Doctor Who: New Earth

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.

26 replies on “Doctor Who: New Earth”

  1. fsphil says:

    Agreed!
    Agreed on all points!

    The cats looked fantastic, the zombies not so much. And the ships flying overhead at the start just didn’t look right.

    When they first entered the ‘Matrix’ room, did anyone else think they’d gone into the same place where the Nestene Consciousness was in the first episode last year? It looked to me like the same set.

    But depite its flaws I enjoyed it, and David Tennant did a great job. I think he’ll make a good Doctor.

    • y42 says:

      Re: Agreed!

      When they first entered the ‘Matrix’ room, did anyone else think they’d gone into the same place where the Nestene Consciousness was in the first episode last year? It looked to me like the same set.

      But depite its flaws I enjoyed it, and David Tennant did a great job. I think he’ll make a good Doctor.

      Agreed on all points.

    • joe__gee says:

      Re: Agreed!

      When they first entered the ‘Matrix’ room, did anyone else think they’d gone into the same place where the Nestene Consciousness was in the first episode last year? It looked to me like the same set.

      It’s hard to build new industrial complexes for every script requiring an industrial complex. :)

      -Joe

  2. shayward says:

    Doctor Who in Canada
    Does anyone know how to obtain Doctor Who Series 2 in Canada? It seems like the CBC will not carry the new series until at least the summer because of stupid hockey.

    The show I enjoy the most has been pre-empted by the sport I hate the most.

    Does anyone know of any legal means (aside from moving to the UK) to see series two before it airs in Canada?

    • zonk3r says:

      Re: Doctor Who in Canada

      The show I enjoy the most has been pre-empted by the sport I hate the most.

      what cruel fate! sorry dude. :(

    • TheSinesurfer says:

      Re: Doctor Who in Canada

      Does anyone know how to obtain Doctor Who Series 2 in Canada? It seems like the CBC will not carry the new series until at least the summer because of stupid hockey.

      It’s a great show however I believe the current series with New Earth is season 28 and not season 2, that was way, way, way back in 1964 – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056751/episodes#season-2

      • shayward says:

        Re: Doctor Who in Canada
        Agreed, and I am a fan of the old Doctor Who series as well. Peter Davison is my favorite Doctor. It seems to be fairly common, however, to refer to the 2005 run as Season 1 and the 2006 run as Season 2.

        • babasyzygy says:

          Re: Doctor Who in Canada

          Agreed, and I am a fan of the old Doctor Who series as well. Peter Davison is my favorite Doctor. It seems to be fairly common, however, to refer to the 2005 run as Season 1 and the 2006 run as Season 2.

          Hopefully this silliness will decrease, as we see more bits of continuity – from Tenant trying on Tom Baker’s scarf to Sarah Jane Smith and K-9 making appearances.

      • Eldhrin says:

        Re: Doctor Who in Canada

        Does anyone know how to obtain Doctor Who Series 2 in Canada? It seems like the CBC will not carry the new series until at least the summer because of stupid hockey.

        It’s a great show however I believe the current series with New Earth is season 28 and not season 2, that was way, way, way back in 1964 – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056751/episodes#season-2

        When I say ‘series 2’ I refer to the second series of the modern Doctor Who. I don’t really pay much attention to the seasons in which the original was broadcast, as unless you were watching them at the time, the linking of episodes into stories is far more important.

        Please be assured my terminology is in no way intended to belittle the older episodes; I have a substantial amount of shelf space set aside for the DVDs, and lament the loss of huge multi-episode stories.

    • TechnoGirl says:

      Re: Doctor Who in Canada

      Does anyone know how to obtain Doctor Who Series 2 in Canada? It seems like the CBC will not carry the new series until at least the summer because of stupid hockey.

      Legal?
      What’s perfectly legal in Canada may be a felony in the U.S.

      And what’s illegal in the U.S. may be just dandy in Norway

      Was it "legal" for Viacom (scifi channel) and Newscorp to achieve the monopolies that they have? Was it moral? Ethical?

      Is it moral for both those organizations to contribute millions to political parties that support their monopolies? How much politician can *you* afford?

      So with that said I give you two **very good** words to think about (and Google) :

      Azureus
      mininova.org

      Enjoy :)

  3. hans says:

    The Music
    The music was completely over-the-top. It was a distracting joke. The story was too rushed, and Christmas Invasion notwithstanding I think Rose needs some more adjusting time, not being possessed for the entire first episode.

    For me the low point aside from the plot: "claws".

  4. lost says:

    The feel of Doctor Who
    Yeah, I agree that the story is a bit lame and that some of the FX were obviously low budget. But really, would it feel like Doctor Who if we didn’t have lame stories and obviously low budget effects?

    • Eldhrin says:

      Re: The feel of Doctor Who

      Yeah, I agree that the story is a bit lame and that some of the FX were obviously low budget. But really, would it feel like Doctor Who if we didn’t have lame stories and obviously low budget effects?

      Well, yes, it would actually. Look back at the old Doctor Whos, sure some of them were lame, but most of the stories were great.

      • lost says:

        Re: The feel of Doctor Who

        Well, yes, it would actually. Look back at the old Doctor Whos, sure some of them were lame, but most of the stories were great.

        Hmmm. I should learn to read over my posts before hitting "Post". I meant to imply that if there were no lame stories, it just wouldn’t quite feel like Doctor Who. I have to agree that there have been a lot of great stories.

        I think the odd lame story is not a horrible thing but perhaps it shouldn’t be the first episode of a season. :)

        • Eldhrin says:

          Re: The feel of Doctor Who

          Well, yes, it would actually. Look back at the old Doctor Whos, sure some of them were lame, but most of the stories were great.

          Hmmm. I should learn to read over my posts before hitting "Post". I meant to imply that if there were no lame stories, it just wouldn’t quite feel like Doctor Who. I have to agree that there have been a lot of great stories.

          I think the odd lame story is not a horrible thing but perhaps it shouldn’t be the first episode of a season. :)

          Oh well definitely. I was expecting the occasional lame story, but you’d think they’d do better for the first episode of the series. Fingers crossed for next week…

  5. majick says:

    Additional high point…
    Rose/Cassandra kisses the Doctor.
    Rose/Cassandra: T-t-terminal’s this way.
    the Doctor: Yup, still got it.

    • joe__gee says:

      Re: Additional high point…

      Rose/Cassandra kisses the Doctor.
      Rose/Cassandra: T-t-terminal’s this way.
      the Doctor: Yup, still got it.

      I love the line too, but this was my personal low point. I just don’t want to see the Doctor romancing his assistants. I can understand/handle an assistant falling for the Doctor. I would be disgruntled, however, would Davies decide to have his Doctor reciprocate.

      No, no, and no.

      Sexual tension is one thing, giving in to that tension within the series is another thing entirely: "X-Files", "Moonlighting."

      I haven’t seen it done successfully yet. Maybe Mr. Davies can break the mold, but I don’t think so.

      -Joe

      • majick says:

        Re: Additional high point…

        Rose/Cassandra kisses the Doctor.
        Rose/Cassandra: T-t-terminal’s this way.
        the Doctor: Yup, still got it.

        I love the line too, but this was my personal low point. I just don’t want to see the Doctor romancing his assistants. I can understand/handle an assistant falling for the Doctor. I would be disgruntled, however, would Davies decide to have his Doctor reciprocate.

        No, no, and no.

        Sexual tension is one thing, giving in to that tension within the series is another thing entirely: "X-Files", "Moonlighting."

        I haven’t seen it done successfully yet. Maybe Mr. Davies can break the mold, but I don’t think so.

        -Joe

        I agree completely. It was more the Doctor’s reaction I was trying to focus on… Without the kiss, I wasn’t sure anyone would know what I meant.

        That said, it was Cassandra and not Rose doing the kissing, so that’s basically a get-a-kiss-for-free card.

        • joe__gee says:

          Re: Additional high point…

          That said, it was Cassandra and not Rose doing the kissing, so that’s basically a get-a-kiss-for-free card.

          True, and I’m happy to see we’re on the same page. :) Another fear is if Davies does the kissing thing too much, it’s like B&B’s "let’s get T’Pol into improbable situations every other week so she has to make out with someone." Sex for the sake of sex is not good Doctor Who. She has kissed the Doctor at least twice, that I recall.

          Granted, the excuse was better than an "alien sex virus infects everyone, including the android", or "Spock, don’t sniff that daisy!" explanation, still. Enough. :)

          "Doctor Who’s He Gonna Snog Next" is not a show I want to see. :)

          -Joe

  6. zonk3r says:

    lots of good points…
    i think it would be really cool if they would bring on guest writers to the show (kind of like they did with star trek with amazing writers like Harlan Ellison and Theodore Sturgeon). may of the best episodes from star trek came about because of the differing perspectives different writers have.

    i don’t think that any of the problems the show has are in any way insurmountable and i have faith they’ll figure it out. i’d hope they have folks reading stuff on forums and aren’t just listening to focus groups composed of folks that don’t watch shows like dr. who…

  7. joe__gee says:

    "Chav", for those of us on the other side of the pond …
    I love Wikipedia’s description/definition of a ‘chav’. I hadn’t heard the term before. NOW I get that high point. :)

    -Joe

    • Eldhrin says:

      Re: "Chav", for those of us on the other side of the pond …

      I love Wikipedia’s description/definition of a ‘chav’. I hadn’t heard the term before. NOW I get that high point. :)

      -Joe

      Yes, a rather British joke there. Chavdom is one of the things Cassandra really would not want to descend to.

      • joe__gee says:

        Re: "Chav", for those of us on the other side of the pond …

        Yes, a rather British joke there. Chavdom is one of the things Cassandra really would not want to descend to.

        Around here we call them skanks, although I think a chav is a bit more upscale than a skank. I’m a big "Little Britain" fan too. I love that they show the picture of Vicki.

        Yah but, no but, yah but, no … :)

        -Joe

        -Joe

        • joe__gee says:

          Re: "Chav", for those of us on the other side of the pond …
          >Aroundherewecallthemskanks,althoughIthinkachavisabitmoreupscalethanaskank.I’mabig"LittleBritain"fantoo.IlovethattheyshowthepictureofVicki./>Yahbut,nobut,yahbut,no…/>[/quote wrote:

          Signed my own comment twice I did. Whoops.

          Signed my own comment twice I did. Whoops.

  8. Trekkie says:

    A Request
    For those of us just seeing our forth episode in the United States on Sci-Fi could you put something in the headline that indicates it’s season 2 so I don’t click on it and get totally confused? I try and make a poitn of not reading the ones I’ve not seen yet :)

    Thanks

    • y42 says:

      Re: A Request

      For those of us just seeing our forth episode in the United States on Sci-Fi could you put something in the headline that indicates it’s season 2 so I don’t click on it and get totally confused?

      I doupt it, it’s season 28 according to the old timers up there! And it started 43 years ago, so I tend to think of it as season 43.

      There, now THAT’S confusing! :D

      Anyhoo, as a rule: Front page is the new stuff, you’ll have to dig in the archives for last year’s eps.

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