Doctor Who Series 4

That went fast. Maybe I’m used to the big story arcs of the US dramas, but I felt there was scope for another ten episodes. If only.

Regarding the finale, I thought Catherine Tate stole the show. Everybody who was sniffy about her, including me, should be appropriately chastened. Her final ten minutes, from the delighted exuberance of DoctorDonna to the total horror of realising the only way out, were perfectly played and, for me, moving.

The more I think about Donna’s resolution, the more awful it becomes. They did a good job of showing the character’s evolution over the series, and the final stark contrast between knowledge and ignorance was heartbreaking. But the Doctor had no redemption either. Davros was right: he leaves a trail of death and tortured souls, and ends up alone in the bleak final moment. Abandoned by everybody he loves, there was no ‘what? what!’ to take the edge off. That was brave.

The rest of the episode, whether you liked it or not, was fairly inconsequential, but I think Donna’s exit will linger. It’s as haunting as the final moments of series 2, imho.

The surrounding events were ok, I thought. It’s a shame Rose didn’t do anything (although I’m pleased she had a happy ending), and I’m always a touch disappointed by internally-resolving plots – Bonkers Dalek was controlling it from the start, so the Doctor was really just an actor – but it was still a hell of a spectacle, with plenty of great moments. I’m going to learn my Catherine Tate lesson and say nothing about Mickey heading for Torchwood1. And Gwen still rules.

I thought it was another excellent series. Pompeii and the Sontaran & Library episodes stand out, but I didn’t dislike any of them. David Tennant was good as ever, regularly making me laugh out loud yet able to switch to deadly serious at the drop of a screwdriver, and the surrounding cast were rarely less than impressive. There was plenty going on behind the scenes, too, with stories benefitting from (but not needing) knowledge of previous events, which is all great geek fun. I’ve always liked Doctor Who’s series-long story arcs, and this season felt a little more structured and planned, which was nice.

I’ve recently seen a little more of the ‘original’ Doctor Who, and I think you have to salute Russell T. Davies for the work he’s done. I don’t know whether the 1980s Doctors seemed as contemporary and interesting, but I doubt it. I read comics, and know that no matter how much potential a character has – and a time-travelling ubergeek adventurer has a lot – it needs a good pair of hands to actually work. Bringing Doctor Who up-to-date can’t have been easy, but RTD managed it with style, and I’m very grateful for the four series of entertainment.

There are good things to come. Four specials next year, then the new broom. I’m a total sucker for romantic, epic grandeur, which Steven Moffat’s episodes have thus far exemplified, and I’m excited to see where he takes it. Hopefully David Tennant will stick around for a bit, as I do so enjoy watching him. And more James Moran, please.

  1. other than I really, really hope Tosh and Owen wanted to leave, and weren’t killed off to make way []