Doctor Who: Season 4, Volume 1 (DVD)

Just over halfway through this current season of the good Doc and his adventures, and the first three episodes are already out on DVD. My, how quickly things move these days. Now a lot of critics have been pretty displeased with Season 4 of the revived Doctor Who so far. But I'm not one of them.

For starters we all known how hardcore fans loathed Catherine Tate in the Christmas special The Runaway Bride; she was too ... well, too Catherine Tate. But here she and the writers have toned her character of Donna down and is now playing the role nice and straight, relying on her acting rather than her comedy skills. This makes her far more bearable and a real asset to the show. The first episode, Partners in Crime, is a fine re-introduction to Donna and how her life has changed since meeting the Doctor. Now desperately trying to find a meaning in her life she stumbles across an evil nanny (yep you read that correctly) who is rearing a species named Adipose from human fat! Played mainly for laughs it’s a fine and funny start to the series. Add to this a knockout ending that went down in Who history as one of the best shocks ever.

The best episode of the bunch is the second — Paul Moran’s The Fire’s of Pompeii, where the Doctor and Donna experience at first hand the destruction of the famous Roman city. Dark and at times very sinister Donna gets to question the Doctor’s role in the universe with some wonderfully soul searching and serious dialogue. Old baldy favourites the Ood feature in the third episode, Planet of the Ood. Here the slap-headed aliens once again turn against their masters but with more reason this time around and what starts as a statement on slavery becomes a piece about genetic engineering. With a superb appearance from Tim McInnerny, an actor who really should have more TV exposure than he gets, the story is good old fashioned Doctor Who with solid special effects. So to sum up this is a fine start to the series and even though better stuff is yet to come to DVD, this trio of episodes proves that Tennant tenure is one of the best in Doctor Who’s long history.

EXTRAS None, but expect the usual bundle of goodies (including BBC3's Doctor Who Confidential) on the full-season box set later in the year ... just in time for Christmas.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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