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Doctor Who Series 4 (Part 1)

Filed in: Doctor Who.

In addition to reviewing the episodes, I'm going to run a "Battle of the Seasons", wherein I rate analogue stories from each season by some arbitrary factor. Story most-matching the factor in question gets 4 points, second gets 3 points, etc. It should be self explanatory as we go. Onward! (Spoiler warnings now in effect!)

Partners in Crime (Obligatory Camp Season Opener)

Eagerly we anticipated something new, something different... and we got the same opening shot as the previous seasons (bar New Earth) - the new companion walking along a crowded city street. Whatever will Davies do if he needs to introduce a non-Earth companion? The first twenty minutes or so are taken up by the Doctor and Donna independantly infiltrating Adipose to find out exactly what the diet drug company is up to. That makes three out of four season openers which have had something to do with medicine. Hrm. A fun story, which feels shorter than the average episode. The "you just want to MATE?!" conversation feels forced. [7/10]

Battle of the Seasons: The season openers in order of campness:
New Earth
Partners in Crime
Smith and Jones

Fires of Pompeii (Obligatory historical with crap running gag)

First stop, Rome! No, wait, Pompeii! Why does no one ever ever time travel back to Pompeii and arrive, say, a good year before the volcano goes off? As well as the volcano, there are some Balrog-esque monsters which are sadly easy to defeat, and even a reference back to The Romans. Another quite fun story, and Donna's already a great companion. The only thing which kinda irked was the somewhat obviously modern family transplanted to Roman times. [8/10]

Battle of the Seasons: Historicals in order of running gag annoyance level:
Tooth and Claw (We are not amused. O, RLY? YA RLY!)
The Shakespeare Code
Fires of Pompeii
The Unquiet Dead

I'm deducting a point from Fires of Pompeii for neglecting to include gratuitous historical personage.

The Planet of the Ood (Obligatory Future Story with social commentary)

Today's message: lobotomising people to make a slave race is wrong. Duh. Like Torchwood's "Meat", I've got to wonder exactly who looks at an alien and says "Hey, we could cut off a piece and make it into a slave!", though at least it makes a change to have an actual human villain. The Ood, again, look fantastic, and I hope we do see them again. Another alien planet - BRILLIANT! It's amazing what you can do with a couple of CGI shots and some fake snow. [8/10]

Battle of the Seasons: In order of blatentness of social commentary:
Planet of the Ood
New Earth
End of the World

Also, I'm deducting a point from New Earth, because they doubled up the future episode and the camp season opener, which I've arbitrarily decided is cheating.

So the scores so far in Battle of the Seasons:

  • Series 2: 9 points
  • Series 3: 8 points
  • Series 4: 7 points
  • Series 1: 4 points

So far, series 4 seems to be the season for foreshadowing fifty different things. I dream of an episode one day where the Doctor never puts on his glasses, uses the sonic screwdriver, or makes a gratuitous reference to Rose.

Next up: the obligatory crap early-season two-parter (with recurring baddies). Helen Raynor is responsible for the dire Dalek story last season, but her Torchwood scripts were good, so perhaps...

Next: Doctor Who Series 4 (Part 2)

Posted April 24, 2008 9:54 PM


"I'm deducting a point from Fires of Pompeii for neglecting to include gratuitous historical personage."

Doesn't the fact that all the characters were named/cribbed from RTD's latin school grammar textbook count?

Posted by: the other dave | April 25, 2008 1:23 PM

I was meaning less fictional historical figures :)

Posted by: Alden | April 25, 2008 2:18 PM

Yes, Other Dave is dead right. The Roman family the Doctor and Donna meet are taken straight from those godawful Latin grammar books we used to use at high school. Caecilius, Metella etc. "Decens est mortuus...eheu!" Wish I'd taken Japanese now.

I feel annoyed that the Pompeii we saw didn't have any of the filthy graffiti the real town had. Excavations of the site uncovered walls plastered with Latin scrawlings so rude that they make Eddie Murphy's 80s standup shows look like Promise Keepers meetings. Not to mention the pornographic frescoes. What do you mean, it's a show for kids? Go away. :)

Posted by: Jeff Stone | April 27, 2008 9:11 PM

Oh, there's some dirty graffiti too. :)

Posted by: Alden | April 27, 2008 10:03 PM

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