'Doctor Who: Series Seven - Part One + Two'
(Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill, Jenna-Louise Coleman, et al al / 2-DVD / NR / 2012 (2013) / BBC Video)
Overview: In Part One, join the Doctor, his companions Amy and Rory (aka the Ponds) and numerous friends on their latest escapades through space and time where they puzzle an unexpected invasion of Earth, save a spaceship full of dinosaurs, don Stetsons in a Wild West adventure and are even kidnapped by the Doctor's oldest foe. In Part Two, the Doctor kicks off this new run of adventures by searching for his companion Clara - an Impossible Girl he's already lost twice! Oh, and comes face to face with his old enemies, The Cybermen!
DVD Verdict: We begin with 'Asylum of the Daleks,' a 50-minute episode in which a woman in a monk's cowl is found to be stranded in a derelict building; having summoned the Doctor. "I got your message," he says, somewhat pissed. "Not many people can do that. Send me messages." It's then that the truth behind the S.O.S. is revealed. Back on Earth and The Ponds are getting a divorce, but they are also summoned to help the Doctor so have to put it on the backburner. And this is the reveal of "another" Oswin, who is stranded in space. Wow, what a great twist this one has!
In 'Dinosaurs on a Spaceship' the Doctor manages to pick up Queen Nefertiti from 1334 BC Egypt; but quite why is a mystery! Anyway, from there he goes to future Earth 2367 AD and discovers a space ship is on collision-course with Earth. Rory's dad gets taken along for the ride too, and this turns out to be a really fun episode too. In 'A Town Called Mercy' a mysterious cyborg in a Stetson chases down a man in the desert. About to die, the man asks, "Am I the last one?" to which the cyborg aims his gun and says, "There's one more. The Doctor." A tale of two Doctors, it is packed with dusty-old cliches!
In 'The Power of Three' Amy and Rory are having trouble choosing between real life and Doctor Who life. In the meantime, Earth is blanketed by strange black cubes which brings the Doctor back to investigate. But they don't do anything for a year, but when they do, oh boy! The Doctor even meets with the new head of UNIT, Kate Stewart, who used to be Lethbridge - the daughter of a dear old friend of the Doctor's back in the '80s/'90s! In the last episode of this first set, 'The Angels Take Manhattan' someone has written a P.I. book that Amy is reading - and which is coming to life before their eyes! Featuring a collector of those infamous living statues that move in the dark, a HUGE moving S.O.L. (don't wish to give the game away, here in New York City!), and River Song back once again to help out, could this be the end of The Ponds?!
In the first episode of the second half of this seventh season, 'The Bells of St. John, which is a VERY clever title when you get to discover why it's called that, the Doctor's ongoing quest is, well, ongoing. Just at a more frantic pace, given that we find him in 1207 London as a Monk! His search for the why and how of Clara Oswin Oswald is snowballing now and as she is now in modern day reality (as a nanny for two young kids) when some mysterious wi-fi is harming people who log on, she is plunged into the middle of it. In 'The Rings of Akhaten,' Clara asks the Doctor to take her somewhere and sometime spectacular. He complies with a visit to "the Pyramid of the Rings of Akhaten." They're just in time for the Festival of Offerings, held every 1,000 years when the rings align. But something has gone wrong the other end of the offering! Something has awoken (a vampire mummy!) and the whole planet is under threat.
In 'Cold War,' after saving Akhaten, the Doctor and Clara are off to have some relaxing fun - not likely! The Doctor exits the TARDIS first upon landing and exclims, "Viva Las Vegas...!" But instead of sunshine in the desert playland, they're immediately drenched and tossed about in a leaking submarine. "Not Vegas then?", Clara adlibs perfectly, and as much as it is as far from Vegas as possible, their need to be on the '80s Russian submarine is imperative. A once-frozen alien Grand Marshall is angry, the last of his race (so he thinks) and is about to lauch nuclear missiles in anger! In 'Hide,' Major Alec Palmer, retired, has ghosthunting equipment set up in an old '70s haunted mansion. He and Emma Grayling, an empathetic pyschic, are trying to speak with the vision they keep seeing, but until the Doctor arrives, well, they were getting nowhere fast. A spun-out tale to say the least, but with all its horror aspects it turns out to be nothing more than a simply love story!
In 'Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS,' we finally get to see all the depths and levels and rooms within the TARDIS. The Van Baalen brothers run a salvage operation and so when they spot the TARDIS spinning in space, well, they go for gold. But the TARDIS is leaking poisonous fuel and Clara is stuck inside. So, the brothers and the Doctor go inside, countdown on, to find her and save the TARDIS. We find out there is a swimming pool, a huge library, potions galore, a telescope, and a book entitled, 'The History of The Time War.' A book that actually reveals the Doctor's real name!
In 'The Crimson Horror,' it's 1893 and the Paternoster Gang (see 'The Snowmen' Christmas special) is hired to find out why Edmund Thursday, newspaper reporter, went to the Sweetville factory town in Yorkshire, and came out dead, his skin hardened and turned a brilliant waxy red. Basically, a band of ladies is selling the perfect dream of Sweetville, a place to live forever in harmony with each other. The Doctor, trying to infiltrate the village gets suckerpunched and caught. A secret leaks out, literally, and the Lizard Lady (Madame Vastra) and her friends (Jenny and Strax) go in to save him. In 'Nightmare in Silver,' the Doctor takes Clara and her two charges, Angie and Artie, to Hedgwick's World of Wonders, a whole planet turned amusement park. Sadly, as you'd expect, not all is well there and we are given an episode featuring ... the Cybermen! With the planet under Marshall Law, the old commander (played camply by Tasmin Outhwaite) is finding it hard to accept Clara is now her boss! But when the Doctor starts to become semi-Cyberman, well, he does a splendid split personality Doctor impression!
In the final episode of this seventh season, 'The Name of the Doctor,' the prologue is Clara's narration accompanying a montage of Clara seeing Dr. Who through the ages and his regenerations. It ends with "I blew into this world on a leaf. I'm still blowing. I don't think I'll ever land. I'm Clara Oswald. I'm the Impossible Girl. I was born to save the Doctor." Wow, nice set up for what turns out to be an incredible episode, in truth. Set primarily in 1893 London, Madame Vastra is back with her friends and they all travel alonsgide the Doctor to the one place he swore he'd never reists - his own burial site on Trenzalore. The Great Simeon, who established the Great Intelligence Institute back in 'The Snowmen' episode (Richard E. Grant) and he's out to cause trouble; as always. Come the final scene, a "new doctor" is revealed in the form of John Hurt - playing the Doctor. I know, confusing, isn't it?! These are all Widescreen Presentations (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:
Pond Life Featurette
Asylum of the Daleks Prequel
The Making of The Gunslinger Featurette
The Science of Doctor Who Featurette
Doctor Who at Comic Con
Prequel to The Snowmen
Prequel to The Bells Of Saint John
45 minute special: The Companions