Doctor Who Mini-Reviews: Series 3

Tardis Builders logo by G. FoyleEdmund 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 3″ of the recent collection, released in 2007 and starring David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor and Freema Agyeman as Martha Jones. Strong and capable, Martha is my favourite Companion in since Sarah Jane Smith even though the writers gave her a stupid crush on the Doctor; I’m sorry she was there for only one season.

The second half is, in my opinion, the highest point in the Tenth Doctor’s career with multi-episode story arcs that are themselves joined by an overarching plot. We see better acting, plotting, editing, and directing than at any point in the Tenth Doctor’s previous appearances.

No Title Score Comments Code Episodes Writer Director Original airdate
179 Smith and Jones 3.5 I like Freema Agyeman as Martha Jones, so I’m happy to reach this season. The start in media res and slight non-linear story-telling help bolster the plot. 3.1 1 episode Russell T Davies Charles Palmer 31 March 2007
180 The Shakespeare Code 3  I wish they had not written a crush on the Doctor as Matha’s  story hook. Ho-hum. Shakespeare is OK but the episode’s plot is otherwise lackluster. 3.2 1 episode Gareth Roberts Charles Palmer 7 April 2007
181 Gridlock 3.5 Good characters but underused. Still, it’s nice to go to another futuristic setting, even though we’ve visited it before. 3.3 1 episode Russell T Davies Richard Clark 14 April 2007
182 Daleks in Manhattan
Evolution of the Daleks
2.5 I can’t figure out why this was expanded into a two-parter. There wasn’t enough plot for it, and it’s one of those “time travel” episode that is so far from historical accuracy, they’re not even trying. 3.4
2 episodes Helen Raynor James Strong 21 April 2007
28 April 2007
183 The Lazarus Experiment 3 Tolerable episode. You see the plot coming and going, and the way in which the Bad Guy is defeated makes as much sense as usual, but there is momentum and a few nice minutes of acting. David Tennant is finally starting to own the role. 3.6 1 episode Stephen Greenhorn Richard Clark 5 May 2007
184 42 3.5 Yay, another futuristic episode, again with a very Alien feel to it. Unfortunately, it’s also awfully similar to “The Impossible Planet”/”The Satan Pit”. I’m also uncomfortable about the fact that the Big Bad turns men into serial killers and women into victims while this gender disparity goes unacknowledged.
3.7 1 episode Chris Chibnall Graeme Harper 19 May 2007
185 Human Nature
The Family of Blood
4/4 With the second half of the series, we finally get into high gear.  I forgive the plot and rhythm flaws in this pair of episodes because of (A) the effort at an actually somber and resonably credible visit of the past, (B) some nice story-telling tricks to throw the viewer off balance, (C ) some acting that injects actual drama and pathos.
2 episodes Paul Cornell Charles Palmer 26 May 2007
2 June 2007
186 Blink 5 My favourite episode ever. The non-linear story-telling structure, the sparse use of the Doctor and his all-knowingness, the suspense, the editing, the scary new villains, it’s just great. So few episodes actually use the device of time travel as a means for creative story-telling.
3.10 1 episode Steven Moffat Hettie MacDonald 9 June 2007
187 Utopia
The Sound of Drums
Last of the Time Lords
A great story arc that finally has a lot of foreshadowing paying off, making the series connect together and flow in a way that Series 2 did not. Derek Jacobi delivers a superb performance as Professor Yana and we see the loss of a good man. John Simms is wonderful as the Master, I can’t get enough of him. I got a bit tired the whole “The Doctor is so great” praise, he’s such a Mary Sue.  Martha clearly did kick-ass stuff off-screen, and I could well see a game I’d call “The Year That Wasn’t,” where we would follow her adventures.
3 episodes
(3.13 is 52 mins)
Russell T Davies Graeme Harper (3.11)
Colin Teague (3.12 & 3.13)
16 June 2007
23 June 2007
30 June 2007
188 Voyage of the Damned 4 I think maybe I’m too generous with this score, but I did like the characters and the casting, and although the peril is contrived, the rhythm of the episode is good. 4.X Christmas special (72 mins) Russell T Davies James Strong 25 December 2007

Note: Tardis Builders logo by gfoyle, a.k.a. Peter Derrington. Go see his DeviantArt page, it’s full of Whovian art

2 thoughts on “Doctor Who Mini-Reviews: Series 3

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