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The Friendly Dalek

My huge Doctor Who episode marathon.

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The Girl In The Fireplace- Steven Moffat does it again. This is another exceptionally written story with character drama as the central focus, and it works wonderfully. 

David Tennant is incredible in this story, and Sophia Myles does a great job as Reinette. Their relationship is at the centre of the story, making it one of the most effectively emotional stories of modern Who. Personally I'm not a fan of The Doctor having an on-screen romance with anyone, bu it is done in such a clever way here that I just can't help but like how it was executed. The acting is great all around. Billie Piper and Noel Clarke are excellent and the supporting cast is very good.

The story falters ever so slightly when it cuts away from that to the monster of the week, being the clockwork robots. Series 2 seems to really struggle in the monster department, and this is no exception. 

Unlike many episodes this Series, this one is very funny. There are many golden moments and the dialogue is very witty. This story would have been perfect had the villains been stronger.

Overall- 9/10.

Edited by The Friendly Dalek
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The Girl in the Fireplace - This is my favourite episode of the second series. I love the writing and performances. The main cast are excellent. As is Sophia Myles. I also am not a fan of The Doctor having a romance but this is one of two stories where it works. You'll review the other later!

Personally I like the clockwork robots and find them sufficiently scary. I think it's the carnival masks that do that :lol:

Overall 10/10

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Catching up a bit here. lol. Tooth & Claw, School Reunion, and The Girl in the Fireplace are all fantastic (pardon the pun) episodes, each in their own right. As you say, friendly, Tooth & Claw is a bit forgotten and it is a shame as its a really good episode!

Bit of trivia I picked up was that they were going to have Queen Victoria killed off at the end of Tooth & Claw, which would cause the creation of the parallel universe in a few episodes time, but it was cancelled to avoid confusion.

T&C: 9/10

School Reunion: 8/10

TGitF: 9.5/10

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23 minutes ago, wjbleming said:

!Bit of trivia I picked up was that they were going to have Queen Victoria killed off at the end of Tooth & Claw, which would cause the creation of the parallel universe in a few episodes time, but it was cancelled to avoid confusion. 

How very interesting. I never knew that, thanks for letting me know about it.  :thumbup:

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14 minutes ago, The Friendly Dalek said:

How very interesting. I never knew that, thanks for letting me know about it.  :thumbup:

No problem! ^_^ I take it you picked up on who he introduced himself as when first meeting Queen Victoria?

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Rise Of The Cybermen/The Age Of Steel- There are those episodes that you see that stick with you for years. The cliffhanger at the end of Rise Of The Cybermen is one of those that I vividly remember seeing way back in 2006. the episode Dalek gave modern viewers an excellent introduction to Daleks, and this story gives new viewers a very good introduction to the Cybermen. 

However, I'm not a huge fan of these particular Cybermen. I like them, but not as much as many other versions of Cyberman. My main issue really is their backstory, and how they came to exist. I much prefer the Mondasian Cybermen to these parallel universe Cybermen. I also don't really like their voices. These Cybermen do succeed however in terms of their design and their actions. These Cybermen are more outwardly aggressive I think, and it adds a dangerous element to them which they lost by stories such as Silver Nemesis. 

John Lumic is also a character which I'm not fond of. As a huge fan of The Vicar Of Dibley, it is very nice to see Roger Lloyd-Pack in Doctor Who, but he is wasted in my opinion. The dialogue he is given isn't great, and I also don't like the idea of the Cybermen being the creation of one man. I definitely prefer their origin story in The Tenth Planet, which detailed how doctors and scientists on their planet recommended conversion in order to live longer, which then led to huge numbers of conversions and cyber people.

David Tennant is great as always, and Billie Piper and Noel Clarke are also given some great material to work with. It is also nice to see more of Shaun Dingwall and Camille Coduri, who are both excellent. The supporting characters aren't as strong though, mainly due to weak characterisation rather than acting. I also think that the pacing is pretty poor, especially in the first episode. The production design is excellent though, everything looks fantastic. 

Also, does anyone else agree that the episode names should have been swapped around? I get that the first part features the creation of the Cybermen, hence why it is called Rise Of The Cybermen, but I always thought that it was a bad idea to spoil the villains of the story in the name of the first part.

Overall- 7/10.

Edited by The Friendly Dalek
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I agree that the "classic" Cybermen origin story is more interesting, but I guess the new writers had to come up with something different for this alternate reality.

This is one of the stories I regularly watch again for the reasons you state.

I see what you mean about swapping the titles-better to name the baddie in the second episode!

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Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel - This is a very middle of the road Cyberman story. Agree the support characters are very poorly used. Mainly due to the writing rather than poor acting.

The main characters are all excellent. It's nice to see Mickey having a stronger role. Dingwall and Coduri are great. Production is fantastic.

Interesting idea to swap the titles!

Bit of trivia - they were celebrating Jackie's 40th birthday as it was the 40th anniversary of the Tenth Planet.

7/10

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The Idiot's Lantern- Yet another story which has a somewhat interesting concept but which was ruined in execution. Something that can attack people through their televisions is an idea with promise, but this story wastes that premise.  

David Tennant and Billie Piper are good as usual, but the supporting cast aren't that good at all in my opinion, due to the writing mostly. Maureen Lipman plays a villain which lacks any sense of real menace or threat, instead her performance comes off as laughable. 

The story drags a lot for me, as none of the characters are likeable enough to get me invested in the story, and the dialogue is very poor in places. There is no sense of threat or urgency to the story, and the faceless people seem silly to me. I'm also not a fan of the ending. It felt rushed and overly simple.

Overall- 2/10 (due to the leads and some nice set and costume design).

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Idiot's Lantern was just a bog standard filler, really. The 1950s set worked really well, I actually enjoyed the time period more than the story, if that makes sense, and Billie suited her styles for dress, but there wasn't much of a threat from The Wire. It just sounds like me shortly before dinner. ;)

 

3.5/10 for the period.

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The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit- This is my favourite story from Series 2, and one of my all time favourite Doctor Who stories. 

David Tennant is at his best here. I'm not saying this is his best performance in Doctor Who (we will get to that one in time) but it is certainly one of his best. Billie Piper is great with the material given to her. However, this is where her character really starts going downhill. Rose was great in Series 1, but Series 2 makes the character so much more annoying, and her relationship with 10 is also irritating in my eyes (once we reach the end of Series 2 I will talk about this in more detail in my series overview). Back to this story, most of Rose's dialogue is good, but she has a few annoying lines.

The supporting cast are very good, and as this is a two part story we get lots of time to get to know these characters, so when they are killed off it has an impact. They are all likeable characters.

The Ood are fascinating monsters. They are designed really well, appearing nice but slightly off, if you get what I mean. They are also unique in what they do, in the sense that they are basically slaves but are complacent and don't mind that fact. I'm glad that the Ood are brought back in other episodes and fleshed out further, as they are honestly one of my favourite monsters from modern Who. I feel bad for referring to them as monsters because they are only dangerous when manipulated by an external force. This adds a later of complexity to an alien race that could very easily have been bland, forgettable, monster of the week style creatures. 

Gabriel Woolf's voice is an excellent fit for The Beast. This episode is surprisingly mature, and the religious themes raised by the existence of The Beast are certainly interesting. This is another story which scared me as a kid, and that cliffhanger certainly messed me up a bit when I first saw it. :lol: The sequence in the ventilation shaft is also very tense. The base under siege style is put to great use here, the story is very claustrophobic. The effects also hold up very well, which was nice to see.

Overall- 10/10.

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Good review. This is another two-parter that gets a regular viewing.

Scary and atmospheric.

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The Impossible Planet and The Satan Pit are both excellent stories. I watched this episode as it aired when I was young so although they are extremely well made, I am still put off because of how much Toby scared me when I was 8! Does anyone else have Doctor Who episodes that they know are great but their mind still screams “DON’T WATCH IT!”?

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3 minutes ago, WilfMott said:

Does anyone else have Doctor Who episodes that they know are great but their mind still screams “DON’T WATCH IT!”?

That doesn't happen to me anymore but I have clear memories of stories such as this one, The Seeds Of Doom and The Empty Child two parter creeping me out a lot.

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The Idiot's Lantern - congratulations on finding the strength to re-watch this one. OK so it's not quite the worst Doctor Who story but still comes onto my 'you really shouldn't have bothered' list :lol: 1/10

The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit - Definitely a return to form. I agree completely with your review. One of my favourite 2 parters. And I love the concept of The Ood. 9/10

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4 minutes ago, Peter Capaldi Fan said:

The Idiot's Lantern - congratulations on finding the strength to re-watch this one. OK so it's not quite the worst Doctor Who story but still comes onto my 'you really shouldn't have bothered' list :lol: 1/10

The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit - Definitely a return to form. I agree completely with your review. One of my favourite 2 parters. And I love the concept of The Ood. 9/10

The Idiot's Lantern was bad and hard to get through but I think there are still other stories from Series 2 that are worse, and other Series also have worse episodes in my opinion.

I think it's funny how one of the worst episodes is followed up by one the best. :D

Edited by The Friendly Dalek
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1 minute ago, The Friendly Dalek said:

The Idiot's Lantern was bad and hard to get through but I think there are still other stories from Series 2 that are worse, and other Series also have worse episodes in my opinion.

I think it's funny how one of the worst episodes is followed up by one the best. :D

I am saving my 'nul points' for later :lol:

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Love And Monsters- Oh dear. This is easily one of the worst episoes of Doctor Who in my opinion.

It is a shame that I have to say that because there are a few small positives. Marc Warren is great as Elton, and I like the idea of exploring the lives of a person who The Doctor has directly affected. That concept could have been good but the execution in this did it no justice at all. David Tennant, Billie Piper and Camille Coduri are also very good in the scenes that they have.

Other than those few points, every aspect of this story is atrocious. The acting is pretty bad, and Peter Kay is awful. The Abzorbaloff is one of the worst monsters I've ever seen in the show. It looks and sounds ridiculous, and Peter Kay's performance really doesn't help. The dialogue is pretty bad for the most part. 

The tone is all over the place, and even reaches somewhat inappropriately adult levels towards the end of the story (if you've seen this episode you know what I'm referring to). The "comedic" elements don't work and the jokes fall flat every time. 

Overall- 1/10.

I watched this episode in the hour leading up to tonight's announcements, which made the slog through this story somewhat bearable because I knew something good was at the end of it. :lol:

Edited by The Friendly Dalek

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Love and Monsters - Oh dear indeed.

The main cast and Warren do their best with the material they're given but even that doesn't save this episode. And how somebody as talented as Peter Kay could produce such an awful performance.

This is why season 2 never rates very highly. It goes from atrocious to brilliant to atrocious again.

Very poor episode but still not the worst.

Overall - 1/10

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59 minutes ago, The Friendly Dalek said:

Love And Monsters- Oh dear. This is easily one of the worst episoes of Doctor Who in my opinion.

It is a shame that I have to say that because there are a few small positives. Marc Warren is great as Elton, and I like the idea of exploring the lives of a person who The Doctor has directly affected. That concept could have been good but the execution in this did it no justice at all. David Tennant, Billie Piper and Camille Coduri are also very good in the scenes that they have.

Other than those few points, every aspect of this story is atrocious. The acting is pretty bad, and Peter Kay is awful. The Abzorbaloff is one of the worst monsters I've ever seen in the show. It looks and sounds ridiculous, and Peter Kay's performance really doesn't help. The dialogue is pretty bad for the most part. 

The tone is all over the place, and even reaches somewhat inappropriately adult levels towards the end of the story (if you've seen this episode you know what I'm referring to). The "comedic" elements don't work and the jokes fall flat every time. 

Overall- 1/10.

I watched this episode in the hour leading up to tonight's announcements, which made the slog through this story somewhat bearable because I knew something good was at the end of it. :lol:

You're showing no mercy here Mr. Dalek!

The monster is almost a send-up, like when Andy Milman in desperation had to accept the part of a Doctor Who slug creature in Extras.

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Just now, The Friendly Dalek said:

If I think it's bad I will say so. This episode deserves no mercy. :lol:

You've changed :-D

 

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15 minutes ago, Bumper8 said:

You've changed :-D

 

Have I? I thought I had that attitude clear from the start. Clearly it wasn't coming through enough in my reviews and it took an episode of this calibre to show it. :lol:

Edited by The Friendly Dalek

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14 minutes ago, The Friendly Dalek said:

Have I? I thought I had that attitude clear from the start. Clearly it wasn't coming through enough in my reviews and it took an episode of this calibre to show it. :lol:

Your Dalek side is becoming more assertive :D

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