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jones - Musings of Unayok

2007 Apr 02

22:22jones 

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So, a short mini-review of the third series opener of the new Doctor Who: "Smith and Jones". Don't worry, I won't give any real spoilers.

On the whole this was a very disappointing episode. In fact, I'd probably say it's one of my least favourite stories of the new Who.

None of this (well, almost none) had to do with Freema Agyeman, who does quite a thorough job of convincing us that her character (Martha) might be made of the stuff that Companions require. However, the episode seems like a prolonged audition for the new role of Companion in a constant one-ring circus starring the Doctor.

In the long history of the show, very few of the Doctor's Companions were chosen or tested in this manner. That they end up alongside the Doctor anyways is part of the connection that the series has with its audience. "Hey, that could be anyone." This introductory story did not have any of that sense. It was "The Doctor Considers A Candidate for Personal Assistant".

This could have been mitigated by an interesting story. But "Smith and Jones" fails on that score as well. The story itself is flat and uninspiring. More throwaway (hopefully!) aliens and threadbare plot heavily shellacked with a forced performance by David Tennant as the Doctor who competes in chewing on the scenery with Florence Finnegan (played by Anne Reid). The latter's performance seems far more appropriate to a Comic Relief Doctor Who parody sketch than an episode of the main series.

David Tennant has the potential to do a lot with the character of the Doctor. With scripts like this, however, he's definitely not being given the chance to shine, and the franchise is much poorer for it. I hope this is an aberration in this new series. At the very least I wish a very long life to the Big Finish audio adventures which seem to capture so much better the spirit of the original Doctor Who universe than "Smith and Jones" did.

And I frelling hate the Doctor's magic wand sonic screwdriver.