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The Friday Docback Returns To DOCTOR WHO Season/Series Six!! + DW's Children In Need Mini-Ep, And More!!





Merrick here...

...briefly returning to Season/Series Six of contemporary WHO via THE COMPLETE SIXTH SERIES boxed set, due in stores next week.  We'll be going retro again next week with "The Colony In Space" (Pertwee, Story #58). 

But first, a few orders of business...




Today is Moffat's birthday.  So, you know...Happy Birthday.  And all that.

THANK YOU for the current iteration of this bizarre, elegant, poignant, goofy show - an iteration which is undeniably instrumental to the evolution of  the warm and fascinating community we now enjoy here in our quiet little cranny of AICN every weekend...and sometimes beyond. 

So, sir, a sincerest tip-of-the-hat to you...from all of us.  Along with a poorly crooned, Marilyn Munroe-esque song of acknowledgement (Hap-py-BIRTH-Day Mis-ter Mof-fat...), a whole cue of virtual Vikingy manly-man bear hugs,  imaginings of a TARDIS birthday cake that actually lights up and makes that bitchin' grinding sound as it dematerializes (i.e. is eaten), and boundless and genuine best wishes for the coming years.  

Admittedly, none of this is as badass as a buncha crazy, dancing Russians.  But there's always next year, and I have an idea...

Docbackers - SOUND OFF!!!!  Let's show the man some love in our discourse below! 






** greet the alleged DOCTOR WHO movie with consternation and distrust.  I use the term "alleged" very pointedly here - I wouldn't be at all surprised if the project never actually happened...

** Take more than a few hostile jabs at the recent GREEN LANTERN film...

** Discuss why a theoretical DOCTOR WHO movie, at this juncture in the franchise's development.,  is a more dangerous and troubling prospect than Cushing's Dalek films in the 60s...

** Argue Abrams' 2009 TREK film...

** Accidentally come up with a pretty decent "Hollywoodized" pitch for a GILLIGAN'S ISLAND film while arguing that the very same approach wouldn't actually be necessary..

** Discuss the castration of TREK: TNG...

** Sing Mancini's WHAT'S HAPPENING theme, Quincy Jones' SANFORD & SON theme,  and Falco's ROCK ME AMADEUS...poorly.  

** Talk a bit about Shatner's CAPTAINS documentary, now streamable on Netflix...

** And much more!

Find it HERE, while past installments are can be had HERE.  




It'll bring us a Moffat-scripted mini-thingie directed by "Let's Kill Hitler" helmer Richard Senior, a chance to snag one of The Doctor's costumes from the show via auction, and possibly our first look at the forthcoming DOCTOR WHO Christmas Special (at the very least we'll get a title reveal).   Embeds will appear in this space as soon as they're available.  

Children in Need information/donation details HERE.  


Here's the Children in Need short...


...annnnnddddd here's a trailer for "The Doctor, The Widow, and The Wardrobe" - this year's DOCTOR WHO Christmas Special. 







DOCTOR WHO Season/Series 6 was never as consistent as Season/Series 5.  HOWEVER: as far as I'm concerned, DW S5 was close to consummate in the boldness of its vision and the elegance of its overall execution.  As such, any follow-up was bound to feel at least a tad funky (I'd argue that DOCTOR WHO should feel funky - if it ever settles in, or feels too comfortable, it'll stagnate).  Season/Series 5 was, after all, an epic resulting in nothing less than the reboot of the entire universe.  That's a tough act to follow by any measure.   

S6 was a considerably more intimate tale, dealing with a wholly different type of universe - the personal   universe of our heroes.  Their identities, and how they relate to others.  S5 was about bigger spaces.  S6 was about smaller spaces.  It was part conspiracy  thriller (how did The Doctor die?  Why?  And who wanted him dead?), part personal exploration (who are Amy, The Doctor, Rory, and River - and what are they made of?  Both literally and figuratively...), and concludes with its own reboot in a way.  At the end of the day, the most pivotal moment of S6 rises from a single, humble wedding in Episode 13 .  The end of one era, and the beginning of another - a reboot.  A single, telling  instance in which both truths and resolutions all come into play with a sharp and necessary clarity that reset what can and might happen in the future.  

Once again, the HD presentation featured on the Blu-ray of the COMPLETE SIXTH SERIES (it's also available on DVD) is generally staggering.  I've said it before and I won't stop saying it:  the use of HD on DOCTOR WHO is perhaps the best use of HD on any television series airing right now (SHERLOCK, another Moffat show, being a close second).  If you've never seen DW in good HD, you should make every effort to do so.  It truly enhances the resonance of these episodes, and vividly illustrates the rather remarkable production values the show is bringing forth these days. 

Watching the whole of the series in close succession does, indeed, illustrate the clever interconnecitivty of various gags and interpersonal fibers -  revealing DOCTOR WHO S6 to be far more complex than many may've initially realized, while also being far simpler and sexier than it first appeared in other regards.  

I toyed with generating a "Top 13" list in descending order of episode preference, but when watching S6 in relatively tight succession and more-or-less back-to-back, I quickly realized that to do so would be an injustice to the whole of the S6 experience.  Many S6 stories appear disconnected from "a bigger picture" - but that's something you might notice when viewing them from a story perspective only.  If you note the growth of the nuances of the characters in the seemingly detached stories of this run - you'll sense their arc more clearly, and come to terms with the truth that the "main story" of this Season/Series is not necessarily what was we see happening from a narrative perspective, but is instead about how the people within these tales are changed by the adventures they're living.   This reminds me of a quote from David Gerrold... 

"Space is not the final frontier. The final frontier is the human soul. Space is merely the place where we are most likely to meet the challenge. The victory will occur in the continual process of challenging and testing our limits..."

While completely unrelated to DW, that's as nice an summation of DOCTOR WHO Season/Series Six as you're ever gonna find.  

Available in both DVD or Blu-ray, DOCTOR WHO: THE COMPLETE SIXTH SERIES includes...




"A Christmas Carol"


Extras include , "A Christmas Carol" Confidential, Comic Relief sketch "Space" and Comic Relief sketch "Time." 


"Space" and "Time" are a two-part story, totaling roughly 7 minutes in length, in which the TARDIS with The Doctor and Amy and Rory on board materializes inside of the TARDIS with The Doctor and Amy and Rory on board.





"Impossible Astronaut"

"Day of the Moon"

"The Curse of the Black Spot"


At approximately 8:54, there's a moment in which the Siren's song (sung during action) briefly merges with Murray Gold's score to become one and the same.  A brilliant move...


"Impossible Astronaut" includes audio commentary from Marcus Wilson producer and David Mason (Line Producer for the US segment of the episode) and Arthur Darvill (Rory) - Darvill indicates that the shelves in Amy and Rory's house contain "references to every episode so far..."


Disc Two special features include a Monster File - "The Silence" as well as Episode One prequel and Episode Three prequel shorts.





"The Doctor's Wife"

"The Rebel Flesh" 

"The Almost People"



"The Doctor's Wife" includes audio commentary by Neil Gaiman. 


Gaiman's commentary brings a great deal of insight into early versions of the story (House having tentacles, an original plan to have pieces of Daleks scattered about the junkyard, the fact that numerous "junk" pieces were actually TARDISes in disguise, which leads to the deactivation of their chameleon circuits & subsequent reveal of the TARDISes, etc.)  Gaiman confirms Idris saying "I love you" to The Doctor as she vaporizes at the end of the episode, saying it was down mixed from its original levels.  When the episode originally aired, some viewers caught this - some didn't. The line is reasonably crisp and clear on the Blu-ray mix. 


So, there were plans to reveal an un-chamelioned TARDIS?  Gaiman says the live-action material ofr this was filmed, but the scene was replaced by an alternate version.  



"The Rebel Flesh" features audio commentary with Marshall Lancaster (Buzzer), Mark Bonnar (Jimmy), and director Julian Simpson.  They talk funny, like they're not from America or something.  Despite this, it's an insightful commentary that nicely illustrates the challenges of making this episode.  Matt Smith apparently has a name for every gadget on the TARDIS control island.  The exposed "Danger Corrosive Acid" pipe  at 5:33 was added in post.  The Oval Office set from S6's first two episodes was repurposed as a chamber for this installment. 



Disc Three Special features include a Monster File – "The Gangers,"  NIGHT AND THE DOCTOR "Bad Night", NIGHT AND THE DOCTOR  "Good Night,"  NIGHT AND THE DOCTOR "First Night,"  NIGHT AND THE DOCTOR "Last Night."  


NATD is a series of five new vignettes generated for this video release featuring Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Alex Kingston, and Arthur Darvill. There're 3 to 4 minutes each, and are heavily focused on the interpersonal relationships of the characters while in the TARDIS and between adventures.  All are scripted by Steven Moffat.  "Last Night" features a callback to "Silence in the Library."  


A while back, I was talking to one of the producers of the recent BATTLESTAR GALACTICA series and informally pitched an episode called "Galactica Actual," which essentially followed Adama and a few series regulars around the ship on an average day of...nothing but the mundane.  NIGHT AND THE DOCTOR functions along the same lines.  I'm fascinated by what we don't see happening on-screen on shows like BATTLESTAR or TREK, so NIGHT AND THE DOCTOR is a pleasant discovery...and sits just right.  





"A Good Man Goes to War"

"Let's Kill Hitler"

"Night Terrors"

"The Girl Who Waited"



"Good Man" includes commentary from Neve McIntosh (Madame Vestra the Silurian), Arthur Darvill (Rory), and Tim Barter (on-set VFX Supervisor).  






"The God Complex"

"Closing Time "

""The Wedding of River Song"


"The Wedding of River Song" includes an audio commentary by Steven Moffat,  Francis Barber (Madame Kovarian), director Jeremy Webb. 


Special features include Monster File  – "The Cybermats," Episode 13 prequel, an S6 part one trailer, an S6 part two trailer, and NIGHT AND THE DOCTOR "Up All Night."  "Up All Night" returns James Corden  and Daisy Haggard to their "Lodger"/"Closing Time" roles of Craig and Sophie respectively.


Special features include Monster File – "The Anti-bodies", an Episode 7 prequel, an Episode 8 prequel.





Loaded with the traditionally abbreviated DOCTOR WHO CONFIDENTIALs  - for each of S6's 13 episodes - probably the last of that series we'll ever see. The disc also includes a Confidential devoted to the making of NIGHT AND THE DOCTOR, in which (Richard Senior discusses how to direct a Goldfish), the making of "Time" and "Space" is also covered (Senior discusses the techniques used to present multiple Amys and Rorys for the short), and more.  




A very nice set, perhaps a tad short on commentaries for fun/critical episodes ("The Girl Who Waited," "Let's Kill Hitler," "The God Complex") - THE COMPLETELY SIXTH SERIES nicely compliments S6 as a whole, reaffirming its place as the boldest, finest show on television...even if it never quite found the traction achieved by last year's batch.  


DOCTOR WHO: THE COMPLETE SIXTH SERIES arrives November 21 and 22 in the U.K. and U.S. respectively.  In the U.S. DVDs can be found HERE and Blu-rays can be found HERE.  In the U.K. DVDs can be found HERE and Blus are HERE.  






"The Colony In Space" (Pertwee, Story #58)

(now available HERE in the U.S. and HERE in the U.K.)




"The Dalek Invasion of Earth" 

(now availabe HERE in the U.S. and HERE in the U.K.) 








"The Impossible Astronaut"

"Day of the Moon"

"The Curse of the Black Spot"

"The Doctor's Wife"

"The Rebel Flesh"

"The Almost People"

"A Good Man Goes To War"

"Let's Kill Hitler"

"Night Terrors"




"An Unearthly Child" (Story #1)

"The Daleks" (Story #2)

"The Edge of Destruction" (Story #3)

"Marco Polo" (Story #4)

"The Keys of Marinus(Story #5)

"The Aztecs" (Story #6)

"The Sensorites" (Story #7)

"The Reign of Terror" (Story #8)

"Planet of Giants" (Story #9) 

"The Gunfighters" (Story #25)

"Day of the Daleks" (Story #60) + Preview of the DotD Special Edition

"The Talons of Weng-Chiang" (Story #91)

"The Sun Makers(Story #95)

"The Awakening" (Story #131)

"Frontios(Story #132)

"Time and the Rani" (Story #144)

"Paradise Towers" (Story #145) + New WHOvian Documentary / Newsbits

Merrick's Personal Journey With The Doctor (How Merrick Got Hooked On DOCTOR WHO)

DOCTOR WHO Title Sequences & DW At Comic-Con 2011

"The Crash of the Elysium" (Manchester version - interactive DOCTOR WHO adventure)

Why Eccleston Left, Here Comes Caroline Skinner, And Season/Series Six Part 1 on Blu-Ray And DVD

New Trailer For Season/Series Six Part 2



AICN's Friday DOCTOR WHO Talkbacks - aka "Docbacks"  - operate on a different set of standards than other AICN Talkbacks.  These standards developed quickly and naturally, and we intend to preserve them.  Accordingly, please take a moment to note a few guidelines which should help proceedings move along smoothly and pleasantly:  
1) a Docback should be about completely open and free discourse regarding all things WHO (with, obviously, some variation on subject matter from time to time - the real world intervenes, discussions of other shows are inevitable, etc.)... 

2) matters of SPOILAGE should be handled with thoughtful consideration and sensitivity.  Posts containing SPOILERS should clearly state that a SPOILER exists in its topic/headline and should never state the spoiler itself . "** SPOILER ** Regarding Rory" is OK, for example.  "** SPOILER ** Battle of Zarathustra" is fine as well.  "**SPOILER** Why did everyone die?"  Is NOT good.  

And, above all... 

3) converse, agree, disagree, and question as much as you want - but the freedom to do so is NOT a license to be rude, crass, disrespectful, or uncivilized in any way.  Not remaining courteous and civil, as well as TROLLING or undertaking sensational efforts to ignite controversy, will result in banning.  Lack of courtesy may receive one (1) warning before a ban is instigated.  Obvious Trolling or Spamming will result in summary banning with no warning.  One word posts intended to bump-up any Docback's figures on AICN's "Top Talkbacks" sidebar will be considered actionable Spam - they not only complicate efforts to access Docbacks from mobile devices, but impede readers' abilities to follow or engage in flowing conversation. 
In short, it's easy.  Be excellent to each other.  Now party on...
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