Let’s all be honest, when Eccleston announced his intentions of leaving the show after only one season the world was up in arms. There’s no way someone could replace him as the Doctor.
Cue David Tennant. Tennant started the role complaining of his new teeth, but quickly showed us exactly how much of a talent he is. Over the past four seasons (counting this year’s specials as one), Tennant has made himself known as more than just a replacement Doctor – but the Doctor.
With that we venture into his last great adventure (in this form anyway). We’ve got his most formidable opponent, the Master (John Simms) returning. With Bernard Cribbins and Catherine Tate reprising their roles as Wilfred Mott and Donna Noble, one can hope to expect one truly great adventure.
Russell T. Davies has some explaining to do. After sitting through four mediocre (and I’m being kind) Doctor Who specials I simply gave up hope. I figured that Davies had finally lost his ability to write and this is why every episode of Doctor Who since July 5, 2008 (the season four finale) has been, as our British neighbors would say, rubbish.
Then something happened… Torchwood: Children of Earth. Out of nowhere Davies returns with an epic story that was able to draw in those who were not even fans of Torchwood (like myself). It was those episodes of Torchwood that continued to fuel the flame of hope that when it came down to it, down to Tennant’s finale episode, he would pull it out and deliver something great.
And does he?
No… not really.
Overall, the episode was a mess. There were signs of absolute brilliance, but sadly those were overshadowed with horrible jokes, superhero Time Lords, Nazi puns (really Davies? Master race?) and a story so convoluted that there is no doubt Davies has done nothing but surround himself with people that tell him how great he is and want to know what the Daleks are like.
What makes me angry is that he has a million excuses for why this episode is what it is. Forget the whole “I’m brilliant” aspect Davies could arguably throw out (he has written some amazing episodes) and you’ve still got “it’s Christmas, it’s for the family” or the usual scapegoat that Davies uses when his stories are crap… “It’s a kids show.” If I have to hear how Doctor Who is a kids show one more time, I’m going to go crazy. Alright, we get it, “technically” it can be considered a kids show, but you have a hard time making that argument stick when some of the greatest episodes have been about things so dark and terrifying that I had to turn on the lights while watching it.
Still, let’s not be all negative. Bernard Cribbins is a truly brilliant actor and the scene between the Doctor and Wilfred Mott about dying was just lovely. John Simms is a brilliant actor. You might not know it from this episode, but he’s proven himself in other productions to be a top actor. I’m sure if you all of a sudden had super powers and could fly around by shooting things out of your hand you’d have a hard time acting as well. How could Davies possibly write that in? Writing it out just now sounds completely ridiculous.
I guess one of my biggest problems is the introduction of new elements, especially in an episode that’s so important. This episode should just deal with people, places, things that we know. Use those familiar elements to help propel the importance of this episode. Don’t just throw in some cactus people that we saw briefly during a Christmas special two years ago and expect us not to stay quiet.
Then there’s this “healing machine.” There is no doubt in my mind that Davies was just sitting around and couldn’t think of a great way to tie everything together and have it make sense. So, he just creates a “healing machine.” The Master takes it and makes everyone like himself as well as fixes the broken Donna Nobel. Oh yeah, don’t think everyone didn’t see through that immediately.
Unlike most fans, I’m all right with the evil Time Lords making an appearance. I think that’s an interesting story and since I haven’t had the time to venture into Doctor Who past, I’d like a little taste of it. I’m just not sure if Davies’ interpretation of them will be as good as if he would have done it years ago.
It pains me to write a negative review about Doctor Who. I love this show and there have been some brilliant, brilliant moments. Unfortunately, this is not one of them. If this were episode 10 out of 23 episodes of the season, I would be happy. Sadly, it’s not. This is all we get. After next week, we basically have an entirely new show and while I have no doubt that Steven Moffat will deliver some great stories, I’m just not sure if the new Doctor will be able to match his abilities.
We’ve still gone part 2 and who knows, maybe it’ll turn around, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
Will I be watching? Of course?
Will I write up a review? Don’t I always?
Will you be here to yell at me when I get things wrong? I can only hope.
As always, don’t miss the final episode of Doctor Who for David Tennant and the demise of the tenth Doctor and make sure you come here after to check out our review and discuss how you feel about the conclusion.
Also, if you’ve yet to watch the special or are in an area of the world where it has yet to air, don’t worry as we’ve got a bunch of Doctor Who related things for you as well.
UK – BBC ONE
Doctor Who: The End of Time, Part One premieres Friday, December 25 @ 6PM.
Doctor Who: The End of Time, Part Two premieres Saturday, January 1 @6:40PM.
USA – BBC AMERICA
Doctor Who: The End of Time, Part One premieres Saturday, December 26, @ 9PM.
Doctor Who: The End of Time, Part Two premieres Saturday, January 2 @ 8PM.