Doctor Doctor Who Guide

Well, that was a shock wasn't it?

After the two superb preceding episodes, I let my expectations get a little too high for this alien invasion two-parter. And instead of the exciting, expertly crafted story that I was hoping for, I got an uneven, and at times appallingly juvenile tale totally at odds with what I had already seen of the series. I really don't want to criticise, but this episode just didn't sit well with me.

My main complaints being

  • The farting aliens. I was hoping to be able to ignore this little plot point, but it was just ridiculous and frankly embarrassing. Was it really necessary? - hell no. And that's all I'm going to say on the matter for fear on rambling on for a good few pages worth.
  • The cliff-hanger. It was great but completely pointless given that the preview of the next episode followed immediately showing that all the characters were fine and well. How are kids meant to get excited about the next episode then? A real missed opportunity.
  • The Doctor. I'm sorry to say that this is the first episode so far in which I felt Christopher Eccleston's performance was distinctly lacking. I was hoping that the grinning madman from the first story would have grown a bit by now and become more of a solid, well-rounded character but Eccleston's Doctor has barely changed. There is just no urgency to the situation when he's always laughing and exclaiming fantastic! (Why does he have to say this in every episode?, he said it twice last time, it's almost as if Chris had a bet with the production team to see how often he could slip it into conversation. The Doctor's verbal retort's have always been much more varied and interesting than that). I know that he wants to prove that he can do comedy and be a versatile performer, but I just don't think he can sustain the character with such a light-hearted approach, there needs to be more to him than that, so lets hope that Chris has the opportunity to inject some of that grit and darkness that he's so famous for, as after viewing this, that's obviously what he does best.

The acting in this story also seemed a littler below par, it looked like a lot of the cast thought they were making a kids show, and I felt Penelope Wiltion's character was irritating and somewhat superfluous to the plot although she'll no doubt save the day in the next episode, I expect it's the only reason she was there in the first place. A shame since Wilton is a fine actress capable of so much more, but the part just wasn't that well written.

And finally I'm beginning to have serious doubts about Russell T. Davies ability as a writer. I've never thought that he was the genius that we've been told he is, but was more than willing to give him the benefit of the doubt considering his obvious passion for the show. But sadly it seems there only so much he can contribute, and this episode was really all over the place. His writing style is very much like a soap opera as has already been commented on, and I agree with what some have already said in that he doesn't write Sci-Fi very well. I by no means think he is a bad writer, but the odd witticism and contemporary reference aside there ain't much else going on. I think he may have bitten off more than he can chew here, in the number of episode's he has written, and considering Mark Gatiss' superior contribution last week, it would be nice to see a bit more variety in the writing team. Needless to say I can't wait for Rob Shearman's 'Dalek'.

Although there is a lot in 'Aliens of London' that irritated me, overall I still enjoyed it.

Unlike a lot of other people I thought the pig in the spacesuit was brilliant! totally unexpected and very well done, it's just a shame that he er.. bit the bullet so quickly.

Billie Piper too was excellent, her performance just keeps getting better and she has been one of the best things in the whole series so far. Oddly it was also quite nice to see Jackie and Mickey again, I was actually looking forward to see what was going to happen to them this time around, and I especially liked the bickering between Mickey and The Doctor. The special effects were generally superb as well, the spaceship, space-pig and zip in the Slitheen disguise were very well done, although the Slitheen themselves at times tended to have their heads flapping in a rather unconvincing manner, despite being generally quite cool-looking enemies. Mike Tucker did a damn fine job on Big Ben too, but the sequence felt too brief and should have been elongated to maximise the effect.

There was a lot to like here but sadly a lot to complain about too, despite the overall episode being enjoyable. I have too admit that this is my least favourite story yet, but on the other hand my 16 year old sister who has been casually watching the series, said it was by far her favourite episode yet! so I guess it's all relative. Either way I'm not going to allow a few odd annoyances tarnish what otherwise looks like a bloody good series.

It will be 'Dalek' that makes it or breaks it for me, and d'you know what? I'm still very optimistic, in fact I think it'll be fantastic!

Filters: Series 1/27 Ninth Doctor Television