DVD Extras (box sets only) include:
But all is not lost. The TARDIS is treated most fairly in this one, the first story of the new production to give us all proper materializations and dematerializations, lots of interior scenes, and even hints at the wardrobe room deep in the interior maze. Very nice. The Doctor and Rose are also very easy to get to know and like from this episode alone, which works great.
But a little too much time is taken in such a short story to introduce all the guest characters before the next interesting event takes place in the theatre. Most of the material surrounding Charles Dickens is far too self-indulgent for my tastes, and most of the other olde English characters also fail to capture my interest when they get screen time to themselves. It seems to be just the sort of thing of which the BBC churns out way too much, and I find myself waiting impatiently for an interesting plot element to kick in.
The one guest character that works for me is Gwyneth, who gets to detail her very interesting period perspective on the events and phenomena at hand, and what she believes her own role in that is. Even then, her early one-on-one scene with Rose seems to go on too long since much of what she says can't really be appreciated without having seen the stories that follow in the season, and so much more of what they talk about seems a bizarre subject for two strangers to bring up after having met in such suspicious circumstances.
But, all things said and done, these characters work much better than those of "Ghost Light", all being solidly anchored in reality until or unless the writer specifically demonstrates to us otherwise.
This also seems to be the first story of the season to mention the "Time War" by name. Hindsight informs us that the name may have been read out of the Doctor's mind via Gwyneth, and used to try to guilt him into siding with the Galth.
As much as I find the mindpower/interdimensional stuff interesting and worthy of exploration, and the séance idea rather pedestrian but everyday believable, these elements still disappoint by seemingly being included more to freak the audience out than anything else, letting down all the fine, beautifully balanced moral arguments that preceded it.
Normally, there would be room to build a decent plot around the Galth, one or two story beats with a direct and gripping struggle, with twists and shifting strategies. But the self-indulgent character bits have squeezed such things out of the limited time the episode has.
In the end, the Doctor is made to appear both foolish and heroically negligent, himself and Rose trapped and needing rescue during the story's conclusion. Dumb. The guest characters rule the conclusion, although the Doctor's influence earlier in the story has helped prod them on. The body count remains too high to satisfy though.
Then follows a lengthy self-indulgent coda that just won't move forward and end. It's very bizarre how the Doctor thinks he's changed history slightly, and yet also believes he knows exactly how things will work out. This 2005 writing team really seems to like to muck their way through incongruent time-theory without really knowing what they're doing, and flaunt it to a worldwide audience. Bizarre.
This story has become available on DVD:
Note: The 13-episode box sets contain commentaries, behind-the-scenes featurettes, and other extras. The 3-episode volumes only feature the plain episodes.
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