Doctor Who 2006

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Doctor Who 2006 is over. If this had been the first series of the relaunch then people would be ecstatic about the series. But we’ve had Christopher Eccleston already. This series has been mixed.

There’s been more miss­able epis­odes. Love and Monsters fea­tured a mon­ster cre­ated by an eight year old in a com­pet­i­tion, and was a pretty good demon­stra­tion of why TV pro­du­cers rarely ask eight year olds to design vil­lains. The opener New Earth isn’t as bad, but epis­odes intro­du­cing new char­ac­ters tend to be poor in plot and given the rel­at­ive lack of Doctor in The Christmas Invasion, New Earth was partly about intro­du­cing the new Doctor.

However, when it went right it went bril­liantly. The pre-series hype was all about the Cybermen, but there were other bet­ter epis­odes. The Impossible Planet / The Satan Pit worked both in the set-up and finale. School Reunion, with Sarah-Jane and K9 could have been dire, but actu­ally worked both in char­ac­ter and plot. My favour­ite epis­ode of the series though was The Girl in the Fireplace. Saying why is dif­fi­cult. The epis­ode is like Gorgonzola, being both cheesy and full of holes, but the chem­istry between the Doctor and Reinette makes it enchanting.

The sea­son finale also beats last year’s fin­ish. Bad Wolf / The Parting of the Ways was good and with the death of major char­ac­ters looked like an impossible situ­ation. That was excit­ing until it turned out it really was impossible and the end­ing required a magic wand to fix everything. Army of Ghosts / Doomsday starts at least as well, but the end­ing is so much better.

The cast has gen­er­ally improved. David Tennant wouldn’t have been my choice for Doctor, I’d have gone with Richard E. Grant, but he is usu­ally good in the role. He cer­tainly seems to enjoy it. Mickey Smith became a more inter­est­ing char­ac­ter rather than spare part and Noël Clarke did a good job mak­ing the growth con­vin­cing. Billie Piper improved as Rose. I was also pleased to not see Slitheen this time, but I wouldn’t rule them out from mak­ing a return next year.

When it was bad 2006 was worse than 2005, but on the whole the series was bet­ter than the pre­vi­ous series. Parts of it, like the domestic life of Rose, integ­rated bet­ter with the storylines and added to them. It looks like the Christmas spe­cial will be a bit of a breather from all that, so it’ll be inter­est­ing to see how they tackle the 2007 series.

And then there’s Torchwood com­ing this autumn.