Doctor Doctor Who Guide

Poor acting and juvenile aliens marked Rose's return to London after her brief travels with The Doctor.

After the promise of a spectacular crash landing, an alien invasion and above all a new alien we were treated to the worst characters ever to appear in any serial science-fiction, children's or otherwise.

The Doctor has agreed to take Rose back home and through the versatility of the TARDIS re-assures her that she will return a mere twelve hours after she left with the Doctor in the wake of the Nestene invasion. Unfortunately after missing the mark last week by ending up in Cardiff 1869 instead of Naples 1860, Rose is returned not twelve hours after she left but twelve months.

Predictably it hasn’t been good for those she left behind, the cowardly boyfriend Mickey and her overprotective mother Jackie, neither have whom have changed much still coming off as very shallow characters. Camille Coduri seems to be stuck in a role she played several years ago and Noel Clarke is still showing less emotion than he did when an Auton replaced him. The domestic scenes that attempt to address key issues in Rose’s absence seem out of place as they reveal little about the characters or the situation in which they have been thrown. In fact some plot points seem to get a single line afforded to them before being all but forgotten.

The impact Rose’s disappearance and subsequent returned while addressed was not explored deeply enough, another casualty of the stories reduced runtime, considering this was the first of a number of two-part stories expectation was high that a more well developed story would have emerged. Sadly this was not the case as the re-appearance of Jimmy ‘moxx of balhoun’ Vee as a false alien was hastily explained; presumably to give the new aliens more screen time.

Here lies the rub. In the trailer we were afforded a glimpse of the new aliens The Slitheen, insect like larval creatures with terrifying claws and fangs. As highly publicised as the Face of Boe, their increased screen time and the appalling realisation of their shape shifting abilities, threatened my viewing support. Instead of a race of merciless invading aliens we are treated to a scatological cacophony, which instead of inconveniencing the aliens causes them to laugh like schoolboys. The juvenile attitude they have to bodily functions and announcing that they have been busy enjoying themselves with wives and mistresses reduces any impact they once had to an uncomfortable embarrassment.

Upon hearing of the two part episodes I was looking forward to a return of the classic Doctor Who cliffhanger that set it apart from other programs of its time. Even this was handled poorly with a series of anticipated attacks and laborious reveals of the aliens. Three cliffhangers for the price of one not being the value item it appeared to be, plus the inclusion of a sneak preview of the next episode made the cliff hanger redundant as it revealed that sure enough all threatened characters would survive their ordeals. The zip in the forehead was a nice touch but Aliens in human skin smacks far too much of Men In Black as much as The observation deck at the end of the world reminded one entirely of the Restaurant at the end of the universe, an environment people are sure to become familiar with through the release of the recent feature film version of The Hitchhikers’ Guide To The Galaxy.

Another nice touch, well received is the nod to UNIT, as is the news coverage of the alien’s crash landing. This was unfortunately overdone and I felt the story sagging somewhat as the Doctor struggled to glean information from the broadcasts amidst the general chatter of Rose’s family and friends. In fact I wanted The Doctor to get off his behind and blag his way into the thick of the action, and hopefully find a military foil akin to Group Cptn. Gilmore, Winifred Bambera or even the good old Brigadier himself. As for him having changed so much they wouldn’t recognize him, you can’t help thinking this is rather a poor excuse, as it never bothered him in the past. This is an issue one can let pass though as continuity of the original, while acknowledged, is not a requirement of this new series.

Overall this episode stands as a low point of this and the history of the program, which will hopefully be rectified in upcoming episodes.

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