How to Spend $20

By David Mumpower

July 19, 2011

Some of us are more intent on tracking the length of the NFL lockout than outhers.

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For people who want to learn the secrets of Dr. River Song: Doctor Who Series Six Part One

The cash-strapped BBC did something a bit unusual with their anchor program’s sixth series. Doctor Who was split into a pair of six episode runs rather than a single 12 episode season. This means that consumers can catch up to the first half of Series 6 before the second half begins in September. And you are going to want to do that.

In the past, I have stated my frustrations with Doctor Who, a decidedly British series whose decisions do not always translate well to my impossibly American sensibilities. As an example, our resident Doctor Who expert, Edwin Davies, considers Series 4 to be the best of the new iteration. I actively disliked most of that year and wanted no part of companion Donna Noble. British comedian Catherine Tate is much beloved in her native England, but the only thing I would have enjoyed watching her do was be shot out of a cannon. Her presence ruined Doctor Who for me.


Enter the goddess Karen Gillan as the much more subtle Amy Pond, an inexperienced woman given the opportunity to explore the universe from the start until the end of time. This was exactly the concept that initially gripped me when introduced to Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) in 2005 and I hadn’t realized how much I had missed it until I had it back again.

Surprisingly, Gillan isn’t the best part of the season to date, though. Badger himself, Mark Sheppard, continues his quest to appear on every show I enjoy (he’s checked Firefly, Leverage, NCIS, Burn Notice, Chuck, Battlestar Galactica, Supernatural and now Doctor Who off the list) with an impressive part of the terrifying two-parter that begins Series Six. While none of the characters can remember the details, they are aiding Richard Nixon (you heard me) in investigating a run of alien abductions yet each time they run into the aliens, their memory gets wiped. This is a genius concept very well implemented by current showrunner Steven Moffatt (of Coupling fame). After this two-parter, the series leads directly into an episode about pirates followed by one written by living legend Neil Gaiman. Finally, the first half of Series Six finishes with a two-parter that explains the heritage of Dr. River Song. This is quite possibly the best six episode run in the show’s storied history and I say that as someone who wasn’t really a fan of the pirate episode. The other five episodes are all A+ material, and I cannot recommend this DVD purchase enough. If you have never given Doctor Who a shot in the past, Series Six Part One is the perfect opportunity to discover why this series is considered the pre-eminent television program in England.

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