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
2.6
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
2.9
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
Doomsday
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
2.13
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

Doctor Who Mini-Reviews: Series 1

TARDISEdmund and I have been re-watching the Doctor Who reboot from the beginning. I decided to write mini-reviews of the episodes; being lazy, I just grabbed the tables from the Wikipedia list of episodes, dropped it in a spreadsheet, added columns for my scores and comments, and now I just paste them back here. How’s that for low effort? It even allows you to click back to the episode summaries on Wikipedia with absolutely no effort on my part!

I’ll post them one season at a time.  This one is for “Series 1” of the recent collection, released in 2005 and starring Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor.  Or, as long-time aficionados might think of it, Season 27 or so.  I’ll confess right now, Eccleston was my favourite of the last three actors to play the Doctor, which places me in a minority.

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.
No Title Score Comments Code Episodes Writer Director Original airdate
157 Rose 3 OK plot, nice performances by the cast, good portrayal of the Doctor by Eccleston. 1.1 1 episode Russell T Davies Keith Boak 26 March 2005
158 The End of the World 4 Pleasantly sinister cast of characters, like Agatha Christie in space. 1.2 1 episode Russell T Davies Euros Lyn 2 April 2005
159 The Unquiet Dead 3 Not too smashing, but Simon Callow was nice as Charles Dickens, and it’s amusing to see Eva Myles in the role of Gwyneth when soon she will play Gwen in Torchwood. 1.3 1 episode Mark Gatiss Euros Lyn 9 April 2005
160 Aliens of London
World War Three
3/3 First appearance of Penelope Wilton as Harriet Jones; best thing in the show. Nice to see Noel Clarke as Mickey again, and his chemistry with Camille Corduri as Jackie Tyler. Too bad a lot of promising support characters were killed. 1.4
1.5
2 episodes Russell T Davies Keith Boak 16 April 2005
23 April 2005
161 Dalek 4 Solid performance of Eccleston as a more somber Doctor. 1.6 1 episode Robert Shearman Joe Ahearne 30 April 2005
162 The Long Game 4 Nicely creepy, and Simon Pegg as the chilling Editor. 1.7 1 episode Russell T Davies Brian Grant 7 May 2005
163 Father’s Day 2 Fairly unoriginal plot and remarkably stupid monsters, but nicely executed. Good performance of Shaun Dingwall as Pete Tyler. 1.8 1 episode Paul Cornell Joe Ahearne 14 May 2005
164 The Empty Child
The Doctor Dances
4/3 Lots of foreshadowing and long-term plots; beautifully creepy “monsters”; good supporting cast. 1.9
1.10
2 episodes Steven Moffat James Hawes 21 May 2005
28 May 2005
165 Boom Town 4 Nice chemistry between Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor and Annette Badland as Margaret Slitheen. “Bad Wolf” theme finally picked up explicitly. 1.11 1 episode Russell T Davies Joe Ahearne 4 June 2005
166 Bad Wolf
The Parting of the Ways
4 A return to Satellite 5, amusing parody of British shows, and the Bad Wolf theme is revisited. / Dalek overdose and everybody sacrificing themselves for everybody else. A classic model for Jeremy Tidwell’s hack for Apocalypse World, “Companions.” 1.12
1.13
2 episodes Russell T Davies Joe Ahearne 11 June 2005
18 June 2005
167 The Christmas Invasion 1 Awful writing. The Doctor is absent for most of the episode, then wins through single combat; Rose’s creative effort bombs completely; and Harriet Jones (Penelope Wilton), the best PM ever knew, is demoted by the Doctor for making the tough call. 2.X Christmas special (60 mins) Russell T Davies James Hawes 25 December 2005

Jumbled Doctor Who impressions

Edmund and I have been watching a lot of British telly lately, finally catching up to the last 5 years of shows. We’re now in Season 4 of the new Dr. Who series. So far:

– I like the music best in Seasons 1 and 2. by Season 3 it gets overblown, and in Season 4 it’s completely over the top.

– I like the Doctor best in Season 1, played by Eccleston.

– I like the writing best in Season 3, especially episodes the ones not written by Russel T. Davies. I was very pleased with the way episodes like Human Nature and Blink were told.

– I liked both Rose and Martha — Martha a little more, I think. I have not warmed up to Donna.

– I liked Mickey a lot and I miss him.