Just Finished: Doctor Who Season 3 (2007)

Going into the third season of Doctor Who I was pretty excited. Em wasn’t so sure if she was going to like The Doctor’s new companion Martha Jones, but I was looking forward to getting to know her. And hey, I liked her. Here’s the problem though, the rest of the season felt mostly flat and like a retread of previous episodes. “The Runaway Bride” was interesting, the first two official episodes of the season were okay, introducing Martha and putting a hospital on the moon. “The Shakespeare Code” felt kind of like the previous episode with Dickens. “Gridlock” was interesting, but it was yet another episode in the year 5 billion and yet another episode where humanity was easily duped into becoming sheep, driving sheep, but still sheep. Even so, I did still like the episode. The Daleks in New York was an interesting idea that shouldn’t have been a two-parter in my opinion, though the idea of a Dalek/human hybrid was cool. “The Lazarus Experiment” didn’t offer much of anything to interest me, “42” felt a lot like that episode where they were on a spacestation that was falling into nothingness and the two-parter where The Doctor thought he was just a regular person was so excruciatingly annoying I could barely stand it. Taking The Doctor out of the equation completely and making him a weenie was just annoying, not dramatic. The only good thing about that episode was seeing the drummer kid from Love Actually, a movie I love.

Things seemed to take a turn for the better with the killer angel statues and altered manner of storytelling in “Blink” and then in the first two episodes of the three part finale, but I had a lot of problems with the actual last episode of the season.This one’s tiny, but why does The Doctor shrink when The Master ages him, do Time Lords’ bones shrink as they age? The whole thing with the world saying “Doctor” was a little lame and reminded me of those scenes in Spider-Man 1 and 2 where New Yorkers saves Spider-Man or like love saving the world in The Matrix. It’s about time humanity actually did something to save itself though. I also don’t get The Doctor being all broken up about The Master’s death. The whole “but he/she’s the last of my kind aside from me” thing only goes so far. I can see Superman wanting to hang out with another Kryptonian if they weren’t genocide-inducing maniacs, but iIf a Kryptonian serial killer was all that was left, I don’t think Superman would opt to keep him in his apartment. The whole thing just seemed disingenuous to me, but it offered the Master an awesome opportunity to stick it to the pansy doctor before dying. All I’m saying is that Christopher Eccleston wouldn’t be sobbing. I was bummed out that I didn’t 100% like this finale, but it just fell on its face at the end for me, though I did like the Face of Boe thing at the very end and want to check out Torchwood.

I have a few other random questions at this point. First off, was the whole Time War/last of the Time Lords thing around from the beginning of the series, or was that something that they brought up for the new series? Also, why was the Doctor so precise in his maneuvering of time when it came to Martha, but not Rose? I figured time must be a tricky thing to handle, but considering the overarching story needed it to be tighter this season, it just feels like it was something the writers changed because it didn’t fit the story anymore. They were always getting lost or coming back a year later with Rose!

And finally, I’m starting to have a problem with the philosophy behind the show. At first I thought it was like Star Trek which had an optimistic view point on humanity in the future. Humans not only joined a federation of aliens, but also focused their efforts on exploring the deepest, darkest reaches of space. That’s a positive message. And Doctor Who seemed to start off like that with all the talk of how great humans were at going out and adapting to new worlds, even mixing species. But that’s just what we’re told. You know what we’re shown? Humans being easily fooled by any alien race that comes along with an even remotely reasonable story to tell us. We’ll basically believe what anyone tells us and give them whatever they want to take from us. Oh, or we get enslaved. And what saves the day? Another alien. Sure, humans sometimes have something to do with it, like saying a word, but it’s not exactly the bill of goods I was sold in the beginning of the show.

Okay, now that I’ve gotten all that off my chest, I’m ready for the next season.

11 thoughts on “Just Finished: Doctor Who Season 3 (2007)

  1. Def agree with you on the finale, strong start, weak finish. And yeah, I don’t really care for The Doctor grieving for The Master, they were enemies for lifetimes.

    1. I’m glad I’m not the only one. Sometimes I wonder if watching these things in huge chunks like this and over such a short period of time raises my expectations too much, but most of the season just felt off to me.

  2. I was a little worried about your taste and sanity going into reading this… But as long as you liked “Blink” your ok in my book. That was a hour of perfect sci fi. And I stoked that the writer of that episode becomes the show runner in season 5.

    Russ T. Davies can be pretty hit or miss. He seems to come up with some of the dopiest stuff each season. Like the Slytheen and the Adipose you’ll get to experience in season 4. He finally starts getting his act together mid way through season 4.

    Just a word of warning- Torchwood season one is pretty bad. Season 2 is hit or miss. Season 3 aka “Children of Earth” is amazing!

    As always, your milage may vary.

    D

    1. Haha, I guess my sanity is always in question. The thing that blew me away about the third season is the Paul Cornell wrote my least favorite episodes of the whole series so far (the ones where the Doctor is a human) and yet I love most if not all of his comics work. I actually got really excited when I saw his name in front of the episode and then just got more and more disappointed, sad and angry as the episodes progressed. I will say that nothing was so bad that it made me want to stop watching, it was just more disappointment brought about while watching a show that I have regard for.

  3. I’ll be the one to say it: TJ, you’re crazy. 🙂

    I just started rewatching random episodes after finishing up the finale, and Human Nature/Family of Blood was the first one I turned to (but only because Blink is not working through Netflix streaming for some reason).

    I think it’s fantastic. First of all, it really showcases Martha as a companion if she’s willing to do that for the Doctor. Plus, it’s one of those stories that really defines who the Doctor is by showing you who he isn’t and who he can never be. The Doctor is always talking about how great humanity is, but when it came right down to it and he had the ability to live a really great life as a human if he chose to, he couldn’t bring himself to do it. I find it one of the most moving and tightly plotted stories of the whole series, and if I ever meet Paul Cornell at a convention I’m going to hug him for an inappropriately long time.

    The other night we watched the Shakespeare Code, which is a lot of fun. “Expelliarmus!” Oh wait…you’re not a Potter guy, are you? Did you get that?

    1. During those episodes I just kept feeling like I’d seen this kind of story before. Then there’s those super annoying villains always saying “Sister dear” or whatever it was. Maybe if it was only one episode it wouldn’t have raised my ire so much. Plus, I don’t buy into the idea that storytellers need to show me why a character is cool by showing him to me as an ass for two hours. I know why he’s cool. I’m already sold on that. Everything else seemed so by the numbers and obvious, especially letting John Smith live his life all the way through at the very end.

      “Shakesepeare Code” was alright, but I just kept flashing back to the Dickens episode. I think the show needs to relax on some of these elements they keep going back to: Cybermen, Daleks, the year 5 million/billion, meeting a famous British author. I want more cool future stuff! And yeah, I got a chuckle out of the Potter references, though I don’t particularly care for the books or movies.

      1. Moffat promises to ease up on a lot of the recurring motifs that Davies keeps coming back to, but you’ve got one more Davies season to get through. Human Nature reminded me a lot of “What Do You Get For The Man Who Has Everything?” But interestingly, the Doctor has the opposite reaction of Superman when he comes out of his “fantasy life” (other than his righteous anger). Superman was truly in mourning for the normal life he couldn’t have. It just goes to show that the Doctor is a lot more alien than we sometimes give him credit for. I think casting him as a human served to underline that, more than to show how cool he is. It was showing his dark underside that we don’t often think about because he’s so cool and charming. We’ll have to agree to disagree, I guess. Oh, and the Time War was a Davies invention dating to the beginning of the Eccleston series.

  4. I will not hear such blasphemy about Eccleston being a better Doctor than Tennant in my house!

    I have to say this was not my favorite season though Martha did grow on me. “Blink” was amazing! I was on the edge of my seat when the angels were attacking!

    “The Human Nature/Family of Blood” two-parter was a little tedious for me. I wanted to slap that little Love Actually boy for stealing the watch and keeping it for so long. The best part for me was the epilogue because you can truly appreciate the depth of the Doctor’s rage and how cruel he can be. To me, that demonstrated how he feels about his loneliness and the human life he lost.

    The finale fell short for me. Though I got a very “Y the Last Man” vibe from Martha’s travels and post-invasion Earth which I enjoyed.

    Tennant is the best Doctor. I just love him to bits!

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