Thursday, May 29, 2008

Doctor Who S04E07-The Unicorn and the Wasp

The Doctor and Donna arrive in the roaring 20’s just in time for a big dinner party. Among the guests is distinguished mystery author Agatha Christie, one of The Doctor’s most favorite authors. But no sooner does this trio arrive that murder most foul is committed at the party. As The Doctor, Donna and Ms. Christie hurry to solve the mystery two things become clear pretty fast: the perp is among their small group and whoever he or she may be, they are anything but human.

Doctor Who does Clue, that’s the best way I can sum up this episode in a nutshell. The setup for an Agatha Christie themed story was seen at the end of Series 3 when The Doctor mentioned her to Martha, so it makes perfect sense he would get around to her sometime this series. However, this episode turns out to be probably one of the most uninspired and slow to the core episodes that leaves very little to the running wild imagination.

Maybe it’s just me being nitpicky about what to expect from a Doctor Who episode; but this outing seemed to lack a lot of that big scifi element that I watch the show for in the first place, instead trading it for full on mystery. Even the big, really fracking big Wasp from the title failed to do much to keep me interested.

Another thing, this type of story has been done before. The Doctor seems to have a penchant for meeting up with famous writers for a time period (Charles Dicken’s in Series 1’s “The Unquiet Dead” and William Shakespeare in Series 3’s “The Shakespeare Code”) What makes this episode pale in comparison to those stories was that it just doesn’t have the same energy and interesting characters as they did. I knew the name Agatha Christie from someplace or another and I knew she was an author, but I never knew what genre she was known for. For some reason, I never found her as likeably portrayed as Shakespeare or Dickens. Again, my opinions don’t account for everyone. Either you like an episode or you don’t. This just wasn’t my favorite “Who” episode, one had to pop up eventually. I know this review might be lacking in usual detail but it’s been a while and I don’t really want to watch this episode again. Sorry.

Maybe I’m just really getting all too anxious for the last half of the series, which was featured in a kick ass trailer this past weekend featuring a gun totting Rose, the return of the Daleks and the mention of the mysterious “Darkness”, which I fear might be something worse than the Daleks could ever be. That magic I mentioned in my review of “Partners in Crime” is about to come down hard and hopefully it will not disappoint.

Next Week-The galaxy’s biggest library hides secrets in the shadows.


P.S. I’m sorry it took almost two weeks to get this up, but I have been busy with work and family. But I’ll be more up to date in the future.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Doctor Who S04E06-The Doctor's Daughter

When the Tardis is suddenly yanked from Earth, The Doctor, Donna and Martha are thrown onto the world of Messaline. Here, a faction of cloned humans and a faction of alien Hath are locked in combat over a mysterious object referred to as “The Source”. With Martha captured by the Hath and the human faction looking to gun down the pacifistic Doctor, the only hope of halting the escalating violence lies in the quick wit and survival instincts of a the human faction’s newest recruit, straight from The Doctor himself. That hope is Jenny…The Doctor’s Daughter.

The Doctor’s Daughter, while not the most superbly crafted episode of Doctor Who ever, has plenty of saving grace to it. While the potential for action sequences is toned down greatly, giving us a build up with no pay off of Human vs. Hath action, the character moments are what makes this episode great. David Tennant has been my favorite Doctor since he first appeared on screen and he continues to excel in the role by adding a new dimension to it…fatherhood. The way he is thrust into the role of the parent and has very little idea of what to do with his own flesh and blood gives him that bit of humanity that he rarely show, that is he is fallible and not all knowing as he would like to think he is. This is one situation that one simple sentence can’t solve for him. Donna also continues to impress, serving as more and more of the emotional support system The Doctor sorely needs in his life.

But there were some characters that slowed the plot down tremendously. Martha once again faces a similar situation like the one she was in at the end of her Torchwood tenure. Martha is underused and virtually useless in the story, used only as a poor attempt to add a bit of human understanding to the Hath side of the story. This is sad considering how much we all love her. However, we all also know she will be back for the tail end of the series. So hopefully she will have a much larger role then. She shares the role of underused material with the Humans and the Hath that inhabit the story as they come off as no more than two sides that need a quick refresher on the value of life to solve their differences. Needless to say, they were just plain boring.

The real saving grace of this episode is its title character, Jenny. Played by Georgia Moffett (who coincidentally happens to be the daughter of Peter Davidson a.k.a The Fifth Doctor, hence her actually being…well you get the idea) Jenny is a spark of brilliance to the show and I hope that we will be seeing more of her in the future. Not only is she drop dead gorgeous (I think I might be in love with TDD (for sake of the term being overused to the point of annoyance), she is simply fantastic; young, smart, shares her dad’s knack for solving problems quickly, everything you could expect from an offspring of our favorite Time Lord. And considering most of her abilities as a new Time Lord have yet to be fully explored, the series could go off in several directions, but personally I’m hoping she joins the Tardis crew one day soon.

The Doctor’s Daughter lacked plenty to make it an exceptional Doctor Who outing (it may even be the weakest installment of the series thus far) but there’s plenty to make it a worthwhile viewing...if only for The Doctor's amazing offspring.

Next Week-Solving mystery’s with Agatha Christie. Oh, and there’s a giant Bee too.


Thursday, May 8, 2008

Summer 2008 Plans

I’m sorry this review of “The Poison Sky” came so late in the week. However, I am back home now and the internet signal going through my house is one of the worst on the planet. Therefore, my viewing and reviewing of the episodes may be postponed a bit but not by much. Don’t worry though I’ll still be posting reviews to the best of my ability.

And now that I am free from Junior Year havoc, I can also begin to work on my promised project to watch and review the entire first season of Torchwood. I’ll also be posting a new blog soon asking if you want me to try and review the previous new seasons of Doctor Who as well, to try and make this as close to a good compendium of Doctor Who knowledge (that is if I have any readers at all who are interested).

Anyway, comments are always open. Allons-y!!!

Doctor Who S04E05-The Poison Sky

The world is in chaos. A large cloud of gas produced by Atmos vehicles is starting to spread across the entire planet and grow slowly towards its deadly density. While the world is in disarray, the Sontaran’s send a strike force to London to eliminate the remaining U.N.I.T. forces. And with Donna, Martha and the Tardis all in the hands of the Sontarans, The Doctor’s options are running low. As the world, literally, holds its breath, all brace for the final, desperate last stand to begin.

What started as a truly rousing, heart pumping story arc ended just as strongly as it began with this episode. We got a fair share of everything, drama, Doctor techno-babble and lots and lots of action sequences. Arguably the big payoff of this episode was the inevitable showdown between the Sontarans and U.N.I.T. The see saw change in luck for both sides at key moments in the story gave it its much needed boost of edge of your seat excitement.

I was quite relieved that Donna’s Grandfather made it out of the conflict unscathed (saved by Donna’s mother with an ax no less). Granddad has become one of my new favorite characters of the series, the wily old geezer who is serious when he needs to be, and I can’t wait to see what kind of a role he plays in the episodes to come. Donna herself got placed in an interesting predicament when she was beamed up to the Sontaran ship with the Tardis and forced to infiltrate to help The Doctor. Donna continues to grow on me, although I don’t think she will ever be as good a companion as Martha or Rose (who made a very creepy blink and you’ll miss appearance on The Doctor’s monitor when Donna tried to contact him: where the heck is she?)

Martha was a bit of a background presence this week. Much of her screen time was given to her doppelganger created by the Sontarans and even she was a bit wasted and less convincing of a creative clone, which in the end gives her presence away to The Doctor. But, as clearly seen in the last scene of the episode, she will have a bit more of a role to play next week.

Overall, not that bad a way to spend a Saturday. It was sad to see the boy genius die in the end as I would have liked to have seen him return in one form or another later on. But other than that, I was impressed. Oh, and for all of you hardcore lovers of the old Doctor Who serials, U.N.I.T. figurehead The Brigadier, was given a name only cameo this week. Turns out he’s still alive, but stuck in Peru of all places. While I did like the U.N.I.T. characters in this story, the presence of this character would have been an added bonus. Still, can’t have everything now can we?

Next Week: Trapped in space…with The Doctor’s daughter?