Doctor Who: The Complete Third Series Review
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It seemed like just another day of work for med student Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman). But on one particular day, Martha finds herself (and the rest of the hospital) transported from its usual place in London to a new location on the moon—and everyone inside is under careful scrutiny by some scary space rhinos. That’s where Martha meets a man who calls himself The Doctor (David Tennant). Though he seems like just a regular (if somewhat eccentric) guy, The Doctor is actually a Time Lord—the last of the Time Lords, in fact—an alien who travels through space and time in the Tardis, a spaceship that, on the outside, looks like a regular police call box.

After they deal with the situation with the space rhinos, Martha joins The Doctor aboard the Tardis, and the two spend a thrilling season fighting inter-galactic crime and fixing the universe’s problems with The Doctor’s sonic screwdriver.

Dr. Who is one of those franchises that just seem to live on forever. Similar to fellow sci-fi franchises like Star Trek—and even a little bit like James Bond—The Doctor has been around for decades, through various incarnations, played by all kinds of different actors along the way (ten of them, to be exact). And loyal Dr. Who fans can go on for hours about their favorite version of The Doctor. But I come from a different perspective: I’d never seen the show before I popped in the third series (that means the third season for my fellow Yanks). My husband was relatively new, too—having only seen the show (and having been scared out of his mind by it) as a kid. So we both went in with curiosity (me) and a little bit of trepidation (him). By the time Martha and The Doctor meet Shakespeare, I was hooked. And by about halfway through the season, I was completely sold.

Dr. Who is a little bit X-Files and a little bit James Bond—with a dash of Monty Python thrown in for flavor. Though the effects are occasionally a bit on the cheesy side, the stories are brilliantly written—and the deeper you get into the third season, the better they get.

This six-disc set opens with the annual Dr. Who Christmas special before jumping into the rest of the 13-episode season. Along the way, The Doctor and his new human companion, Martha, travel back in time to protect Shakespeare and forward in time to the end of the universe. They battle aliens that are trying to take over 1930s Manhattan, and they find themselves stuck in 1969 in a disturbing episode that’s likely to leave you with an overwhelming fear of statues. And what starts out as a season that’s fun and just a little bit creepy (with visits to Shakespeare’s Globe theater and a grid-locked New York of the future—where, incidentally, everyone speaks with British accents) becomes more and more intense as each episode passes. The stories just keep getting better—and the adventures get more thrilling and more suspenseful until the season comes to an explosive yet bittersweet end.

Since I’d never seen the show before this season, a few of the references to previous seasons and old characters flew over my head—but I had no problem keeping up with (or getting completely hooked into) the story. And even though I’m not typically a big fan of science fiction, Dr. Who isn’t your typical science fiction. It’s smart and witty, and the characters are spectacular. Tennant is unconventionally charming as The Doctor. He’s eccentric and adventurous, and it’s obvious that he’s having a total blast in the role. He and Agyeman work wonderfully together—and Agyeman’s Martha has just the right amount of cheek to keep The Doctor in check.

On top of a great season of shows, the DVD set offers a plethora of extras—like Tennant’s silly video diaries and the documentary series, Dr. Who Confidential, which takes fans behind the scenes of every episode.

You don’t have to be a sci-fi fan to enjoy Dr. Who. There’s a little bit of something for everyone in this quirky time-travel adventure.

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