Saturday, June 9, 2018

The Tenth Doctor

Been a bit of a whirlwind, starting a new job and getting acclimated. But in honor of David Tennant coming to FanX this fall, here’s the Tenth Doctor.

Series 2
Welcome back, Cybermen.
Top Story: Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel
It was a close between this and The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit. I think the reason I liked this story the most has to do with how the Doctor defeated the Cybermen. I wrote a longer post about it on my personal blog, but for the sake of brevity: I got something that was powerful for me about the power of choice (agency), pain, and the purpose of life. To me, it was like the Cybermen's plans were analogous to Satan's plan for God's children.
Flop Story: Love & Monsters
The joke of all Doctor Who episodes. It was the first Doctor-lite episode and it had potential. However, the monster in this story was absurd looking. Add into that Elton's flirting and manipulation of Jackie Tyler... it was just awkward. I don't know if I know a Whovian who enjoys this episode.
I'd love to see more of these
Honorable Mention: School Reunion
Back in the Third and Fourth Doctor era, Sarah Jane Smith was a popular companion (even a favorite of David Tennant). So when she returned for Doctor Who story, it set a great precedent for homages to Classic Doctor Who. This story also set up for a spin-off series, "The Sarah Jane Adventures", which started about 2 years later. I would love more episodes like this, bringing back Classic companions for a one-off adventure.
Series 3
Ladies and gentlemen, Donna.
Top Story: The Runaway Bride
DONNA! I can't say enough how much I love Donna. Despite being a Whovian Christmas tradition, I'm actually not a super big fan of many Christmas specials. This one is the exception. First of all, we got sassy Catherine Tate as a brilliant one-off companion (later to be a long-term companion). She was also (and would later be) a breath of fresh air to have a companion with no romantic attachment to the Doctor, after Rose's departure. After such a heavy season finale, the light-hearted combination of David Tennant and Catherine Tate left us with a delightful yuletide adventure.
Flop Story: Gridlock
The biggest problem with this story is that it was forgettable. I have to strain my memory to remember how this episode went. Just can't say I really enjoyed an episode, with the basis being jumping from car to car to save Martha. On the plus side, it did include the return of the Macra, last seen in the Second Doctor era. Also, on the plus side, this story did have the Face of Boe, which left the "prophecy" of the Master's return.
The Master returns...
Honorable Mention: Utopia/The Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords
Speaking of the Master's return, the Master finally returned in two different bodies after 10 years. Last seen against the Eighth Doctor (previously against the Seventh Doctor), we got this three-part finale to reintroduce this classic villain. The Toclafane were chilling and thrilling for me and it freaked me out when I learned their origin. This story also did a good job of wrapping up the season, pulling in elements from throughout Martha's adventures (Harold Saxon, "You Are Not Alone", Lazarus, etc.).

Series 4
Companions, assemble!
Top Story: The Stolen Earth/Journey's End
To culminate the end of the Tenth Doctor's regular episodes, the Doctor had all his allies from the past several years team up to fight the Daleks: Donna, Martha and UNIT, Sarah Jane and her friends, Jack and Torchwood, and Rose and her family. It made for an epic two part finale. And of course every fan of the Doctor will remember Donna's fate... even though she won't. So despite it being the most heart-breaking companion exit I've seen (and I've seen almost all), it was a fulfilling end... even if I hate it.
Flop Story: Planet of the Ood
Another, mostly forgettable episode. I liked the Ood a lot more in "The Satan Pit". It worked a lot better. Looking back, it kind of feels like the only purpose of this story was to set up the appearance of the Doctor-Donna and the end of the Tenth Doctor's song. Also, I really don't know how I feel about the passive Ood turning his master into an Ood.... that's an odd Deus Ex Machina, even for Doctor Who.
River's beginning and end
Honorable Mention: Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead
This story got the honorable mention because of the classic introduction of River Song. It was a long-term, complicated project for us to get River's story, since it was all out of order. Numerous fan have tried to piece her story together from her perspective, but for us and the Doctor this is where her story began. I loved this episode because it had multiple mysteries layered perfectly together: the Vashta Narada, the missing people, River Song, and Donna's disappearance.

2008-2009 Specials
As there wasn’t a new season of Doctor Who in 2009, these four specials are often grouped together.
Wish we'd have Lady Christina again
Top Story: Planet of the Dead
This story was unique for Doctor Who, at least among the specials. First off, it is the only Easter special Doctor Who has ever done (I could have used one of those this year). Also, it involved no TARDIS travel in getting to an alien world. As a result, the one-off companion never even entered the TARDIS. This was my favorite among the 2008/2009 specials because of its unique story telling. It also did a good job of leading into the Tenth Doctor's swan song with the four-knock tease.
Flop Story: Waters of Mars
This is one of those stories that I don't even remember the full scope of. I remember the Doctor showing up at a Mars space base, but I don't remember much else. It was an odd story and an odd conclusion. I get that the Doctor was fearing his death and regeneration, but they dragged out of the theme far too long. Previous Doctors never got a hint they were going to die, but this trend continued for the Eleventh Doctor and the Twelfth Doctor and it kind of bugs me.
Who is she? The Doctor's mother?
Honorable Mention: The End of Time
My favorite part of this was the return of the Master, Donna, and Donna's family. The Master's fate at this point was left vague, so it was great to see him back during the last season finale (I know we had Missy in the meantime, but I was pleased to see the John Simms version of the Master again). It was also nice to get a brief cameo of all of the Tenth Doctor's cohorts before his regeneration (According to the Eleventh Doctor in the Sarah Jane Adventures, he went to see ALL his previous companions at that time).

Rose      (9th Doctor) - Doomsday
Mickey School Reunion - The Age of Steel
Donna   The Runaway Bride; Partners in Crime - Journey's End
Martha Smith and Jones - Last of the Time Lords; The Sontaran Stratagem - The Doctor's Daughter
Jack        Utopia - Last of the Time Lords

Donna   The Runaway Bride
Astrid    Voyage of the Damned
Christina              Planet of the Dead
Adelaide              The Waters of Mars
Wilf        The End of Time

Donna Noble!!!
Favorite Companion: If you couldn't tell by my thoughts on "The Runaway Bride", I'm a big Donna fan. After Martha and Rose's romantic feelings for the Doctor, I liked having a breather. Tie into all of that that Catherine Tate is a fantastic comedian, it gave a lighter feel to the Tenth Doctor's adventures with Donna. I also love the character development for Donna. She went from a sassy, insecure temp to the savior of the universe. That development in seeing her own worth inspires me. Add into all of that her tragic ending and it gives a fulfilling (though heart-breaking) character arc.

Martha and UNIT
Least Favorite Companion: For the record: I don't dislike Martha. I just like her the least. My biggest problem with Martha was that, in my opinion, she had little character development throughout the season. She pined after the Doctor, only to have her character development all happen off-screen in the finale. That being said, I enjoyed her character development in the year that never was and I enjoyed her when she returned the following season. In the end, I guess that's my issue... I liked her more after she left the Doctor than when she was with him.

Are you planning on meeting David Tennant this fall? What about any upcoming Doctor Who cosplays?

The (Fifth) Doctor's daughter who played the (Tenth) Doctor's daughter who married the (Tenth) Doctor

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