on 30 May 2007
After two hugely successful and enjoyable series, the pressure was on for head writer Russell T Davies to deliver a third series that combined the same quantities of fun, adventure, scares and excitment - that would make sure that both children and adults alike were hooked on a Saturday night. Of course, there is one huge change between the first two series and Series 3 - the absence of Billie Piper as companion Rose Tyler, who had been part of the show since it returned in March 2005. The current Doctor, the superb David Tennant proved himself as more than an apt replacement for Christopher Eccleston, but the question was whether or not newcomer Freema Ageyman would be able to take over as Martha Jones, the Doctor's new sidekick, and more importantly if audiences would accept her and still enjoy the show to the same degree. After a very promising Christmas Special, the first episode without Rose, my expectations were very high for Series 3, and luckily I wasn't left disappointed. Doctor Who seems to have lost none of it's sparkle and energy, and if you fancy an adventurous romp, there's nothing better. There are three 45-minute episodes included on this 'Volume 1' DVD, all of which are excellent and a great start to the third series. There will be a 6-disc boxset including all the episodes (and Christmas Special) available at the end of the year, including special features, by if, like me, you can't wait for that - then this 'vanilla' release is a must-buy. The episodes included on the disc are:
Smith and Jones
Writer: Russell T Davies
Director: Charles Palmer
Original airdate; 31/3/07
A great start to Series 3 - this episode is action-packed, fast, funny and very slick, and doesn't slow down for one minute. Most importantly, it is very successful in it's introduction as Freema Ageyman as the Doctor's new companion, Martha Jones. Martha is a practicing medical student, living in the middle of a chaotic domestic situation - her parents are divorced, her father's got himself a new younger girlfriend and her brother's got a baby. So, as you can imagine - the Doctor's just what she needs! In Series 2 in particular, I did start to find Rose somewhat unlikeable and annoying, her constant obsession with the Doctor made her appear rather selfish at times, but Martha is instantly likeable and feels like the kind of person you'd like to spend a day in the TARDIS with. She's intelligent, warm and good-natured, and has great chemistry with David Tennant. David Tennant is also great in this episode too - and gives a fully-charged performance; arguably one of his best to date. The new monsters are some of the best the show has given us yet - the rhino-like space police - the Judoon! Not only are they very menacing, but they're also the source of some good humuor to. The main threat of the episode is the bloodthirsty Plasmavore - but I don't want to spoil any surprises! The hopsital Martha works for is transported to the moon (the special effects and visuals are fantastic), but the best scenes of the episode come right at the end when Martha enters the TARDIS for the first time. A triumphant, colourful and exceedingly confident opener to the third series - full of life, fun and action. What more to you need?
The Shakespeare Code
Writer: Gareth Roberts
Director: Charles Palmer
Original airdate: 7/4/07
Another top-notch episode, and one of the best of the third series. Newcomer Gareth Roberts (who is currently working on the Doctor Who spin-off series 'The Sarah Jane Adventures') delivers a scrpt bursting with wit, adventure and charm. In this episode, the Doctor and Martha go back in time to the year 1599, and in true Doctor Who fashion, the design department really raise to the challenge. Doctor Who has always excelled at the historical/period adventures, and this is no exception - it's beautiful to look at and captures the time brilliantly - both in design/visual style and the way people speak/act. It's also a hugely ambitious episode in many respects too (Russell T Davies' says it's the most 'lavish' piece of work to date), and the final climax was actually filmed in the real Globe theeatre, which makes the episode rather special, in my opinion. Dean Lennox-Kelly is superb as the loud-mouthed, vulgar William Shakespeare - playing the Bard as a bawdy boyband-esque type of character, therefore not conforming to the general stereotype of the man, which is a joy to behold. The villains of the piece were also very appealing to me - how could you have Shakespeare, without the three witches? And they're great - scary, effective and typically Doctor Who. Another absolutely great episode - that contains all the ingredients for a 'classic' Who adventure.
Writer: Russell T Davies
Director: Richard Clark
Original airdate: 14/4/07
The third episode on the disc is the best in my opinion, full of wit, charm, adventure - combining the usual brilliant Russell T Davies' penned script with stunning performances and special effects. After taking Martha back to the past to meet Shakespeare, the Doctor takes Martha even further into the future - returning to New Earth in the year five billion and fifty-three. Of course, if you'll recall, we've been to New Earth before (in the first episode of Series 2), but this is a very different New Earth. Gone are the rolling hills, the apple-grass and the clear blue skies to be replaced by a bleak, grimy undercity, where strange people are dealing drugs and the motorway is jam-packed and conjested with cars spewing fumes. There is a great sense of mystery and panic to this episode - not only is it impressive to look at, but the premise itself is fairly innovative and impressive too. Some travellers have been on the motorway for over twenty-years, kept sane by promises from computer holograms and the exploitation of their faith and religion, the latter of which is realised quite brilliantly and beautifully. If this wasn't enough, the episode also boasts the return of an old enemy from the Doctor's past not seen since the last 1960's (the Patrick Troughton tenure), a sumptious description of the Doctor's dead home planet, Gallifrey and the return of the Face of Boe, who is finally read to impart his great secret... 'Gridlock' is a superb episode, rich in imagination, tightly plotted and containing many of your trademark Russell T Davies' traits. It's cheeky, exciting and offers some great characters - the standout being Ardal O'Hanlon (Father Dougal from 'Father Ted') as Brannigan, the cat!
There are a number of notable guest stars in these episodes too - such as Anne Reid as the Plasmavore in 'Smith and Jones', who oozes unpleasantness. Dean Lennox-Kelly from Channel 4 drama 'Shameless' is fantastic as William Shakespeare in the second episode, and Ardal O'Hanlon gives his usual likeable, engaging performance as a cat in 'Gridlock'. So, all in all, a tremendous start to Series 3, all three episodes are brilliant and I'd recommend this DVD most highly. Saturday night's are still very much ruled by the Doctor, and long may the brilliance of the series continue.
on 21 April 2007
After watching in awe the first 3 episodes (at the time of writing, the 4th is screened tonight), i must say that Doctor Who has exceeded my expectations in numerous ways.
First off, let me mention Freema Agyemans debut as the time lords new companion, Martha Jones. In more ways, i prefer her to his previous assisstant, Rose Tyler. She is sexier, sassier and she has really adapted the part to be her own. She knows how to stand up for herself and doesn't take any of the doctors 'nonsense' lightly. That wraps up my description of her debut.
Secondly, there is only one word i can use the summarise the quality of the first 3 episodes, 'fabulous!'. The acting styles used by all the actors are amazing to view. David Tennants style is a cross between humourous and serious. The first episode, 'Smith and Jones' was spectacular to watch. The amazing special effects used to incorporate the Judoon and the spaceship landing were great. In episode 2, 'The Shakespeare Code', the time lords meet the man himself and it was glory in a simple word. The witches were scary to watch and the special effects were among the best for a tv program. And last weeks episode, Gridlock, has been put on the top of my favourite 3 so far. The graphics were amazing, the chemistry between the time lord and Martha became even more apparant as he explained to her the fate of his home-planet. Overall, i am over-pleased with the series so far and i most certainly will be purchasing this and all the other volumes as they are released.