Doctor Who – 3×1-3×13 – Full series review

Full Season Carusometer

Well, here it is, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: it’s the unveiling of the first ever full-season Carusometer.

It’s a bit small, isn’t it? Sorry, my blog is only so wide and people’s screens are only so much wider. Click on it to get a bigger version that won’t mess with your eyes so much.

Anyway, as you can see, we started off all rightish with Smith and Jones, The Shakespeare Code and Gridlock. We then plummeted into some extraordinary depths with the Dalek two-parter, before beginning a slow crawl back up to the light via The Lazarus Experiment and 42 (which was really only as good as it was thanks to Graeme Harper’s direction).

The Human Nature/Family of Blood two-parter was the first undisputed piece of excellence by the series, with Blink almost at the same heights (it would probably get a half-mark if The Carusometer believed in shades of grey and anything other than absolutes. It doesn’t, so Blink gets a slight promotion) before a relatively even not-quite brilliant Master trilogy to finish off the series.

Compared with series one and series two then, series three is undoubtedly better, albeit slightly cheaper looking. Once again, we’ve had to sit through a relatively rubbish first third or so to get to the good stuff, but wasn’t it good by the end? David Tennant’s been allowed to find his feet properly and given a wide variety of material to work with; Sweet FA has generally had better material to work with than Pipes, even when the attention wasn’t on her, but probably hasn’t done quite as good a job with it. We’ve started to veer dangerously close to fanboy territory at times, but I don’t think we yet crossed that particularly dangerous event horizon, from which no amount of effort will be able to extract it. And a whole new generation have been scared witless by the Master and got to realise the Daleks really aren’t that frightening compared to some of the stuff that’s out there.

We’ve also learned a few lessons this series:

  1. don’t waste Graeme Harper on episodes like 42; save him up for stuff like Utopia. Imagine how much better those last three episodes would have been with Graeme Harper helming all of them. Still, he’s only human and doing three episodes last year nearly wiped him out, so use him more wisely next year Rusty
  2. don’t let Chris Chibnall write anything ever again. Even on his best days, nearly everyone else is better
  3. Rusty really can write. It’s just sometimes he chooses not to

Here’s to next year, hey?

But before I sign off, I’d just like to say that The Medium is Not Enough has declared the third series of Doctor Who to be a two or “Partial Caruso” on The Carusometer quality scale. A Partial Caruso corresponds to “a show in which David Caruso might volunteer to cameo as an evil alien genius. However, he will then ruin every take by being unable to understand any actor with an English accent and asking them to repeat the line. Fortunately, some quick thinking by script writers ensures that he is zapped by something sonic and converted into 17 CGI, airbrushed versions of himself that only have one line each, each dubbed by Sam Jones as revenge for Flash Gordon.”

For all my shiny reviews of this series’ episodes, you only have to visit the Doctor Who 2007 category. Isn’t that handy?




  • “Compared with series one and series two then, series three is undoubtedly better, albeit slightly cheaper looking.”
    Cheaper looking, yes. Better…. I’m not sure I can agree with that. That big chunk of rubbishness at the start is just too, er, big and rubbish to be overlooked.

  • Stu

    Incidentally, Graham Harper is directing five episodes next year. C’mon then, loads of energy…

  • Hmm. Let’s consider the evidence
    Series 1
    Rose: Quite arse
    The End of the World: Arse
    The Unquiet Dead: Okay
    Aliens of London: Extremely Arse
    World War III: Still extremely arse
    Dalek: Excellent
    The Long Game: Okay
    Father’s Day: Okay
    Then mostly good stuff.
    Series two
    New Earth: Cack on a stick
    Tooth and Claw: Good
    School Reunion: Good
    The Girl in the Fireplace: Good
    Rise of the Cybermen: Arse
    The Age of Steel: Arse
    The Idiot’s Lantern: Arse
    The Impossible Planet: Excellent
    The Satan Pit: Shite almighty
    Love and Monsters: Good
    Fear Her: Crap
    Army of Ghosts: Good
    Doomsday: Shite on a stick.
    Series three, as you can see above, was better.

  • Phew: Harper on overload?! Will he get the material to cope!?
    I lack the Carusometer or the expanse of your commentary but my own thoughts on S3 are in the midst of a LONG post about that final three(six) parter…

  • Yey! I hope it doesn’t kill him.

  • Sorry, am just having fits of giggles at your season 1 and 2 synopses. I don’t entirely agree but man you sum it up so succinctly it totally sets me off!
    “Shite almighty” – hee hee hee.

  • Well, I would have given higher marks to ‘School Reunion’ (not just for Sarah Jane’s return, but for an excellent confrontation scene between the Doctor and Mr. Finch) and ‘The Girl In The Fireplace’ (which I think merited an ‘excellent’).
    And from the first season, ‘The Unquiet Dead’ deserved a ‘good’ to my mind, and that could all be attributed to Simon Callow.
    Haven’t seen the last three yet here in NYC; promised the pseudo-kids and their kids to watch with them in a marathon session soon. (But I’m getting this sinking feeling – after seeing high praise on the first 2/3rds – from all the headlines I glanced at in a few fansites since last night…)
    Otherwise, up to ‘Utopia’, I’d say the third season was winning out over the first two.

  • I shall rebuff (is that the right word??!!) in the form of a blog tomorrow 🙂 Funny though.

  • TemplarJ

    Overall, very entertaining. But like some of the stranger moments of the second series, the tone can be very uneven.
    I would imagine that the children in the audience found a lot to get their teeth into though, and I would hope that a lot of imaginations have been ignited over the last six weeks. For the first time since it came back, it doesn’t feel like a children’s series that fuels a sense of wonderful nostalgia in me, but something often a little too dark for kids, which they will of course love much more as a consequence.

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