Saturday, 5 April 2008

Doctor Who Series 4 is nearly here

[Post features light spoilers and silly spoiler speculation]

. . . . and it is great to be in England to see the first episode tonight. I am over for the Oxford Synoptic Problem conference). Over on The Busybody, Loren Rosson has his series speculations and they make interesting reading. I think I am a little less pessimistic than Loren overall, though I think I share his apprehension about the Sontaran double bill ("The Sontaran Stratagem" / "Poison Sky"), episodes 4 and 5, because Helen Raynor's dalek double bill in series 3 ("Daleks in Manhattan" / "Evolution of the Daleks") was probably the low point in that series . Like Loren, I look forward very much to the Agatha Christie episode, "The Unicorn and the Wasp"; I also suspect that "The Doctor's Daughter", starring the fourth doctor's real life daughter, Georgia Moffatt, will be a cracker. And I doubt it will turn out to be the doctor's real daughter. There'll be some sort of story about some alien DNA or something. It would be fun if it does fill in a little in the doctor's biography, though. I've recently been watching the first ever Doctor Who, having received "The Beginnings" DVD set for my birthday. It has always been odd that we know so much about the doctor's granddaughter, Susan, from those days, but little more since then.

Tonight's first episode, "Partners in Crime" looks like a light, fun kind of episode, ideal to introduce the new companion, and comparable with "Rose", the first episode of the first series, and "Smith and Jones", the first episode of the third, each of which introduced new companions. This preview certainly gives the impression that this is going to be a fun episode and not a scary one:

I am looking forward to the return of old friends in the new series too, Martha, Rose, Captain Jack and others (Sarah Jane?, Mickey?, Rose's Mum?). I suspect that Russell T. Davies will handle these very well, and I also suspect that this season's "doctor lite" episode, usually only incidental to the main story arc, will be folded into the action in a major way -- the doctor gets into trouble and is separated from Donna, and old friends return to save the day.

Here is my fun spoiler speculation for the series. This is probably complete rubbish, but please don't read on if you think there is any chance of my being right and so spoiling one's enjoyment. Also don't read on if you have not yet seen series 3!

At the end of Series 3, the Master was offered the chance to travel with the doctor. He chooses instead to die, but we know that he lives on, somehow, with the ring, picked up by a female hand. Is this the ring that Donna is wearing in the campfire trailer? She utters a line from The Usual Suspects that might make us suspect that all is not as it seems. Has the Master somehow managed to infiltrate and devastate Donna's life, and is this why she ends up in trouble in the latter part of the series (cf. current Radio Times plot synopses)? The Master is back, and this time he is ready. He has teamed up with the doctor's oldest enemies, the daleks and, of course, Davros, surely now due for his much-rumoured return. Remember how much Russel T. Davies likes the partnership of old enemies, like the appearance together of the Cybermen and the daleks at the end of series 2? Against these forces, the doctor, now separated from Donna, needs help from old friends, and back come Rose, Martha, Captain Jack, Sarah Jane, Mickey and Jackie. Well, that's my idle speculation, only some of based on actual facts. It will be fun to see if Russel T. Davies can spring a surprise on us as good as Whogasm?


Loren Rosson III said...

I watched Partners in Crime this morning, and my prediction was right: 2 stars. It was pretty lame, but no more or less than what I've come to expect from season openers which introduce a new companion. Rose's cameo at the end gave me a new crop of hemorrhoids on the spot -- almost knocked it down to 1 star, in fact -- but it seems to the one redeeming feature to fans on Outpost Gallifrey who otherwise hated it!

But I'm definitely looking forward to The Fires of Pompeii next week.

Loren Rosson III said...

I got to thinking more about Rose's cameo (now that my blood pressure is stabilizing). If she's working for Torchwood, it's obviously found a way to move across parallel worlds. But what if there's a time distortion here too? In other words, what if the last episodes -- Turn Left to Journey's End -- are Rose's starting point and this cameo her end? Her expression as Donna walks away, and subsequent fading, seems to say, "It's over now."

On second thought, it could just as well be saying, "The calm before the storm"...

Mark Goodacre said...

Loren, as predicted, you are *so* difficult to please. The episode was wonderful; loved every minute of it. And the appearance of Rose at the end was one of the best moments of Doctor Who for a long time -- up there with Whogasm. 4 stars, no question about it.

Kimota said...

The episode was great. Yes, it was a fluffy, flawed season opener as we've come to expect, but with the amount it needed to cover, uit did it well.

Apart from anything else, it was so laugh-out-loud funny! I was not a fan of Donna in The Runaway Bride, but I absolutely adored her here. Enough for me to think she could become one of the best companions.

The scene of the Doctor and Donna miming at each other through the windows had my fiance and I laughing for ages.

As for Rose, I knew she was returning but I had successfully kept it secret from Shelley. She was screaming. "It's Rose. She's back. It's Rose! Oh my God!"

I think trying to work out what it all means now is counter-productive. We know this series will build to a huge climax and that Rose is a part of it. i thought that was a great little taste of things to come and wonder whether a Rose cameo may be the 'Bad Wolf' or "Vote Saxon' of this series, popping up in the background until the truth is revealed.