Third-series nu-Who re-evaluation

Last of the Time Lords

The block-viewing of Doctor Who continues again (interspersed with Top Gear and Australia’s Next Top Model) and we’ve now reached the end of series three.

Yet more notes on the episodes. Do you agree or disagree? And have you seen the episodes recently enough that your memory isn’t cheating? – because it does, you know…

  • The first half of the series is nearly unwatchable. Oh my. In my wife’s words, “This must have been why I stopped watching the Martha episodes”. Although…
  • The Shakespeare Code was quite good, even though it makes Gareth Roberts look like a one-trick pony in retrospect, thanks to The Unicorn and the Wasp – he’s clearly not, if you’ve seen/read his other stuff, particularly on The Sarah Jane Adventures, so that’s unfortunate
  • If you even try to watch Daleks in Manhattan and Evolution of the Daleks more than once, you need locking up. I’m closing the cell door on myself right now because I clearly can’t be trusted to learn from experience…
  • The Human Nature/Family of Blood two-parter is great in almost every respect, although the first part is too much set-up for part two to be truly perfect. I wish every story ended with the Doctor being mentally nasty to the bad guys like that
  • Blink makes even less sense watching it the second time round and has more holes in it than that house, after it’s had a brick lobbed through the front window. But, it’s still very good
  • Despite what everyone says, the Master trilogy is magnificent, and Last of the Time Lords‘s deus ex machina resurrection is still disappointing, even if you can buy Stu_N’s master plan explanation
  • Bless her, at least Sweet FA was trying to act in series three

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?


Review: Doctor Who – 3×13 – The Last of the Time Lords

The Last of the Time Lords

Well, blimey. Who knew Rusty did dark so well*? Not since I was a wee small boy and saw Caves of Androzani have I felt so disturbed after watching a Doctor Who story.

Indeed, it’s not since Caves that we’ve really seen the Doctor get such a thoroughly good kicking, and certainly not deliberately, as the result of a carefully laid and executed plan. That was dark. Really dark. And I liked it, bar the occasional bits of Rustiness.

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