Saturday, 2 November 2013

The Christmas Invasion, New Earth and Tooth and Claw

The Christmas Invasion

David Tennant sleeps...
This is technically only the second ever ‘Christmas episode’ the show has ever done (the first being ‘The Feast of Steven’, all those years ago in 1965). They had a new Doctor to introduce in David Tennant, so perhaps it was an interesting call by writer and show-runner RTD to hold him back until the last third of the episode.
The Leader of the Sycorax.

The episode is a bit ‘light-on’ in some respects, but it still has plenty of thrills and spills and a big ol’ fight on a floating continent above Earth where the Doctor regrows a hand – very handy. The concentration is therefore on the supporting characters in Rose, Jackie and Mickey. Jackie is STILL annoying and unlikeable, but Rose and Mickey are great. It’s a Christmas episode, so it has Christmas running through it and when David Tennant does finally awake as the Doctor, he does a good job despite his very pretty hair. That was a major plus for Eccleston – his hair.
The New Doctor gets to the fighting!
The Sycorax are a pretty decent sort of monster. Simple in design, they are almost out of Buffy, but nevertheless they are menacing and scary. Then we have the fall of Harriet Jones as Prime Minister, which is interesting because in the previous series she was said to be elected for 4 terms or something like that and be the architect of Britain’s new ‘golden age’. Oh the Brits, still believing they are relevant in today’s world! You’ve got to love ‘em, right? So anyways, the future appears to have changed radically thanks to the Doctor whispering ‘Don’t you think she looks tired?’ into the ear of one of her aides.
New Doctor, same Rose, Mickey and unfortunately Jackie. Tennant doesn’t get a huge chance to show us what his Doctor will be other than very fast talking, but it’s a very solid episode this one.

New Earth

The second series of NuWho is off and running and the new Doctor takes Rose to a place called New Earth where a hospital is run by cats. They’ve created people to give every disease to known to the Universe so they can experiment and find the cures. The Doctor cures all these guinea pigs and saves the day, whilst we have the other strand of the plot interwoven featuring Cassandra (Zoe Wanamaker) from ‘The End of the World’ switching bodies left right and centre from the Doctor to Rose to a disease-riddled ‘guinea-pig’ and back again.
The very unhealthy are unleashed
We have the Face of Boe returning telling the Doctor the next time they meet he will share an important secret, oh and Cassandra lets out all the diseased guinea pigs who storm the hospital. Did I leave anything important out? It’s fun. There’s a lot of comedy and Tennant and Piper play it exceptionally well. It’s not a brilliant episode by any stretch of the imagination, but it is enjoyable if you take it for what it is.

Tooth and Claw

Pauline Collins as Queen Victoria

‘You have something of the wolf in you,’ – this line is directed at Rose. I wonder if this episode was originally going to be for the first series because it might have made the whole ‘bad wolf’ thing make a little more sense. Especially if Rose got scratched by the werewolf, which she didn’t. Still, Tennant gets to use his real accent which is nice, and we have the brilliant Pauline Collins, who had already been in ‘The Faceless Ones’ all those years again, playing Queen Victoria. It’s atmospheric and scary for the most part. Ruined by a group of monks wearing bright orange karate suits and shouting ‘the fist of man’ or some such rubbish.
The telescope that saves the day.
And rubbish they are too. RUBBISH. Anachronistic and frankly again far too clean. They worship the wolf, and plan for the wolf to infect the Queen and take the throne. meh. Ok, not the worst plot but to be frank, not the best. RTD again scripted this one, that’s quite a few in a row now. It has some nice twists, but the whole thing with the diamond doesn’t really work. The wolf doesn’t look too bad, and the house is just beautiful. Rose and the Doctor are challenged by Queen Victoria in the end and that’s well thought out and played, and we have the Queen declaring she will start the ‘TorchwoodInstitute’ at the end which leads to the spinoff series. So some important stuff in there. But in the end it falls a bit flat in my opinion, and I found myself enjoying ‘New Earth’ more to be honest.
It’s well directed and tightly produced, but the monks – they were also all bald by the way – meh. That’s all I can say.


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