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DVD Review: Doctor Who: The Complete David Tennant Years

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Now available on DVD is a massive boxed set from the BBC, Doctor Who: The Complete David Tenant Years. For many, David Tennant, who became the tenth Doctor in 2005, and played the part until 2010, is still the iconic image of the revamped character. Tennant is known for his cheeky, yet sometimes vengeful, portrayal of the legendary character, with a tendency to babble and be rude at times, but in a delightful manner. To have all three series, eight specials, and two animated spinoffs together in one collection is amazing. For any Doctor Who fan, this is a must-buy for this Christmas.

As series two of the modern reboot, the first featuring Tennant, begins, the Tenth Doctor retains the same companion as the Ninth Doctor, Rose Tyler (Billie Piper, Secret Diary of a Call Girl). Waking from a coma just in time save Christmas (and the Earth), they go on many adventures, including rescuing Queen Victoria from werewolves. They play a part in the creation of Torchwood, an anti-alien institution that will eventually have its own spin-off series, and fight the Daleks, again, as well as the Cybermen. Rose’s boyfriend, Mickey (Noel Clarke, Auf Wiedersehen, Pet), joins the pair, and they encounter former companions Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen, who starred in her own spinoff, The Sarah Jane Adventures, until her recent death) and K-9 (John Leeson).

In series three, Rose is gone, and the Doctor picks up med student Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman, Law & Order: UK), who will eventually leave him when the Doctor doesn’t return her affections. The Doctor and Martha battle The Master (John Simm, Life On Mars), speak with Shakespeare, encounter more Daleks, and meet back up with Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman, Torchwood). Also introduced is Donna Noble (Catherine Tate, The Catherine Tate Show), who refuses the Doctor’s offer to be her companion.

Series four gives the Doctor many companions to work with, including Donna Noble, who returns to stay, and guest appearances by Rose Tyler, Martha Jones, Captain Jack Harkness, Mickey, and Sarah Jane Smith. Additionally, several characters from Torchwood appear. Among their adventures in series four, the Doctor and Donna find the Adipose, visit Pompeii, stop the invasion of the Sontarans, meet Agatha Christie, explore a planet-size library, and listen to a fortune teller. The series culminates in a spectacular finale, featuring the Daleks, Cybermen, and many previously seen characters.

But these three series, while making up the meat of Doctor Who: The Complete David Tennant Years, are far from the only stories included. All five of the specials that were produced following Tennant’s announcement that he was leaving are in the set, as well as two animated series, “The Infinite Quest” and “Dreamland.” Plus, there are the “Children in Need” specials and “Doctor Who Confidentials.”

The twenty-six disc set boasts almost forty hours of Doctor Who, along with more than twenty-five hours of bonus features. Among those features are In-Vision and Audio Commentaries on select episodes, deleted scenes, and outtakes. Billie Piper and David Tennant contribute video diaries, giving some insight into the episodes, as well as their characters. There are trailers and a tour of the studio with Freema Agyeman, Doctor Who visits Comic-Con, Cast members are interviewed. There is also an animation test for Tennant and animatics, character profiles, a photo gallery, and three Greatest Moments specials round out the set.

It has to be mentioned that the packaging is beautiful. The discs are housed in a full-color book, with lots of photos from the series, laid out in a very interesting way. It’s all sturdy cardboard, rather than cheap materials, so it should hold up over time fairly well. Some reviews on Amazon.com have complained of finding it difficult to pull out the discs, but if this was a problem, it appears to have been fixed; I had no such issues with my set. It is literally one of the coolest DVD sets I’ve ever seen.

In short, there is enough to keep any Doctor Who fan busy for weeks, maybe months. No one who buys Doctor Who: The Complete David Tennant Years could justifiably be disappointed. Do yourself a favor and order a copy today. I highly recommend it.

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About JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome writes TV reviews for BlogCritics.org and Seat42F.com, as well as fiction. He is a frequent guest on two podcasts, Let's Talk TV with Barbara Barnett and The Good, the Bad, & the Geeky. All of his work can be found on his website, jeromewetzel.com
  • amypondscum

    i love doctor who. this looks great. informative review. thx

  • Edzel2

    Is this a USA only release? What are the chances that it will play on a DVD player or a computer in the UK? It sounds gorgeous, and we don’t have anything quite like it here…

  • http://jeromewetzeltv.blogspot.com/ Jerome Wetzel

    This is a Region 1 release, so it will not play in the UK. I’m very sorry it’s not multi-region, or there aren’t other versions available. :(

  • Manda

    Are they the full Confidentials or the shorter versions found on the single box sets?

  • Wendy

    re: region 1 disks. You can buy a multi-region DVD player. Relatively inexpensive, too. Then you can watch DVDs from all regions! I bought mine to play Region 2 (UK) versions here in the US.

  • http://jeromewetzeltv.blogspot.com/ Jerome Wetzel

    Manda – I’m not sure. I don’t actually have anything to compare them to, not having seen the single box sets.

  • Manda

    Jerome, the Confidentials on the single box sets have been edited down to 10-15 minutes per episode, while the full Confidentials are around 45 minutes per episode.

  • http://jeromewetzeltv.blogspot.com/ Jerome Wetzel

    Ah! Well, the Confidentials I had on my TiVo, which aired on BBC America, were short. Guess we don’t get the long ones in the States. :(