First of all regarding previous comments about the re-issuing of this product in this format, the BBC is using a tried and tested method of maximising income. As has long been the case with CD's and DVD's (and VHS tapes and the old vinyl LP'S before them)it has long been standard practice to first release product at a premium rate for those with the enthusiasm and money to pay it (you could pay over 60gbp for a single series box set) ... then to re-release in the medium price range (around 40gbp each) then finally a budget re-issue, which is what we have here.
I thought I was doing well when I picked up a copy of series four in the January sales for 20gbp, but at just over 11gbp per series you really can't go wrong if you have any interest in this type of programme.
It is unfortunate that Christopher Eccleston quit after just one series, however David Tennant was an able replacement. Strangely enough, the different personas echo that of the first two Doctors of the original series (William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton), the more whimsical characters of Troughton and Tennant contrasting with their sterner predecessors.
The leading player in the resurrection of the programme is Russell T Davies and for this we must thank him. He was also the lead writer for these series and has been criticised for a certain amount of flippancy and lack of integrity in some of his work for the series. This may be explained, in part at least, in that he seems to regard Doctor Who as very much 'family entertainment' with the more adult themes that could have been included in the series being siphoned off to the early series of Torchwood. Perhaps for this reason my favourite episodes of the first three series were all written by his successor, Steven Moffatt. They are: S1 - The Empty Child - perhaps the scariest and widely regarded as being one of the best episodes of the opening series. S2 - The Girl in the Fireplace - perhaps my favourite episode to date. It explores the possibilities of time travel to an extent rarely exploited - the Tardis is often used as a vehicle to transport us to a future or past time or sometimes another planet, but then it is usually forgotten about until it's time to travel to the next episode. A brilliant, multi layered story. S3 - Blink. Trademark Moffatt who has said that he likes to explore primeval fears of dark forces who can move at the speed of light, or the blink of an eye. S4 - Midnight - Russell T plays it straight for once! Apparently this episode was planned to be low budget due to spending over-runs on other episodes. Rather than being a disadvantage, this plays to the strengths of the original series, renowned for their miniscule budgets. A fascinating psychological story, it has a good script, good direction and good acting. Just goes to show that you don't need millions to tell a good story.
The Cybermen have traditionally been the monsters I love to hate. For a ruthlessly logical breed, they have been extremely fashion conscious, benefitting from makeovers every time they appear but have nevertheless always been frightening and intimidating. That is until the new series. Sorry but the modern Cybermen are not much more scary than a Lego robot. Time to revert back to the men in rubber suits. Some time ago on an on-line forum, I posed the question 'where are all the cyber women?' ... strangely enough, not long after this we got a glimpse of the first Cyberwoman, although you had to watch Torchwood for that.
So in conclusion there will inevitably be high and low points across the four series, however Doctor Who, in both traditional and new series formats, remains one of the best things ever to happen to British Television.