Dr Who – Army of Ghosts: The Review

Posted: July 3, 2006 in Doctor Who, Reviews, Television

doctor_tardis1.jpgI think we can all agree that Love & Monsters and Fear Her were complete bollocks; about as pleasantly entertaining as shoving your foot into a lawn mower. It is, however, great to see the creative team of the Doctor Who series get straight back into what the series is all about – modern science fiction encounters with the big things of the Universe. As ever, spoilers follow…

The opening monologue from Rose was promising yet I think it will be misleading; I don’t think she’ll die and instead it will be her mother that will snuff it – Rose was just speaking figuratively such as she’s ‘died inside’ or somesuch. Still, it was a nice sequence if a bit heavy handed. The scene on the alien world with the flying creatures, in particular, was very well done.
Torchwood is an organisation of contradictions; apparently a modern group that wants a return to the days of the British Empire, using stripped alien technology to get there. A modern organisation, apparently with near unlimited funds, that has major building/renovation works that the head of the organisation knows absolutely nothing about and no one finds that suspicious. Torchwood may have been a mistake to create from a narrative perspective; UNIT (a group that dates back to the classic series) could have fulfilled the same role quite as easily – they have a long history of fighting alien menaces, confiscating alien technology and the like, they’ve even been seen in the new series a few times. Then again, the Doctor is on quite good terms with UNIT so the tension between him and the group may not have been there to get the story rolling along.

The story/plot itself was quite good if formulaic – once again, Humans manage to investigate things which will only get them into trouble but that doesn’t stop them. Nothing can save them, except the Doctor. The ghosts being Cybermen was fairly obvious and the trailers certainly made it no surprise; still they did have an excellent introduction and they certainly are in a prime position to run the Earth by the end of the episode.

It’s interesting that the episode made mention of The Eternals, who herald back to the old series and the novels. Bit of a problem with the being outside of space/time thing however in that the Doctor said it should only be a theory; yet he himself has sent his TARDIS outside of space/time before – notably in the TV story Logopolis.

The reappearance of the Daleks is actually getting a bit tiresome, all things considered. For a race which supposedly were wiped out in the ‘Last great Time War’, they do seem to have a habit of staying alive again and again. Still, I think it is worth it to finally see a great encounter between the Cybermen and the Daleks – which is something I can’t recall ever happening before. As for the Genesis Ark … could it be Davros inside? Dalek Emperor? Perhaps some sort of genetic bomb which will turn humans into Dalek creatures en masse?

Army of Ghosts was a great setup episode to see the season 28 (or 2, depending how you count it) finale come about. It was a classic style story which leaves the Doctor (and the whole Earth) is a dire predicament and thus gave us an excellent cliffhanger.

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