And just in case the banner isn’t big enought – tonights post may include spoilers about Doctor Who: The Stolen Earth if you have yet to see it.
On a basic level I enjoyed it. It had good elements: lots of returning characters, a dramatic plot, several dramatic cliffhangers, a couple or three interesting guest stars, the return of a classic villain
and revelations about story elements going back over the last four years worth of stories.
On another level I found it a bit unsatisfying. It was a bit like a very sweet triffle with lots of really great, expensive ingredients but which somehow doesn’t work.
Sure having all those characters in an episode gives some fans a whole fanboy / fangirl moment. However when you’re bringing back a character who was supposedly trapped in another dimension shouldn’t that give you something to work with? Instead we ended up with the story’s focus all over the place in a way that reminded me of the end of the film Street Fighter. Pretty much anyone who saw Street Fighter can tell you thats not a good thing. Too not include all those characters in such dramatic events as someone nicking a planet wouldn’t make sense but maybe less focus on the peripheral groups could have given the story more focus.
My second gripe is the return of the special effects of dubious quality. I’m becoming more convinced that a regimented cloud of flying CG Dalek’s is less scary than a couple of real Daleks. Worse though was the sub-thingamyjig-communication-technobable-wave-watsit. I just can’t figure out why it needed a special effect. A bit of old fashioned dramatic acting would have done the job a lot better and avoided a dubious effect.
Returning to the Daleks: I know the Daleks are popular, great for mechandise sales and bringing back a couple of character Daleks is fun but can we have maybe a season without them? They’ll be a lot more exciting if we don’t expect them.
As to the cliff hangers – one was of the traditional character in jepardy variety and then there was the other one. Either next week we get a new actor in the main role or we get a new twist on the mythology. I’m not sure the later is really great for the series though as it moves the Doctor into being more of a Captain Scarlet character who can never die and never be threatened which is pretty much already a given with his name as the show’s title but at least in the past there was a chance of a regeneration and a supposed limit on the number of regenerations…
I think my biggest concern though is the constant escalation of the threat. Its almost as though their trapped in a cycle of needing a bigger threat each episode. One week a city is threatened, the next a country and then a planet. Doctor Who’s been seeing the Earth put in danger for years. Steeling planets is impressive and shows a level of power but at some point it wanders into Lensman territory and where can you go from there? Will we see black holes smashed together as weapons of war in a few series time? I hope not because I doubt they’ll have the effects budget to pull it off.
Despite all that – the sad fanboy part of me is still looking forward to next weeks end of series episode: Journey’s End.