‘Doctor’ in the house

The resurrection of the cult classic “Doctor Who” franchise began in 2005 on BBC and it was extremely successful. The success continued when the series made the leap to the Sci Fi Channel for U.S. audiences, where there has always been a soft spot for the Time Lord from Gallifrey.

The premise to the series is rather intricate, involving a time traveler who gallivants through the ages in his time machine, which is disguised as a London police box, stirring up trouble. Or better put, trouble unquestionably always finds him. Usually, this includes traveling with one or more companions, which are notably almost always humans.

The modern-day “Doctor Who” stars Billie Piper in the role of Rose, a companion from London who stumbles into becoming the Doctor’s sidekick, but in the end is as big of a player in the series as the Doctor ever was. Christopher Eccleston, who plays the Doctor, completely nails the essence of the Doctor in all respects.

While long time fans of the series will enjoy many of the plot lines that are incredibly similar to those from decades past, the updated special effects are just enough to give it a modern look without losing that low-budget feel the series is known for. Not all of the episodes from the first series are enjoyable — notably “The Empty Child” and “The Doctor Dances” are incredibly boring — but of the 13 episodes these few are the exception with clever story lines and loads of fun-loving, world-saving adventures.

For fans of the show who have been aching for a decent version of the show after so many long years through the good and bad versions, horrifically bad television movies and truncated classic reruns — welcome my friends, you have come home.

Extras: A massive amount of special features are included in the set. So much so the special features alone may be worth it for behind-the-scenes junkies to check out regardless if you enjoy the series or not. There are alternate audio commentaries on each and every episode from the show, a whopping dozen (yes, 12) featurettes on the show — the coolest of which are the forward-looking shorts on the second season and a behind-the scenes look at “Doctor Who Christmas Invasion” special — and trailers from the show’s opening as well as much more.

Other DVDs out now

» Did you miss “The Matador” in the theaters? Don’t even know what “The Matador” is about? Don’t worry, you certainly aren’t the only one. This film starring Pierce Brosnan as an aging hitman who tries one last job with a stranger he meets in Mexico City only stayed in theaters for two weeks at best. The film is a bit uneven but a nice rental with a healthy dose of special features including 11 deleted scenes, two audio commentaries, a making-of featuretteand the usual fare. Price: $28.95. Rent or buy: Rent.

» Similar to “The Matador,” the Johnny Depp-starring “The Libertine” didn’t stay around a long time in the theaters before getting the ax. The story about 17th-century poet John Wilmot, the Earl of Rochester, just didn’t seem to connect with the moviegoers. However, while the story of Wilmot is not a nice one — he beats his wife, treats his friends poorly and is horrible to his children — it is well-acted, and John Malkovich is beautifully sinister in his role as King Charles II. Also on the DVD are 10 deleted scenes, one commentary and one featurette. Price: $28.95. Rent or buy: Rent.

peterbrown@examiner.com

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