Monday, November 21, 2011

REVIEW: The Complete Sixth Series boxset

Given that, these days, a lot of people "record" Doctor Who in perfect digital quality, it seems a little daft to talk about the Series 6 boxset in terms of the episodes (especially as they were released earlier this year in two parts). You probably already know how you feel about the stories and possibly own them in some form.


The purpose of this review is to look at the Extras, if you want my opinion on the episodes themselves, then check out the episode review section HERE, where you'll find my thoughts on this year's stories.

EXTRAS (full rundown HERE)
Shoddy is perhaps the best word to describe this offensive collection of special features. Actually, that's not quite right. It's what's missing that's the offense here: NO deleted scenes; NO outtakes; NO Doctor Who 2010 Proms (so, if you want it, you'll need to go and buy the A Christmas Carol "vanilla" release); NO Time Runs Out trail (or any TV trails for the individual episodes); you get the idea.

There's also no mention or clips from Doctor Who LIVE! or last year's Nintendo games, or the special sketch featuring Dermot O' Leary for the National Television Awards, (though, I'm assuming that's a rights issue), or any interviews from Matt, Karen and Arthur from shows like BBC Breakfast or The One Show. It is far from complete (much in the same way the Series 5 boxset managed to omit the episode of Doctor Who Confidential announcing Matt Smith as The Doctor).

The commentaries (no in~vision ones this year - sorry Beth Willis fans) are also a mean collection. Five. Just five commentaries. Sadly, the people chosen will hardly whet your appetite. The Impossible Astronaut features two producers and Arthur Darvill whilst an FX supervisor pops up on A Good Man Goes To War (with another show from Darvill). The Wedding of River Song fares slightly better with SteeMo accompanied by the director (Jeremy Webb) and actress Frances Barber.

The problem is, the episode they're watching hasn't been finished. Not only that, this was the first time Barber actually watched it. Hardly informed commentary; there's no insight or anything particularly interesting to note. Thankfully Neil Gaiman puts in an excellent performance for The Doctor's Wife - and he's by himself! Aside from his wonderful tones, the writer manages to pepper the commentary with numerous facts and secrets about the story.

Sticking with the positives, the "mini~episodes" are an excellent bunch with The Doctor being caught by Amy, nipping out to have some night~time fun whilst his passengers sleep. Although there's much fun and laughs, it's Amy's uneasiness that's the key here, and certain questions about existence are broached. River also turns up, again at first for giggles, but a more serious tone takes over with their relationship examined almost as thoroughly as it's ever been. Despite their brevity, the stories leave quite the impression. A brave move for DVD "extras".

The final "night" mini~ep doesn't include the Doctor, Amy or River - choosing to focus on Craig and Sophie from Closing Time. It's completely different to the others and one wonders if this was actually a prequel but someone forgot about it. Not hard to imagine as it's utterly dispensable. The Comic Relief sketches are also included, keeping the tone light - though I should state I do find them a little bit on the tasteless side (durty boy!).

Oddly A Christmas Carol is listed as en extra which just goes to show that the "people" who put this together care not a jot for their work. And there are more inconsistencies. We get the full Confidential for the Crimbo episode yet the rest are "Cutdowns". Why give the full length version of just one? There's certainly nothing particularly special about that one - it's as delightful as the rest. Also, the mini~eps are spread across three discs, so you can't simply just watch them all at once. Amateur hour, frankly.

The Complete Sixth Series is anything but complete. In these days when we all have to save money, this set offers no value whatsoever. I suggest you either stick to your recorded versions off the telly (some people still do that, right?) or buy the Part 1 and Part 2 boxsets that were released earlier this year or wait for this product to come down in price. It's simply not worth it.


BLOGTOR RATING 5/10
Thanks to 2|entertain
RECENT POSTS
Father's Day audio commentary
Series 6 - What Did YOU Think?
BBC Breakfast - Matt Smith interview
2011 Christmas Special trailer
Series 6 Boxset preview
2011 Children In Need scene
Series 6 Audio Commentaries

17 comments:

DR5WHO said...

Not surprising the extras are that bad as they have been that way ever since the complete sets have come out. So i'm not shocked at your review but some what i expect when my set comes in cause it's been like that since the Series One set came out.

Aaron Robinson said...

Obviously disappointing, but I'd buy it for Neil Gaiman's commentary alone! His voice is as engaging as his writing...

P.D. said...

This makes me glad I was impatient and bought the Part 1&2 boxsets instead.

Still, it's very disappointing for all the girls (and boys) who waited.

joy said...

Not gonna lie - I wasn't exactly rushing out to grab these off the shelves to begin with, but that's more the show quality more than anything else.

Feels like the BBC has upended the budget for this show, it's like all the money's being spent in the oddest of places - like they're just not managing their money as creatively as former regimes could. Who knows.

And, I used to could justify the double the amount of normal boxsets that BBC charges for half the number of episodes by their inclusion of reeeeeeally good extras. But, you won't see me buying this set any time soon, even as my OCD demands that I complete my DW series.

derooftrouser said...

Shoddy… offensive… "people” … care not a jot… Amateur hour… no value whatsoever…

Dearie me, fan-entitlement is embarrassing in full flow. It’s perfectly possible to express disappointment with the extras without the histrionics.

Although, the complete BluRay is about £4 more than the two separate parts at the moment. Aren’t the extras worth that? The difference for the DVDs is… 50p.

Scott said...

I think when it comes to a TV box set, the point isn't just to give the episodes and a few scattered extras. The point (usually of the price being so high on these sets...here in Canada they are damned near $100) is that the extras are normally worth the extra cost.

When a set basically assembles me the episodes in order, and a few extras (I truly get pissed about the Confidential "cutdowns" instead of full eps) and then charge me an arm and a leg for it, that gets my dander up as much as Cameron's about it. I can watch my PVR'ed eps anytime and find most of the stuff included on these on the net in some form. The entire point of dropping the coin to own it properly like this is that someone hopefully put some thought into the set to give me the the BEST comprehensive set of the year in DW that I could have. All the proper bells and whistles accounted for...otherwise don't charge me so much for it!

That said, I'll buy it for the Gaiman commentary, and that fact that I held off from the half series discs...but I'll be damned if I don't agree with Cameron about the set if that is all there is to it.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm...it's disappointing about the commentary's but I think your review is a bit over the top. As is noted derooftrouser, the cost of buying the two vanilla series 6 releases is not actually that much less than buying this box set and surely the extras features that ARE here are worth the small extras costs? Especially when you have orignal material in the form of the "night and the doctor" scenes?

Jonathan said...

Even where I've not agreed with your reviews, I appreciate that they have generally been balanced. This one, not so much.

What does it matter if the Christmas episode is listed as an extra? It's still there.

The Cut Down Confidentials have never bothered me, as I don't find much re-watch value in the full length show. How many times do we need to see a time lapse sequence of an actor having prosthetics applied? Probably why I'm not bothered about the show being axed ...

My copy didn't show up today, but presumably the mini episodes are on the discs which pertain to the segment of the overall story arc that they fall into. If so, that seems a perfectly legitimate way to sequence them. If you want to watch them in one go, how much effort is it to change a DVD?

joedeane said...

Personally, I am dissapointed by the lack of extra features. The whole thing felt jumbled together to me, as if no care was taken with it. I feel like getting the collecors edition, I should get something else for my extra money.
I was particularly dissapointed with the commentaries. Especially as in previous box sets every episode has had one (or 2 if you got the podcast) with some being in vision. Also, the fact that they are watching unfinished episodes doesn't seem right either. It just feels like the whole thing has been rushed to get out for Christmas.
I could say more on techie stuff to do with the DVDs, but it's not really that interesting... (does anybody else have a glitch on the DVD menus?)
On the positive side, the Night and the Doctor mini-eps are FAB. I really loved them, and the included Monster Files arne't too bad, more extended than previous versions with bits from Confidential in as well. Also (as ever) Neil Gaiman and his brilliant commentary.

Vogel Nerva said...

Never going to spend £40 on something that is on television constantly. I think I'll buy Part 2 on DVD for £15.99 because I loved them all. Part 1 wasn't that good so I have no desire to own those episodes especially The Ganger ones.

Anonymous said...

I got the blu-ray set this week - am loving it but had two small gripes I had to share - both stemming from using a *very* shortened Doctor Who Confidential Cutdown for Episode 13.

Because of this, we are missing both 1. The Timeline of River Song - this has special narration, recorded by Alex Kingston in character as River Song and 2. Death is the Only Answer.

Neither of these use songs/soundtracks from popular artists - both are newly filmed (or compiled) footage only. I wish they would have been included in the Cutdown. Maybe the River Song timeline was left off because of footage featuring David Tennant from Series 4? Hard to say but disappointed nonetheless.

Guess I have to add them to the list of missing footage w/Attack of the Graaske.

Chris said...

Yeah I was hoping that "Death Is The Only Answer" would be there too. Either way I got my Blu-Ray set at Best Buy today for $36.99, as they were stickered at the wrong price. I'm not complaining for that price.

Katie said...

Thanks for the review. I was trying to decide if I wanted to get just Part 2 to go with my Part 1, or if I wanted to spring for the whole set. But from what it sounds like the Night Episodes are the only thing worth watching along with the Christmas episode, so I'll save myself some money. Hooray?

Anonymous said...

Were video diaries from the cast present? Always enjoyed watching those.

Cameron McEwan said...

Every "complete series" box set has featured a video diary.

Ncc Tardis said...

Longtime fan, rare commenter. Thanks Cameron for the review, just wanted to ask around for some advice.

Were the extras on the separate Part 1 & Part 2 sets better than this complete set? I'm looking into it to suggest to a relative what to get me for Christmas, but I'd like to get the most value for (their) money, in terms of extras.

Should I get the separate sets, or the complete one?

Cameron McEwan said...

The separate sets only include the Monster Files. If it's for a gift, I would ask for the Complete Box set.

Hope this helps.