Most helpful positive review
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 26 September 2013
If you enjoyed the previous books in this series then you won't be disappointed with this one. It covers the first two years of the revived 'Doctor Who' - that is, Christopher Eccleston's time in the TARDIS as well as David Tennant's first season. It's not an episode guide as such - it doesn't provide a full synopsis of the stories. What it does do is analyse the stories in minute (some might say obsessive) detail with notes on how they fit into continuity, new facts about the Doctor or his companions that are revealed for the first time and things to watch out for as you view the episode for the umpteenth time. Then there's a detailed analysis, which includes notes on British culture so that overseas viewers will understand the UK-centric references, identification of what that particular actor has been in before, and (my favourite part) the nitpicks - plot holes and other stuff that doesn't quite make sense when you think about it. This is followed by a critique - the author is clearly a big fan of the programme but he doesn't let this blind him to any faults that the episode might have had, so it's not unending praise. Finally there's the Facts section, with original transmission date, viewer numbers and the behind-the-scenes stuff.
Previous books in the series, which covered the era when 'Doctor Who' was a serial, devoted a separate chapter to each individual story. Now that the episodes are mainly one-off self-contained stories, each one gets its own chapter, though for the occasional two-parter some of the sections are combined. Each chapter has at least one accompanying essay on a linked theme, covering such topics as why Eccleston left after only one season, why the series is made in Wales as opposed to, say, Manchester, and whether the horse in 'The Girl in the Fireplace' can be counted as a true TARDIS Companion. (No, really!) You may well disagree with some of the conclusions here but that's the fun of it.
This is not a book for the casual viewer, who will watch the programme if there's nothing else on. That said, you don't have to be an obsessive fan to enjoy it. But for those who like me have been left wanting more, there's good news: there are numerous references in the text to future volumes, and those for Volume 8 are so detailed as to strongly suggest that it at least is in an advanced state of preparation, so hopefully the wait won't be too long.