Doctor Who: The Complete Series Six comes out on DVD on Tuesday. And here's your exclusive first look at one of the five never-before-seen mini-episodes on the disc!
It's weirdly Doctor Seuss-like, what with the goldfish and the top hat and a bizarre plot twist that we won't spoil here.
If, by some chance, you've wondered why we love Steven Moffat's clever-pants dialogue and rapidfire storytelling, then the five brief mini-stories that are included as extras on the Doctor Who Series Six DVD set should provide an ample reminder. They're collective called "Night and the Doctor," and the first four of them show what the Doctor gets up to when his companions are asleep aboard the TARDIS.
The new bonus scenes also layer in some much-needed character development for Amy Pond — including an on-screen reference to her two wildly different sets of childhood memories. And there's some absolutely lovely River Song moments as well.
All in all, the Doctor Who Series Six DVD set is a nice addition to any fan's collection — apart from the five new vignettes, there are all the Doctor Who Confidentials, detailing the making of each of the season's episodes, plus a bonus Confidential about the making of the extra new scenes. There are also five "episode prequels," which were released on the BBC's website before each episode, and the two Comic Relief sketches from last year, "Space" and "Time." Then there are four "Monster Files" which provide basic info about the Silence, the Gangers and other monsters.
The commentary tracks are nice, especially Neil Gaiman explaining just which bits of "The Doctor's Wife" were added by Steven Moffat. (And apparently, Idris getting the "soul" of the TARDIS put into her happened much later in Gaiman's original script, so we got to know Idris as a person before she became the embodiment of the TARDIS.)
For some reason, we're never getting actual deleted scenes from recent Doctor Who episodes on DVD any more, which seems odd since there must be some.
Watching bits of the sixth season all over again, its inventiveness and cleverness remain paramount — and a few episodes, like "The Doctor's Wife" and "The God Complex," stand out as instant classics. Moffat's writing remains as funny and as whiz-bang clever as always — although this season's storyline, including Amy's captive pregnancy, River Song's messed-up childhood, and the plot to assassinate the Doctor, doesn't seem any more satisfying or fully realized the second time around, from a character standpoint. It's all fun stuff, as long as you don't worry too much about Amy and River as plausible characters.
The other thing that jumps out at me, rewatching these episodes, is how much everything revolves around the Doctor now. The only reason the Silence and Madame Kovarian are even out there doing their evil stuff is because they believe the Doctor will answer a question that could trigger a horrible prophecy. Even with all the "universe in jeopardy" stuff, the main threat of the season is the Doctor's death, and the most interesting stuff is always about how people view the Doctor. Contrast that with the Davies era, where you got the impression the Daleks would still be trying to parboil the universe even if the Doctor never bothered to show up. Moffat has turned the show into an examination of how the Doctor fits into his universe, and as a result, the stories revolve around the Doctor — as primary cause for everything that happens — like almost never before.
One thing's clear: This is one of the most unusual, and structurally ambitious, eras in Doctor Who's history, and watching the season six DVDs, you get a better sense of the scope of it.