04.20.2009

Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead – REVIEW

My wife and I watched the Doctor Who special “Planet of the Dead” this past weekend.  Overall I thought it was an entertaining episode.  Unfortunately, the thought that kept going through my head the whole time is that we only have a few more David Tennant stories left.  While I welcome Matt Smith’s interpretation of the character, I’m REALLY going to miss David Tennant’s Doctor.

Further thoughts below, but be warned, there be SPOILERS ahead…

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After seeing the spooky trailer for this episode, I was really surprised how light and fun this episode was.  I truly expected an episode full of horror and suspense.  It was a pleasant surprise.  David Tennant’s speech on the bus to his fellow passengers about keeping up their hope was positively inspiring.  In just the few minutes it took to give that speech, the episode transformed from a science fiction story into a human story.

Both my wife and I agree that Lady Christina, played by Michelle Ryan, was brilliant and should have stayed with the Doctor as his new companion.  She really would have brought an interesting dynamic to the Doctor/companion relationship.  A companion that is a danger-junkie and has questionable morals would have been fun.  She also had a really cool look that would have complimented David Tennant’s Doctor well.

Lady Christina seems reminiscent to me of Kate Tollinger, a companion planned for the unproduced 27th season of Doctor Who back in 1990.   Kate was to be a cat burglar, specializing in safe-cracking and lock-picking.  Was Kate the inspiration for Lady Christina?  Who knows.

While I liked the flying manta ray creatures, I gotta say that I didn’t really care for the humanoid fly people.  I don’t really like aliens that have really bizarre heads, but are obviously just regular people in a mask and gloves.  I prefer a little more outlandish appearance.  For example, fly people who retain the fly head should probably have a fly-like body (like multiple limbs or vestigial wings).  The crazy-head-with-human-body was a hallmark of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series and always bothered me.

I couldn’t help but be reminded of Iris Wildthyme by the double-decker bus.  Iris appeared in a handful of Eighth Doctor novels as well as several audio dramas from Big Finish.  She is a renegade Time Lord like the Doctor and travels the cosmos in a red double-decker bus.  She’s also a real hoot!  Obviously this episode had nothing to do with Iris, but I can’t help wondering if the bus was a nod to that fantastic character.

It occurred to me that it’s possible (however unlikely) that some of the great characters in this story could reappear in the future.  Meaning that perhaps the 11th Doctor (played by Matt Smith) will travel with Lady Christina and interact with UNIT on a frequent basis (including Dr. Malcolm Taylor).  While I would enjoy that, I seriously doubt it would happen, especially since Russell T Davies (RTD) wrote this episode.  I’m sure Stephen Moffat will want to put his own stamp on the show, rather than recycle ideas from RTD.

I actually got goosebumps when Carmen said the Doctor’s song was almost over.  So the question is who will knock four times?  My guess… The Master.  Especially since there are rumors of John Samm (the actor who played The Master) being seen on the set of the Christmas episode they are filming right now.

Looking forward to The Waters of Mars!

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8 Responses to “Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead – REVIEW”

  1. Siskoid Says:

    In my own review, I also commented on how it reminded me of Kate Tollinger and Iris Wildthyme. Glad to see I wasn’t alone!

    John Simm on set? That would mean the Master lives again, but doesn’t regenerate. Mysterious!

  2. Acrobatic Flea Says:

    Sorry, guys, but I think “John Simm” turned out to be a member of the crew who just happened to look like John Simm from a distance (and in sneaky, blurry photographs).

    Doesn’t mean to say The Master won’t be in the story though…

  3. Shag Says:

    Okay, I’ve got a crazy new idea. Wouldn’t it be cool if the person knocking four times was Christopher Eccleston? I know this would never happen, but it would be a cool scene in the Doctor’s head as he regenerates.

  4. Ed Says:

    “The crazy-head-with-human-body was a hallmark of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series and always bothered me.”

    Are you kidding me?! The first thing I thought of when I first saw the fly aliens was classic Who. The crazy-head-with-human-body has always been hallmark of Doctor Who.

  5. Acrobatic Flea Says:

    Christopher Ecclestone = mindfrak!

    “The crazy-head-with-human-body was a hallmark of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series and always bothered me.”

    It’s not so much the monsters with human heads – it’s the fact that they’re all very clearly based on Earth animals (e.g. flys, cats, rhinos etc). The main thing the series needs is more alien aliens… and less kissing ;-)

  6. Siskoid Says:

    Unless it’s flies kissing rhinos.

  7. Acrobatic Flea Says:
  8. Stuart Renton Says:

    I’m sorry but I’m offended. You didn’t put NEARLY enough SPOILER WARNINGS before this review…

    :P

    Good review, though. I thought the episode was good, but I’ve seen toilet door graffiti with more story content.

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