gill (Yasmin). From a cast and character perspective, the eleventh series really soars. Not only does each episode provide and more characterization (which it this season’s strong suit), but you also really get a feel for the tight knit dynamic between the thirteenth Doctor and her companions thanks to the acting talent of this fantastic ensemble. Jodie Whittaker is an absolute delight as the 13th Doctor. She’s enthusiastic, physical, and just an all-around bad-ass. She really makes the character her own which is exactly how it should be. Walsh, Cole, and Gill are also strong additions to the DW universe. I can’t say I was overly familiar with their prior work, but I’ve become instant fans of these actors.

As enjoyable as it is to see the cast in action, Chris Chibnall does struggle a bit when it comes to the stories. Now, I am glad to see that Chibnall is exploring important topics like race, diversity, gender, and cultures within the series. When he does touch upon these topics like in the poignant “Rosa,” the show is firing on all cylinders. Where Chibnall doesn’t fare as well is with his original creations. The lack of familiar characters and villains really does hurt the season overall as you find yourself missing those key elements. I understand Chibnall’s desire to tell new stories and bring in new monsters, but the problem is that his creations feel too generic and ordinary with the exception of the creepy Tzim-Sha. I know I personally could have done without the ridiculous narratives in “The Tsuranga Conundrum” (which plays like a cross between “Junior” and “Lilo And Stitch”) and “Kerblam!” (which contains deadly bubble wrap).

Luckily, there are a number of highlights in terms of episodes. The premiere “The Woman Who Fell To Earth” is far and away the best of the ten episodes as it introduces the new new cast and the aforementioned villain Tzim-Sha. “Rosa” was a touching story about Civil Rights hero Rosa Parks, “The Witchfinders” sports a wonderful scenery chewing performance by Alan Cumming, “It Takes You Away” is a trippy portal episode, and “The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos” is an epic finale that ties heavily into the premiere.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2:1 1080p. How does it look? Each new season has looked better and better visually and series 11 is no exception. Honestly, I was rather stunned at how cinematic it appeared on Blu-ray.

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? From the iconic sound f/x to the dialogue, this is a sharp 5.1 track.

Extras:
* Free “Doctor Who” comics from Comixology
* 2 video diaries from cast members.
* “Closer Looks”- Each episode gets a short behind-the-scenes featurette revolving around everything from the new Sonic Screwdriver to the making of scenes.
* “Becoming The Doctor”- A featurette spotlighting Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor.
* “Regenerating Doctor Who”- A featurette about the new era of series 11.
* “Directing Doctor Who”- An extra revolves around director Jamie Childs.
* A fun conversational commentary on “The Woman Who Fell To Earth” by Jamie Childs and Jodie Whittaker, a thoughtful commentary on “Rosa” by Malorie Blackman, Mandip Gill, and Alex Mercer
* British ads and commercials, a talkative commentary on “The Tsuranga Conundrum” by Mandip Gill, Ben Bailey Smith, Suzanne Packer, and Nikki Wilson, an informative commentary on “The Demons of Punjab” by Alex Mercer, Mandip Gill, Shane Zaza, and Vinay Patel,
* “Friends of the Doctor”- A very short 1 minute piece that is more about The Doctor than anything else.
* “Everything You Need To Know About The TARDIS”- The title says it all.
* “Making The Theme Tune”- An extra all about the new composer Segun Akinola.
* “Best Of Social”- A look at the playfulness behind-the-scenes.

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January 31, 2019 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , ,

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