Doctor Who Series 4

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Doctor Who

Doctor Who Series 3

SPOILERS TOTAL. You've been warned.

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40X: Voyage of the Damned 2008 April 18

(First watched 2008-04-19)  Not the spectacle that the last two Christmas specials were, but the 90 minute format is still nice for allowing a fuller program without the two-parter necessity of a big cliffhanger slapped in the middle.

That it's a spaceship Titanic takes away a lot of the weirdness I assumed when I saw the way the last episode ended.

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401: Partners in Crime 2008 April 25

(First watched 2008-04-26)  Those adipose things had to be the cutest fat ever.  This was actually quite a weird circumstance, in that until the Doctor started really throwing a wrench into their plans, it really was a win-win.  Lose fat, weird species procreates.  Once everything went to hell, though, they had to attempt life-destroying Plan B.

So Donna!  Interesting how her life went back to boring, so she started checking out odd happenings specifically hoping to find the Doctor again.  Well, I guess it worked.  Their re-meeting scene in this episode with the lipreading was pretty brilliant.  Though I imagine legitimate lipreaders didn't quite get the same experience.

So the Doctor tossed the spare sonic screwdriver away?  Gee, I'm sure nothing will come of that and it will safely end up in a landfill.

So... Rose?  I'd already heard spoilers that she'd show up sometime this series, but I wasn't expecting a cameo right at the end of the first episode.  Will she be a recurring thing like Bad Wolf, Torchwood, and Mr. Saxon were in previous series?

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402: The Fires of Pompeii 2008 May 2

(First watched 2008-05-03)  I like Donna.  She's very impressed by what the Doctor can do (water gun!), but not in a fawning way, and she'll fight him on a point if she thinks he's going wrong.

So she has a conversation with him about the standard stuff we wonder, and he gives the same old (necessary for show purposes) brush-off response.  Why does he go about changing some things and leaving others unaltered?  Because some things are changeable and others are fixed; and as a Time Lord he alone can tell which is which.

For some reason the eyes on the back of the hands held up to one's face looked really creepy.

Lucius's teeth gave me a Busey vibe.

Especially odd for me is that the Doctor makes slight reference to having been to Rome before (prior to them realizing they're in Pompeii).  In my watching of old 60s Doctor Who, I'm right in the middle of watching The Romans.

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403: Planet of the Ood 2008 May 9

(First watched 2008-05-10)  Finally it deals with the massive slavery that was going on in Series 2.  The Doctor says he didn't even think about it as slavery at the time?  Come oooon.  Totally subservient beings who can be electronically controlled was just taken as a choice?

"It's a long story."

"It's a long walk."

"It was the Devil."

I'm not quite sure what the point of Ood Sigma turning the boss-man into an Ood was.  Ironic, yeah, but apart from that it didn't really accomplish anything, and was just a slower and much more complicated way of getting some revenge on him.  Maybe there were further plans that just didn't get a chance to come to fruition because of the crazy goings-on in this episode?

I've got to say, at the beginning of this episode when the Doctor said he'd set the TARDIS to go to a random time and place... I was worried for a moment that they'd still coincidentally open up to modern day London.

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404: The Sontaran Stratagem 2008 May 16

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405: The Poison Sky 2008 May 30

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406: The Doctor's Daughter 2008 June 6

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407: The Unicorn and the Wasp 2008 June 13

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408: Silence in the Library 2008 June 20

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409: Forest of the Dead 2008 June 27

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410: Midnight 2008 July 11

(First watched 2008-07-12)  Another distant future where everybody seems to be modern.  Interesting in... how little happens.  Most of the episode consisted of conversation.  I haven't actually listened to any of the Doctor Who radio shows, but this seems like something that could've been done in that format.

Was it really necessary to have a Donna-lite episode?  She's already had (and will have to) share the limelight with other companions, and who knows if she'll be around after this series as a regular any longer, so it seems a waste to not use her here.  Speaking of the other companions, though, yet another tiny appearance by Rose failing to attract the attention of the Doctor through a monitor.

Just a few days after watching this episode I read Arthur C. Clarke's A Fall of Moondust.  They're really very different stories, but they remind me of each other in as far as they both primarily take place in tourist passenger vehicles that run into trouble and get stuck in a desolate area not of Earth.

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411: Turn Left 2008 July 18

(First watched 2008-07-18)  Cool.  Last week I complained about the episode being Donna-less, but I guess this is the opposite: she's presented as the most important person in all creation.  Quite possibly filming overlapped with the previous episode, with the leads working on different ones.

So a weird time-altering bug makes a small change in Donna's history which causes her to not meet the Doctor, leading to his death and every weird happening past their initial meeting going awfully due to it.  Even Sara Jane was mentioned.  I was half surprised Torchwood wasn't somehow brought in so they could destroy the entire Doctor Who franchise and all spinoffs for a brief bit.  The... alternate Donna of this world is then helped by a somehow-universe-hopping Rose, who sends her back to put things right, even if alternate-Donna's death is the method.  But it works.  Then...

HOLY SHIT BAD WOLF ALL OVER THE PLACE AAAAAAHHH!!!! REPLACING POLICE BOX AND EVERYTHING YEAARRGGHH!!  "It's the end of the universe!"  Well, that doesn't sound good, Doctor.  But hey, didn't you visit the actual end of the universe at the end of last season, going a hundred trillion years into the future or whatever?  Anyway, if Rose is to be believed it's the end of the multiverse.

EDIT: Reading elsewhere, oh hell, they DID kill off Torchwood.  I must've missed when their names came up.

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412: The Stolen Earth 2008 July 25

(First watched 2008-07-26)  God DAMN!  Last week was good as a teaser, but this is how one goes about doing a mega intra-franchise crossover!  Giant bad goings on bringing together all the major companions of the modern Doctor Who, as well as the core cast of both current spinoffs.  Really the only way it could've encompassed the modern franchise in a bigger way is if Christopher Eccleston's version of the Doctor from series 1 showed up.

One disappointment... the Daleks.  Though hearing "EXTERMINATE!" again was a surprise... this makes 3 of 4 series that have ended on a major Dalek threat.  It's getting to be a bit much.  Though I did appreciate the Doctor's reference to The Dalek Invasion of Earth when he mentioned that someone had tried to move the Earth a long time ago.  Though I guess from a non-time-traveler's point of view it's a few hundred years away.

Harriet Jones, former prime minister, rest in peace.  Even the Daleks know who you are, hahaha.

So... what the heck is going on at the end.  Obviously playing like a regeneration, but even from the two seconds of preview I saw from the next episode (and the fact that I couldn't avoid a spoiler of such magnitude if I tried) it seems to still be Tennant's Doctor.

So Earth is just one of 27 heavenly bodies placed together... isn't anything important happening on any of the other ones?

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413: Journey's End 2008 August 1

(First watched 2008-07-29)  So again that creepy hand comes in useful.  He regenerated... but only using a bit of its power (so he didn't totally transform), and giving the rest to the hand, which ended up growing fully as well as messing up Donna.

Last week I almost said that next to the Ninth Doctor, the biggest things missing were Mickey and Jackie.  Well, here they were!

Daleks speaking German!

Boy, the TARDIS sure got full for a while there.  And finally enough people helming the thing to not require one man running around to all the controls.

So Jack talking to Martha and Mickey at the end... could they really end up at Torchwood?  It would make the series even ridiculously more Doctor Who-tied, but they would fit into the roles of doctor and computer expert fairly well.

Rose Tyler... gets a Doctor of her own?  Weird.  Human Doctor, for all his differences that allowed him to commit genocide to save the multiverse, seems pretty submissive to the regular Doctor.  They're near-identical, but he's completely willing to be shunted off to another reality to essentially stay out of the other Doctor's hair.

The end result for Donna breaks my heart, though.  Previously people got separated from the Doctor (willfully or not), but they went on to lead more productive lives as a result of their experiences, some of them eventually even rejoining up in this very episode to help save reality.  But Donna... goes back to the almost self-loathing woman she was before, none the better for her experiences except that maybe her mom will treat her better.  They'll find some way around it if they really want to, but what a bummer.  I wonder if the Doctor gives everyone else fair warning?  Awkward if Jack Harkness runs into her, mentions their past experience, and kills her.

Human Doctor-Donna can't put up with it, but Human Doctor with Rose can?  Pfffffffffft.  Rose got infused with the power from the TARDIS enough to make a man immortal and alter all of history, but she survived.  asofjasdfopia;werf.

Appropriate that this series didn't end with a "What?  What!?  What!" like the last two.  And hey, no reset button like last year.

ADDED LATER: So a big deal was made of the Doctor's old companions become destructive... but where are the rest?  Are the Ninth and Tenth Doctors the only ones inspiring continued action?  Admittedly I haven't watched enough of the old show to know many ultimate fates, but surely some of them must be around in modern day England other than Sarah Jane.

Maybe they were active, but in the interest of time the episode could only show those who managed to get anywhere.  Off screen maybe 80 year old Ian and Barbara are trying to toss a blanket over a Dalek.

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40X2: The Next Doctor [[]] [[]]

(First watched 2009-01-06)  Nice.  Much cooler than last year's Christmas special.  Gives you an interesting what-if for a while, wondering if the man really is a (potential) future version of The Doctor, though as things came to light I began to get a sense of what had happened to him except for the exact how of him coming about the fractured knowledge.  I wonder how long he had been going around as The Doctor trying to fight Cybermen?

Those Cybermen from another reality must be just like the ones the Doctor knew even though they had a different origin, because he immediately recognized their iron giant as a specific class of vehicle.

Their plan to start up the thing seemed unnecessarily complicated, though.  First, kill one man to get a funeral.  Then, capture four important guys at the funeral.  Then, mechanize those guys and have them lead groups of children to one location.  Then... use those children for short-term manual labor?  Shouldn't there have been a much simpler way?  Were the Cybermen that short of power that they couldn't rotate a few gears and shovel some coal themselves?

Tethered Aerial Release Developed In Style.  Ha!

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40X3: Planet of the Dead [[]] [[]]

(First watched 2009-05-15)  I kind of liked how almost the entire show went by without an appearance by the TARDIS, and even then it was just an exterior--no need for fancy dancy equipment.  Otherwise this one just felt like kind of a long episode, not as grand as some of the other 90 minute ones.  Also seemed a cop-out that he refused to bring along the thrill-seeking thief because he was no longer bringing ANYONE along, rather than because she was a thrill-seeking thief.

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40X4: The Waters of Mars [[]] [[]]

(First watched 2009-11-20)  Wow, the Doctor really went too far this time.  Eventually all but saying "Fuck the laws of time!  I'm the Doctor!"  I'm surprised he didn't go for a less drastic solution sooner, though.  I mean, sure, the explosion there was important to history.  But were the forensics results of any possible remains left after a nuclear blast important?  Evacuate them to a distant part of time and/or space and they'd be alive while leaving the original flow of history intact.

Also, gotta say that Adelaide's end solution seemed a bit off.  So she was convinced the timeline should've been left as it originally was, and wanted to put things closer.  But... a strange in-home suicide is not exactly going to have the same effect as a mysterious death on Mars.

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Doctor Who Series 5