All entries for Sunday 29 April 2007

April 29, 2007

Evolution of Doctor Who

Doctor Who
4 out of 5 stars

Right. Yesterday, Evolution of the Daleks was on BBC One. And it’s the first new Doctor Who – hang on, actually, it’s t he first Doctor Who! – I actually disliked. Whatever happened to the clever writing? It is almost as bad as the DJ’s character in Revelation of the Daleks! The bad thing is, it had so much potential, after a brilliant first part (Daleks in Manhattan aka Sec’s in the City), and it simply ruined it. (careful, spoilers may follow… though, I doubt you can actually have this episode any more spoilt than it already was!)
Where do I start? The minor things first (even though they are already quite bad) – how believable is the episode? I’ve read on the forums of Outpost Gallifrey good comments about how the DNA was mistreated all along (concerning this, the shape of Dalek DNA is quite funny!) and not even in a consistent way. He also pointed out the gamma ray supposed to hit New York suddenly, conveniently turned into lightning. As he said, it is still remotely acceptable to change real science; but if you do so, be bloody consistent! Even less believable, Martha’s defense plan: building up this metal construction to electrocute the pigmen. Fair enough, she may have been lucky and lightning strike at the exact right time, but how could she know that before undertaking the task (and wasting people’s strengths)? Also, I’m bloody tired of seeing the Doctor dead and – oh, no, hang on, he wasn’t dead! Wait for it, soon Martha’ll give him some meaningful mouth-to-mouth (fret RTD’s plans!)
Then there was what I resent most about the whole episode – the wasting of an excellent idea, that of the evolved Dalek having good feelings. Admittedly, the way he came to these is far from realistic (especially considering which human was chosen for the hybridation) – BUT once this mistake was made, what harm was there in exploring it for a bit longer? And make Sec’s plan succeed. And have a new deviant strain of Daleks who, still being somewhat ruthless conquerors, are humane? We could even make them meet pure Daleks (with the danger of running into absurd competition, cf. Resurrection of the Daleks) – SO MUCH POTENTIAL! Wasted. And how? By the Cult of Skaro not behaving in a Dalek way, plotting in secrecy against Sec. How un-Dalek-like! A better solution, if RTD had decided not to go with the good Dalek idea, would have been to make Sec double-cross the Doctor and make him help them take over the world. This would have had the advantage of showing a tormented David Tennant – and he’d be pretty good at it!!! Both solutions would have earned the episode its title, but here it was more of an evolutionary deadend! (talking of which, the BBC book Only human is one of the best new books…)
On more positive notes, the acting got a bit better as compared to last week’s (but still not up to Gridlock standards for the supporting cast); Martha’s relationship with the Doctor gets seen from a slightly different angle (good before a Modern Times Earth episode). So, good for that!
I’m not even mentioning the CGI from this episode – nothing can top Gridlock!

However, I can’t bring myself to give a low rating to a Doctor Who review, so I’ll complete this entry with quick mention of the best series start so far!
  • Smith & Jones – see previous entry, very good!
  • The Shakespeare code – I was a bit disappointed, but that’s because I had so big expectations! My main issue with this episode is that it is definitely a fantasy episode desperately trying to be Sci Fi – because that’s what Doctor Who is! But it is clever writing, I loved the quote bits, and (oooh spoiler!) Elisabeth in the end!
  • Gridlockawesome really. Only The Girl in the Fireplace is better, so far. And that’s because it’s in France (grins). No, seriously, good writing, editing, awesome music and CGI. My only disappointment here are the Face of Boe’s prophecy (too expectable) and the Macra (which were a tiny bit useless).
  • Daleks in Manhattan Now that’s what I call a Doctor Who episode! I’m usually not too fond of Dalek episodes, but this one clearly exceeds expectations. Interesting plot (but why pigs?), going back to educational stuff (Hooverville!), overall good sci-fi with potential. Cf. my rant about the second part…

Well, let’s hope next week’s The Lazarus experiment is better! Though I have my doubts, considering Martha’s family seems to be back.

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