The fourth and fifth series of the UK show come to Blu-ray and DVD in one package (appropriately enough, since they were filmed as one 13 part season, and divided for transmission purposes). The webisodes fill in some of the detail regarding the changes, and it’s highly recommended to watch these first, before jumping into the main body of the episodes.
Quite a bit has changed, yet much stays the same. Once Connor and Abby are reunited with the 21st Century, there’s the usual running around after monsters (and monsters, of course, running around after them). Effects work now comes courtesy of The Mill, who do a similar job for the BBC on Doctor Who, and the interplay between real people and the various creatures improves with each episode.
Although there are various adventures of the week, the second half of the show becomes increasingly serialized as team leader Matt’s reasons for joining the ARC become clear, and, after the appearance of the future predators at various points over the show’s history, it’s no spoiler to say that time travel and altering potential futures becomes critical to the storyline.
The emotional content isn’t ignored: the Connor/Abby relationship has inevitably been altered by a year spent marooned in the past, and they take time to readjust to the present day. That’s not helped by the temptations thrust under Connor’s nose by new ARC owner Philip Burton (a great performance from Alexander Siddig).
The show was filmed in summer 2010 and while progress on the Canadian spin-off continues, there’s still no word as to the future of the core program. If this does represent the end of the UK version, then (apart from the obligatory “what the hell” scene in the final moments), it does provide quite a considerable amount of closure.
The extras are ok but not outstanding: a behind the scenes documentary (in two parts) and the prequel webisodes, but this really lacks the 5.1 sound mix that accompanied the show’s UK TV airings.
Verdict: A couple of minor clunkers aside, this is an enjoyable ride. 7/10