Written by Caballero Oscuro
In Season 3, the new Doctor Who series has emerged as perhaps the strongest and best sci-fi series currently in production. Just to get the inevitable comparison of each season out of the way: while Season 1 suffered slightly from finding its footing and Season 2 stumbled initially with a new Doctor (David Tennant) finding his way, Season 3 hits the ground running with a fully optimized production team and Doctor, leaving only the addition of new companion Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman) as the big question mark.
Sadly, as the replacement for popular companion Rose Tyler (Billie Piper), the Martha Jones character is saddled with an unrequited love story that never fully endears her to the audience. While the chemistry between Tennant and Piper was palpable and their story lines showed that their characters were in love with each other, the stated purpose of Agyeman’s arc was to show her character’s unrequited affection for the Doctor, leaving her pining for him throughout the series like a lovesick schoolgirl while he barely registers her interest, instead reminiscing about the departed Rose Tyler. Sure, she’s shown to have smarts and determination thanks to her medical school training, but when the single most memorable thing about the character is her infatuation, there’s not much reason for audiences to care when she appears to check out at the end of the series.
As for the stories, the show continues its satisfying trend of overarching plot threads that come into play in seemingly standalone episodes, most significantly the dying Face of Boe advising the Doctor early in the season that “you are not alone.” This leads up to the dazzling three-part season finale arc that reveals a second Time Lord played by Derek Jacobi and then John Simm. The arc also brings Torchwood star John Barrowman back into the mix, reprising his role as the dashing Captain Jack Harkness. By the time the arc reaches its transcendent coda, you’ll likely be viewing this Doctor just like the rest of the world in the series: as an absolutely godlike figure.
The DVD box set is a lavish production certain to satisfy even the most demanding fans. In addition to audio commentary on every episode, the 6th disc is a compilation of behind-the-scenes footage from each episode called "Doctor Who Confidential," basically similar to an "HBO First Look" for every show. This allows viewers to take a look at the secrets behind the special effects and makeup, the logistics of producing each episode, and outtakes unavailable elsewhere.
Elsewhere in the set, there are also other deleted scenes and outtakes, Agyeman’s tour of the studio, and a feature on the music and monsters. Also, disc 1 includes an entertaining live Doctor Who celebration performance filmed in front of a studio audience, hosted by Tennant and featuring many of the creatures and live music from the show. But the most entertaining and enlightening bonus is Tennant’s own video diaries, giving viewers a true taste of life from the eyes of the current Doctor and revealing his thoughts about each episode. It’s gratifying that Tennant embraced his role to this extent and was so willing to give back to the fans, further enhancing his status as one of the best Doctors ever.