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October 6, 2015

Doctor Who: The Lazarus Experiment

by Martin Conaghan, posted May 15th 2007 8:00PM
Doctor Who(S03E06) It's almost inevitable for any good series to hit a slight dip when it reaches the half-way point in a series, and Doctor Who isn't immune to a lull in pace.

I honestly wasn't expecting much of "The Lazarus Experiment", and even though the special effects were of a reasonably high standard, the whole story was somewhat disjointed and hurried.

A few weeks ago, I made a point of suggesting that someone would soon have to start explaining why the Doctor bumps in to trouble everywhere he goes (apart from driving TV viewing schedules), and this episode finally started to indicate that something might be causing our favourite time-traveller to wander in to the path of out-and-out trouble everywhere he goes.

Sometimes, it seems that the Doctor Who writers have a 10-sided dice (or is it die?) with which they establish the basics of plot; past, present or future? Earth or space? Science or supernatural? Monster or alien?

Check boxes: 'present', 'Earth', 'science' and 'monster' for this week's episode.

It was good to see the return of Mark Gatiss in a Doctor Who role (this time in front of the camera, rather than in the background), but this was nothing on a par with the quite brilliant "The Unquiet Dead" from Series 1.

Gatiss played the part of an aging professor who demonstrated a machine designed to make people young again -- by placing himself into the contraption and emerging as a youthful, arrogant man who just so happens to have developed mutating genes which transform him in to a massive scorpion-like creature that needs to eat people to survive.

Of course, the monster had no real bearing on the plot, other than to place people in peril for the Doctor to save. The real key to the plot was a mysterious character who warned Martha's mother that the Doctor is dangerous, and that death followed him wherever he went.

I can't honestly say I was surprised at the ending, because I wasn't. It was fairly predictable stuff, and most die-hard viewers would agree that it was probably just a filler before the big story arc kicks in over the next few weeks.

Of course, there was no Doctor Who this week, thanks to the utter shambles of an event known as The Eurovision Song Contest, which displaced the best sci-fi show in history for one week to allow idiots from dozens of European nations make fools of themselves pretending to compete for the best-crafted song of the year. 4

However, we were given a lengthy sneak preview of not just the forthcoming episode, but of all eight forthcoming episodes of the remainder of the series, including a scene of the mysterious Mr Saxon (John Simm), sitting in the Downing Street cabinet room wearing an oxygen mask, tapping out a beat on the table, while others lie unconscious around him.

For more on Mr Saxxon, visit his blog or the campaign website.

I'm going to give this episode a 4, seeing as how it really wasn't up to the usual standard.

(Doctor Who - S03E06) How do you rate this episode?
1 - Worst10 (6.3%)
29 (5.7%)
319 (11.9%)
420 (12.6%)
546 (28.9%)
618 (11.3%)
7 - Best37 (23.3%)

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Thank goodness.....I saw this one and thought it was OK but not great.

Then I read on-line and talking to friends about how everyone enjoyed it so much..and I wondered if I was going insane.

Thankfully, someone else just found it OK and not great...so I'm not alone.

May 16 2007 at 10:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thought this episode was fabulous! Then again, it may have been helped from coming on the heels of the clunky Dalek episodes, which were deadly dull and incredibly heavy-handed. But you had the Doctor quoting Eliot and Spinal Tap all in the same episode, reminding me of why he's such a great character and you got the Saxon storyline starting up in earnest. I thought it was great fun.

Also, David Tennant got to wear a tux.

May 16 2007 at 9:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mike m

I'm pleased to see this come up here....the ten sided die thing....i completely agree....as well as with the cursed Eurovision, which completely put me off. I'm having a hard time understanding the reasoning of bumping Who for that drivel. Whoever thought it would be brilliant should be sacked.

Anyway, the episode was rather dull. happy to see the review up though.

May 16 2007 at 1:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Akbar Fazil

I thought the episode was awesome. How could you not love an episode were the Doctor quotes Spinal Tap?

May 16 2007 at 1:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I know with Rose and other companions, we didn't see all of the stops the TARDIS did, but so far with Marha it's been one continuos ride.

I always believed that we just "see" the interesting stops, the adventures, not the regular sort of stops. After all we never saw Raxacoricofallapatorius.

This episode was all foreshadowing anyways. Anyone else remember the "Vote Saxon" posters from the last eps of Torchwood?

May 16 2007 at 12:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It was better than those godawful Daleks in Manhattan episodes anyway.

May 15 2007 at 11:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The preview promised some really good scenes. I'm still hooked.

That said, the old Doctor Who shows scared us with guys in cheesy rubber suits. Nowadays we're subjected to guys in cheesy CGI suits... so to speak. I'd almost settle for the rubber suits again.

May 15 2007 at 8:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The classic series somewhat addressed the issue of why the Doctor is always in the way of trouble. One explanation given was that the Time Lords would tend to guide the TARDIS towards the time & place of trouble so that the Doctor could assist. Another explanation was that the TARDIS itself had a consciousness and some way of knowing where trouble was. A third pseudo-scientific explanation was that because so many of the problems he deals with involve aliens who used wormholes to travel through time and/or space to get to the site, the TARDIS preferentially follows the same vortex used by the aliens/invaders.

May 15 2007 at 8:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Although my love for the new Doctor Who series is endless and glorious, I will concede this was a weak episode. However, even a poor Doctor Who episode is still brilliant television.

May 15 2007 at 8:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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