The first episode of the second series sees us leave Earth for the first time, but will the events live up to our expectations?

Cast and Crew

David Tennant as the Doctor
Billie Piper as Rose Tyler
Cammile Corduri as Jackie Tyler
Noel Clarke as Mickey Smith
Zoe Wannamaker as Cassandra
Sean Gallagher as Chip
Dona Croll as Matron Casp
Michael Fitzgerald as the Duke of Manhatten
Lucy Robinson as Frau Clavis
Adjoa Andoh as Sister Jait
Anna Hope as Novice Hama
Simon Ludders as the Patient
Struan Rodger was the voice of the Face of Boe

Written by Russell T. Davis

Synopsis

In the year five billion and twenty-three, the Doctor and Rose visit humanity’s new homeworld New Earth, and meet an old enemy.

High Points

  • Finally! Another planet! Even if it is one specially selected to be as close to Earth as possible.
  • ‘We had chips’
  • ‘Oh my God! I’m a chav!’
  • ‘I am the Doctor! There is no higher authority!’

Low Points

I hate to say it, but next to the plot it didn’t need any other low points. There wasn’t room for any more, either. They had so much potential for a good story here, with the return of Cassandra and the Face of Boe, but somehow failed to capitalise on it.

The Scores

The plot is fairly original, although not entirely unique. Elements are a little bit Matrix-y, and questions about what means you can acceptably use to cure disease are both old and current in society. Four out of six.

Unfortunately the effects are not up to scratch. While the backdrop paintings are of very high quality, the computer-generated imagery is clearly on a very tight budget. Judging by the preview of next week’s episode, it’s possible that they spent all the money on episode two instead. Three out of six.

As I have mentioned, the story was disappointing. Bringing Rose, the Doctor, Cassandra and the Face of Boe together should have been the opportunity for some fantastic events. I think the episodic format is partially to blame here. Cassandra deserved a double episode, but she got only one, so the hospital plot tended to dominate her own story, and everything came over weakly as a result. Two out of six.

Fortunately, even with such a poor story, the acting was superb — even from all the poor people in cat masks. Billie Piper gets the opportunity to show off but possession stories always give that opportunity. Six out of six.

Emotional response was low. The plot scuppered most of it before it got going, until the end of the episode. Unfortunately one scene at the end does not a high score make. Three out of six.

The production was excellent. The hospital interiors, cat makeup, ‘intensive care’ and other sets were just as one would expect. Five out of six.

Overall, I sincerely hope that the rest of this series is better. We had, though, already seen that Russell T. Davies, despite being the architect of the return of Doctor Who, is not always the best of writers. Three out of six. Watchable, but not really very good.

And this gives New Earth a total score of twenty-six out of forty-two. Must do better next week.