12 Days of Doctors – The 10th Doctor – Series 2, Episode 1 – “The Christmas Invasion” – The Doctor as a Super Hero

christmas_invasion-1

We continue 12 Days of Doctors in the count up to 12th’s first adventure with David Tennant as the 10th Doctor in his first Adventure “The Christmas Invasion.” David Tennant was my first Doctor and the Doctor who got me into both the current series and Classic Series because of how masterfully he played the Time Lord of the Doctor. He also has some of the best arcs this season, especially in Series 3 which has the most solid arc in the series thus far in my opinion.

The writer for this episode is Russell T. Davies and the director is James Hawes.

The story is that the Doctor is dealing with his new regeneration as the Sycorax attack Earth on Christmas in order to conquer Earth. From here it is up to Rose, Mickey, Jackie and the Prime Minister Harriet Jones to deal with this new threat as the Doctor is out of commission going through the cost of having just regenerated.

Doctor and Companions

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: The 10th Doctor / The Tenth Doctor – For an episode about us meeting the new Doctor, we don’t actually spend that much time with him, since he is out of commission finishing the regeneration for most of it. When we do see him and who he is, which is mostly at the end it is a man who is arrogant (destroys the Prime Minister for defending Earth), kind (defense of humanity) and savvy (he uses “Lion King” to describe humanity’s potential). He is also the youngest looking of the Doctors up to this point and has the youthful energy of a younger man. David Tennant owns this role, but the problem is how he is written, which I’ll go into later. It is really here where the Doctor as a super hero who doesn’t need help to save the day really starts to show…which carries on in the series and later with the 11th Doctor.

Rose Tyler – Rose is good in this but the writers don’t give her much to do. Most of her arc is accepting this new Doctor as the Doctor, which is important but she doesn’t get to fight the Sycorax and only stalls for time for the tea to take affect (which she doesn’t even realize it’s doing).

Prime Minister Harriet Jones – Reveals the darker side of the Doctor after she destroys the Sycorax ship at the end. Which it makes sense why she does, as she tells the Doctor, “Your not always around and we need to be able to defend ourselves.” The Doctor rewards that with getting her fired leading to the rise of a powerful enemy later in the series. Thanks a lot Ten. She is an awesome character, and the only human with any agency.

Torchwood – They lost a third of their men we hear but they still manage to destroy the Sycorax ship in retaliation for the innocents killed and the fact that the Sycorax are space orc thugs.

Okay: The Minor Companions – Jackie and Mickey are there getting used to the new Doctor. Their roles are similar to their first appearance as the reasons to get Rose to stay. Mickey has some great moments with her as does her mother since it is nearly Christmas, but they don’t get nearly enough exploration as they deserved, which is strange since the Doctor is out of commission for most of the episode.

Cons: The Sycorax – These guys are space orcs. Both in design (skulls and capes) and intent (enslavement of the human race). Why the Doctor expects them to respect their word is beyond me, given their leader goes back on it and tries to kill him during the Fight for Honor at the end. These guys never show up again, which I think is good. They are a weak concept and there is nothing unique about them. They are mindless baddies just out for conquest with a lazy design.

The Doctor as a Super Hero – This is a trend I can’t stand that was especially prevelant in Matt Smith’s time as the 11th Doctor, but really starts here. There are all these human characters, but the only one who can save the day is the Doctor. So we see humanity getting schooled by the aliens up until the Doctor wakes up and when they do stand up he shuts them down. Our hero, ladies and gentlemen. I’m saying this as a fan of the Tenth Doctor too, he was my first Doctor and David Tennant is fantastic, it is just how he is used which is the problem. The Doctor always works best when he needs to be rescued, when he’s a Time Lord not Superman. This episode and some others, he is Superman and it is a trend that hurts the story further down the line, that really starts here in the new series.

I would recommend this episode nonetheless, it is a great introduction to the 10th Doctor (my Doctor) and also a fun adventure, even if the Doctor is way too overpowered and the villains are pretty lame. It at least establishes Torchwood and humanity as able to fight back…which we haven’t really seen since UNIT has yet to appear in this series.

Final Score is 7.8 / 10

11th Doctor

12 Days of Doctors – The 9th Doctor – Series 1, Episode 1 – “Rose” – The Consequences of the Time War

Nestene_consciousness

We continue 12 Days of Doctors with “Rose” and the first adventure for the 9th Doctor. “Rose” is the episode that brings the Doctor back on the air, this time under direction and show runner of Russell T. Davies. The episode was also written by Russell T. Davies and directed by Keith Boak.

Before I get into the details of the episode, I love it. It has mystery in how the reveal the main premise, and the minor characters are treated with respect (Jackie and Mickey) which makes Rose’s world real that she leaves behind…which we hadn’t seen as much before with past Doctors. Suffice to say, I can see why this series planted the seed that keeps the modern Doctor Who and continuation of the series running to this day.

The story of “Rose” is that Rose is pulled into the Doctor’s world when he arrives on the scene to save her from an attack by Autons (the plastic men from “Spearhead from Space”) who are here to colonize Earth since the Nestene Consciousness’s worlds were destroyed by the Time War that the Doctor fought in. From here the Doctor and Rose must face this threat with each other and Rose tries to make sense of this mysterious stranger and help the Doctor save the day.

doctor-rose1280

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: The 9th Doctor / The Ninth Doctor – Christopher Eccleston is like how his Doctor describes things, “Fantastic!” He has a chip on his shoulder from the War (the details of which we learn later in the series) but even here we see how he is trying to write the wrongs of the Time War he fought in, and how impossible it feels for him. He still doesn’t kill as a first resort and though he is standoffish, he is kind. He clearly cares for Rose and for humanity as he defends humanity by their potential to the Nestene Consciousness on why they deserve to live. I know he didn’t stay because of trouble with the Producers and others on the show, but I wish he’d gotten more than a season. The 9th Doctor had the most complete arc, which we see the beginning of here. He is the PTSD Doctor healing from the war, and it is here with Rose that the healing really starts. Without a doubt, one of my favorite Doctors.

Rose Tyler – A controversial companion because of how she is romantically involved with the 10th Doctor later and other things, shows herself a very good companion in her first episode. She saves the Doctor from the Nestene Consciousness and is willing to leave her life behind to go on adventures with the Doctor by the end of the episode, even being in a romantic relationship with Mickey and caring for her mom aren’t enough to keep her there. She also sees the things the Doctor misses, like the Ferris Wheel being the giant device the Nestene needs to control the plastic in the city. Suffice to say, she starts out great! Rose will get her own blog post another time.

The Minor Characters – Mickey her boyfriend is well meaning but kind of oblivious making him a very human character, and he does see the big picture too as he is fine with Rose adventuring with the Doctor. Jackie is the concerned Mom who is single and lonely, but also practical, once Rose’s work get’s destroyed by the Doctor when he is trying to stop the Nestene Consciousness, Jackie is the one trying to help Rose get money and find work.

The Nestene Consciousness – It is great seeing this antagonist again, though the bad CGI was worse than the tentacles that were props used in “Spearhead from Space.” I’ll take real props and models over okay or bad CGI any day. Still a great character though, this creature is a survivor from the Time War and just trying to live. It knows it is more powerful than us so sees it having a right to Earth by that alone. As a desperate refugee you can kind of see how desperation probably lead it to thinking that way. RIP Nestene Consciousnesses of the Time War.

The Consequences of the Time War – The Nestene is the first of the refugees we will meet and shows us for the first time, the Doctor is not all good and has done and been a part of great wrongs…the Time War being one of the greatest of these. Because of these he and the Universe is scarred and episode shows that without explicitly telling us. It is brilliant.

Okay: The Doctor’s Past Regenerations – We see that the Doctor has lived for a long time when a conspiracy theorist shows Rose pictures of the 9th Doctor throughout Time. Sadly there is no reference to the other Doctors, which I think doesn’t help the episode. We get that later, but this time it would have been nice to see that the 9th Doctor was connected to the ones before.

Con: The Special Effects – I’ll stress what I said before, give me models and props over bad CGI anyday. The bad CGI shows in this first season and doesn’t help the case at all. In many ways it limits creativity and the realness of it since the Doctor is just talking to a Green or Blue Screen in the end. If it was good it wouldn’t be so bad, but when there is bad CGI it really stands out.

I recommend this episode for sure. Christopher Eccleston is great as the Doctor, and the episode begins Rose’s arc into self confidence and the Doctor’s healing and dealing with the consequences from the Time War…which is an arc I’ll be covering later and eventually doing an entry about. This is where I think people should start who don’t know about Doctor Who, it introduces you to the world, the Doctor and the adventure as well as setting a few arcs in motion that payoff later in this new series.

My Final Score for this episode is 9 / 10. It is very good.

christopher eccleston Ninth Doctor