BLOGS

Doctor Who: Season 4

by Angel Cohn November 25, 2008 2:23 pm
Doctor Who: Season 4

Oh, the good Doctor in all his glory. What more could you want? A season-ending two-part episode that brings back pretty much all the recent companions? Or a smashing Christmas episode with Kylie Minogue that will have you fearing robot angels? Or how about just David Tennant's wacky Video Diary? Still not enough? Well, hold on to your hats, because the price of the Doctor Who Complete Season 4 DVD is worth it for the Children in Need "Time Crash" benefit episode alone, and it's on here as an extra. Sure you can see it on youtube or that ilk, but something this awesome is deserving of the full home-theater treatment.

I was dreading watching this season because of two words: Donna Noble. Her appearance as the screaming, annoying bride in Season 3 had made me very wary of her status as a regular companion of the Doctor. Nothing against the lovely Catherine Tate as an actress, but Donna just really rubbed me the wrong way. But while I wasn't her biggest fan (like some others), she definitely grew on me, and this season has some of the most incredible episodes to date. Seriously, the minds at work over there keep outdoing themselves, and the offerings from Stephen Moffat (who will be taking over as showrunner when Russell T. Davies steps aside) truly blew my mind. Because of the cryptic and creep Matrix-y "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead" episode, I'm going to have nightmares every time I walk down a shadowy street. Was it not bad enough that he made it so I can't look at statues anymore? Can't wait to see what he concocts for Season 5.

Anyway, during Season 4, there's a trip to Pompeii, an "It's a Wonderful Life"-ish twist with Donna, the Doctor has a kid, there's a visit with Agatha Christie, the near-destruction of the universe (thanks for that, Daleks!) and the cutest little creatures since Tribbles, the Adipose! (Yes, I'm ignoring the fact that they are blobs of fat.) So the episodes are fantastic and you should run out and watch them if you haven't. I guarantee that even if you hate Donna Noble like I did, she'll have you blubbering like a baby by the end of the season. And the discs are jam-packed with Extras, because those BBC folks surely know what they are doing.

Deleted Scenes
Interspersed over the appropriate DVDs are the deleted scenes for the episodes. Some are better than others, but Russell T. Davies is happily there to explain why each of them got cut. Some are touching, like the tribute to the actor who initially played Donna's grandfather, who passed away during the shooting; some were just extra shots of dialogue that could have been done without; and one was a last shot of the Cybermen. Davies laments the removal of the Cybermen, and so do I, but his reasoning for axing it does make sense.

David Tennant's Video Diary
There are only two of his Video Diaries for this season, but they are fabulous. The first chronicles Tennant's hysterical journey to Blackpool, where he's in charge of flipping the switch and lighting the most awesome Doctor Who-themed lights. I'm so jealous that I live on this side of the pond. We don't have cool Doctor Who things like that. I would have taken a day off from work to go. Anyway, Tennant gets stuck in traffic and then he gets a police escort. His giddiness is infectious. His second diary is fantastic because it's filmed during the two-parter when so many of the Who characters have returned. I'll take any chance at seeing John Barrowman acting goofy, he doesn't disappoint. And Tennant's thrill at being part of this universe is clearly evident when he shows off certain things on set -- even the stand-in for him is adorable.

Journey (So Far)
This documentary takes a look back at the series since its revival. It's got crew members/writers talking about this show and how it started as wishful thinking and what it's really become. It shows all the most amazing scenes from Season 1 through 4, and really gives a good look at why this series is so addictive.

Doctor Who Confidential
For all you Whos down in Whoville, there's an entire disc of Doctor Who Confidential, which goes behind-the-scenes and explores the making of the episodes. It could keep you busy for a while.

Children in Need - "Time Crash"
I saved the best for last, of course. The "Time Crash" mini-episode, which was filmed to benefit the charity Children in Need. The 10th Doctor (David Tennant) is taking off, after leaving his latest companion Martha Jones behind, when something wonky happens on the TARDIS and he's suddenly standing next to the Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison). Freakin' genius. There's confusion and a little bit of one-up-manship going on, but it's so cool to see them together. Brilliant, and very, very funny, and blends in perfectly with the start of Season 4 and the Titanic crashing into the TARDIS.

So go buy it now. You deserve a little pre-holiday cheer.

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