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PHOTOGRAPHY

DOCTOR WHO-
THE NEXT DOCTOR
PLANET OF THE DEAD
episode reviews by David Blackwell
 
two 60 minute episodes
THE NEXT DOCTOR airs on BBC America on June 27th
PLANET OF THE DEAD airs on BBCA on July 26th

I am elated that Russell T. Daives is gone from DOCTOR WHO.   Still the latest two episodes of the series under his role as show runner are a mixed bag.  THE NEXT DOCTOR is very entertaining while PLANET OF THE DEAD starts off mimicking an adventure in the 1980s FASA Doctor Who role playing game before descending into some real crap.  THE NEXT DOCTOR surprises while putting on a new spin on the Cybermen in a steam punk era.   I could have done without the big giant robot at the end, but it was a solid Christmas special with some humor and a solid performance by David Morrissey.  

 

On the other end of the spectrum, PLANET OF THE DEAD has some really big missteps like the UNIT people in hero worship and fan worship of the Doctor.  In the original series of DOCTOR WHO, the members of UNIT were very professional and didn’t worship The Doctor.  They respected him like the member of the team.   The Brigadier was like a friend in addition to being a colleague.   I don’t see anything really good about the new UNIT.   The characters are pretty disposable.  The start of the story (which is in a museum) almost felt like that role playing adventure where The Doctor hooks up with a thief and goes up against The Master.  Except this time, The Doctor meets the thief outside of the museum after she steals something and the Master isn’t in it.

 

PLANET OF THE DEAD does mark the first DOCTOR WHO (OF FOUR SPECIALS) shot in HD video.   It also has Michelle Ryan as a guest star (many sci-fi fans said she sucked in the remake of THE BIONIC WOMAN.   The ending is only fit for young kids and has no place in the DOCTOR WHO universe.  The big problem, other than focusing on the families of the companions too much, is the lip service that Mr. Davies paid to the kids.  I loved the original DOCTOR WHO because it talked to every fan on an equal level without having moments where this one is for the kids kind of scene (the Donna rescue scene in THE RUNAWAY BRIDE is a prime example as the two kids in teh car cheer as the Doctor rescues Donna from a moving cab).  Now I hope the next three DOCTOR WHO specials are better than this episode and the new showrunner Steven Moffat has some grand surprises in store when the new Doctor takes over in 2010.

this DVD review is (c) 2009 David Blackwelland cannot be reprinted without permission.  send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com