Doctor Who 2005: the second half

People in gasmasks(See also: my review of the first half of the season.)

8. Father’s Day — Like almost every episode of the series, this turned out to be much better than the trailer would have had us believe. It takes a sci-fi element — travelling back to when Rose’s father was still alive, and saving his life – and explores what happens, how the other characters react when they realise what’s happened, and what happens (including freaky black monsters, why not) when a small part of history has been changed. I know I wasn’t the only one to get something in my eye towards the end there — this episode was not primarily sci-fi (something which narked some of the diehard fans), but was first rate drama.

9. The Empty Child/10. The Doctor Dances — Absolutely appalling ABC promotion for this story, but I thought it was the best of the whole season. The Empty Child got the top scare rating from the BBC’s panel of kids, and it worked on the adults too, the chilling gas masks, and a suitable amount of mystery over why it was occurring.

11. Boom Town — Groan, not the Slitheens again. After three strong episodes, this one was a bit of a let-down. Most of the episodes have had a strong idea to explore, and in this case it was capital punishment. But it dragged on too long (compare for instance to the topic being dealt with in Genesis of the Daleks, way back in 1975). And the Deus ex machina ending was a bit weak. But happily, the preview for the next episode grabbed me.

12. Bad Wolf — Straight after I watched “Bad Wolf”, with the climactic last few minutes still ringing in my ears, I emailed Tony with my three word assessment. The first word was “holy”, the second referred to copulation and the third to excrement. Damn this was exciting. It all built to the last few minutes, and despite already knowing from the trailer that the Daleks would be showing up, I can’t tell you how the adrenalin was pumping when the familiar Dalek base sound effect was first heard as we saw where Rose had ended up.

Some have complained about the pop culture/reality TV references in this one, that it’ll date it and people won’t understand it in the future. Perhaps, but Doctor Who has historically had a lot of references to current events — one that springs to mind was the question of Britain joining the Common Market (EU) way back in the Curse of Peladon… tell me anybody watching that one these days is going to pick that up?

To see the Doctor simply defy the Dalek hostage gambit with a single “No”, then tell Rose what he was going to do… just brilliant. Edge of the seat stuff for the next episode, to see how he’s going to do it.

Doctor leaves a message13. Parting Of The Ways — Wow. Plenty of tension. Most memorable moment: the Dalek outside the window. Four silent flashes of its lights, then BLAST! Most memorable and inspiring dialogue: Rose in the cafe.

Finally Bad Wolf is revealed. But oh dear, yet another literal Deus ex machina ending.

I for one had no idea that the Doctor would regenerate in this episode, so after the twists and turns, it came as an extra surprise to see Eccleston morph into Tennant.

In conclusion: Okay, I’ve been a fan for decades, so they’d have had to really stuff it up for me not to like it. But they didn’t stuff it up; they’ve done brilliantly. It’s great to see the series back, this time with a grown up budget and concepts to match. It wasn’t perfect (it never was), but I enjoyed this season immensely. And it’s been a success, with another two series on the way. Hats off to exec producer Russell T Davies for the achievement.

The DVDs are already being released, but I’ll hold on til the end of the year and get the boxed set with extras. And yes, I thought Christopher Eccleston was fantastic.Thumbs up!

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7 Replies to “Doctor Who 2005: the second half”

  1. When they killed off the last Darlek earlier in the season I was devastated, but when I heard that Darlek sound and saw the army of them in the promos I screamed, jumped up and down and clapped my hands. Not particularly mature for someone who remembers the first doctor (peeking over the back of the couch) when he was first telecast, but WOW!!!

  2. I too had something in my eye at the end of Fathers Day, great episode.

    True, the end of “Parting of the Ways” was weak, but they sort of got themselves into a corner with the Doctors final solution.

    I’m looking forward to the Christmas special, with the return of Elizabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane. I hope ABC shows that one for you Daniel.

  3. I must say I absolutely loved Eccleston as the Doctor – he has absolutely replaced Peter Davison as my second favourite Doctor, I’m sure he also overtakes Tom Baker as my outright favourite but I think that’s not likely purely because he glows so fondly from my youth (then again so did Davison, but Eccleston has left him for dead).

    I was shattered to hear Eccleston decided to leave after the first season, so I new he was departing but I thought it was going to happen in the first episode of the next season… however the title of the last episode (Parting Of The Ways), not to mention the Doctor acting weird at the end, made me leap off my couch with the conclusion he was about to regenerate… which of course he did, into someone I fear will be as dorky and pathetic as that Doctor who called himself “Professor” – that wanker ended my viewing of Doctor Who until now.

    It’s a shame Billie Piper, who I disliked originally but have grown to utterly admire, will also be leaving next season (though I think she’ll still be in a few more episodes before that occurs) as she was not only a great sidekick but her growing throughout the season and especially during this final episode made her an utterly brilliant counterpart for the Doctor.

    Actually I must admit that, again I hated him at first, but that Captain dude that joined them was also a ripper addition… he really helped fire the Doctor along, was an utterly perfect supplement/crossfiring of Eccleston humourous/excited/sarcastic Doctor… but I guess with Eccleston replaced by a dweed the Captain might have become a more interesting character :D

    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this new Doctor Who, especially when I didn’t think I would, but I must say one thing has disppointed me – every episode has revolved around Earth Earth Earth… or in the very least in orbit of Earth… yet Rose and the Doctor made numerous references to going elsewhere, so why the devil is the show now focussing 100% solely on Earth… I began to tire of that after just a few episodes, let alone the whole season…

  4. Our power went out halfway thru “Parting of the Ways”. There were cries of anguish and despair… I thank the internet for bit torrent even thou I had to wait a week for it to download.

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