Season 28 or season 2, depending on how you look at it, was the start of the adventures of the 10th Doctor (David Tennant). This text aims to look at the 13 episode (plus one special) run of this season, both the highs and the lows (contains spoilers).
The Christmas Invasion
A comatose Doctor understandably doesn’t do much for most of this story which leaves Jacki, Mickey and Rose to try to sort things out in their own way. Not surprisingly, they (and everyone else) really don’t have much success against the invading aliens. Once the Doctor does wake up, the pace of the show really picks up and quickly moves into a nice sword-fighting sequence where the Doctor gets a hand chopped off (Hm, I wonder whatever happened to that hand?). The first half wasn’t so good but it improved when the Doctor got involved.
A bit of a silly story really, one that reintroduced Cassandra as a villain; as well as Cat nurse/nuns and a lot of pseudo zombies. The premise was sound but the execution was a bit lacking, with the Doctor’s solution to the diseased zombie like creatures a bit soft to say the least.
Tooth and Claw
A definite improvement upon ‘New Earth’ and generally a quite enjoyable story. The horror theme has always seemed to work well with ‘Doctor Who’ and once again it worked quite well, especially with the setting of this particular story. Roses’ behaviour was questionable, seeming to care more about making Queen Victoria say ‘we are not amused’ than the death happening around her. Overall, it was a quite nicely done episode.
Quite possibly the best episode of the season, with great performances by guest stars Anthony Stewart Head and Elisabeth Sladen. The plot was interesting, though the paradigm seemed to strongly resemble Block Transfer Computations seen in the old series, and will perhaps make a good setup for the supposed upcoming K-9 series. As mentioned, possibly the best episode of the season – mostly thanks to Sarah Jane Smith and K-9.
The Girl in the Fireplace
Most of this episode is fairly standard, though with some interesting twists with the time windows; it’s the final scene where the whole mystery is resolved makes ‘The Girl in the Fireplace’ above normal quality. It’s actually an interesting mix of science fiction with shades of horror (in regard to the creative use of body parts), though one flaw is that the Doctor and Rose didn’t seem familiar with the robots despite encountering clockwork men in the 9th Doctor book ‘The Clockwise Man’.
The return of the Cybermen at some point was more or less a given and it was done in an interesting way, with parallel universes become the plot point of the week. The upgrading process was made appropriately gruesome and the Cybermen themselves were just the right level of menacing to work. The end had a noticeable ‘Dues Ex Machina’ style to it which perhaps could have used more work but overall the episodes were fairly good.
The Idiots Lantern
The main villain was remarkably annoying; her/it’s cries of ‘hungrrrry’ started off creepy but soon become a detriment to the overall feel of the story. Really, this was a rather unremarkable and almost dull story that doesn’t seem to have done much to further the theme of the season.
The Impossible Planet & The Satan Pit
The Doctor vs. The Devil in a two-parter which was a good, tight adventure. The supporting characters were quite well done, especially the security man Mr Jefferson. Despite a little unexplained matter of how the TARDIS got into Satan’s cell pit, this was definitely a highlight of the season and one of the better Who stories on record.
Love and Monsters
The basic idea, of how the Doctor affects everyone around him, was definitely sound but the format in which that idea was presented left a lot to be desired. The feel of the episode was wrong, large parts of it just dragged on while the ending had underlying statements which just seemed plain old creepy. Not a good episode for many reasons.
Unfortunatetly, this episode continued the bad run started by Love and Monsters. Again, the main premise was sound and could have made for a quite interesting adventure yet the execution was lacking to say the least. Of course, the entire mess was capped off by a horrendous ending revolving around the Olympics which simply hurt.
Army of Ghosts & Doomsday
The two part finale certainly had it’s moments, especially the interaction between the Cybermen and the Daleks. Some parts dragged on too long, such as Rose’s farewell, but overall it was probably on par with The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit. It acted like a giant brush, sweeping away many of the supporting cast which was an interesting storytelling device.
So what was season 28 like overall? As stated, it had some moments of brilliance and yet other moments of utter hopelessness which probably means it averages out somewhere around the middle. Yet the positive moments certainly outweighed the negative which left the season with an almost tainted yet acceptable tone. Tennant started out as a quite serious Doctor and yet proved to be quite silly in others which jarred quite badly at times – this reflected the stories quite closely, with serious tales such as The Satan Pit being a completely different animal to nonsense such as Fear Her.
A season of contradictions and a mixed start for Tennant but overall it wasn’t too bad at all, certainly looking forward to The Runaway Bride and season 29!