Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Doctor Who: 'The Stolen Earth' & 'Journey's End' (S4E12 & 13)

And so it ends (for this year at least). I've got to say that this has been the best of the four NuHu series so far, and by quite a margin. That's not to say that the previous three series weren't good, but is to say that this series was great throughout, with only a few dips towards 'alrightness' along the way.

If you haven't seen these episodes yet, don't read on, I'm sure to spoil something for you.

This two-parter followed the pattern laid down by previous Doctor Who two-parters in that it tried to achieve far too much in the first part. Too many characters converging and too many things going on. You put Donna and Martha together in one episode and we care. You put Donna and Rose together in one episode and we care. You put Donna and Martha and Jack and Rose and Sarah-Jane and the Doctor together and try to fit a plot into 45 minutes and we're struggling. By necessity the Torchwood team, Sarah-Jane's son and Mickey and Jackie got sidelined and we didn't have the time to actually care about any of them, which is a shame.

Also, the production team seems to think it is necessary to put the entire world in jeopardy at the end of every Doctor Who series. I'm not sure it really is. You can still pack a two parter with action and an emotional punch even if the entire world has not been ripped out of time and space.
But still. The Daleks are back. Yay! Davros is back. Double Yay! All the recent companions that we know and love are back. Yay! And then the best cliffhanger of any NuHu yet. What will happen next?

But still, I do agree with SFX ( who said it was like an extended movie trailer - lots of snippets of what should be a much longer story. But the first half was clearly just there to be a set up for the second...

... and that was just fab. Davros showing the Doctor how he used his companions was a touch of genius, the Daleks talking in German was brilliant and the DoctorDonna was great. Everything that could have been wrong about Catherine Tate being cast as a companion thrown into one scene and somehow tranformed into pure class. 10 out of 10, Russell T.

Then thrown in a few silly bits and a pretty ropey plot whereby Donna has to have her memory wiped and is therefore written out - we knew it had to happen, but I'm sure there could have been a better way. With the prophesy of "One of them will die", I don't know why they couldn't just follow through on that. They killed off Kylie last Christmas, why not kill Donna off properly? In no real way did one of them die. It was a trick.

And of course the Rose storyline is now resolved and ended and she'll not be back again. I liked what they did there with the other Doctor, but it also felt like a little bit of a cheat. But I'm nit picking here at what was a fab ending to a great series. Well done the BBC.

So here's a quick summary of the whole series:
  1. Partners in crime: Silly but entertaining. 7/10
  2. Fires of Pompeii: Who as Who should be. 8/10
  3. Planet of the Ood: A bit weak, but passes the time. 6/10
  4. The Sontaran strategy: Entertaining. 7/10
  5. The poison sky: Fun with dull bits. 7/10
  6. The Doctor's daughter: Too simple a plot. 6/10
  7. The unicorn and the wasp: Silly but entertaining. 7/10 (initially 5/10 but it grew on me)
  8. Silence in the library: Brilliant and creepy. 9/10
  9. Forest of the dead: Continuing brilliance and creepiness. 9/10
  10. Midnight: Simple story, well told, some great moments. 8/10
  11. Turn left: Genius. 10/10
  12. The stolen earth: Too much happening, but a great roller coaster ride. 8/10
  13. Journey's end: Emotion, heartbreak and some punch-the-air moments. 9/10
Wow, so an episode average of 7.7/10! That's pretty good. By my own scoring rules I should go and buy the DVDs, except that I wouldn't have time to watch them these days... Oh well.

So now its ages and ages until the next Doctor Who (OK, there's a Christmas special, but then ages before the next series). But at least they are making a new series of Torchwood after the summer, so that will hopefully hit our screens early in 2009. And for those of you who don't know, it will be a five-parter, continuous story, showing Monday to Friday one week. And will feature Noel Clarke as Mickey as the new boy on the Torchwood team.

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