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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Action > Adventure > British TV > Doctor Who: The Complete Fourth Series (BBC DVD)

Doctor Who: The Complete Fourth Series (BBC DVD)


Picture: B     Sound: B     Extras: A     Episodes: A+

Over the course of the last three years the name David Tenant has become synonymous with Doctor Who.  After taking the role of the 10th Doctor in 2005, Tenant has made it his own with a unique brand of comic intensity and seemingly unlimited energy.  Series Four features Tenant with new companion Donna Noble (Catherine Tate), and also manages to reunite him with Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman) from the Third Series, and Rose Tyler (Series One and Two).  Tate, the source of some Internet flame wars and controversy when announced as Series Four's companion, is nothing short of wonderful.  An accomplished actress possessing a wide range of emotion and character depth, Tate's Donna Noble forges a unique place among the Doctor's long list of past companions.

Featuring amazing plots, gorgeous special and creature effects, and wonderful performances, Series Four never fails to impress.  Fans of the alien Sontarans will be pleased by the two parter featuring their unique brand of militaristic villainy, while episodes like "Planet of the Ood" and "The Doctor's Doctor" tug on the proverbial heart strings while delivering slam-bang action at the same time.  The three-part conclusion to Series Four neatly ties up the Rose Tyler plot line, but does represent a bit of a cosmic cop-out on the writers' part.

Tucked away among all of this grandness and cosmic wonder is "Midnight", a single episode on disc four that packs as much intensity, drama, and horror into single tour trip gone awry as a million Dalek invasions of the multiverse.  In Hitchcock-like fashion, the Doctor and a group of far-future tourists find themselves stranded in a hostile environment, trapped on their tour vehicle and harried by an unseen alien presence that inhabits members of the party and reveals their baser natures.  Brilliant performances by Tenant, Lesley Sharp, David Troughton, Rakie Ayola, and others bring the tension of this episode to life.  The script from series creator Russell T. Davies is top-notch, and example of how dearly he will be missed when he departs in 2010.

Davies will not be alone in leaving after 2009, with Series Four representing Tenant's last full season as Doctor Who.  The Christmas special for 2008 and four more special episodes in 2009 will be all Tenant has left as the 10th Doctor.  His sheer pleasure in the role and the fandom surrounding it can be clearly seen in his extra commentaries and video diaries.  The wonderful "Doctor Who Confidential" returns with this box as well, giving an inside view into the production of each episode.

Produced with quality, love, and care, Doctor Who - Series Four will not disappoint even hardcore Who fanatics.

-   Scott Pyle


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