Revisiting DOCTOR WHO: DOCTORS NINE THROUGH ELEVEN

DW-Revisited-3-2D (Special thanks to BBC Home Entertainment for providing a complimentary copy for review)

With the 50th anniversary year of Doctor Who coming to a close, it seems fitting that BBC America’s Doctor Who Revisited series would focus on the new series Doctors. Like their previous sets, the latest installment of The Doctors Revisited focuses on the Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Doctors (or the new series). Unlike the previous installments, some of the story choices are slightly questionable.

To be completely fair, the documentaries focusing on these Doctors are rather interesting….if only because they provide insight into how much history the new series has accumulated. (In all honesty, it’s been on for eight years, and can’t help but acquire some baggage). But in story choices for each Doctor, well….yes, it’s only been on eight years, but some of the choices seem a little out-of-the-blue.

For example, the Ninth Doctor is highlighted by Bad Wolf/Parting of the Ways – given the Ninth Doctor’s limited outing (only thirteen episodes), there really is not much room for other choices to be made. (The less said about Aliens of London/World War Three, the better). But given that in the accompanying documentary, Steven Moffatt discusses his own The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances in detail (and which, let’s be honest, is much better written), choosing a story which is half satire of reality television and half 44 minutes of gripping television seems….half-hearted.

It’s with the Tenth Doctor where there are plenty of better alternatives than the choice of The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End. Even though the script was written by Russell T. Davies “at the height of his powers” (Moffatt’s words, not mine), I would choose the emotionally devastating Series Two closer Army of Ghosts/Doomsday over this choice. Another great Tenth Doctor choice might have been Paul Cornell’s Human Nature/The Family of Blood. (It would have been hard to fit the Series Three trilogy Utopia/The Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords into a 90-minute slot).

And the Eleventh Doctor is represented by Moffatt’s own Series Six opener The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon…which shows some of Moffatt’s strengths, but in terms of Matt Smith’s Doctor, there are much better choices: the Smith opener The Eleventh Hour/The Beast Below, or Chris Chibnall’s Silurian two-parter The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood, or even The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang.

In short, the previous DVD entries in The Doctors Revisited are great entries into classic Who. Chances are you may already own the stories on The Doctors Revisited: Nine Through Eleven on series-length boxed sets. However, this is a DVD that is best shared with people who are unfamiliar with new Who….or even classic series fans who have avoided the new series until now.

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