A Conversational Journey through New Who – Season Four Report Card

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 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!

See Tehani’s S4 Report Card and Tansy’s S4 Report Card by following the links! (See our Season One Report Cards here, our Season Two Report Cards here, and our Season Three Report Cards here)

SEASON FOUR REPORT CARD – David

The Doctor: David Tennant

In this season we see David Tennant owning this role, you can tell that he has made it his own and is completely comfortable. Probably my favourite Doctor since Tom Baker, and the most charismatic. Though, as I mentioned, I think that, just like Four, Tennant’s charisma means that the writers get away with some things that perhaps they shouldn’t have, and that we forgive the Doctor for some not so nice behaviour.

It is a real pleasure watching Tennant play the Doctor, and I am struggling with the idea that his time is running out.

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The Companions:

Donna Noble: Catherine Tate

Sigh. I love Donna. Catherine Tate’s comedic gifts were put to such good use, and the chemistry and banter between her and Tennant was amazing. But, she also showed herself to be just as talented when it came to drama, and provided some of the season’s most moving moments. For example, the whole arc of her and her “family” in “Silence in Library/Forest of the Dead” was deeply moving.

But, I still have a bad taste in my mouth from the way things ended. I can’t think of anything crueller in the show’s history. Jamie and Zoe may have had their memories wiped, but not like that. I am still angry writing about it now.

However, it doesn’t change the fact that Donna was a wonderful companion, and exactly what the Doctor, and the show, needed.

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Recurring Characters:

Martha Jones: Freema Agyeman

Martha was wonderful in this. All of the companions so far, she has dealt with leaving the Doctor the best, and it was great to see how she has developed and moved on since.

Rose Tyler: Billie Piper

I liked the proactive Rose, crossing the Universe to kick butt and take names. It was painful to watch her realise that the Doctor just keeps moving on, though. In other seasons we’ve seen her come to terms with the fact that he has a past (School Reunion), but now she sees that he has a future without her, as well. The webcam scene communicated her struggles with not being the centre of the Doctor’s universe really well, in particular.

Billie Piper was very good, I thought, in conveying all these different facets of Rose’s character, and that last scene was particularly powerful. I’ve never been a big fan of the “romance” but I can handle the resolution that RTD gave us.

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Sarah Jane Smith: Elisabeth Sladen

This was much more the Sarah Jane I wanted to see than at the end of School Reunion! Smart, capable and brave, and most importantly getting on with her life.

But the goodbye scene at the end was almost too much for me, I’m afraid. Very emotional given Elisabeth Sladen is no longer with us.

The boys are back in town: Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) & Mickey Smith (Noel Clarke)

For some reason, I found Jack much less wearing in this – maybe I am building up a tolerance? lol But, the little glimpses I saw of him and his Torchwood family have made me want to watch it even more! I thought he was a lot of fun, and I loved his interactions with Mickey really enjoyable.

As for Mickey, the more I saw of him in his time after leaving the Doctor the more I liked him. I’d love to have had him travel with the Doctor at this point in his life, and without Rose. Would have been fascinating.

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Donna’s family – Wilfred Mott (Bernard Cribbins) and Sylvia Noble (Jacqueline King)

Bernard Cribbins added an extra degree of dignity to every scene he was in. I loved how Wilf constantly encouraged Donna to dream of something more, and their bond was quite beautiful.

Jacqueline King put in some wonderful performances throughout the season. It is something to play someone extremely unlikeable in one episode, and then switch to making us actually like her in another! In the last episode she made us believe that Donna might actually have a chance of future happiness because she would have people around her who loved her. Small consolation, but I was desperate for any crumb I could get!

What is your favourite episode of this season?

I personally think this is the strongest season so far, in terms of consistency, anyway. But, for me it has to be “The Stolen Earth”. What more could a fan ask than the Children of Time, Daleks, Davros and Harriet Jones? Aside from the fan service, it was an extremely well written episode and set up a great finale.

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Least favourite episode?

I can’t say that I disliked any of the episodes, so I am going to say “Journey’s End” because of what they did to Donna! But, even that was still a great episode despite not quite living up to the promise of “Stolen Earth”.

Favourite guest performance?

Tough one! There were lots of excellent performances, from Fenella Woolgar as Agatha Christie to Kylie Minogue as Astrid. But, I think the winner has to be Lesley Sharp for a truly astounding performance.

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Describe this season in one word!

Astounding

Grade: A

Previous Episodes

“Rose”, S01E01
“Dalek”, S01E06
“Father’s Day”, S01E08
“The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances”, S01E09/10
“Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways”, S01E12/13
Season One Report Card – DavidTansyTehani
“The Christmas Invasion”, 2005 Christmas Special
“New Earth”, S02E01
“School Reunion”, S02E03
“The Girl in the Fireplace”, S02E04
“Rise of the Cybermen/Age of Steel”, S02E05/06
“Army of Ghosts/Doomsday”, S02E12/13
Season Two Report Card – David, Tansy, Tehani
“Smith and Jones”, S03E01
“The Shakespeare Code/Gridlock”, S03E02/03″
“Human Nature/Family of Blood”. S03E08/09″
“Blink”. S03E10″
“Utopia/The Sound of Drums/Last of the Timelords”, S03E12/13/14
Classic Who Conversation podcast – Spearhead from Space (1970)
Season Three Report CardDavid, Tansy, Tehani
Classic Who Conversation podcast – Genesis of the Daleks (1975)
“Partners in Crime”, S04E01
The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky, S04E0708
“Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead, S04E0910
“Turn Left, S04E11″
The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End,S04E1213

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