Xmas Special – THE CHRISTMAS INVASION

Before I start talking about the episode itself, if you haven’t seen the 2005 Doctor Who Children in Need Special, then check that out. It’s basically a fantastic little seven minute extended regeneration scene where we get a look at the tenth Doctor’s first moments as he crash lands the TARDIS to Earth. But the episode itself is also fantastic. The opening shot of Earth from outer space is stunning and a feature of the RTD era I really liked. Seeing the TARDIS crash land on to the Powell Estate was excellent and it was great bit of CGI. Harriet Jones also returned in this episode and it was great that the “Yes, I know who you are” gag continued. It was particularly funny when the Sycorax even knew who she was. This was the first Christmas special in the show’s history and RTD must take an immense amount of credit for how well he handled it. He got the balance exactly right between sci-fi, Christmas and something for the kids watching. The pilot fish Santas were very sinister looking as was the Christmas Tree that attacked Rose, Mickey and Jackie. The Sycorax were great villains too and I’m a bit disappointed they haven’t returned to the show since because they were designed superbly and were menacing. The Guinivere space probe was a valid way of the Sycorax acquiring the blood vial and starting to communicate with the human race, it was a very hard plot to fault. When all of the A+ blood group were stood at the top of buildings, it was a moment of great suspense as you really didn’t know whether or not they were going to jump. David Tennant gave a strong debut performance as the Doctor. It was easy to doubt him during the first part of the episode but once he woke up and the TARDIS doors opened and he was standing there, the episode’s best scene, that was the moment that he really stamped his authority on the show. His decision to murder the Sycorax leader and say “No second chances” showed us a quick glimpse of his darker side which we’d see a lot more of towards the end of his tenure. There were a few little niggles, like how did that button on the spaceship take away the exact part of the floor the Sycorax was standing on, but niggles like that are much easier to overlook in Christmas specials. After all, these are bonus episodes. I really loved seeing the tenth Doctor pick out his outift in the TARDIS wardrobe. It was a magnificently designed set and was a special moment. Also, the last scene where the Doctor and Rose rekindled their friendship and the Doctor said “It is gonna be…fantastic” was a nice nod to the ninth Doctor. Overall I really enjoyed the show’s first attempt at a Christmas special and it was a strong post regeneration story. 9/10

Episode 1 – NEW EARTH

As season openers go, this was one was pretty poor. From the start, some of the dialogue seemed a bit forced. Lines like “Travelling with you, I love it” and “Further than we’ve ever gone before” just seemed like they were written for a trailer rather than the episode itself as they weren’t quite natural things to say. All the way through the episode too, Cassandra’s return was annoying. Too much time was spent seeing her go from body to body and it was irritating. Even when she was finally in Rose’s body for a prolonged period of time, she was a character I didn’t like, and I didn’t even love to hate her, like I did in her first appearance in series one. Also, when Cassandra was in the Doctor, it seemed too soon to see the tenth Doctor not as himself. The first episode of his first series should’ve seen him dominate the episode but with Cassandra taking over his body, he wasn’t fully allowed to do that. The cat people weren’t very threatening either. Their line of “Who needs arms when we have claws’ seemed like it was just in there to make a trailer as well and in the end they posed no threat to the Doctor. Onto the positives… I did like the concept of a whole ward of people being bred just to be sick and test medicines out on. It was an interesting plot point that had you trying to decide if the cat people were truly evil or just trying to help. The camera work for the scene when the Doctor and Cassandra shot down the lift shaft was terrific too. And the ending where the Doctor used all of the medicines to cure all of the diseases was valid. Cassandra had a fitting death, I liked the scene where she went back to see herself in human form. It was time travel used well. Overall though, this isn’t an episode I would jump at the chance to watch again. 5/10

Episode 2 – TOOTH AND CLAW

From the beginning of this episode it’s an enthralling fast paced Doctor Who adventure. Ian Hanmore, now in Game of Thrones plays a brilliantly dark and creepy character who takes his son’s house by brute force. The Doctor and Rose then meet Queen Victoria in a wonderful scene with great humour. Queen Victoria is portrayed perfectly by Pauline Collins as she and the Doctor travel to Torchwood House, another mention of Torchwood which was the story arc of series two. After a few minutes inside the house we are treated to a stunning werewolf transformation. Seeing the man turn into the wolf was a simply stupendous scene. The Doctor’s “Oh, you are beautiful!” line speaks not only for him, but for the viewer too. The episode doesn’t stop for breath once as the wolf constantly chases the Doctor and co. around the house. When they think they are safe, only for the wolf to break through the roof, you really fear the wolf will not stop until he gets what he wants and the Doctor is in real danger. For forty five minutes, you are transfixed by this beautifully computer-generated wolf, chasing lovable characters around the house and it is an episode you can’t takes your eyes off. The resolution of Sir Robert’s father designing the telescope specifically to counter the wolf was extremely clever from RTD. The only slight niggle I had was how did the wolf end up recruiting a squad of people to help get him into this situation in the first place and why did he want to overthrow the Monarch?  Apart from that though I can’t fault this episode. It was undoubtedly one of, if not the best of the series. 9/10

Advertisements