Archive for the ‘ Series Two ’ Category

“Doomsday” – Review: Redux

Rose “I… I love you”

Doctor “Quite right too”

Doomsday

The plot here is, on the surface, a little lightweight, with essentially just the Daleks and Cybermen slugging it out for world domination while humanity and the Doctor are caught in the crossfire. However, the depth of the story comes from the various interactions, combining action sequences deftly with scenes of emotional depth, all under the steady directorial hand of Graeme Harper. These scenes are some of the truly memorable ones from the 2005-2013 period of the show. For example, as the two foes size one another up there are some wonderful (some might say wonderfully silly) exchanges: to wit, during their first on-screen tete-a-tete, the Dalek simply dismisses the Cybermen with “This is not war. It is pest control“. (Of course, those in the know will realise that this is just a matter of Nick Briggs talking to himself because he provides the voices for both of them). I have heard that a meeting between the Doctor’s two biggest foes was originally proposed way back in the sixties, so it is something of a surprise that it took this long to materialise. Some may say that it is even more surprising therefore, that the battle, when it did come, was so heavily one-sided in favour of the Daleks. Continue reading

“Army of Ghosts” – Review: Redux

Rose Tyler “This is the story of how I died.”

Army of Ghosts

And so, Billie Piper’s 27-episode run as Rose has come to an end: trapped in a parallel universe with her family but with no chance of escape. The “Army of Ghosts” and “Doomsday” double-part series finale lived up to the expectations of a demanding audience, not only did we get to see the inseparable duo separated but we got a Dalek/Cybermen war thrown in for good measure. I say “war”, more of a “battle”. I say “battle”, more of a “brief encounter”. There was a lot crammed into these two 45-minute segments and so many memorable moments, all of which were built in to the script to lead us in to that ending. Rose going head-to-head with the Cult of Skaro, Pete and Jackie being re-united, and the Daleks and the Cybermen in a war of words as well as weapons were all sequences that will stay with the viewer for quite some time. None of them however can hold a candle to the last 10 minutes of “Doomsday”. Continue reading

“Fear Her” – Review: Redux

Doctor “No, I’m not really a cat person. Once you’ve been threatened by one in a nuns wimple, kind of takes the joy out of it.”

Fear Her

Watching a programme made in 2006 that heavily featured the 2012 Olympics, with the benefit of hindsight might have led your average viewer to think that there could be some interesting comparisons to be made about the fiction and the reality of the two Olympiads. And indeed, the first thing to strike me here was remembering how silly I thought the torch being run down a suburban street appeared to be back in 2006, only to find myself camped by the side a road near my house six years later watching exactly the same thing for real. There was no way that a drama on a budget could hope to replicate the scale of the real thing, so when the Doctor lit the flame at the Opening Ceremony, and it all looked a little cheap and cheerful. However, that was the least of this episode’s weaknesses. Continue reading

“Love & Monsters” – Review: Redux

Elton “And if there’s one thing I really, really love, then it’s Jeff Lynne and the Electric Light Orchestra. ‘Cause you can’t beat a bit of ELO.”

Love and Monsters

Ah, “Love & Monsters”, I’ve been expecting you. One of the fun reasons for undertaking this countdown to the 50th Anniversary was so that I could get to re-assess episodes like this one. My abiding memory of this one is the reaction it caused at the time. Some people really loved its sense of fun and quiet mocking of fandom, they were thrilled that a nine-year old kid won a Blue Peter competition to design the episode’s monster, and they were intrigued to see a story about how the Doctor can unknowingly influence the lives of those he barely comes in to contact with. On the other hand, some people hated it. With a passion. Due to its immature humour, ridiculous alien (complete with Hale & Pace-esque stunt casting), and its overall cheap feel and low values. I have to confess I am more in the latter camp than the former but the re-watch has led me to realise it’s not (quite) as bad I seemed to remember. Continue reading

“The Satan Pit” – Review: Redux

Toby Zed (possessed) “I am the rage and the vile and the voracity. I am the Prince and the Fallen. I am the Enemy, I am the Sin and the fear and darkness. I shall never die. The thought of me is forever; in the bleeding hearts of men, in their vanity and obsecrate and lust. Nothing shall ever destroy me. Nothing!”

The Satan Pit

While writing these reviews, I have been including the “Original BBC1 Broadcast” date as part of the summary at the bottom of the posts and it is interesting to note, given that the subject matter on hand, that this pair of episodes straddles the date 6th June 2006 (or “6/6/6”) it’s further evidence of the planning that goes into the production and scheduling of the programme. (Or may be it was just a lovely coincidence). I’ve been wracking my brains to try and think of other examples where the content of the episode relates to the date when it was scheduled for broadcast. However, beyond the obvious Christmas episodes and the Easter Egg mention in the “Planet of the Dead” I’ve drawn a blank… so your contributions would be welcome in the comments below. Continue reading

“The Impossible Planet” – Review: Redux

Ida Scott “There’s no turning back.”

The Doctor “Did you have to say that? ‘There’s no turning back?’ That’s almost as bad as ‘Nothing could possibly go wrong’ or ‘This’ll be the best Christmas Walford’s ever had’.”

Screen Shot 2013-08-30 at 13.27.48

When I first reviewed this second two-parter of Series Two, I had the temerity to say this was “Hands down, this has to be the best example of Doctor Who, in the world, ever”. Looking back at it now, that was quite some claim and probably one that I need to reassess somewhat. Although, the episode begins in the most perfect way: the TARDIS lands, the crew step out, find themselves on a base, make a few gags about flat-pack furniture, see some impossibly old writing and meet the Ood, all within the first 90 seconds. After the opening titles have rolled, newcomer Matt Jones’ script just keeps on at a cracking pace. There is a sense of impending doom that pervades everything, starting with “Welcome to Hell” being graffiti’d on the wall and getting scarier as we go, but it ebbs and flows majestically and builds to its perfectly crafted climax. Continue reading

“The Idiot’s Lantern” – Review: Redux

The Wire “Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin”

The Idiot's Lantern

My regular reader will know, just by the fact that (s)he’s aware that I’m watching 102 episodes in 102 days and blogging about them, that I happen to hold Doctor Who in pretty high regard. I’d go as far as to say that it is my most favourite collection of art that humanity has ever produced. This perfect slice of British pop culture, (BAFTA award winning, critically acclaimed and commercially successful) was enjoying a fantastic renaissance at the time of “The Idiot’s Lantern”. Imagine my surprise in 2006 when I saw the headline in the Guardian asking “Where have all the viewers gone?”. 6.3 million and 32% of the audience tuned in to the Idiot’s Lantern, penned by Leaugue of Gentlemen’s Mark Gatiss, who gave us the beautiful “The Unquiet Dead” last year. Just as an aside, it is interesting to note in hindsight that for the first three series of Doctor Who, there was not such thing as the BBC iPlayer: how times have changed. The article goes on to answer its own question in a mostly sensible fashion, but I did have to wonder whether this was the first glimmer of a backlash against Doctor Who.  Continue reading