The DVD for “Planet of the Dead” is an hour-long special originally aired on Easter, but if your familiar with the Doctor Who specials then you know that they have very little to do with the holiday they land on. Also included on the disk is a 60 minute making of featurette, with standard behind-the-scenes stuff.
The scene is set with a robbery of some high security museum. We don’t know what’s stolen but we do know it was very valuable with our robber running from the cops and onto a bus. This is when the Doctor shows up. He sits right next to the robber who we find out is Christina (Michelle Ryan).
The Doctor is tracking a hole in space and time, which the bus quickly drives through and into a barren desert planet. The Doctor — left without his TARDIS — has to help the people on the bus get home before a mysterious sand storm that one of the passengers calls “Death,” hits them.
The Doctor is helped to lead the passengers by Christina, and while they work together, they learn that they are a great pair. And they really are: Christina is a welcome change from the Doctor’s usual companions. She has a rebellious attitude, and doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty, plus she shares the love of adventure that all of the Doctor’s companions have.
The episode is chock full of great Doctor Who moments like when the Doctor is able to inspire the group to believe in him, and you do to, or when the Doctor is talking to a UNIT scientist and makes fun of him for naming a unit of measurement after himself. This episode is full of what makes Doctor Whogreat, minus the Tardis.
If you want a taste of Doctor Who then this would not be a bad way to go because it is self-contained and represents the show well.
Article first published as Review: Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead on Blogcritics.
The sister show to Doctor Who, Torchwood matured a great deal in its second season, boasting some truly great episodes.
This five-disc collection holds all 13 episodes, a few deleted scenes, and a disc of special features known as “Torchwood Declassified.”
Torchwood spun out from Doctor Who several years ago, and although it shares the same universe, it sports a very distinct feel. It has a larger cast, and a more standard format.
The show centers on the group Torchwood which is described as “outside the government , beyond the police…”. This has always been a problem for me because I can’t rationalize an organization in large part run by the government being somehow above it. It’s just a nitpick I have with the show, and an opening that I feel the show could do without.
In the group you have Captain Jack Harkness, the mysterious and charismatic leader who cannot stay dead; Owen, the doctor; Gwen, the forensics and general investigations specialist; Tosh, the computer wizard, and Ianto, the butler (although he gets to do a lot more this season). The standard episode runs about 50 minutes, usually following a specific formula, beginning with the introduction of some alien or alien-induced problem. The rest of the episode is spent researching, and addressing it. This is usually balanced very lightly with the team’s lives (or lack thereof) outside the job.
The pacing although slow at times however it is an improvement over the first season mostly dull plot lines that would not get going until the 35-minute mark. The acting in season one season is just okay, with some actors giving poorly delivered lines, and unconvincing emotions. For instance Tosh’s squeamish flirting with Owen can be hard to watch at times, as the actress simply can’t pull off the emotions required for these moments. Jack, arguably the protagonist, sometimes has a hard time of selling his lines, with a drab monotone delivery. These fumbles are a very small issue when looking at the show as a whole, but it does distract from the viewing experience.
That said, by the second season, the characters are written better with some real arcs in their storylines. The writers are good at showing the characters having fun, cracking jokes and doing secret agent speak, but they fall flat when it comes time for the really dramatic moments. The writers also work to give more depth and background to the characters with episodes like Gwen’s wedding.
Rhys, Gwen’s boyfriend, gets a much larger role this season after he learns about Torchwood. This creates a new, and more important a much more interesting dynamic to Gwen and Rhys’ relationship.
The series starts of with a tremendous first episode, bringing a character from Jack’s time agent days back to haunt him. This character, John (played by James Marsters of Buffy) plays wonderfully off Jack, and the episode, like the rest of the season throws in some surprises about Jack’s past.
Owen dies halfway through the season, but he comes back with a new twist on death, a theme that has permeated Torchwood since the first episode. This gives a chance for the character of Owen to really shine, and unsurprisingly it changes his relationship with the team.
Doctor Who‘s Martha Jones puts in an appearance in for a few episodes and takes over for Owen physician while he is unable to perform his duties. Her appearance is not especially notable; there are no new insights into her Doctor Who character. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but she doesn’t bring anything new to the team either so her appearance feels like a way to get Doctor Who viewers to try Torchwood.
The season finale is surprising and satisfying end to the season, that truly feels like an ending. Plus it made more sense then most Doctor Who finales.
Besides the first and last episodes, season two highlights include “Meat”, which puts humans (and not the aliens) in the bad guy role. “Adam” features a villain that can change the memories of people with a touch, and it is very frightening at points. “A Day in the Death” is a touching, optimistic look at death.
Of course you have a few cheesy and generally bad episodes namely “To the Last Man”, and “From Out of the Rain”.
The second season of Torchwood is a major improvement of the first, but it is still not a must-watch series. If you are a fan of Doctor Who and have been wondering if Torchwood is worth a watch, I would skip the first season and move straight to this one to see if you like it. If the idea of aliens in a cop procedural type show sounds like fun to you, then this might be for you.
This DVD collection includes the 14 episodes of Doctor Who’s fourth series. A separate disc presents several bonus features, including “Doctor Who” confidential, a series of behind the scene featurettes on the making of the show. The set includes a smattering of commentaries, as well as deleted scenes.
This series starts off right where the third left off – with the Titanic crashing into the TARDIS. In this Christmas special we are introduced to a whole new cast of characters traveling in a space cruise ship modeled after the Titanic. But this time the earth is the iceberg. This first episode has its moments but I did not think any of the new characters are that interesting, and none of them continue past this episode.
Included on the first disc is the comedy special “Time Crash” which is only about five minutes, but if you’re a fan of Doctor Who, it is worth it. In it, the tenth and fifth Doctors’ time machines (the TARDIS) converge and they have to work together to separate them. It’s really funny, but it’s also really weird when you find out that Peter Davison’s daughter Georgia Moffett (who plays the Doctor’s daughter in “The Doctor’s Daughter”) is engaged to tenth Doctor David Tennant. Weird huh?
The series proper starts with a re-introduction of the character Dona from the third series Christmas special. She has been looking for the Doctor by investigating strange happenings for which the Doctor might show up. They finally meet up in the whimsical episode “Partners in Crime.” Surprisingly enough, Dona and the Doctor have a great chemistry with no hint of a romance at all as they continue through time and space for adventure.
If you’re not familiar with the standard format of the show, it’s is simple. The Doctor and his companion, this time Dona (although occasionally others join in), travel through time and space pursuing adventures. They usually encounter some sort of alien creature that either needs the Doctor’s help, or wants to eat him. Pretty simple monster-of-the-week formula, but it works because of the leads’ charismatic performances, and the wild creativity of the writers.
This whole series seems to be about doing everything Davies wanted to do before he left the show as the showrunner. That is certainly not bad but it defiantly jumps out, especially in the finale, which not only brings back almost every character from the past three series but also an enemy from the old Who of whom Davies is clearly very fond.
The highlights of the season are the aforementioned “partners in crime,” “The Doctors Daughter,”and “Silence in the Library.” “Silence in the Library” is an amazing two-part episode where River Song gets introduced, and she becomes a very important character in series five and six.
Just like in every other series in the show’s history there are a few episodes that cannot match the quality that the series as a whole offers, but I would never call them bad, or boring to watch.
Overall the fourth series is a great end to Tennant’s run in the series proper. Series four all but ties up the companions’ story threads, which have been going on since series one, although not always satisfactorily. There is really nothing like Doctor Who on TV, so if you’re a fan of fun fast-paced science fiction then this is your cup of tea.
Article first published as <a href=’
‘>DVD review: <i>Doctor Who Series Four</i></a> on Blogcritics.
So in my discussion about the third series of doctor who(read all about it here!) I completely forgot to mention that I watched Torchwood as well. Which happens around the time that doctor who series 3 took place. Jack guest stars in the last 3 episodes of doctor who as well.
Going in to Torchwood I had really no idea what to expect. I knew that Capn Jack was in it somehow, that it was an edgier more adult take on the doctor who universe, that it was an anagram for doctor who. That’s really it.
So I think I can say pretty firmly that the whoniverse(as some would call it) did not need a dark spin-off. Spin-off? Sure why not, but I can’t really see the doctor being in this universe.
Their just too apart. Somehow its ok when Jack appears in who, but I have a feeling that if the Doctor appeared in Torchwood it would just feel…wrong somehow.
But I’m getting ahead of myself here. The pilot is actually a rather entertaining(if a bit long but well get to that) mystery as we watch Gwen(thats her to the right) try to unravel the mystery behind Torchwood after she sees them using a piece of alien tech to resurrect a dead guy to figure out who killed him. There is some nice reveals and some things that let you know this is who related such as the reference to a chameleon circuit.
After this the show doesn’t really go anywhere. And I’m not going to lie I skipped a bunch of episodes because they did not sound entertaining for the 50 odd minutes you put into each episode. That’s another thing about the show that feels odd. The time frame is just tooo long for a show of this type. There is way too much build up for the monster of the week that just bores you before you can get to the actual catching/slaying/whatevering of the monster.
Back to how the show is all dark and edgy. It really isn’t or at least not genuinely. This show could easily be toned down to something PG and they even do it on the BBC to show to kids/teens that are fans of doctor who. Plus some of the “edgy” material is just bizarre and laughable. The second episode features and alien who survives/kills by having sex with their victims. This is the same universe that the Daleks are a huge menace in? More to the point a lot of the stuff seems like it could fit in a doctor who episode easily, and by that token is somewhat silly and ridiculous. Again not with the tone that they were trying to hit. Oh and they say F*** occasionally, sometimes a lot, and it really feels like a cheap way to make things more dramatic to me. The show is simply not dark enough to warrant that being a draw for people, and not fun enough in the way doctor who is.
This is due mostly to the fact that the characters dominating the shows cast are dull and cliche ridden for the most part. You have Tosh the computer geek, Gwen the new girl learning the ropes/detective, Owen…I’m not exactly sure what he does science? or maybe he just pisses of Jack…Jack the leader, and Ianto the butler…. so ya that pretty much sums up all you need to know about the characters. Later in the season they do get more complex and things rise to a point in the finale where I finally felt like the show was pulling off drama.
If you have never seen torchwood I would watch these episodes:1,3*,5*,8,12, and 13 *means that they are interesting but ultimately not vital episodes to watch.
With all that said I am still looking forward to Season 2 as I hear it is better, and if it continues getting better like it did in Season 1 then the show is bound for greatness.
When I do finish S2 you can bet that whether it was good or bad I’ll have something to say about it.
Before I start I have to say that their will be slight spoilers on series 3, but I’ll try to spoil as little as I can, and that there are spoilers for series 1+2. So if you have not seen them yet you might want to come back later. Remember this is not a review. I’m not telling you whether to watch it or not, I’m just telling you my thoughts. If you are not a doctor who fan and this intrigues you however I would recommend not starting with series 3. Series 1 or 5(I know it sounds odd) are the best jumping on points.
The season starts off with the Christmas special: the runaway bride. Which deals with the Doctor getting over Rose’s disappearance, and the remnants of Torchwood. It’s a fun episode guest starring Catherine Tate as Dona Noble the runaway bride from the title. Although its a bit misleading because she doesn’t actually run away, and she spends most of the episode wanting to get back to the wedding.
On to the actual series. Dona gets dropped off and we are introduced to Martha(up on the picture above) a medical student who becomes obsessed with the doctor upon their meeting in a hospital. Soon the hospital is on the moon and we get a nice adventure. Martha I have to say is my least favorite companion. She’s not terrible, but shes just not all that interesting to me.
This series is chock full of excellent episodes like The Shakespear Code, a 2 part Daleks take Manhattan episode featuring a young Andrew Garfield(the social network) and some pretty cool ideas in terms of what I had seen before with the daleks.
The Human Nature two parter is an odd series of episodes that deals with the doctor changing into a human to escape from some aliens detection. It’s a good tale, but one with too few doctor monologues in my opinion. It does remind us of how the doctor changes many lives for good or for ill when he doesn’t mean it.
Blink is another doctor lite episode following Sally Sparrow trying to unravel the mystery of this house with mysterious statues. Things go bad when her friend disappears and she gets a letter from the friend telling her that she was transported into the past. It’s regarded as one of the best Who episodes ever and rightfully so, it has scares jokes, and some of the best quotes ever. “Wibly wobly timey whimey” anyone?
The three part ender is really hard to talk about with out spoiling some of the greatness of it. So if you don’t want it spoiled stop reading now. It deals with the master, a psychopathic timelord from the Doctor’s past, and he steals the show. I’m not going to give away much more, but he is just as brilliant as the Doctor in some aspects which makes him the scariest villain the Doctor has faced to me. Wheras the Daleks are all about military might, the master uses only his timelord abilities and wits to battle the Doctor. It really is a fantastic end to the series.
All in all series three is my favorite pre-Smith era season. It’s got some fantastic episodes and the way it all comes together at the end is wonderful.
Hello, just wanted to share some awesome geeky artwork done by Phil Noto on
. He is on a Buffy kick today it would seem as he has added two more Buffy portraits since I last checked.
Here’s a wonderful Supergirl, but I’m going to stop talking because the art speaks for itself.
What is this: Savage worlds claims to be a universal system. Usable for everything. With this series I plan to look to see if this is the case, and look at some of my favorite characters. Today I’m going to look at The Doctor from Doctor Who. NOTE I am not the biggest Doctor who Buff, I have seen very little of the old stuff, and have not seen all of the new stuff either. So if I left out something you love about The Doctor, don’t get mad… I’m working on my fandom! If you have something to add, just put it in the comments, as long as there’s no spoilers!