Doctor Who: Series 1-6

As a Doctor Who fan, I obviously love to talk about it, and around this time, late March-early April, is usually when a news series starts. However,  series 7 is not going to begin until later on this year. There are plenty of spoilers and rumours to talk about, which I may do in a later post, but for this one I thought I’d give my brief opinions on the (rebooted) series up to now.

Series 1:  Christopher Ecclestone was a great Doctor, and this series does wonders with Rose as the new companion and as identification for the audience to see through her eyes all the wonderful things about the Doctor and their adventures. It seems to be forgotten these days, but Father’s Day is a brilliant episode for emotional depth. There’s a lot of fun in this series. There some weaker episodes; The Long Game is dull, and the Slitheen ones aren’t classics, but they have their moments. A very enjoyable finale, not least Tardisrose at the end.

Series 2: David Tennant’s first series, and I think it’s a good one for the most part, although I know there are some fans who aren’t keen on it. I think some episodes aren’t as bad as they are made out to be. I actually really enjoyed The Idiot’s Lantern, and while there are plenty of things that are rubbish about Love and Monsters, it’s not that bad. I agree with the general consensus that Fear Her is an awful episode, however. But there are some great episodes. Sarah Jane and K9 returning in School Reunion, The Impossible Planet/Satan Pit  two parter, and an amazing finale in Doomsday. Daleks Vs Cybermen!!! Then of course there’s Rose’s exit, which is moving and well done.

Series 3: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” sums up my feelings on series 3. It has some of the very best episodes. Blink is amazing, and Human Nature/Family Of Blood is a great story. But what I dislike about this series is, well, almost everything else. Rose’s absence leaves a gaping hole, and worst of all they never let the audience forget it. Poor Martha, she is quite a good companion in my opinion, but she isn’t really given a chance to be anything other than Rose’s replacement.  A lot of the episodes are boring. The Daleks in New York two parter is stupid, frankly. I didn’t care much for the Harold Saxon arc, and the least said about the “Gollum Doctor turns into Tinkerbell Jesus Doctor” finale the better.

Series 4:  David Tennant and Catherine Tate are a great pairing. They have good chemistry, and Donna is an interesting companion in that she is more of a mate to the Doctor and thinks nothing of challenging him. They have plenty of great scenes together, two highlights when Donna pleads with the Doctor to save someone from Pompeii in episode two and when that mime scene in Partners In Crime, which is by far the strongest Russell T Davies series premiere. In fact, I’d say this series had RTD’s strongest writing in many episodes, especially Midnight. Then of course there is the introduction of River Song in Silence In The Library/Forest Of The Dead. It’s not all good; the Sontaran episodes and The Doctor’s Daughter fall flat. I’m also not as keen on the finale as a lot of people are. While planets in the sky and bringing the past companions back as well as the Daleks (again) this time with added Davros is cool and all, it feels a bit like they’re just throwing everything at the wall to see what will stick, and, yeah, Rose going back with CloneDoctor is a bit crap. But overall, it’s a very strong series.

Specials: The 4 Specials between series 4 and 5. Honestly, I think these showed that it was time for a change. RTD was running out of steam, and at times David Tennant seemed to be phoning it in. I actually think Planet Of The Dead is worse than episodes such as Love and Monsters. It drags on too long and the guest characters are annoying, particularly Lady Christina despite, or maybe because, we’re meant to think she’s awesome. Waters Of Mars is carried by a very compelling performance by Lindsey Duncan. As for The End Of Time, well part one is a complete mess. Part two has some interesting moments, like when the Doctor sees the mysterious woman (his mother?) and the bit where he is saying goodbye to the companions of the RTD era is nice. The Doctor’s regeneration went on a bit too long and was a bit too melodramatic for me though.

Series 5: Matt Smith is a brilliant Doctor from the start in The Eleventh Hour, and I love the fairytale tone and style Steven Moffat bought in. It’s great that River Song returns and we learn more about her character. The Weeping Angels are also a welcome return. The crack in time arc is great, as it actually important to the series rather than just something in the background. The series isn’t without its problems. While the arc plot is intricately written, the necessities of it make it more difficult for the audience to get to know new companion Amy Pond. It takes a while to get a full picture of her. The Dalek redesign isn’t very good (although the backlash against it was still over the top) and the Silurian episodes are rubbish apart from the tragic end of Cold Blood. But I will stick up for the often derided Vampires of Venice. Rosanna was one of the most interesting villains of the series, and as the first episode with Rory as a companion he is funny and very likeable, and he only gets more so.  The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang is a gorgeous finale with how it plays with time travel.

Series 6: The River Song arc, while a big puzzle, is brilliant. We find out a lot about her and Alex Kingston is better than ever at playing her. Madame Kovarian is a chilling villain, and The Silence are creepy as hell. The Impossible Astronaut is the best series opener to date, and it has one of the very best episodes in The Doctor’s Wife. An amazing performance by Suranne Jones as the TARDIS in human form, and we find out about an important part of the whole mythology of Doctor Who. There is also The Girl Who Waited, a marvellous episode for Amy and Rory, and yes, the fact that Rory is a regular and he gets lots of funny lines is one of the best things about this series. It’s a little uneven though, there are lots of dull filler episodes, but there are some very strong ones.

The Christmas Specials

The Christmas Invasion was actually my favourite episode for a while. It’s a decent introduction to David Tennant’s take on the Doctor, and the peril is strongly executed. It also has Harriet Jones: Prime Minister (“Yes, we know who you are”).  She was a great character, and though she was mentioned quite often, she was criminally underused after this episode.

I didn’t like The Runaway Bride much. Donna is irritating for most of it. She does begin the character development which would come through in series 4 towards the end, but she’s still a bit vexing. Also, it has a lot of padding.

Voyage Of The Damned. Well, look, it’s ON THE TITANIC! IN SPACE! WITH KYLIE MINOGUE! Of course I like it! That said, the bit where the ship is about to crash into Buckingham Palace crosses the line for daftness even for me.

The Next Doctor I confess that I liked the CyberKing, and Miss. Hartigan was an OK enough villain, but everything to do with the NotNextDoctor is boring. Really, it’s very forgettable for a Christmas special.

A Christmas Carol is very sweet, kind of romantic and magical. Katherine Jenkins is a revelation, her singing works beautifully with the episode. The scene where she is singing in a cryogenic room to a wounded shark is bizarre even by Doctor Who standards, but I still quite like it.

 The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe was OK. It was more like an ordinary episode than a ‘special’ to me, but it was a solid enough story. I liked Amy and Rory’s appearance at the end.

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