Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Doctor Who - Series 4 & 5 {A TV Show Review}

Hello all! Before I start, I just thought I'd make a note that this is going to be more of a compare-and-contrast review because of the big differences between these two series - different actors/actresses and different major writers to name the top two differences.

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Series 4
Main writer: Russell T. Davies
Actor playing the Doctor: David Tennant
Other main actors/actresses: Catherine Tate
My rating for this season: 10 out of 10

As I began to watch DW, I found each series to get better than the one before. Series 4 was no exception. The new companion, Donna Noble, was exceptional (perhaps even a new favourite of mine). David Tennant was, as usual, brilliant.

Series Four is the collection of the last of the Tenth Doctor's adventures. It is also the fall of the Doctor into loneliness as his companions, one by one, leave him - "because they should or because they find someone else. And some of them, some of them... forget me." This leaves the series' finale to be a very emotional one, but I absolutely love those type of episodes.

Major Characters
The Tenth Doctor - played by David Tennant

10 and Donna
Donna Noble - Series Four begins with the Doctor bumping into the woman he met and spent one episode saving in Series Three - Donna Noble, played by Catherine Tate. However, this time, Donna has realized how dull life can be and asks to travel with him. Feisty and boisterous, but having a kind heart, Donna helps keep the Doctor from falling back into the unmerciful ways he had before he met Rose Tyler. In fact, in the brilliant episode "Turn Left" and the series finale, Donna Noble becomes the most important woman in the whole of the universe.

Wilfred Mott - He's not a major character, but I can't not mention him. Wilf (played by Bernard Cribbins) is Donna's grandfather (and whom I consider to be the dearest old man ever). Wilf becomes the Doctor's companion in the Christmas special (which I consider to be the real series finale), "The End of Time".

One Thing That Made This Series So Wonderful
Donna Noble and her grandfather.

My Favourite Episodes from This Series
The last half of the series - consisting of the two-parter "Silence in the Library" and "Forest of the Dead", "Midnight", "Turn Left", the finale two-parter "The Stolen Earth" and "Journey's End" (in which former companions Rose Tyler, Martha Jones, Captain Jack, and Sarah Jane Smith make an appearance)...and the Christmas two-parter special "The End of Time". But, really, it's hard to pick favourites here as the entire series was so magnificent.

Series 5
Main writer: Steven Moffat
Actor playing the Doctor: Matt Smith
Other main actors/actresses: Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill
My rating for this season: 9 out of 10

I started this series doubtful. I had just gone through the experience of the Tenth Doctor's regeneration, and I missed David Tennant dreadfully. The Eleventh Doctor had his quirks that I liked, but I still wasn't altogether sure about him. I also missed the emotional style of Davies' episodes.

In fact, it wasn't until "Vincent and the Doctor" (the tenth episode out of thirteen) that I really started to enjoy the episodes. And it wasn't until the series finale that I finally accepted Matt Smith as the Doctor and I could accept that Moffat could write an amazing episode. Let me say it better - the series finale was fantastic. Of course, I always say that each series finale gets better than the last, but I still think that this was one of the best series finales ever (along with Series 4's finale). .....However, this isn't to say that I didn't like the other episode of series four. I did...I just didn't enjoy them quite as much as the last four series.

Major Characters

The Eleventh Doctor (bottom left) - this Doctor, played by Matt Smith, is very playful and childish compared the other two Doctors I have seen. This makes 11 a fun character. However, he also has his serious side.

Amy Pond (top left) - Amy, played by Karen Gillan, first meets the newly regenerated Doctor when she is seven years old. He fixes a crack in time in her wall, and then leaves, promising to be "back in five minutes". However, the Doctor isn't the best at time, and accidentally comes back in twelve years, leaving Amy skeptical of her "imaginary friend". Amy decides to travel with the Doctor after an adventure with him changes her mind. Gillan describes her character as sassy, funny, and passionate.

Rory Williams (top right) - Rory, Amy's fiancee, was played by Arthur Darvill. He isn't exactly the brightest character and doesn't care for adventure, but he is completely devoted to Amy. He starts learns to accept the Doctor's life towards the end of the series.

River Song (bottom right) - River is one of those characters that you really don't know what to make of in the beginning. When the Doctor first meets her in Series Four, she is quite familiar with him, which he doesn't understand, as he's never met her before. By Series Five, we learn that River is also a time-traveller, and she and the Doctor keep meeting in the wrong order. In fact, she is going to be the Doctor's wife someday.

One Thing That Made This Series So Wonderful
Rory Williams' faithfulness to Amy.

My Favourite Episodes from this Series
"Vincent and the Doctor" and the finale two-parter "The Pandorica Opens" and "The Big Bang" (honestly, this is where Moffat talent exploded). But I also like such episodes as "The Vampires of Venice" and "Amy's Choice".

And, finally, to end off,

Pictures & Quotes

Series Four, "Silence in the Library"

"There were cracks. Some were tiny, some were as big as the sky. Through some, we saw worlds and people, and through others, we saw Silence... and the end of all things. We fled to an ocean like ours and the cracks snapped shut behind us... and Saturnyne was lost."
- "Vampires of Venice" (Series Five)

Series Five, "Vincent and the Doctor"

The Chancellor: There is... there is one part of the prophecy, my Lord. Forgive me. I'm sorry. It's rather difficult to decipher, but it talks of two survivors beyond the Final Day. Two children of Gallifrey.
President of the Time Lords: Does it name them?
Chancellor: It foresees them locked in their final confrontation. The Enmity of Ages which would suggest—
President: The Doctor! And The Master.
Chancellor: One word keeps being repeated, my Lord. One constant word. Earth. Planet Earth. Indigenous species: the human race.

President: Maybe that's where the answer lies. Our salvation. On Earth.
- "The End of Time" (Series Four)

Series Four, "Journey's End"

"It's funny, I thought, if you could hear me, I could hang on, somehow. Silly me. Silly old Doctor. When you wake up, you'll have a mum and dad, and you won't even remember me. Well, you'll remember me a little. I'll be a story in your head. But that's OK: we're all stories, in the end. Just make it a good one, eh? Because it was, you know, it was the best: a daft old man, who stole a magic box and ran away. Did I ever tell you I stole it? Well, I borrowed it; I was always going to take it back. Oh, that box, Amy, you'll dream about that box. It'll never leave you. Big and little at the same time, brand-new and ancient, and the bluest blue, ever. And the times we had, eh? Would've had. Never had. In your dreams, they'll still be there. The Doctor and Amy Pond... and the days that never came."
- "The Big Bang" (Series Five)

Series Five, "Amy's Choice"

"I just want you know there are worlds out there safe in the sky because of her. And there are people living in the light and singing songs of Donna Noble a thousand million light years away. They will never forget her. While she can never remember. But for one moment, one shining moment, she was the most important woman in the whole wide universe."
- The Doctor, "Journey's End" (Series Four)

Series Four, "Turn Left"

"It seems to me there's so much more to the world than the average eye is allowed to see. I believe, if you look hard, there are more wonders in this universe than you could ever have dreamt of."
- Vincent van Gogh, "Vincent and the Doctor" (Series Five)

Series Five, "The Big Bang"

"Because that's how I see the universe. Every waking second, I can see what is, what was, what could be, what must not... That's the burden of the Timelord, Donna. And I'm the only one left."
- "The Fires of Pompeii" (Series Four)

"When I was a kid I had an imaginary friend. The Raggedy Doctor. My Raggedy Doctor. But he wasn't imaginary. He was real. I remember you. I remember! I brought the others back, I can bring you home too. Raggedy Man, I remember you and you are late for my wedding! I found you. I found you in words like you knew I would. That's why you told me the story. The brand new ancient blue box. Oh clever, very clever. Something old. Something new. Something borrowed. Something blue."
- Amy, "The Big Bang"

First Ever "Ringing In the New Year"!

I thought it might be fun to do a couple of special posts to "ring in the new year" - special "review" posts that look back at the previous year and look forward to the new things I may review. Look out for that starting on January 1st - and hopefully in the forthcoming years, as well. :)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Doctor Who - Series 1, 2, 3 {A TV Show Review}

Time for another of my reviews after a very long period of time. Just an excuse before I start - I'm in my first year of college at the moment, and with transit and schoolwork, I don't have much free time left at all. It's pretty much nil. So I hope you all appreciate the time I'm taking here. ;)

My review for today is on a BBC, sci-fi, widely popular, and my new favourite TV show. My dad, a big fan, had been telling me for a while that I really needed to watch it. I finally got around to doing so this fall/winter 2013 semester. With further ado, I present to you...Doctor Who.

Main Writer: Russell T. Davies
Main Actors/Actresses: Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Billie Piper, Freema Agyeman

My first opinion? I loved it right away, and I love it even more with every episode I watch. I'm a sci-fi/fantasy type of person, so it fit right in my groove. It is funny, enjoyable, fast-paced, and explores some of those deeper questions like that of life and death, human's potential, and (one that I  do have some problems with, but I still like that the topic was explored) God and Satan. There is romance and friendships. The characters are relatable and are well-developed. The villains are brilliant.

I do have a couple of minor issues about the show so far that I thought I should probably warn you about. There is one character who is represented as bisexual, and he appears in a few episodes in the first and third seasons (called 'series' in this case, for some reason). There are two short scenes with him that I found to be a little inappropriate. Also, in the episode "The Satan Pit", the Doctor is portrayed to be somewhat of an atheist - and he also believes Satan/the Devil to be only an idea. One of the main character's mother, whose husband died several years ago, seems to be mainly interested in finding a new partner. However, she does come to the realization later on that there is no one really for her other than her gone husband. There are also a few passionate kisses and some minor language.

Besides this, I wouldn't recommend this show for anyone much younger than myself (seventeen) because of the abundance of scary scenes. Honestly, I think that the best description of DW would be, in addition to a tear-jerker, a spine-chiller.

Main Characters (includes spoilers)

The Ninth Doctor
The Tenth Doctor
The Doctor: The Doctor, whom the show is about, is played by Christopher Eccleston in the first series and David Tennant in the second and third series. He is the last of his kind, the Time Lords, and he travels through space and time, helping save people wherever he goes. His travelling machine is a blue box called the Tardis. He often travels with a companion (usually female) to help him - and to help alleviate his loneliness. One of the Doctor's big problems is that he lives much longer than any human being, and so he ends up losing someone he loves.

Rose Tyler
Rose Tyler: Rose (played by Billie Piper) is the Doctor's companion in the first and second series. A nineteen-year-old shop worker, she meets the Doctor quite by accident in the basement of the shop where she works. Rose is portrayed as brave and down-to-earth. She and the Doctor fall in love, but she is trapped in a parallel universe after some of the Doctor's biggest enemies, the Daleks, come to rule the Earth. Rose's character has received much praise from both fans and critics.

Martha Jones
Martha Jones: Martha (played by Freema Agyeman) is the Doctor's companion in the third series. An aspiring Doctor, Martha meets the Doctor in a hospital that is transported to the Moon by an alien police. She has been described as being the companion "whom the Doctor required the most of", which I think is quite true, as far as I have seen. Martha leaves the Doctor at the end of the third series when she realizes that the Doctor will never love her.

Captain Jack
Captain Jack Harkness: While Jack (played by John Barrowman) appears in only a couple of episodes in the three episodes I have seen so far, he is definitely one of the Doctor's companions. Besides the fact that he flirts with both sexes, I have to admit that Jack is very funny, brave, and pretty awesome overall. He is an action-based character and certainly not a conventional hero.

Mickey Smith
Mickey Smith: Mickey (played by Noel Clarke) was Rose's boyfriend until the Doctor came. Unlike Rose, he is terrified at first by all these appearances of aliens and the Doctor and his blue box (as I'm sure I myself would be in his position). Mickey learns to accept Rose's love for the Doctor and grows into a much more confident, brave, and faithful young man. He appears in series one and two.

(I'm only going to go over a few that appear often, or are more important, as it would take me a long time to go over all of them.)

The Daleks - This bunch is a biggie. These things that look like a robot with a plunger attached to them are actually a lot more dangerous than they look. The Daleks were created to kill and have only one emotion - that of hate. In fact, the Daleks were what killed all of the Doctor's family and Time Lord friends. And they also seem to never be able to be destroyed, appearing at least once in every series.

Cassandra: The Lady Cassandra, who has gone through so many operations in her attempts to remain a "pure human" that she is mainly skin and lips, is voiced by ZoĆ« Wanamaker. In Series One, she attempts to destroy a space station to be able to pay for her operations. In Series Two, she reappears and takes over Rose's body in an attempt to escape to her imminent death.

The Family Slitheen: This family of green aliens wants to destroy the earth and sell the rubble to make their escape away from it. Rose and the Doctor, along with the help of MP Harriet Jones and Mickey, defeat the Slitheens. Unfortunately, one of the Slitheens survives and makes a second comeback in Series One.

The Cybermen: These robots were created by a mad man for the purpose of living forever. The Cybermen have all emotions removed and are obsessed about "upgrading" any and all humans into their form. They appear in Series Two several times.

the Master
The Master: Like the Daleks, the Master and the Doctor go way back. In fact, the Master is a Time Lord. He seems to be defeated, yet he keeps appearing over and over again throughout both the new and original DW series. He appears in a glorious three-parter in Series Three (played by Derek Jacobi and John Simm), and is depicted as a villain who has a sense of humour, who loves to be in the center of attention. If I was asked to compare him to another villain, I'd say James Moriarty from BBC's Sherlock without even stopping to think about it.

The Music
Absolutely fantastic! Murrary Gold's music for DW is just brilliant. Some of my favourites tracks are:

Doctor Who Original Soundtrack: 3/The Doctor's Theme, 6/Father's Day, 13/Harriet Jones, Prime Minister, 16/The Face of Boe, 27/The Impossible Planet, and, the best of all of them, 26/Doomsday.

Doctor Who Series 3 Soundtrack: 4/The Carrionites Swarm, 8/Mr. Smith & Joan, 9/Only Martha Knows, 11/Just Scarecrows to War, 12/Miss Joan Redfern, 13/The Dream of a Normal Death, 14/The Doctor Forever (there's so many in a row b/c they come from my favourite DW two-parter so far), 18/The Futurekind, and, most of all, 22/This is Gallifrey. And "YANA" & "The Master Vainglorious" & "The Stowaway"...and I better stop now before I mention every single track.

My Favourite Episodes
(Just because it is absolutely necessary that I talk about this).

from "The Empty Child"
& "The Doctor Dances"
From Series 1
#9 "The Empty Child" & #10 "The Doctor Dances" (a two-parter - the "villains" here are really, really creepy); #12 "Bad Wolf" & #13 "The Parting of the Ways" (another two-parter); "The Christmas Invasion" (a special)

From Series 2
I loved most of the episodes from this one, so I'll just go with the two-parter #12 "Army of Ghosts" and the famous #13 "Doomsday".

from "Human Nature"

From Series 3
While I said above that the three-parter with the Master was very good, one of my absolute favourites of all episodes so far is the two-parter #8 "Human Nature" & #9 "The Family of Blood". The episode where the Doctor meets Martha, #1 "Smith & Jones" was also very good. I haven't watched any of the specials yet, so I don't know if any would make this list or not.

Let it be known, however, that I don't think there is a single episode I don't like so far.


Alyianna's rating: 9.5 out of 10 (took off 0.5 for the minor problems)

Audience: IMBD says PG, and I agree. However, I really think it depends on the person. I didn't find a problem with The Lord of the Rings at 13, and I was scared by Doctor Who at 17 but not to a huge extent. My sister, who's ten, has seen some episodes, and there hasn't seemed to be any problem. If anything, I wouldn't call it a family show.

Some quotes and pictures.

Series One ("The Parting of the Ways")

Series One ("The Empty Child")

Rose: I can see everything... all that is... all that was... all that ever could be.
The Doctor: But that's what I see. All the time. And doesn't it drive you mad?
Rose: My head...
The Doctor: Come here.
Rose: ... It's killing me.
The Doctor: I think you need a Doctor.
("The Parting of the Ways"; Series One)

Series 1/2 ("The Christmas Invasion")

Series Two ("Doomsday")

You're a fine businessman, John, but you're not God.
("Rise of the Cybermen"; Series Two)

Series Two ("School Reunion")

Series Two ("The Girl in the Fireplace")

One may tolerate a world of demons for the sake of an angel.
("The Girl in the Fireplace"; Series Two)

Series 2/3 ("The Runaway Bride", with Donna Noble, a character
I should have probably covered but to be fair, I included a picture
of her and the Doctor)

Series Three ("Human Nature")

He's like fire and ice and rage. He's like the night and the storm in the heart of the sun. He's ancient and forever. He burns at the centre of time and can see the turn of the universe. And... he's wonderful.
("The Family of Blood"; Series Three)

Series Three ("The Last Time Lord")

Series Three ("Gridlock")

I'm John Smith, that's all I want to be, John Smith. With his life... and his job... and his love. Why can't I be John Smith? Isn't he a good man? Why can't I stay?
("The Family of Blood; Series Three)