Time to catch up with all the new Who…
Smith and Jones
The opener benefited from being told from the viewpoint of another character (ie not the Doctor). This has been done before, in Rose and, taken to the extreme, in Love and Monster and it’s a nice opportunity to get to know the players in a story and leave us guessing at the Doc’s agenda.
While the plot was fairly insubstantial there were some nice ideas (raining upwards, galactic jurisdictions) and some tasty graphics (the hospital balcony in the Earthlight). It all felt a bit lightweight, perhaps because Dinner Ladies’ Anne Reid wasn’t quite enough of a threat.
Of course the main thing was the introduction of Martha Jones (who, as gridman at the Lone Locust points out, has a nice line in pointing out plot holes) and so we welcome her in her dual role as companion and script editor. She certainly seems smart enough to do both.
And I’m glad the Doctor’s back in the brown suit…
The Infinite Quest
Martha’s second appearance is a bit of a strange performance in part 1 of the animated series showing in Totally Doctor Who. I was disappointed by this, after the animations in The Invasion. The graphics seem fussy and complicated, and the audio performances high pitched, and it all seemed so overly talky there didn’t seem much point in the visuals anyway. In 3.5 minutes there didn’t seem to be any introduction so as to give time for a cliffhanger that was rather feeble anyway. Hope it gets better before the 7 minute mark.
The Shakespeare Code
Apparently the most expensive episode so far, the now traditional “celebrity historical”. This is enjoyable enough, though not as good as either The Unquiet Dead or Tooth and Claw; nice to see the Globe and get into the whole Love’s Labour’s Won mystery. A pity it all has to boil down to another Alien Invasion of Earth story. Why, just for once, can’t we have a genuine (ie non sci-fi) historical?
The fanboy part of me, if I’m honest, was also a bit disappointed not to have a continuity reference with Shakespeare (for example, in relation to the 4th Doc claiming to have helped write Hamlet…) I know it gets a bit complicated in that this would be Shakespeare’s first meeting with the Doctor (ignoring the Big Finish Audios) but not the Doctor’s first meeting with Shakespeare, but since this was exactly what they did with Queen Elizabeth, what would the problem have been?
And whilst old series continuity is ignored, why risk alienating new viewers with unnecessary new series continuity, ie. the Doctor banging on about Rose every episode?