Doctor Who : Dark Water / Death in Heaven – 3D Blu-ray Review | High Def Digest
full confession: I’ve been away from ‘doctor who’ for a while. After spending most of 2014 catching up on matt smith episodes (an actor I didn’t like in the role of the doctor, although some of his stories were entertaining), I was very excited when peter capaldi signed on for the paper. however, after seeing him in the first three episodes of series 8, I became disillusioned with the stories that were written for him and pretty much quit the show. so I came to this release having seen seven episodes that preceded it. I didn’t (and you) didn’t need to understand what was going on, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that capaldi and the overall quality of the storytelling have improved a lot since I last watched an episode.
like many of you, i haven’t been entirely pleased with steven moffat’s reign as showrunner of the ‘doctor who’ universe. I feel like it’s been a big step down from the kind of emotionally engaging stories that Russell T. Davies brought to the series, and I’ll confess I’m one of ‘those’ fans who have been waiting for him to hand over the reins to new blood. However, after watching both episodes in this release (which have been combined into one presentation), I’m willing to admit that I may have got moffat wrong, or maybe he just came up with a good idea. these shows are pretty good, and the first episode, ‘dark water,’ is one of the best ‘whos’ i’ve seen since david tennant left the role.
The “dark water” part of the show begins with Clara (jenna coleman) dealing with tragedy, when her boyfriend, danny (samuel anderson), is murdered. Clara’s first reaction, naturally, is for the doctor to change time to save him, but her efforts only lead to an emotional confrontation between the two. however, the doctor allows him to use the tardis to find out if danny’s soul has really gone somewhere, leading to the discovery of the ‘undersphere’, a place that could be where people go after death. die.
Of course, all is not as it seems at first, as viewers learn that missy (michelle gomez) is running the undersphere, someone who finally reveals her true identity (to the complete surprise of loyal viewers) to the doctor at the midpoint of this presentation (ie, the end of the ‘dark water’ episode). Missy’s plan is to use every corpse on earth to populate an army of cybermen, and the second half, the episode ‘death in heaven’, has the doctor teaming up with the unit (short for united nations intelligence taskforce) to figure out a way to stop the cybermen invasion.
The first of the two episodes is the strongest, as I really liked the idea of the series exploring what can happen to us after death (and, in particular, the reaction of Danny’s character, who really gives samuel anderson a chance to have his moment in the sun in this series). The whole addition of cybermen to the story, however, seems like just an excuse to add one of the doctor’s most infamous foes into the mix, and indeed this might be the worst use of those villains on this show to date. as they are simply missy’s pawns and have no strategic goal or purpose of their own.
Still, overall, this is a pretty entertaining “who” story and one worth checking out. The problem here is that I don’t know if it’s worth checking out in 3d, and since these episodes are already available on the series 8 blu-ray set, there’s not much here that warrants more than a rental.
the blu-ray: vital disc statistics
‘doctor who: dark water/death in heaven 3d’ travels back in time to home video in this blu-ray/dvd combo pack, whose cover label is a bit misleading as there’s only one blu-ray in this set, which has both 2d and 3d versions on the same 50gb dual layer disc. the dvd and blu-ray are housed inside a standard elite case, with a sleeve that matches the slip-top design of the case.
Both the dvd and blu-ray are front-loaded with trailers for doctor who christmas specials giftset and orphan black: season 3. before the blu-ray goes to the main menu, it has a screen asking users to select between 2d and 3d. the main menu (for both versions) is a video loop of the opening theme’s “time warp” sequence, with menu selections at the bottom of the screen.
the blu-ray of this version is regionless.