DVD Review: Doctor Who Series 5: Vol 2

(2entertain)

DON’T blink, whatever you do, don’t even blink… Hang on, keeping your eyes open can be even worse!

As Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) discovers in the two-part story The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone, the threat of the Weeping Angels is far greater than anyone could have predicted, even the Doctor (Matt Smith) and his mysterious cohort River Song (Alex Kingston).

Answering a distress call sent through thousands of years of history, the TARDIS picks up River seconds after she jettisons herself into space through an airlock, but there’s no time for an emotional reunion with the Doctor, as the time travellers soon find themselves in hot pursuit after the spaceship Byzantium…

Arriving on the planet of Alfava Metraxis in the burning wreckage of the ship, River reveals the real reason for her summoning the Doctor – the last of the Weeping Angels is loose, and she needs his help to track it down.

Assisted by gun-toting priests, the Doctor, Amy and River descend into the ancient ruins of the long-lost Alfava civilisation, but things are not what they seem…

Then in Vampires of Venice, the Doctor, Amy and her erstwhile fianc�e Rory (Arthur Darvill) arrive in the city in the 16th century, where they find dessicated corpses, creatures lurking in the canals and young girls coming under the control of the mysterious House of Calvierri…

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Are the undead really walking the streets of Venice? How else do you explain Francesco Calvierri’s taste for blood and allergic reaction to sunlight? Why do the girls who live in the House have fangs and no reflection in mirrors? And will the Doctor, Amy and Rory live long enough to find out?

The return of the Weeping Angels is where this series of Doctor Who unquestionably steps up a gear. Boasting production levels on a par with a big budget movie, it’s a remarkable story which succeeds in redefining the Angels’ menace whilst also propelling both plot and characters for the rest of the series. Unfortunately the superior quality of these two episodes leaves the third on this DVD somewhat in the shade as a result.

The introduction of Rory to the TARDIS crew is a fantastic decision, and he shines throughout his debut story, whereas the episode itself lacks the bite one might have expected from the concept. That said, the foreign location work is outstanding, and Smith is so comfortably ensconced in his role that you totally believe he is the same Doctor whose travels we have been following since 1963.

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