Be Careful What You Wish For ...

Thursday, August 7, 2008

One of the obsessions that qualified me for my job (currently as Comics Buyer's Guide Senior Editor) was BBC science fiction and fantasy. I created the magazine Fantasy Empire, which had a focus on Doctor Who -- in large part to help me explore further the realm of the series that was relatively inaccessible in America. In the course of my life, then, I've actually spent some time with Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, and Sylvester McCoy. (Not to jump that up to overstatement, "some time" was, at most, a dinner. But super-nice performers, each of whom did his best to provide a pleasant interlude for a goggling fan.)

Thanks to a tenuous connection to the world of comics (there have been Doctor Who comic-book adventures in England and America, after all), I can maintain a minor presence of DW material in CBG and at CBGXtra. I recently noticed that there'd been a bunch of BBC shows that I wanted to review here, there, and everywhere, so I asked for what was available. And wow.

I have a couple of months without plans to visit other states, so the project is doable, but the thing is that the BBC is among the best providers of DVD entertainment based on its shows. Not only does the customer get the show as aired, but the bonus material is incredible. Once you see the show itself, you can rewatch it with commentaries, featurettes, and similar bonuses. So a reviewer can begin by doubling the length of time to watch the feature itself and go from there. Here's what I get to explore:

Doctor Who #17: The Time Meddler 1965, 1:40 [total for the feature alone, then, is 3:20 -- and there's scads of bonuses, which I won't bother to note in the rest of this list, but includes here a look at The Doctor's appearance in comic strips]

Doctor Who #93: The Invisible Enemy 1977, 2:23 [4:46 -- and, since that introduced K-9, there's a bonus included in the time count of K-9 and Company, 1981]

Doctor Who #97: The Invasion of Time 1978, 2:30 [5:00 -- and one of my favorites]

Doctor Who #130: The Five Doctors 1983, 3:11 [6:22 -- but I'm not sure about this, because it says it's the 1983 and 1995 versions; we shall see]

Torchwood: The Complete Second Season 2008, 10:28 [20:56 -- and the packaging doesn't mention extras but]

Not to mention two other boxes:

Robin Hood Season Two 2008, 9:47 [I'm not sure whether this set has commentaries on every show, but there's at least one -- plus three featurettes]


Spaced: The Complete Series 1999, 5:50 [Man, I'm not sure, but there seem to be many bonuses, including some commentary work by such people as Matt Stone, Kevin Smith, and Quentin Tarantino. Comics connection? Yep: One of the two focal nerds is a wanna-be comic-book artist; he's played by Simon Pegg. I can hardly wait and I'm not being sarcastic!]

Time to quit blogging and turn on the TV!


farmbrough August 9, 2010 at 12:35 AM  

The BBC DVD Extras do add a lot of value to the original content, and the Doctor Who releases in particular are a yardstick by which other DVD producers should measure their success. The original content is also treated with the utmost care, with best quality originals sourced, restored, and sometimes re-created where there are gaps in episodes due to censors' scissors or such mundane things as broken film or corrupted videotape.

The Stripped For Action series of documentaries on the Doctor Who comic strips, which has featured artists and writers such as Bill Mevin, Steve Parkhouse, and Alan Moore, is now several instalments long and a brief guide to availability is here:

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