I must admit, when Matt Smith and Steven Moffat were announced to lead Doctor Who into a new era as The Doctor and showrunner respectively, I was dubious. But then I actually watched Series Fnarg (as Moffat jokingly dubbed Series Five in a Doctor Who Magazine interview) and I was positively surprised.
For those of you who have been under a rock for 47 years or entombed in the Tomb of Rassilon, Doctor Who is a show about an Time Lord (who just happens to look human, although he would say we look Time Lord) with a time and space travelling Police Box. He picks up companions to show them the wonders of the universe (the current one is named Amy Pond; to say she is not the first lady he’s had in there would be an understatement). He is most certainly not called Doctor Who, as two minutes on Wikipedia will tell you.
Looking back, Steven Moffat was probably one of the better people they could’ve chosen to head up the fifth season of the revived beloved British series. He’s written comedy before (see Coupling), and it shows in the lighter tone of quite a few of his episodes, with some truly hilarious moments (including the pregnant woman incident below).
Like most shows, this season has some good episodes and bad episodes. The good episodes that stood out were the final two-parter, which fulfilled two of the plot threads of the series and “Amy’s Choice”, in which the Doctor shows that it is acceptable to accuse a pregnant woman of eating a planet without a trace of jest. “Vincent And The Doctor” is also very good if you can get past the Invisible Space Chicken.
Three overarching plot points were created this series: The Pandorica opening, the time-eating cracks in the universe and the declaration that “Silence Will Fall”. So far, the silence has still not been resolved. Fans eagerly await the sixth season for precisely that reason.
The bad were the Silurian two-parter (it relied on a lot of people being idiots), and the “Vampires Of Venice”, which isn’t actually that bad if you overlook the hilarious appearance of the monsters of the week. To be fair, that’s a criticism you could level at a lot of Doctor Who.
Matt Smith was at first criticised for being too young, but if you see him play the old man that his character is underneath, all doubts will be dispelled. One of the in-vision commentaries described him as being similar to Captain Jack Sparrow in terms of energy and speed, which became a lot more obvious once pointed out. He thinks things up quickly and people need a while to catch up.
The box set features several bonus pieces, such as the complete series of the Doctor Who Confidential episodes (the 15 minute long cut down versions, unfortunately – the full length ones would need another box set to hold them), a three-part video diary that’s pretty good, some take them or leave them outtakes and trailers, and some in-vision commentaries. These are good for pointing out little details that you didn’t notice before. Keep an eye out for a familiar face edging out of shot in “The Big Bang” during one of the museum scenes.
It also comes with a set of three rather nifty art cards, as well as a cool sleeve effect (here over the pond, we get a steelbook edition, and no adverts, which is something I still can’t get over with American dvds of BBC programming).
While most of this is gold for the fans, the real good stuff here is the two additional scenes with The Doctor and Amy in the TARDIS. They are both funny and fit with the show well. I would say that they are worth buying the box set for alone. Of course, nothing stays off the internet for long, so these are available to watch online if you know where to look.
This is a good starting point if you’ve never seen the show before, since it doesn’t require you to know too much about the show and it has almost no ties to David Tennant’s time (seriously, pretty much everything got redesigned in the name of a clean slate). If I didn’t have this already, it would be on my Christmas list.