It may only feature four stories, but the Blu-ray release of Doctor Who’s final season from its original run features a wealth of material that all fans will be interested in.
It’s been a couple of months since the release of Doctor Who‘s twenty-sixth season on Blu-ray in North America (or Doctor Who: Sylvester McCoy – Complete Season Three, as it’s been branded over here). But I’ve finally made my way through not just the original TV stories, but also many of its special features. Is this season worth the purchase on Blu-ray?
If it was just the stories themselves, definitely not. There’s nothing wrong with them – in fact, all of the serials range from entertaining to near-perfect examples of the best of Classic Who. It’s incredibly ironic that it ended when it did, just when the show was starting to find some real direction for the first time in a long while.
However, in terms of picture quality, it never rises above DVD level. This is mainly because the show was entirely shot on video at this point, and high-definition isn’t possible with any of these stories. They look good, at least, but not worth buying the Blu-ray for. Naturally, that’s where the extras come in.
The first thing that leaps out beyond the original serials themselves is that, for three of the four stories included, there are multiple editions.
Along with including the original TV episodes as broadcast, both Battlefield and The Curse of Fenric feature extended episodes originally released on VHS, plus special editions with new effects released on DVD. There’s even a workprint of Ghost Light, which doesn’t exactly make the story more understandable, but it does add to it, at least.
So essentially, what would ordinarily be a four-disc box set instead features seven discs – six for the stories and their multiple versions, plus one containing additional extras.