A Conversational Journey through New Who – Season Two Report Card

It took a little longer to get here than we had hoped, I think, and I must take the blame! But, it was a lot of fun, and I am very excited about Season 3. We have a big surprise coming up for you all too. Stay tuned!

You can find Tansy and Tehani’s report cards by following the links – what are you waiting for? :-)

SEASON REPORT CARD – DAVID

The Doctor: David Tennant
My apologies to Nine, but I definitely think Ten the best of the two new Doctors so far, and I would even go so far as to say that he is my favourite since Four. David Tennant brings a great energy to the role, while managing to only very rarely go over the top. You get the impression that he, and the Doctor as a character, are having the time of their lives and you can’t help but get caught up in it. The contrast between that and the much more damaged Nine only serves to accentuate that.

However, this Doctor does have a dark side that the rubber face and 3D glasses can’t hide, and, at times, does some fairly questionable things. There is a sense of arrogance and high handedness about him, almost an attitude that he isn’t accountable to anyone and always knows what’s best. The way he so casually interfered with time by destroying Harriet Jones was a case in point.

I was always uncomfortable with his relationship with Rose, not just because of my traditional thoughts on the subject of the Doctor and “dancing”. It was more the fact that Rose was so young and obviously infatuated with the Doctor, and we knew it was always going to end badly (we see that foreshadowing in School Reunion, and Jackie hits the nail on the head). Someone in the Doctor’s position, who always tries to do the right thing, should have known better than to let things get to that point. The are all sorts of power differential issues going on here, and while I know it’s only a TV show and maybe I am reading too much into things, I still found it kind of … icky.

The Companions:
Rose Tyler: Billie Piper
I’ve already outlined a lot of my thoughts in our review of the season finale, so I will try not to repeat myself too much! There were lots of opportunities in this season for Billie Piper to show what a great actress she is, and a fair bit of character development for Rose. But, I hated the dynamic of her relationship with the Doctor a lot of the time. It isn’t necessarily the idea of the Doctor having a relationship that bothered me, it’s in this context as we know that ultimately it isn’t going anywhere. Because we know that, and Rose doesn’t, you can’t help but feel sorry for her when you see her planning for a future with the Doctor. This is the sort of thing that makes me think the teacher/mentor relationship with the companions works much better, for all concerned.

So, while I will miss Rose, and thought she was a wonderful companion, I do think that this was a good time for her to say goodbye. I’m glad they gave her a suitably dramatic and emotional goodbye, she deserved it, rather than some of the more casual partings of the past.

Mickey Smith: Noel Clarke
This season was Mickey’s coming of age, where he went from being defined by his puppy dog devotion to Rose, to becoming an adult. One of my favourite moments in the series is where Mickey reveals himself in the Torchwood Lab, and we can immediately see the change in him. It is obviously that he still cares deeply for Rose, but you can see that his travels have given him a perspective he lacked before.

Oh, and I nearly cried during the scene where he is reunited with his grandmother. Wonderful writing and acting.

Recurring Characters:
Jackie Tyler: Camille Coduri
Jackie really grew on me this season. I loved the glimpses we get of her outside of the Doctor/Rose dynamic, and her depth is revealed as we see the price she pays for being the one left behind. Tellingly, she probably imparts the wisest piece of advice in the season when she warns Rose about the dangers of subsuming her identity in the Doctor’s.

Love and Monsters gave her a chance to shine, and Camille took it and ran with it, providing one of my favourite moments. I think I may actually miss her more than I miss Rose.

Pete Tyler: Shaun Dingwell
A very different Pete than the one we knew and loved from Season One. It makes one wonder, is that how Earth One’s Pete would have ended up if he hadn’t died or was there something else? This Pete is colder, with a harder edge, and is much more competent.

In the end, though, we see the the same qualities that he showed in Father’s Day and see that Pete in any world is at heart a good and decent man.

Harriet Jones: Penelope Wilton
Very hard done by, I thought. I was shocked by how casually the Doctor destroyed her Prime Ministership and thought it shabby way to treat a great character.

Sarah Jane Smith: Elisabeth Sladen (or should she be in Companions??!)
What can I say? This was a wonderful moment for me, and one I had been looking forward to a great deal, though rendered a tad bittersweet by the fact I watched it after Elisabeth Sladen’s death. I thought Elisabeth’s performance was amazing, because this could have been just a cloying fanservice episode, but instead she handled it perfectly. There was nostalgia and poignancy, yes, but she managed to keep it under control.

I was disappointed with how they treated Sarah Jane’s character in some parts, but I am going to ignore that, and just act as if that between her encounters with the Doctors she wasn’t pining, but out doing amazing things (and I plan on watching the Sarah Jane Adventures!). Even those quibbles can’t detract from what was one of my all time favourite episodes.

I thought the chemistry between Ten and Sarah Jane was great, and that moment when she realises who he is, that was just beautiful. Two actors at the top of their game and one of those moments that transcend the medium and speak to your heart.

What is your favourite episode of this season?
“School Reunion” was always going to be my favourite, no matter what other episodes there were, but if you take that out of the equation I would have to say ”The Girl in the Fireplace”. If I was able to sit down someone who had never seen an episode of Doctor Who and had to pick a single  episode to demonstrate to them how amazing Doctor Who can be, this would be the one. Just a magnificent piece of television and deserved every accolade it received.

Least favourite episode?
“Fear Her”

Favourite guest performance?
Sophia Myles in  “The Girl in the Fireplace”. Took a fascinating character and made it her own, and stole the show.

Describe this season in one word!
Moving

Grade: B. Would have gotten a  B+ with a little less smugness.

27 thoughts on “A Conversational Journey through New Who – Season Two Report Card

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  9. David Post author

    Yeh, I could definitely understand why people liked Blink so much, but Human Nature/Family of Blood worked much better for me.

    Opinion seems pretty divided about the Shakespeare one!

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