Doctor Who Mini-Reviews: Series 2

into the vortexEdmund and I have been re-watching the Doctor Who reboot from the beginning, and I’m writing mini-reviews; I post them one season at a time. The info is cribbed from Wikipedia, and I added my scores and comments.

The scores go thus:

  1. This is embarrassing.  Go away.
  2. Weak.  I’m not going to try convincing my friends to watch the show based on this.
  3. Average for a Doctor Who episode.
  4. That was a good one!
  5. One of the best ever.

This one is for “Series 2″ of the recent collection, released in 2006 and starring David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor.  I wasn’t too enthusiastic about it; I don’t think the chemistry between Billie Piper (playing Rose Tyler) and Tennant was as good as the one she had with Christopher Eccleston, the Ninth Doctor.  Same with Noel Clarke (playing Rose’s ex-boyfriend Mickey), his exchanges with Eccleston had more flair.

No Title Score Comments Code Episodes Writer Director Original airdate
168 New Earth 2 Poor. Fairly nonsensical plot, providing excuses to reconnect with some of the earlier foreshadowing. 2.1 1 episode Russell T Davies James Hawes 15 April 2006
169 Tooth and Claw 3 Not great, but had nice performance of Pauline Collins as Queen Victoria, and fun characterizations by several other supporting actors. 2.2 1 episode Russell T Davies Euros Lyn 22 April 2006
170 School Reunion 3 Not great, but had the return of Elizabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane, Noel Clarke as Mickey, and Anthony Head as Mr. Finch. 2.3 1 episode Toby Whithouse James Hawes 29 April 2006
171 The Girl in the Fireplace 2.5 Meh. At least Noel Clarke was there, and Sophia Myles was rather nice, even if she doesn’t look anything like Mme de Pompadour. Costuming was superbly inaccurate. 2.4 1 episode Steven Moffat Euros Lyn 6 May 2006
172 Rise of the Cybermen
The Age of Steel
3/2.5 Best part was Ricky (alternate Mickey) as leader of the Street Preachers. Shaun Dingwall is still nice as Pete Tyler. Other than that, oh-hum plot, gratuitous explosions, and Rose was completely useless. 2.5
2 episodes Tom MacRae Graeme Harper 13 May 2006
20 May 2006
173 The Idiot’s Lantern 2.5 The 1950s technology and aesthetics are cute, and the nostalgia must be fun for the UK. The Wire (the villain) was woefully underused, however. The episode started well with Rose doing some independent investigation, but fizzled out and returned to the boilerplate Time Lord technology to fix everything. 2.7 1 episode Mark Gatiss Euros Lyn 27 May 2006
174 The Impossible Planet
The Satan Pit
4/3.5 First appearance of the Ood; first decidedly futuristic episode since the visit to Satellite 5 at the end of the previous season. Good visuals, and good Aliens-like atmosphere. The Big Bad is a let-down, however, and the interminable pit plot in the second episode seriously hampers the tempo. 2.8
2 episodes Matt Jones (and Russell T Davies)[17] James Strong 3 June 2006
10 June 2006
175 Love & Monsters 4 Refreshing approach to telling the story, and an excellent performance by Marc Warren (a nice change from seeing him play low-lives and psychos in Life on Mars, Discworld serials, or The Good Wife…) A little off on timing, a little too long spent on epilogues to epilogues. 2.10 1 episode Russell T Davies Dan Zeff 17 June 2006
176 Fear Her 3 Not a terribly bad or terribly good plot, but the rhythm was off; it felt like someone was stretching for, ahem, time. The flirting between Rose and the Doctor was tedious. 2.11 1 episode Matthew Graham Euros Lyn 24 June 2006
177 Army of Ghosts
3/4 “Army of Ghosts” jumped a little too soon to the Cybermen but it had good atmosphere in the first part. Cute to see Freema Agyeman in a bit role before she plays Martha Jones in the next season. “Doomsday” earns a better score because in spite of a balderdash plot, it has the wonderful trash-talk scenes between Cybermen and Daleks, and it tackles the problem that Cybermen are just Dalek-minus. 2.12
2 episodes Russell T Davies Graeme Harper 1 July 2006
8 July 2006
178 The Runaway Bride 2 Ugh. Donna Noble. A character apparently written by Miss O. Jinny. The episode is twice as well written as the previous Christmas special, so it gets a 2. It sure managed to fill a lot of running time with very little plot. 3.X Christmas special (60 mins) Russell T Davies Euros Lyn 25 December 2006