Friday, July 25, 2008

Impossible! . . . It Can't Be!

Above: The gang’s all here! From left: Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth
Sladen);Mickey Smith (Noel Clarke); Jackie Tyler (Camille Coduri);
Rose Tyler (Billie Piper), the Doctor (David Tennant); Martha Jones
(Freema Agyeman); Jack Harkness (John Burrowman)
and Donna Noble (Catherine Tate).

Yes, I’m excited. Call it a guilty pleasure, but tonight a group of friends and I will be poised in front of the TV to watch Part 1 of the two-part season finale of Doctor Who (Sci-Fi Channel, 8:00 p.m. – and repeated at 10:00 p.m.)

I have to admit, however, that I’ve cheated somewhat and already seen tonight’s episode. You see, this particular episode was originally broadcast in the U.K. on June 28, and being the Doctor Who fan that I am, I simply couldn’t wait a whole month before the Sci-Fi Channel in the U.S. got around to showing its (edited for time) version. And so I watched it online via the Doctor Who fansite, Planet Gallifrey.

So, if you tune in tonight, what can you expect? Well, in his review for The Stage, Mark Wright describes tonight’s episode as “the most bonkers, delicious, audacious, brilliant, silly, exciting and scary piece of Doctor Who seen in the 45-year history of [the] TV series. [It’s] Doctor Who at its most show stopping, entertaining and brilliant best.”

As to the plot . . . well, it wouldn’t be giving too much away to say that tonight’s episode, entitled “The Stolen Earth,” sees our home world and twenty-six other planets stolen by the Daleks and their evil, megalomaniac creator, Davros (pictured at left) - a feat that (as you’ll see in the first video clip below) ensures no end of sky-gazing and exclamations of: “Impossible!” “It can’t be!” and “Oh, my God!” (The reason for this theft of truly cosmic proportions is revealed next Friday night in “Journey’s End,” the second part of the finale.)

As the Doctor (David Tennant) and his time and space traveling companion Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) try to locate the missing planets, the Doctor’s Earth-bound previous companions, Jack Harkness (John Barrowman), Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman), Rose Tyler (Billie Piper), and (my favorite) Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen, pictured at right) team up to contact the Doctor and mount a spirited defense against the invading Daleks.

“Exterminate! Exterminate!” – No longer content
to steal the show,
the Daleks abscond with the entire planet!

“The Stolen Earth” marks the first appearance of Davros since the 1988 serial, “Remembrance of the Daleks” (from the original or “classic” Doctor Who series that run from 1963 to 1989). Davros first appeared in the 1975 serial, “Genesis of the Daleks” – a story that also featured Elisabeth Sladen in her early days of playing Sarah Jane Smith (1973-76).

The two-part season finale, starting with tonight’s episode, also marks the return of several recurring characters from the “new” or revived Doctor Who series (2005-present), such as Rose; Rose’s mum, Jackie; Mickey Smith; Captain Jack Harkness; Harriet Jones; Donna’s mum and grandfather, Sylvia and Wilf; and Dalek Caan.

“The Stolen Earth” also crosses over with Doctor Who’s two spin-off series, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures. Accordingly, it marks the first Doctor Who appearance of Eve Myles as Gwen Cooper and Gareth David-Lloyd as Ianto Jones (from Torchwood, and pictured left with Captain Jack Harkness); and Tommy Knight as Luke Smith (from The Sarah Jane Adventures).

In the U.K., “The Stolen Earth” was reviewed positively by audience and professional reviewers; the Audience Appreciation Index was 91 – an unprecedented figure for Doctor Who and one of the highest ratings ever given to a television program. Reviewers particularly commended Julian Bleach for his portrayal of Davros and executive producer and writer Russell T. Daviss writing. It seems a fitting conclusion to a season that has boasted some (literally) fantastic stories, including “The Fires of Pompeii”, “Planet of the Ood”, “The Unicorn and the Wasp”, and the grim yet compelling “Turn Left”.

Following are four short BBC trailers for both tonight’s episode and for “Journey’s End,” Part 2 of Doctor Who’s Season 4 two-part finale. Enjoy!

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Blast from the Past: The Return of Doctor Who’s Sarah Jane Smith
What Sarah Jane Did Next She’s So Lovely
She’s Back!
London Calling

Recommended Off-site Links: A Review of “The Stolen Earth” - Ross Ruediger (The House Next Door, July 28, 2008).
A Review of “Journey’s End” - Ross Ruediger (The House Next Door, August 5, 2008).

1 comment:

CDE said...

I'm glad the show still has the Daleks/Davros around. They were the best villains of the show!