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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Action > Adventure > British TV > Doctor Who – Planet Of The Dead (2009/BBC Blu-ray)

Doctor Who – Planet Of The Dead (2009/BBC Blu-ray)


Picture: B     Sound: B     Extras: C+     Telefilm Episode: B-



When Doctor Who finally played itself out in 1989, The BBC gave it a rest, then decided to try to revive the character in 1996 with Paul McGann playing The Doctor in a telefilm that did not relaunch the show, despite some interesting aspects to it.  Now all know that David Tennant (after Christopher Eccleston started the relaunch as The Doctor) brought the character back when the show was revived in 2005 and now that he is leaving the role, he delivers one of his last performances in what is the first-ever High Definition production of the show in Planet Of The Dead (2009).

While the hit spin-off Torchwood (reviewed elsewhere on this site) has always been an HD production, this is The Doctor’s HD debut and BBC Home Video has issued the telefilm in a solid new Blu-ray release.  After a heist Who interrupts, U.N.I.T. is on high alert and that is good, because a new set of alien invaders are there to sneak attack London and do what they have to do to take over.  That leaves The Doctor and Lady Christina (Michelle Ryan) scrambling to figure out what is happening and stop the invasion.


I have not been a big fans of the Who revival, but of what I have seen of the newer shows, this is one of the better efforts, despite its derivative nature.  Tenant became better in the role as he moved along and has probably done as much as he could.  This is preparation for Matt Smith to eventually step into the role and with HD, the producers are adding new punch to the show.  Whether it will be as exciting as the older show remains to be seen, but the series needs to be an innovator, not follower and though it should retain its comic side, needs to be darker like Sapphire & Steel was and come up with the most exciting stories since Baker’s peak.  We’ll see where this leads.  As a Blu-ray, it is very much worth your time.


The 1080i 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image may have some motion blur here and there, but it is one of the best-looking TV series we have seen on Blu-ray to date in its consistency and fullness.  Color is also pretty good and not gutted out, though it can be stylized.  Ironically, early pre-Tom Baker shows had outdoor footage shot in 16mm, which could have been shown in HD if the BBC had not lost most to all of that footage.  The DTS-HD Master Audio (MA) lossless 5.1 mix is also rich and full throughout with some of the best sound mixing for a genre TV show on either side of the Atlantic, one I originally reported as PCM 5.1 in error due to a receiver issue, but it did not affect my rating when I caught the problem.  The only extra is an hour-long Doctor Who Confidential about the making of this program, which should be seen after watching the feature.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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