Saturday, 11 April 2009

Of Doctor Who - Planet of the Dead

If that is the continued quality of Doctor Who this year, I am going to be very happy. It wasn't as amazing as the show can be, but really the show only is that good when Steven Moffat is writing, which he won't be until next year. But for a special episode, especially one penned by Russel T. Davies it was damn good.

So what worked? Well for starters there wasn't any crappy humour. Or at least nothing as insulting as the "spinning Daleks" from last year, that was just shit. I hasve to say the funniest moments were definitely Lee Evans', he completely owned it on the humour side, even making references to Quatermass. Lee Evans is definitely a very funny man and whilst this wasn't exactly what his stand-up is like but he's shown himself to be a funny actor in stuff like Fifth Element and was definitely a welcome element to the plot. Espcially with his overreacting to The Doctor, I chuckled quite a bit at all of his scenes.

However the best thing about the episode was the fact that it worked as an single episode but also set up the other specials. There wasn't anything really lining it up to the future episodes apart from a few lines near the end and there wasn't a deus ex machina ending. The episode completely delivered on everything it promised. It didn't rely on anything that wasn't introduced previously or was just lightly touched upon. In fact the main crux of the episode was getting what they needed to escape. It wasn't like the Season 2 finale where something he picks up briefly in the first part goes on to save the day.

I'm going to say it straight off, I enjoyed it immensely. It was probably the best special the show has done since the David Tennant regenerated. I want to say this was partly because Michelle Ryan was extremely enjoyable as Lady Christina. Whilst she wasn't quite the humourous part that was Lee Evans, but still in terms of companions she was a lot of fun. Especially because what was seen in the first scene in quite a big set piece came back in a big way. It was hinted at throughout the episode that was important and it was.

I can't stress it enough, this episode was plotted exceedingly well. There wasn't really a wasted moment. Everything was needed. Whilst there were some moments that were aimed at kids it wasn't that awful campy humour, it was genuinely fun stuff, like the flying bus. Plus there were some worrying moments. These specials normally come with more deaths, this one only had three but the guy who burned up to a skeleton was definitely shocking in that it was barely past seven and would definitely scare the little kiddies.

Overall the episode was great. It's what Doctor Who needs to be this year. We've only got three episodes till the end of David Tennant's run and this set them off in the right direction. I'm going to delve more into David Tennant's performance in the later specials, but suffice to say he was as excellent as he never fails to be. The story for this special was tight and Lee Evans and Michelle Ryan were very enjoyable companions for the episode and I'm genuinely excited to see where the show goes from here. The next episode is called "The Waters of Mars" which seems to be Sunshine but with water and not sunlight so colour me intrigued. But for now Planet of the Dead gets a very high 8/10

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