24 September 2012

Doctor Who, The Complete Third Series (starring David Tennant and Freema Agyeman)

Reluctant though we were to get hooked on the 21st century incarnations of 'Doctor Who', the popular science fiction show that was so popular (and scary) in my childhood, we've just finished watching the third series, and are already looking forward to starting the fourth.

It took us about six months to watch our way through the thirteen episodes of Doctor Who series 1, but then managed  the similar length Doctor Who series 2 in just three months. Season 3, with fourteen episodes in all, has taken us nearly six months, although that's not for lack of interest.

This series was mostly broadcast in 2007, but begins with the 'Christmas Special' from the end of 2006 in which a young and rather angry bride finds herself unexpectedly transported to the Tardis. We weren't quite sure what to make of this, but very much enjoyed the next episode which introduced Freema Agyerman as Martha Jones, a medical student in a hospital which finds itself transported to the moon...

David Tennant continues as the tenth incarnation of the Doctor, and we found that we liked him more and more in the role as the series progessed. He has just the right amount of eccentricity verve; this series also gives him the opportunity to display his extensive skills as an actor. The two-part episide, 'Human Nature' and 'The Family of Blood' see the Doctor temporarily tranformed into a human, unaware - other than in his dreams - of any other existence.

Martha Jones becomes the Doctor's companion for the rest of this series, zooming around the universe from the past to the long distant future. We liked her very much better than Billie Piper as Rose; Martha is highly intelligent and motivated, and saves the Doctor's life more than once. Inevitably she, too, finds herself falling for the Doctor even though he's a time lord and can never settle down.

Martha's family are very upset about her taking off with the Doctor, suspicious and rather worried too... and there's an ongoing theme, seeing her mother reporting every phone call to a government agency, in scenes that  are not explained until everything falls into place in the final episode.

As for that final episode, it's a three-parter, which must have been quite frustrating when shown on television, with a week to wait in between each part. It was so tense that we had to watch all three parts in one evening, something we would not normally do! It introduces yet another adversary from the Doctor's past, and has some very tense, rapid scenes, as well as some moving moments... and what appears to us to be a strongly Messianic theme in the final part.

Thrown into the mix of the third season are a meeting with William Shakespeare, a rather scary two-part episode featuring evolving daleks, an elderly man after the secret of eternal youth, and some cryptic messages found on DVDs in a so-called 'Doctor-lite' episode which was very thought-provoking in terms of time travel.

All in all, we thought this an excellent season.

Note: Despite being rated PG in the UK, I wouldn't really recommend this for anyone under the age of about nine or ten; some of the concepts are quite complex, and while there's no bad language or gore, or indeed anything else to warrant a higher rating, there's a lot that might give nightmares to a sensitive child.

Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews