David is coming to New Who for the first time, having loved Classic Who as a kid. Tehani is a recent convert, and ploughed through Seasons 1 to 6 (so far) in just a few weeks after becoming addicted thanks to Matt Smith – she’s rewatching to keep up with David! Tansy is the expert in the team, with a history in Doctor Who fandom that goes WAY back, and a passion for Doctor Who that inspires us all.
We’re also joined today by guest viewer Lynne M. Thomas, co-editor of the Hugo-winning book Chicks Dig Time Lords and co-creator of the new Doctor Who podcast Verity! Lynne gives Tansy a run for her money when it comes to Doctor Who expertise and we welcome her to our review!
We are working our way through New Who, using season openers and closers, and Hugo shortlisted episodes, and sometimes a couple of extra episodes we love as our blogging points. Just for fun!
So, obviously the big news with this episode is the return of Donna, and I for one was thrilled. I really enjoyed her character in this episode, more so than in “The Runaway Bride”, to be honest. She seemed to have a bit more depth to her this time around, and I quite liked the idea of her as the enterprising journalist, sneaking around and gathering information.
I love Donna so much! She’s brash and ditzy but really smart and deeply passionate and grounded, under the ditz and show! I’ve rewatched this episode a bunch of times though, and still keep seeing Donna’s desperate search for aliens as just that – a bit desperate, as if she’s realised what she let go when she chose not to go with the Doctor, and will do anything to get it back. Not from a romantic or lost (potential) love point of view or anything, but it’s just, well, desperate! It’s one of the sour notes of this episode for me, but there’s so much else I loved 🙂 Particularly – DONNA’S BACK!
I love this episode like pie. The dynamic between the Doctor and Donna, particularly in the scenes where they are miming across the room at each other, reminds me of the best screwball comedies from the 30s and 40s.
Both Tennant and Tate’s performances are pitch perfect, down to Tennant’s obvious discomfort with the young lady at Adipose Industries giving him her phone number, and Tate’s acting the first time she claps eyes on an adipose for herself, which is a splendid mix of disbelief, triumph, and moderated fear because the things are so darned cute. All of which she is likely doing as she reacts to a tennis ball on a stick off camera.
To me, Donna comes across as very single minded and determined when she has set a goal, and this is comes across really well in this episode. The only thing that I struggled with was that in between seeing her in “The Runaway Bride” and in this episode I have been watching her in The Office – a very different role!
But, yes, Tate has an incredible talent for physical comedy (all comedy, really), and the scene’s with her and Tennant are hilarious. Sometimes RTD’s scripts try for comedy and fall a little short, but in the two T’s he has the perfect tools for the job.
Ooh I have been meaning to watch that season of The Office, purely for her. Does it matter I haven’t watched the previous seasons?
It would certainly help, but I still think you’d enjoy them. Perhaps just read the Wikipedia entries for the earlier seasons to get a feel for the characters? I’d happily recommend watching it all though, it’s one of the few adaptations of a British show where I think the US version is superior. Scandalous, I know!