To begin, the CGI and special effects are quite possibly the best ever seen on the show. Despite being in charge of the specials that will be airing next year, it seems that this episode was treated as the last that Davies will ever run. As a result, he wrapped up most every storyline he could think of going back to the first season.
Sarah Jane is aided by a small group of children in her quest. And while the series has a lower budget than Who and is geared more towards a children's audience, I still found it to be tremendously fun. And any opportunity to see K-9 is worth it in my book!
(S01E15) The Doctor (to Rose): You were fantastic! And you know what? So was I.
Okay, much to talk about this episode. So, no dilly-dallying around, boys and girls. Let's get right to it!
We begin where we left off last episode: Rose (Billie Piper) is a prisoner of the Daleks, who are on a direct course to Earth for a little invading. Luckily, our heroes The Doctor (Christopher Eccleston, in his last episode) and Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman, also in his last episode) come to her rescue and appear right in the middle of the Daleks' command bridge. It's here that The Doctor learns about the resurgence of the Dalek population. To summarize . . . after the Time War ended the Emperor Dalek escaped and began to repopulate from dead humans. Ripping away all vestiges of humanity the Emperor created a new army of Daleks. After doing this about half-a-million times he began to think of himself as a god, and he wants to continue that streak of good luck by assimilating the rest of the human population.
Of course, The Doctor isn't having any of that.
(S01E12) Now THAT'S how you play Big Brother. If the evicted were vaporized instead of allowed to come back during 'All-Star' challenges I would certainly tune in on a weekly basis. Alas, the current producers of the show, both in America and the UK, probably have no intentions of implementing any type of vaporizing beam on the housemates. Well, one can dream, can't they?
We're back on Satellite 5, except 100 years later than the last time we were there during The Long Game. It's not the hub of the galaxy's news anymore; now it's the Game Station and its contestants don't play the games voluntarily. This is where our story begins as The Doctor (Christopher Eccleston), Rose (Billie Piper) and Captain Jack (John Barrowman) get split up into three different game shows. Rose gets stuck on an episode of The Weakest Link where the loser gets disintigrated; Jack lands on an episode of What Not to Wear featuring two androids (who look a bit like large Lego people with breasts) who want to put a duck head on the good Captain and attach his legs onto his chest ; and The Doctor makes it into the Big Brother house (one of sixty on the Game Station) where those evicted get turned into a fine powder.
So, needless to say, our heroes want out.
Margaret : This is persecution. What can't you leave me alone? What did I ever do to you?
The Doctor: You tried to kill me and destroy the entire planet.
Margaret: Apart from that.
After two weeks of fairly dark and creepy episodes we lighten it up this week as The Doctor (Christopher Eccleston), Rose (Billie Piper) and Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) return to present day England. In addition, we saw the return of Rose's former beau Mickey Smith (Noel Clarke) and, surprisingly, Margaret Blaine (Annette Badland). For those who are scratching their heads at that one, Badland appeared as the female Slitheen alien in the episodes Aliens of London and World War Three earlier in the season.
Where the last two episodes where just full of multiple plotlines, this episode settled down on just one: Margaret Blaine's attempts to build a nuclear power plant in the South Wales town of Cardiff, which would be used to pull in spatial energy that will allow her to get off of Earth. However, this wasn't the main crux of the episode. The actual focus was on the relationships of some of the characters. Particularly, the relationship between Rose and Mickey and the one between The Doctor and the alien Slitheen, who had previously attempted to kill him.
(S01E10) Former gas-masked zombie: My leg's grown back! When I come to the hospital, I had one leg!
Doctor (not The Doctor): Well, there is a war on, is it possible you miscounted?
The Doctor can babysit at my house anytime. I mean, any man who can get a crazed group of gas-masked zombies to stop attacking just by saying 'Go to your room' can get my kids to behave as well.
This episode was another fine performance all around for stars Christopher Eccleston (The Doctor) and Billie Piper (Rose Tyler) as well as writer Steven Moffat and Director James Hawes. Moffat and Hawes kept the tension that they developed last episode ("The Empty Child") while bringing in a bit more levity and even a happy ending for all concerned.
To recap: when we left our intrepid duo last episode they, as well as Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman, who looks and sounds a little bit like Tom Cruise), were about to become alien zombies. As mentioned above, The Doctor gave them all a stern talking to, which caused all of the zombies to go back to their rooms. From that point on it was a non-stop train ride.
Captain Jack: Pleasure to meet you, Mr. Spock!
The Doctor: Mr Spock?
Rose: What else was I gonna say? You don't have a name! Don't you ever get tired of The Doctor? Doctor Who?
The Doctor: Nine centuries, I'm coping.
If there is one word that describes this episode of Doctor Who it would be the word you see above. Oh, I could also use adjectives such as romantic, funny, mysterious and, um, blitzy. Yet, they would be secondary to creepy. Credit this to writer Steven Moffat and director James Hawes who used every trick in the Stephen King book of suspense to get that chill up your spine while The Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) investigated the mystery of a homeless child who really wasn't.
I'm getting a bit ahead of myself here. So, jump at the sound of the gong to find out what the episode was all about.
(S01E08) If your mother has told you once, she's told you a thousand times: Don't mess with the time stream! Apparently, Rose (Billie Piper) never listened to her mum, or watched an episode of Star Trek (original or Next Generation) or any film in the Back to the Future series. Because, if she did, she would have realized that messing with the timeline can cause some serious consequences. In this case, by saving her father from a premature death, she opened the planet up to alien beings who cleanse Earth of all corrupted objects; i.e. humans.
See? Always listen to your mother!
(S01E06) All right, let's get this out of the way so we can proceed with the review. Here we go . . .
I didn't like Tom Baker as the fourth Doctor. Call it blasphemy, call it satanical, but I just didn't get the vibe with Baker as I did with some of the other doctors such as Jon Pertwee (third Doctor), Peter Davison (fifth Doctor) and Sylvester McCoy (seventh Doctor). Maybe it was the scarf.
Having said that, I am really enjoying these new Dr. Who adventures that are appearing on the Sci-Fi Channel while their normal Friday night schedule is taking a hiatus. To paraphrase... it's not your father's (or grandfather's) Dr. Who. While there are some occasional cheesy aliens and special effects, this version of the show is definitely the one of the most slickly produced in the series' 43-year history.
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