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Old August 19 2013, 09:16 PM   #81
The Borgified Corpse
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Re: The Nearly-Disastrous Start to the David Tennant Era

^Very good. You get a gold star!

As to stunt casting, I would point out that, as an American who has never heard of most of these people prior to Doctor Who, I've never had a problem with the show's "stunt" casting. They all just come across as actors to me. (The only possible exception for me is that blonde woman from "A Christmas Carol." I'd never heard of her but the episode did seem to be trying awfully hard to come up with an excuse to get her to sing.)

As to the early Tennant era, I really loved most of Season 2 when I first saw it 7 years ago. But when I've rewatched it, I've found that it's generally aged very badly.

"The Christmas Invasion" is brilliant whenever the Doctor is actually awake in it. But when he's not, it's just Rose whining about how the Doctor may never wake up, when we all know that he will. And what they did with Harriet Jones was just a waste considering what a good character she was set up to be in Season 1.

Oddly, "New Earth" is one of the few episodes that I like better now than I did back then. It's not a great episode but I can't for the life of me remember why I used to hate it so much. It's perfectly serviceable, if a bit cheesy, which seems typical for the era.

"Tooth & Claw" and "School Reunion" are much worse than I remembered. Too much running down corridors while being chased by very dodgy CGI monsters. Too much Doctor/Rose angst or Doctor/Rose mushyness. Too much emphasis on just how useless Mickey is. Between these 2 episodes, the only saving graces are Anthony Stewart Head and the return of Sarah Jane Smith. (Though, even then, they seem to have retconned more of a romance between the Doctor & Sarah Jane then I think you can plausibly infer from her classic series appearances. And her departure in "The Hand of Fear" was far more amicable than "School Reunion" implies.)

"The Girl in the Fireplace" is still great. (Although, maybe I just like it because it undermines all the Doctor/Rose 'shipping.)

I don't get quite so giddy over the Cybermen appearances in "Rise of the Cybermen," "The Age of Steel," "Army of Ghosts," & "Doomsday" any more. But they're still decent.

"The Idiot's Lantern" was fine except for all the Abusive Daddy Issues (TM). Then, 4 episodes later we get a very similar episode with "Fear Her." Only, "Fear Her" is considerably worse because this one has Rose trying to save the Doctor instead of the Doctor trying to save Rose. While Season 2 is rife with problems, it's easier to gloss over them because David Tennant is so much fun to watch as the Doctor. So whenever he's absent for most of the episode, the episode suffers.

I liked "The Impossible Planet"/"The Satan Pit" because it's the first proper space-station-under-siege story that the new series has done. Prior to that, the show felt very frustratingly Earth-bound. Even the episodes set in the future were still set either on Earth or New Earth or in Earth's orbit. This was the first time the new series went exploring with a small crew in an isolated base when they're attacked from within by posessed aliens. To me, this was the first story where the new series legitimately felt like the old series. With a few tweaks, I could see the story just as easily be rewritten for the 4th Doctor & Sarah Jane, or the 5th Doctor & Peri, or the 7th Doctor & Ace.

To be honest, even after 7 years, I've still never rewatched "Love & Monsters." I just hated it that much the 1st time around.
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