After being through three season with David Tennant, the thought of him being replaced makes me want to boycott the new doctor, but I remind myself what I would have missed out on had I done the same with the transition between Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant–and that’s a lot.
The Christmas special has just broadcast (it’s not as good as Voyage of the Damned, but still good), and Tennant is to appear in 3 specials in 2009 before signing off. Season 5 will make its appearance in 2010.
So, in a show, extremely notorious as of lately for changing up its cast just when you’re getting to like them, we have the Doctor and a return to an old cast member Donna Noble (Catherine Tate). (And I swear the theme song got an upgrade as well–though I prefer the just previous version).
Donna Noble, for those faithfully following Doctor Who, appeared in the episode The Runaway Bride, and helped save the world and the Doctor from the Empress of the Racnoss. Since then, she hasn’t been able to get the Doctor out of her mind. I wondered how this change of pace would work, since the last two assistants have been young things enamorate of the Doctor, and it came as a breath of fresh air. Not only is Catherine Tate’s comedic talent glorious for the series, but the “buddies” relationship pulls new performances out of the two of them and just adds to the excellence the series keeps bringing us. This transition wasn’t as hard for me as was Rose to Martha, at least not at the beginning of the series.
Seriously, with Doctor Who its like picking favorite children. I could list every one of them, and any I haven’t mentioned are still great, these were just particularly fantastic.
Partners in Crime The Doctor and Donna finally meet up again, and in probably one of the cleverest ways I’ve ever seen on television. Their whole dialogue through windows was classic, and it was great to see a friend of the Doctor’s we were familiar with return. I really just enjoyed a sort of “coming home” feeling with this episode.
Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead Creepy and cool, this episode takes the Doctor and Donna to a library planet, but only the shadows are present. The switch between alternate realities while trying to guess what exactly was going on was exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. The faces on the statues were a fantastic sci-fi touch and in the end you’re left looking at your own shadow suspiciously. It’s an episode that proves the unknown is more frightening that the blood and guts scary movies of our day and age.
Midnight Leave it to Russell T. Davies (head writer) to take something annoying and turn it into ultra creepy. Most of the episode is sans-Donna, which is a shame, but it works. The Doctor heads on a sort of bus tour of the planet Midnight, when the “bus” has troubles and breaks down. They hear a creature outside, but it eventually makes its way in and possesses one of the passengers. The creature copies everything the others, including the Doctor, are saying and at first we, like the Doctor, think its just trying to learn, but then it takes the terrifying twist Davies loves to give us. Good stuff and great performances!
Turn Left Ever seen the movie Sliding Doors? Basically the concept is what would have happened if you had made a different choice or one event had changed slightly? How much impact would it really have had on the world? This is the question asked when Donna visits a mysterious woman who has her turn a different direction, and in the end has tremendous consequences on the Doctor Who universe. This episode makes you think they’ve had the whole series carefully planned out for how well they integrate all the little changes.
The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End It always seems to come back to the Daleks, maybe because they’re more threatening in the 2005+ series as opposed to the old series. (Yeah, um, spoiler alert). We get to see pretty much the whole new series cast return, Rose included, as they all unite to defeat the Daleks, with surprising aid coming from “I’m just a temp” Donna Noble. There are a couple really harsh Russell T. Davies moments, one between Rose and the Doctor, and seeing Donna Noble off (which makes you wonder if you shouldn’t be more polite to those people you don’t know).
In reality, this reboot of the series is one of the best things on television now, and far cleverer than 90% of the other shows out there. Perhaps sci-fi lends to that, especially in this day and age. I used to be among the crowd that hesitated watching sci-fi shows, mostly for getting lost in the technical babble (Star Trek occasionally leaned that way) and for the social stigma, but once I got over it and dived in I’ve never once been sorry. This is my big push to those still hesitating to join in, and Doctor Who would be a fine way to start. I’m more than eager to see these specials, and I’ll definitely give the new Doctor a chance.