Geek Report: Doctor Who, Season 3

July 8th, 2007

The third season of Doctor Who just finished, so here’s some quick one paragraph reviews of the episodes. Spoilers (mild) for those in Australia and the US who haven’t seen them yet.

Smith and Jones. The introduction of the Doctor’s new travelling companion, Martha Jones. Fairly average episode plot wise, but the new companion starts well (unlike Rose), and David Tennant has settled pretty well in to the character of the Doctor. 7/10

The Shakespeare Code. Martha and the Doctor travel back in time to see Shakespeare. Pretty strange plot, which kind of detracted from it for me. The Shakespeare stuff was great fun, but the aliens distracted me from it. 6/10

Gridlock. A visit to the far future and New New York, where traffic jams have reached a new level. I spent the first 20 minutes of this episode going ‘meh’, but it slammed in to gear after that. Lots of fun, some great lines and great action. 8/10

Daleks in Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks. Daleks in 1930s New York? How could you go wrong? As it turns out, fairly easily. Flat, takes the Daleks in a direction that makes little sense, and has far too little plot to fill two episodes. 5/10

The Lazarus Experiment. The first return to the present day, and a strange science experiment that turns into a conventional monster episode. The only points of interest are the foreshadowing for later episodes. 6/10

42. The Doctor and Martha land on a ship only 42 minutes from crashing into the sun. A bit reminiscent of The Impossible Planet from Season 2, but not too terrible. Some good action stuff, at least. 7/10

Human Nature/The Family of Blood. The Doctor hides out in a human identity for a while. Really clever plot, which I don’t recall being done before in Dr Who. And really showed the quality of Freeman Agyeman as Martha Jones. 8/10

Blink. A Doctor-light horror episode. Absolutely and unremittingly superb. Best single episode of the season by far. Just fantastic writing and acting. 10/10

Utopia/The Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords. The finale trilogy, and the return of the Master. A bit stronger in the setup than the realisation, but still with plenty of good work. Russell T. Davies has a great touch for the epic, and the scope of this episode was fantastic. A couple of elements in the finale are perhaps a bit hokey, but I got so caught up I didn’t really notice at the time. 9/10

Overall, the season had a very shakey first half, with only two of the first six episodes really being up to scratch, but the second half of the season more than made up for it. And I’ll be surprised if Blink doesn’t at least make a strong showing in the Hugo awards next year.

Next is the Christmas special – set on the Titanic, guest starring Kylie Minogue. So I know where to set my expectations, I think…