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Doctor Who: Doomsday (Review)

To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the longest-running science-fiction show in the world, I’ll be taking weekly looks at some of my own personal favourite stories and arcs, from the old and new series, with a view to encapsulating the sublime, the clever and the fiendishly odd of the BBC’s Doctor Who.

Doomsday originally aired in 2006.

Daleks, be warned. You have declared war upon the Cybermen.

This is not war. This is pest control.

We have five million Cybermen. How many are you?

Four.

You would destroy the Cybermen with four Daleks?

We would destroy the Cybermen with one Dalek. You are superior in only one respect.

What is that?

You are better at dying.

– the Cyberleader and Dalek Sec compete for the title of “bitchiest Doctor Who villain”

Part of my frustration with Doomsday is the same problem that I have with the rest of the second season’s weaker episodes. Like Fear Her or Rise of the Cybermen, the second season finalé lacks ambition. It feels complacent, it feels comfortable. It feels like putting the Daleks and the Cybermen together in one episode is enough to merit attention, without anything more than exchanging pithy one-liners. It feels like the separation of the Doctor and his companion is the biggest and most important thing in the universe, without really convincing us that this isn’t the best possible outcome. It feels like the easiest way to make these threats palpable is to set them in modern London, without any real sense of consequence or scale.

The tears of a Time Lord...

The tears of a Time Lord…

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Doctor Who – The Ark (Review)

To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the longest-running science-fiction show in the world, I’ll be taking weekly looks at some of my own personal favourite stories and arcs, from the old and new series, with a view to encapsulating the sublime, the clever and the fiendishly odd of the BBC’s Doctor Who.

The Ark originally aired in 1966.

Yes, I bet it’ll take some time to get the whole of the population down here, so the sooner you get started, the better, I should think.

Don’t worry. It may not take as long as you think.

What do you mean? Are you up to something?

Em… no.

– Dodo (yes, Dodo) outwits a Monoid

The Ark is an interesting piece of Doctor Who, both in terms of structure and in terms of theme. It’s a very clever concept, with the four-parter effectively split into two halves as the Doctor and his companions join the same story at two different intervals. It’s a wonderful high concept, with the action jumping from across time while keeping a fixed location. However, The Ark is also notable because of its less-than-subtle political under-currents, one of the relatively rare times where Doctor Who has seemed reactionary, conservative and downright colonial in its attitudes.

The end of the world as we know it...

The end of the world as we know it…

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