Doctor Who: Series Six — Part One Blu-ray Disc Review
- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24
- Audio Codec: English DTS-HD High Resolution 5.1
- Subtitles: English
- Region: ABC (Region-Free)
- Rating: Not Rated
- Discs: 2
- Studio: BBC/Warner
- Blu-ray Release Date: July 19, 2011
- List Price: $29.98
Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures
(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
The first part of Series Six of the reboot BBC’s long-running sci-fi series Doctor Who literally starts off with a bang, as the Doctor (Matt Smith) is killed by a mysterious astronaut. Three envelopes in TARDIS blue are delivered, numbered 2 through 4, for Amy (Karen Gillan), Rory (Arthur Darvill) and and River Song (Alex Kingston). But who received Number One? The envelopes bring together the Doctor and his friends in the Utah dessert where they witness this terrible act that cannot be revealed.
The series then comes to the United States, as the Doctor arrives at the Oval Office in 1969, meets Richard Nixon, an enigmatic FBI agent (Mark Sheppard) and is tasked to save a little girl from a terrifying spaceman. This sets the group off on a journey that will lead to the unveiling of a long-living alien life form known as The Silence who live in the shadows, in the corner of our eye, and influence mankind’s history, only to be forgotten when they are out of sight, and to a planet with a strange substance that takes human form. Somehow these incidents will all tie-in together to the final episode of the first half of the sixth season, “A Good Man Goes to War” where River’s true identity is finally revealed and the Doctor wages an epic battle that will bring together everyone that is indebted to him. It’s an edge-of-the-seat cliffhanger that will have fans longing for the second half of Series Six.
Captured in high definition, Doctor Who: Series Six – Part One shows up on Blu-ray in a 1080i/60 AVC/MPEG-4 transfer from the BBC. While the overall image isn’t quite as sharp as it might have been if, perhaps, it were a 1080p production, it is still rather strong, showing good foreground detail with strong extension into the background. There is video noise in dark areas and in the low-light scenes, but nothing too overwhelming. Flesh tones are spot on and colors are really bright and vivid. Shadows are nicely nuanced, despite issues with noise.
Doctor Who is given a DTS-HD High Resolution 5.1 audio mix, the high-bitrate lossy variant of DTS-HD that seems to show up mostly on content of European origin such as this. It doesn’t sound quite as good as the lossless Master Audio codec, in my opinion, and always seems to have a bit of an edgier sounding high end, as does this mix. Otherwise, there are good dynamics here and lots of atmospherics in the surround channels with plenty of discrete buzzes, bleeps, and blurps coming from the surround channels. Bass is pretty deep, but nothing earth-shattering.
You get two Monster Files featurettes that offer the cast and creators discussing the series’ two new monsters and nemeses for the Doctor.
- Monster Files (1080i/60):
- The Silence (00:10:58)
- The Gangers (00:13:02)
The Definitive Word
Matt Smith and Karen Gillan continue their brilliant turns as the Doctor and companion in Series Six, opening the season with a stellar, action-packed group of episodes and a spot-on cliffhanger. This is classic sci-fi at its best.
Additional Screen Captures