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The Friendly Dalek

My huge Doctor Who episode marathon.

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The Unicorn And The Wasp- This is one of my least favourite episodes of this series, but it is by no means a bad one. In fact it is a rather enjoyable little episode.

The plot isn't anything special. It is trying to be a fun mystery episode, and it succeeds at that. However that does mean it suffers on repeat viewings as there is nothing to really draw me back to it. The period sets and costumes look lovely, and Fenella Woolgar is great as Agatha Christie. The supporting cast do an alright job, but the material they are given isn't that great. There are some great comedic moments, and Tennant and Tate are excellent. The Vespiform look really good, but the story surrounding it lets it down. That's really my main issue with this episode, the story and characters. I don't really have anything more to say about this one, it's just a meh episode with a very forgettable plot and villain, but with great visuals and some excellent performances.

Overall- 6/10.

Edited by The Friendly Dalek

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The Unicorn and The Wasp - I like a Doctor Who story that uses an actual event and gives it an alien twist. I also like Agatha Christie. Put the two together and you have an enjoyable enough episode.

Tate is brilliant. There are some genuinely funny moments but I do think that Tennant maybe over does it in this episode. The support cast are good (including the non speaking footman role played by Tennant's dad).

The Vespiform are a nice addition to the Whoniverse. Mind you if you saw a wasp that big it would be enough to cause a heart attack :lol:

Production is very good.

7/10

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9 hours ago, Peter Capaldi Fan said:

Would it be impolite to ask what happened to The Doctor's Daughter? ;)

 

Somehow I managed to forget about that one (which may be an excellent indicator for working out what I think of the episode). Review for that one will be up at some point later today. :lol:

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4 hours ago, The Friendly Dalek said:

Somehow I managed to forget about that one (which may be an excellent indicator for working out what I think of the episode). Review for that one will be up at some point later today. :lol:

On that basis you'll be missing most of series 11 :whistling:

If you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all :lol:

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37 minutes ago, Peter Capaldi Fan said:

On that basis you'll be missing most of series 11 :whistling:

If you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all :lol:

Nooo, don't even joke. I'm looking forward to them.

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Me too.

Is he allowed swear words?

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The Doctor's Daughter- This is my least favourite episode of series 4. However, it really does speak for the quality of this series as the worst episode is still a decent one. 

The three leads (Tennant, Tate and Agyeman) are brilliant. Georgia Moffett is great as Jenny, and I am really looking forward to hearing what Big Finish have done with character at some point. Sadly the rest of the supporting cast is highly forgettable, as are the characters they play. This story really has no memorable characters except for Jenny. Although they are boring characters, the acting isn't bad, it's just that the actors were unable to get past the dull writing. The design for The Hath is very bland in my opinion. The villain is a very weak one, and the pacing is very poor. I was bored for most of this episode, except for a few good scenes. The plot itself is also uninteresting. The visuals are quite good though. 

Overall- 4/10.

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13 minutes ago, The Friendly Dalek said:

The Doctor's Daughter- This is my least favourite episode of series 4. However, it really does speak for the quality of this series as the worst episode is still a decent one. 

The three leads (Tennant, Tate and Agyeman) are brilliant. Georgia Moffett is great as Jenny, and I am really looking forward to hearing what Big Finish have done with character at some point. Sadly the rest of the supporting cast is highly forgettable, as are the characters they play. This story really has no memorable characters except for Jenny. Although they are boring characters, the acting isn't bad, it's just that the actors were unable to get past the dull writing. The design for The Hath is very bland in my opinion. The villain is a very weak one, and the pacing is very poor. I was bored for most of this episode, except for a few good scenes. The plot itself is also uninteresting. The visuals are quite good though. 

Overall- 4/10.

Your review says it all. Not a bad episode by any means. More of a wasted opportunity. You have a good cast let down by the writing and a poorly executed story.

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Silence In The Library/Forest Of The Dead- There's a reason why Steven Moffat's episodes were always things to be excited for; he consistently delivered fantastic stories, and this is right up there as one of his best. This is another episode which I remember watching when it was aired, because the Vashta Nerada were terrifying in my young mind. Watching the episode again now, it is easy to understand why it freaked me out, the tension and suspense this story builds is masterful. Euros Lyn directed this to perfection. 

The entire cast are excellent. Tennant and Tate are at the height of their powers by this point, and Tate really gets to shine in the second episode. Alex Kingston is fantastic as River. I do have some issues with her character, but that's a discussion for the reviews of the Smith era. :lol: Also, the character of Miss Evangelista looks horrifying (when in the virtual world). If that character was another reason why this episode scared me I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest. 

The set design is gorgeous, and the effects all look great. The dialogue is golden, and none of the characters are bland in the slightest. When these characters inevitably die I actually cared, which is more than I can say for the supporting characters in the previous two stories. 

Every now and then a story comes up which I just can not find fault with. This is one of them. Easily one of the best of this series, modern Who and just Doctor Who in general. 

Overall- 10/10.

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22 minutes ago, The Friendly Dalek said:

Silence In The Library/Forest Of The Dead- There's a reason why Steven Moffat's episodes were always things to be excited for; he consistently delivered fantastic stories, and this is right up there as one of his best. This is another episode which I remember watching when it was aired, because the Vashta Nerada were terrifying in my young mind. Watching the episode again now, it is easy to understand why it freaked me out, the tension and suspense this story builds is masterful. Euros Lyn directed this to perfection. 

The entire cast are excellent. Tennant and Tate are at the height of their powers by this point, and Tate really gets to shine in the second episode. Alex Kingston is fantastic as River. I do have some issues with her character, but that's a discussion for the reviews of the Smith era. :lol: Also, the character of Miss Evangelista looks horrifying (when in the virtual world). If that character was another reason why this episode scared me I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest. 

The set design is gorgeous, and the effects all look great. The dialogue is golden, and none of the characters are bland in the slightest. When these characters inevitably die I actually cared, which is more than I can say for the supporting characters in the previous two stories. 

Every now and then a story comes up which I just can not find fault with. This is one of them. Easily one of the best of this series, modern Who and just Doctor Who in general. 

Overall- 10/10.

One of a number of reasons why series 4 is one of my favourites of the modern era. Completely agree this is a fantastic story. The writing, production and the whole cast are excellent. The Vashta Nerada are one of the scariest creations. I personally think that no writer can surpass Moffat at his best.

Definitely 10/10

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Midnight- Back-to-back masterpieces. Moffat gave us an incredible story before this, and Davies then delivered an exceptional episode right after. 

This is easily one of the most tense and suspenseful stories in all of Doctor Who. The claustrophobic setting really does add to the horror of the situation, and as it's confined to one location it almost gives a feeling like the viewer is also in that vehicle experiencing these events with the characters, which adds a lot to the atmosphere. David Tennant absolutely owns this story, giving one of his best performances. The supporting cast are also excellent, with top marks going to Lesley Sharp. Her performance is terrifying. The whole premise of this episode is frightening, being trapped in an enclosed space with an unknown entity, with no idea of its identity or intentions is a scary idea.

Because this story is so small-scale and focuses on the performances, there isn't much else to talk about. I do love the slow escalation of the threat, both from the Midnight entity and the humans. Seeing how everyone slowly gets more desperate and panicked, including The Doctor himself, makes for an absolutely captivating viewing experience. The Doctor is so well explored in this story, and I love seeing how he reacts to a threat such as this, which is something he's never had to deal with before or since. 

Overall- 10/10.

This is another which is up there as one of my all time favourites. Faultless. The lack of Catherine Tate is unfortunate (it would be interesting to have an idea of how this scenario would have played out had Donna gone with The Doctor), but the next story more than makes up for the lack of Tate in this one. :D

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Turn Left- Make that three masterpieces in a row. Series 4 may have had a shaky start but this second half is pure gold. 

This episode features what is by far my favourite off all of Catherine Tate's performances in Doctor Who. This episode focuses entirely on Donna, and Tate carries the episode excellently. I haven't mentioned Billie Piper's small cameos throughout this series (such as her brief appearance on a screen in Midnight) because I didn't think they were important enough to mention, however this episode features her in a much more prominent role, so it now seems like an appropriate time to talk about her. Although Piper is great, and her character is no where near as annoying as when we last saw her, but I'm not a fan of bringing Rose back in the first place. I know it's to set up the series finale, and Rose needed to be present as it is a celebration of the RTD era, but Rose's story ended perfectly in Doomsday and I think that bringing her back completely undoes that. I'll say more on that when I review Journey's End. 

The supporting cast is also very good. Bernard Cribbins and Jacqueline Hill both shine in this story. The concept of this episode is a fantastic one. I love a good alternate timeline story, so exploring what would happen if The Doctor wasn't around is an idea I absolutely adore, and it is executed to perfection. The dystopian reality presented leads to some very dark and dramatic moments, which compliments the incredible acting. 

The only issue I have this episode is the time beetle, which looks atrocious. However, it's such a minor detail, and as it is on screen for so little time I would never remove a point for that.

Overall- 10/10.

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Wow. Two more reasons why series 4 is one of my favourites. 

Midnight- A Tennant tour de force in a companion lite episode.  I love this one. It's simple but effective.  The setting is claustrophobic.  Tennant is brilliant and the support cast are well used.  Excellent writing and production. 

Turn Left - A Tate tour de force in a doctor lite episode.  This is another episode I have watched numerous times and still love it as much each time.  I think this is Tate's best performance.  She really holds the episode together.  Support cast are again brilliant.  Writing and production superb. This is a very dark episode but still one of my favourites. 

10/10 for both  :D

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The Stolen Earth/Journey's End- Although I do prefer the finale for Series 1, this is undeniably one of the most epic finales yet in terms of sheer scale. This story is a celebration  of the RTD era, so of course it sees the return of many characters from throughout his time as showrunner. This is the Infinity War of the Doctor Who universe, as it is a joy to see so many of these characters finally meet and interact and work together to solve a massive threat. Everyone gives an excellent performance in this story, Tennant, Tate, Piper, Barrowman, Agyeman, Sladen and so on. That is this story's biggest strength, how the characters are all used in such a way that everyone gets their moment to shine, despite there being so many of them. The Stolen Earth is perfectly paced and introduces everyone in a way which makes sense. 

The Daleks are back to being very menacing villains. Davies clearly knew how to make the Daleks work, and this story is a great example. These Daleks are ruthless, exactly how they should be. Julian Bleach is also excellent as Davros. His version of the character is a great modern update on the character, and I love how he looks. Although I do prefer Wisher and Molloy's versions of Davros, Bleach does an admirable job as the character. Davros' plan is also suitably insane for a character like him, and it is really effective to make him do something on this scale in his very first appearance in the modern era. I don't know if they are planning on bringing Davros back into the show soon, but I really hope they do because I love the character. 

This story ties up many loose ends, and most of them are tied up effectively. Unfortunately there are some issues I have with this story which stops it from beating the Series 1 finale in my eyes.  Using the TARDIS to tow the Earth is a bonkers idea, which is a bit too outlandish for my taste. The Daleks are defeated far too easily, and their demise is played for laughs once again, and as you I'm sure you're aware of by now, I highly dislike it when Daleks are used for laughs. I also think that having two Doctors was a step too far. I love the Doctor-Donna story, but having two Doctors just doesn't sit well with me. What makes this even worse, is how it gives Rose a happy ending, as the new Doctor goes to live with her in the parallel universe. I really do not like this decision, as it completely undermines the highly effective and emotional ending of Doomsday. 

One more major positive that I have for this story is Donna's departure. This is easily one of the most heart-wrenching companion departures yet. It is still so emotional and tragic, and no matter how many times I see it, it always makes me sad. The writing in that scene, coupled with another shining piece of acting from Tate, creates one of the most upsetting companion departures I have seen yet. 

Overall- 8/10.

Overall rating for Series 4- 8/10.

This Series is definitely one of the greatest in the show's history, and I would rank it very highly if just looking at modern Who. Most of the issues I have with Tennant's first two series are rectified in this series, mainly the relationship between The Doctor and the companion. Gone are the romantic subplots and arcs, instead this series features two great friends exploring the universe, and that is exactly how I like my Doctor Who. The first half of this series has some weak stories, but the second half is a perfect run of stories, where not a single one is bad in my eyes. The series arc is less interesting in this series than the previous one (personally I think the Saxon arc was a lot more interesting that disappearing planets and the frequent mentions of missing bees :lol:), however I think that the pay off is far more rewarding in this series. This series is a lot better than others in terms of overall quality, be it constituency of acting, writing, visuals etc. I may as well say this now, I have given series 1 and 4 an 8/10 each, and no other series of modern Who gets a score that high from here. One or two of them come close, but Series 1 and 4 are the bar by which I judge all of the others. Modern Who doesn't get better than those two in my eyes. 

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And so ends one of my favourite series. I definitely prefer The Doctor and companion to be friends traveling together.

I don't think RTD reached the height of his first finale. On the whole I like The Stolen Earth/Journey's End. It is certainly epic. The performances are brilliant. Donna has the most heartbreaking ending (possibly helped by the fact it was not undone :lol:)

I do have the same issues with this story as you. I dislike Rose's second ending and the TARDIS pulling the Earth but apart from that this is really very good.

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So just a few specials to go then onto the Moffat era. Can't help thinking we may disagree on some of those :lol:.

An era of two halves. Unpopular opinion - for me the second half was far stronger :D

Although I enjoyed Smith (jumping ahead a bit here).

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1 minute ago, Peter Capaldi Fan said:

So just a few specials to go then onto the Moffat era. Can't help thinking we may disagree on some of those :lol:.

An era of two halves. Unpopular opinion - for me the second half was far stronger :D

Although I enjoyed Smith (jumping ahead a bit here).

I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest if the Moffat era is the one in which we disagree the most. His stories were divisive to say the least. :lol:

I do agree with you that the second half of his tenure is better than the first. 

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The Next Doctor- I'm not really a fan of this one. This is my least favourite of the Christmas specials in the Davies era.

The visuals are nice, and the set and costume design is quite good. David Tennant is great as usual, the supporting cast is mostly good, and David Morrissey is excellent. Velile Tshabalala is also very good. The writing really does let this episode down. The inclusion of the Cybermen feels wasted, and the explanation for how they got to Victorian England is rather unsatisfying. They also aren't very well utilised within the episode, and the Cybershades come off as ridiculous rather than threatening. The giant Cyberking is laughable. Dervla Kirwan clearly tries, but Miss Hartigan is a very weak villain with very little interesting dialogue. 

The episode just feels like a lot of missed opportunities and good ideas bundled into a very meh story. The setting could have been very interesting for a Cyberman story, but this premise isn't really explored. The focus of the episode is on Jackson Lake, and Morrissey is the saving grace of this episode. My favourite scene in this episode is, by far, the scene in which Lake discovers who he is. It is a very emotional scene, and Morrissey gives a great performance.

Overall- 3/10 (for most of the visuals and a couple of great performances). 

Edited by The Friendly Dalek

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The Next Doctor- Moving swiftly on.  There are very few positives in this - only  the performances from Tennant and Morrissey.  Very poor otherwise.  So obviously a talking point for who would be the next doctor (in that respect maybe it worked). Personally I prefer a good story over an agenda any day. 

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On 3/19/2019 at 9:43 PM, The Friendly Dalek said:

I may as well say this now, I have given series 1 and 4 an 8/10 each, and no other series of modern Who gets a score that high from here.

Woah, woah, woah. I thought this was supposed to be a rewatch? What's the point if you've already made up your mind how much you are going to like something? 

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4 hours ago, natedammit said:

Woah, woah, woah. I thought this was supposed to be a rewatch? What's the point if you've already made up your mind how much you are going to like something? 

Yeah it's a rewatch, but I highly doubt my opinion will change on most these episodes upon rewatch. Of course my opinion on some episodes might change, and it will be interesting to see if it does, but I don't expect it to. In that statement, I was judging the other series based on my prior memories of them and how much I enjoyed them. 

Edited by The Friendly Dalek

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4 hours ago, The Friendly Dalek said:

Yeah it's a rewatch, but I highly doubt my opinion will change on most these episodes upon rewatch. Of course my opinion on some episodes might change, and it will be interesting to see if it does, but I don't expect it to. In that statement, I was judging the other series based on my prior memories of them and how much I enjoyed them. 

It's possible your perception of an episode may change slightly.  Not sure how many times you've seen each episode (I suspect some more times than others). But you are older now than when you first started watching.  I certainly see Classic Who differently now as to when I was a child.  You will probably,  subconsciously,  compare episodes.  When you first saw Eccleston it was something new.  When you see the Whittaker episodes you have all the episodes that have gone before.  Someone watching Doctor Who for the first time last year may look more favourably on those episodes than someone who has seen it from the start.  Does that make an episode bad or just not as good as another? Still find it surprising that you and I have so far tended to agree on episodes - given there must be at least (cough, cough) 20 years between us you'd think we would have different perceptions. It's why I'm enjoying your marathon.  Shows that TV like Doctor Who bridges the generations. Just hope you don't think I'm contributing too much.  :D

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