Season 29 (Series 3 for plebs) was the first NuWho series without Rose Tyler, replacing her with the most forgettable companion of all time Martha McFly, who was black because UK lol. Also, The Mattress came back and it was the only good thing to happen to this season other than Cool Pornell (and the Sad Girls).
Series 3: Edit
We first meet Martha Jones when the Doctor demonstrates how to successfully gag a black female with his tie and kidnap her in his time machine. She soon begins to suffer from Stockholm syndrome and wants his Teninch Timedick.
Tentacle porn ensues when Dalek Sex turns himself into New York Squidward. If you pause at approximately 33:07 in Evolution of the Daleks, you can see that fucking stupid still of the Doctor Mario-jumping away from a big ball of flames leaving Freemartin Freeman to die, making her the first of the Tenth Doctor's victims in this season.
|Episode Title||Written by||Description|
|The Runaway Bride||Russell T Davies||Donna Noble shows up as a runaway bride. She comes back later as a fulltime companion in Series 4. A must see for alternative hentai fans, it features a guy and a centaur spider that may have fucked.|
|Smith and Jones||Russell T Davies||A companion debut story, involving a shape changing alien criminal hiding in a hospital from interstellar police, the Doctor tricks the alien into changing into itself and it is killed by it's pursuing forces. It was so good Moffat recycled the plot 3 years later and nobody noticed.|
|The Shakespeare Code||Gareth Roberts||Something about witches? And Shakespeare makes a pass at the Doctor, thanks Rusty.|
|Gridlock||Russell T Davies||Probably a commentary on car culture or something? Also The Face of Boe dies after telling the Doctor "You are not alone." [DRAMATIC MUSIC] Pretty comfy and features a call-out to the Macra.|
|Daleks in Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks||Helen Raynor||The first modern Dalek story featuring them in the past, it was heavily slated by fans for the unrealistic portrayal of a responsible black man that runs a community. Also it was a pretty shameless remake of Evil of the Daleks but instead of adorable happy Daleks playing trains, it had dick-faced men in turtlenecks. why.jpg I will argue to the death that this is one of the top five Dalek stories ever on a story and thematic level but it won't change the fact that everyone hates it because "muh bad special effect" and "muh bad accents".|
|The Lazarus Experiment||Stephen Greenhorn||Turns out being immortal makes you a scorpion.|
|42||Chris Chibnall||It's like Sunshine, but with Doctor Who.|
|Human Nature/The Family of Blood||Paul Cornell||Do not fuck with the Doctor, because he will seriously out-act you, give you feels and then, then...!|
|Blink||Steven Moffat||2creepy4me, until the Weeping Angels got used again and ruined forever. BRAVO MOFFAT!|
|Utopia/The Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords||Russell T Davies||Can you hear them? They're coming. They're in the signal. They're in my head. The Mattress returns in full force. It starts with the Doctor, Captain Jack, and Martha travelling to the end of the Universe and meeting the last remnants of humanity. Based Jacobi is the Mattress except not really until the last 5 minutes, and he fucking nails the part, that's not to say Simm wasn't amazing but Jacobi was magnificent in comparison and going from Jacobi to Simm is like having sex with Karen Gillan for 30 seconds and then having sex with John Prescott for 45 minutes.
Anyways, Based Simmothy Dalton escapes to Earth and does it a great service by murdering the President of America, and the Cabinet ministers, all five of them.
Sadly, all the hype of the first two episodes is squandered by Jesus Doctor. Remember billy, it also appears that Doctor Who doesn't run by Steins Gate physics, except for all of the times it does.
Smith and Jones already feels like RTD reusing his old tricks. Martha's simply a Rose-clone with another detestable family of petty-minded, self-involved shrews and commoners. Ending with some shrill street argument between the petty family and accusations that Martha made the whole life-threatening ordeal up. Proof indeed that in RTD's degraded perma-sneery vision, nothing life-threatening or mind-expanding ever changes people for the better or makes them more appreciative. RTD himself shows his usual lack of imagination with both rhino-men for aliens with completely contradictory laws that show up how RTD didn't even bother thinking them through. Transplanting the entire hospital to the moon especially smacks of cynicism, as if RTD doesn't believe the audience will be involved in an alien world unless a huge chunk of the familiar everyday world goes with it as the main backdrop. What's more offensive is the Doctor still acting like an unpleasant jerk "not her, she'll only hold us up", and the story effectively indulging camp villainy up to the point where the villain's death is played for wholly comic effect. Not to mention the idiotic science of turning a Chemotherapy suite into a nuclear bomb that could decimate half the Earth from the Moon.
The Shakespeare Code should be great. Alas, Shakespeare is written as such a pastiche; he never convinces as a real person. The whole thing becomes a runaround that occasionally stops for cumbersome info-dumps and lame jokes, and ends with the heroes literally talking the Carrionites away. The witches are possibly the most unimaginative villains in a season composed of almost nothing but. What's worse is that, amidst this light frivolity, the Doctor's indulgent heartache over Rose, as though she's the most important thing in the universe, not only reduces our hero to a pathetic shadow of himself, but it almost seems to blatantly say that because the Doctor's trivial feelings for Rose are the only thing that matters, nothing else in the story is important or to be taken seriously, or even consequential. Couldn't Russell see that this was dramatically fatal? Because now there'll never really be any spirit of adventure, but just wallowing in past miseries. It's a terribly uneven story in that regard because it at once brings a horribly defeatist aspect to the show, and yet aggressively asserts the kind of forced frivolity and 'don't bring me down'-ness of camp in such a way that genuine misery or unhappy feeling is no longer welcome (case in point being how Shakespeare's reminiscence of losing his son is tastelessly dismissed by another "that's good I'll write that down" joke). This is what I mean when I describe RTD's era as antagonistic.
Gridlock is yet another RTD plot dependent on the human race being all gullible idiots, consistent with Russell's arrogant, sneery view of the masses. Really, the pregnant woman who has an 'honesty' drug, I think says everything about Russell's distrusting view of his audience. Yet again, we have artificial comedy characters, the Doctor acting like a belligerent loudmouth dick as though he's a one-man mafia, and a plot resolved by the Doctor wiring something together and a token self-sacrifice. What gave it some edge and heart for me though was the story of the Sister's long penance of redemption for her crimes in New Earth, only to lose the one who looked after her.
Daleks in Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks felt like a very token Dalek story indeed. But it could have been good. Helen Raynor did write one of the better, more unpredictable Torchwood episodes, Ghost Machine. Here unfortunately she's constrained by a shopping list, and she seems to write down to the younger audience. There are signs she's really thought through the setting of the Great Depression as a thematic focus, but the forced, cynical happy ending flushes it down the toilet. The characters are utterly two-dimensional, the second half is beyond boring and uneventful, the Daleks come off pathetically, and Caan basically runs away at the end rather than kill the Doctor. The Doctor comes off even more stupidly in both offering himself for extermination in the vain hope the Daleks will stop killing everyone else, and letting Caan live and escape at the end. Suddenly it's as if the Doctor's forgotten everything he knew about Daleks beforehand.
The Lazarus Experiment features the usual worst aspects of New Who. The new show's ageism and anti-intellectualism sees Professor Lazarus portrayed not as an idealist, but as a selfish money-grubbing, sleazy cad. This blows an opportunity to make his transformation into a monster at all sympathetic. Instead, he shows no guilt for his killings at all. It's as if the writers are deliberately trying to make this a lesser story.
In the RTD fashion of making mother characters utterly horrible yet forcing us to care about them anyway, Martha's mother Francine comes across far nastier than even Jackie did. Given that Martha's an educated, grown woman it makes no sense for Francine to be so suspicious of Martha's new 'date', especially once he starts working to save everyone. It would have made far more sense and been more emotionally affecting had Francine initially trusted the Doctor to protect Martha, then after his explosive stint in the chemistry lab puts Martha in danger, Francine feels understandably betrayed. But no, she's just a suspicious-minded control freak because the show's seemingly made by and for such people. As with Rise of the Cybermen and The Runaway Bride, its focus is on work-do parties to pander to a nation of petty-minded jobsworths with a portrayal that makes them feel cool and hip. After all, RTD's sycophants in fandom tend to be the most trumped-up jobsworths of all, and RTD's show was designed to win over Michael Grade. The biggest, pettiest, most snidey jobsworth of all.
42 is near seamless and yet utterly forgettable. Such is its efficiency, it rarely stops to actually be about anything. I actually think that Torchwood's first season could have been excellent on the strength of Ghost Machine, Small Worlds, They Keep Killing Suzie and Out of Time, if it wasn't for the enormous drag factor of all Chris Chibnall's stories. This is a Chibnall story with all the mean-spiritedness that goes with it: the characters are never thought through and there's no display of heart to it. Michelle Collins becomes the first of Chibnall's token clumsy women who meet harsh reprimands and vengeful come-uppance for a mistake that really anyone could make. Chibnall would go on to similarly taint Series 5 in this way.
Just like Enlightenment and Revelation of the Daleks, Human Nature/Family of Blood and Blink are so light years ahead in quality of their contemporaries that they seem to belong to another show entirely. Human Nature might be the saving grace of RTD's third year (as Midnight is to his fourth), as Russell being such a fan of the book not only adapted it to screen, but pulled out all the stops to make it perfectionist in its details. Martha's put to her best use all season. David Tennant gives possibly his best performance and shares beautiful chemistry with Joan Redfern. The time period is vividly recreated (well, except for the one shot where you can see a semi truck in the background, can't win 'em all) and the Family are superbly quirky, frightening villains.
But I think Blink trumps it. It's Moffat's best party trick but it's also perfectly structured without the viewer ever being aware of its structure - and it's beautifully life-affirming too. It's about the moments that make up a life. It's superbly acted too. There's something bittersweet about Sally Sparrow reading her dead friend's letter talking of the long past life she's enjoyed, and the police detective realising on his deathbed that it's the same rain. It's of its time, in that Blairite period of affluence and youthful optimism where life and opportunities seemed up for the taking. It's of its time without being horrendously dated in the way RTD's own stories have quickly become. Which is why the old, calcified, lonely weeping angels make such a perfect contrast to the happy, spontaneous protagonists. But, like The Twin Dilemma following The Caves of Androzani, it became clear that if this injection of quality didn't turn the show around, nothing ever could, not whilst this control-freak producer holds overrules all achievements. The three-part season finale saw my capacity to care anymore just disintegrate. And yet Utopia sets up such a great premise. The Doctor and the Master stuck at the universe's end while humanity clings to life, and only the Master's knowledge can save them all. Unfortunately, this premise is utterly discarded and abandoned because RTD felt the audience could only relate to it affecting the present day.
Whilst Derek Jacobi made a fantastic Master, overpowering Chan To by sheer force of will, Russell's ego probably couldn't bear that this Cornell-Shalka version of the Master might succeed, so he threw Jacobi under the bus just to prove his way was better. John Simm makes the worst Master ever, showing no calculating intelligence or maturity, being a tool for desperate, asinine comedy for a show that's substituted genuine wit or imagination for inane sarcasm. I don't buy this Master, and he's ruined by being made utterly detestable, hence why the Doctor weeping over his enemy feels both twisted and insincere. It could have worked if the Master actually had tried to prove himself to be a benevolent dictator, but found the power too corrupting. Or if the Doctor intended turning the Master human again, letting his knowledge live on, with the potential to live as a good man and shun his evil.
Like Iago, the old Master had no redeeming qualities, yet one couldn't help admiring his calculating intelligence and slightly wanting him to win. But you never wanted John Simm's Master to win. I once argued that RTD had at least reimagined him as a yuppie villain for whom mass murder was part of his unquenchable consumption habits, but he's actually just a puppet for RTD's most mean-spirited writing and pointless deaths. The Master opening and closing the airtight door on the dying journalist's screams seems to particularly pander to sociopathic teenagers that find violence and cruelty funny.
By now, Russell was spread thin between this and spin-offs. For some reason, the fans couldn't disassociate New Who's popular success from RTD's alleged 'genius'. Given how much he chopped away the show's essence to prevent it 'alienating' the masses (alien planets, the Doctor's Victorian demeaor, scientific refinement and maturity), it's a wonder it could even still be called Doctor Who. But it showed up how much Russell convinced himself that bringing back the show was a risky gamble, and he chickened out far more often than going for gold. But he seemed to convince himself he'd achieved the impossible nevertheless, and yet the insecurity that it wouldn't last unless he kept playing safe remained. Each season he completed was a boost to his already-bloated ego, seeing himself as a miracle worker. By now, he'd developed a full-blown messiah-complex, which here became forced onto the Doctor in cringeworthy fashion.
When the Doctor magically heals himself and develops God-like superpowers, and time reverses itself so that everyone's brought back to life again, the story undone and unwritten, all my dramatic investment in the show became broken beyond repair. Almost against my will I stopped being able to care about the show, until The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone finally reasserted some solid plot structure and rules, allowing me to care about the show's dramatic suspense again.
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