Doctor Doctor Who Guide


10 May 2005The Long Game, by Dominic Carter
10 May 2005The Long Game, by Calum Corral
10 May 2005The Long Game, by Mick Snowden
10 May 2005The Long Game, by Douglas Edward Lambert
10 May 2005The Long Game, by Scott Armstrong
10 May 2005The Long Game, by Gareth Tucker
10 May 2005The Long Game, by Paul Wilcox
10 May 2005The Long Game, by James Tricker
10 May 2005The Long Game, by Alan McDonald
10 May 2005The Long Game, by Malcolm Stewart
10 May 2005The Long Game, by Dave Keep
10 May 2005The Long Game, by Eddy Wolverson
10 May 2005The Long Game, by Tim Kelby
10 May 2005The Long Game, by Robert John Frazer
10 May 2005The Long Game, by Steven Gerrard
10 May 2005The Long Game, by Geoff Wessel
10 May 2005The Long Game, by Gregg Allinson
10 May 2005The Long Game, by Phil Christodoulou
10 May 2005The Long Game, by Steve Manfred
10 May 2005The Long Game, by Daniel Knight
10 May 2005The Long Game, by David Carlile
10 May 2005The Long Game, by Corey McMahon
10 May 2005The Long Game, by Tavia Chalcraft
10 May 2005The Long Game, by Josif Monk
10 May 2005The Long Game, by Rob Littlewood
10 May 2005The Long Game, by Mike Halsey
10 May 2005The Long Game, by Frank Shailes
10 May 2005The Long Game, by Andrew Philips
10 May 2005The Long Game, by Christopher Hammond
10 May 2005The Long Game, by Andy Griffiths
10 May 2005The Long Game, by A.D. Morrison
10 May 2005The Long Game, by Mike Eveleigh
10 May 2005The Long Game, by Liam Pennington
10 May 2005The Long Game, by Greg Campbell
10 May 2005The Long Game, by Joe Ford
10 May 2005The Long Game, by Andrew Blundell
10 May 2005The Long Game, by Rossa McPhillips
10 May 2005The Long Game, by James Finister
10 May 2005The Long Game, by Paul Clarke
10 May 2005The Long Game, by Matt Kimpton
16 Aug 2005The Long Game, by Nick Mellish
16 Aug 2005The Long Game, by Richard Radcliffe
16 Aug 2005The Long Game, by James Main
29 Oct 2005The Long Game, by Alex Gibbs
27 Oct 2006The Long Game, by Shane Anderson
27 Oct 2006The Long Game, by Robert Tymec
27 Oct 2006The Long Game, by Ed Martin

This story, from the outset, didn't really excite me that much; Doctor and co arrive on a space station which is being manipulated for sinister means by an alien menace. It didn't really strike me as anything amazing, unusual or different, which the series had offered up to this point. In short it really wasn't anything to look forward to or get excited about because the plot had been done before in other stories such as The Ark in Space and to be blunt it didn't strike me as anything special.

So I am pleased to say that overall these fears were dispelled. It was exciting, and it was a different and interesting take on a classic storyline. It flowed along with a fast slick pace and the CGI effects were amazing, especially the Jagrafress of blah blah blah, which looked like a very convincing hunk of meat. The choice of casting Simon Pegg as the evil genius' puppet, The Editor, was inspired and I can not think of a better person to play the part. I can't begin to praise his performance and he is one of my all time favourite actors and comedians, why can't he play the next Doctor?!!!! The guest appearance of Tamsin Greig actor was very welcome, I thought she would play it for laughs but she delivered her character very convincingly. I am pleased to see that Adam has been cast aside as I felt his character had nothing fresh to offer the series. But as usual the performances by Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper were top notch.

These praises aside I do have have a few niggles about the episode: First of all I thought the interior of the station could have been more imaginative, as I thought that what was portrayed was slightly glitzy and reminiscant of the eighties. This was definitely an 'old school' episode but updated. Also, what was the reasoning behind the Jagrafress of blah blah blah's plan? It wanted to stunt the advancement of humanity, yeah great, but what was it for? To herald an invasion? Or will this be answered in a later episode? Who knows, no pun intended.

To wrap up i'll just say that the episode was good but for such an average story to come after Dalek is unfortunate. I think I'd place this story above The End of the World (my least favourite story so far, yes I know it's a controversial opinion! I know some of you love it but I think its just an average story) and the unfairly ripped apart Aliens of London. This story did better than I thought it would but then again I didn't expect too much...

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This episode had some nice touches but struggled to really get above your typical sci-fi fodder. Mind control is hardly something which has not been used before and there was not much in "The Long Game" which was new and dazzlingly different. Even the title is a bit of a misnomer and does not suggest anything. This is a pity because the idea of journalism and the editor is something which could have provided a lot of possibilities and investigated further. While understandably there are limits in 45 minutes, Dalek certainly did have an epic feel to it. The Long Game felt a bit, well, long and drawn out!

I thought the opening scene was good as Adam collapses in shock at realising he is in the future and looking out upon the world.

At the start, Rose seemed to take everything in her stride and almost took on the Doctor's role as the investigation began. Simon Clegg's portrayal of The Editor was suitably evil but the silly monster was not all that impressive up above. The most thrilling part of the programme was Adam getting the brain surgery and taking in all the information as The Editor discovers who the Doctor really is.

It was a good ending and I thought it was very good for the Doctor to take Adam back home and show him the damage he had done. It was also very neat to have his Mum walk in and snap her fingers. I felt Adam did not offer a great deal in the episode, and it may have been better to have a sinister companion like Turlough.

Throwing the Doctor into a human habitat certainly seems to work very well at this point but tonight's show lagged somewhat. End of the World, which used the same set, was many years ahead, and also miles better than The Long Game. Some more aliens in the space station would have spruced things up a bit.

We have now reached the half way stage with the brand new series of Doctor Who and some of it has been absolutely excellent with the first three episodes and Dalek being particularly impressive.

With next week's episode harking back to Rose's past and changing time, I have a strong feeling that we are set for another rollercoaster ride. The Long Game was fun in places, with some great quips from the Doctor, while Rose also seemed quite settled in her role, but that all looks to change next week.

I felt the journalism idea could have been better handled and, being a journalist myself, I would have loved to write last night's episode! I didn't even think that The Long Game was even scary in places. The old skeletons may have been slightly fearsome but it was hardly anything shocking.

I hope there is much more of the terror element in subsequent weeks. The absence of the Tardis interior in recent episodes has been a bit disappointing but that is a minor gripe!

The Long Game was run of the mill sci-fi and did not have the fast cutting edge of some of the best Who episodes so far in the series. The pace was not so great, and the budget meant that the same set had to be used as in The End of the World. It had the makings of a good story but just did not deliver.

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So, we've passed the halfway stage of Doctor Who's return to TV. So, in addition to reviewing The Long Game, I'm going to make a few comments about the season so far.

The Long Game was built on that mainstay of Doctor Who plots for over 40 years: Something's wrong at the heart of the glorious Earth empire, with a quick sideswipe at the media. RTD's wish to tie everything in to the human race takes a mundane approach: people buy food from fast food outlets, and wear suits, jeans and t-shirts. The space station interior is impressive, and well lit.

Simon Pegg is suitably menacing as the Editor, and his turncoat act at the end is worthy of the Master's various attempts to leave his collaborators to their fates. The easy manner, and humour he injects into the role, add to its general creepiness.

His unpronouncable, but incredibly impressive CGI alien boss, is used well. In a very "Alien" approach, we see ever-increasing glimpses of the creature throughout, which builds up a lovely tension to the piece.

The subplot involving Adam is a great treatment of the idea that we'd all use a trip to the future to enhance our own lives, although the denouement of this plot seems to indicate what I suspected: it would take an impressive companion indeed to break in to the chemistry between Rose and the Doctor. Tamsin Grieg is slightly unnerving as the nurse, without actually being a villain.

The Doctor is on top form, possibly the most recognisably "Doctor-ish" performance from Eccleston so far.

My one gripe now is that I think the Bad Wolf storyarc is being a little overplayed now. Is it really necessary to have a reference dropped into EVERY episode? A minor grumble, I know, but sometimes it just seems to be there for the sake of it. Maybe all these references are crucial to the resolution, but its difficult to see how.

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After the excellent Dalek I wasn't expecting Doctor Who to come up with another rather good story directly after. But Episode Seven did just that.

Appearantly the idea for this episode was one from several years ago and for the original series. And that shows because it feels like it wouldn't be out of place, too much, in the original series. But this doesn't mean the episode, as with Dalek, is without flaws. I want to look at them first.

The special effects (CGI). They have really failed to impress me so far. The best thing about the original series was they knew they couldn't rely on special effects because they didn't have the budget too. Instead the writers concentrated on storyline rather than visual appearance. If a story was driven by special effects the plot and episode would suffer because of it and the whole thing would feel terrible. This time around the producers and writers obviously feel they have the budget to go along the special effects drive route. It feels to this viewer that they prefer visual appearance above well constructed storylines. And I'm afraid that the special effects just aren't good enough to make up for often lack in plot. Also the special effects never look realistic. If aliens are created through CGI then that's how they look, they don't look real just computer generated animations. The creature in this episode, I won't even attempt to spell its name, looked excately like that. That may be why we didn't see it until the end.

The other criticism I have of this episode concerns the Doctor's attitude towards Adam when he dumps him back on earth and with his father. Adam did try to change history and because of his foolish antics he put Rose and the Doctor at the Editor's mercy. BUT Turlough tried to kill the Doctor (and Tegan/Nyssa) several times. When all of this was revealed the Doctor didn't drop him off back home, he kept him aboard the Tardis. Both Turlough and Adam repented by the Doctor still dumped Adam, why? Well maybe because, as with Mickey, he was jealous of his closeness to Rose. If this is true its a side to the Doctor I don't like. The Doctor doesn't fall in love with companions and isn't jealous of their love interests. Otherwise poor old Ian or Mike Yates would have really been in for it!

My other criticism is the tagged on feeling of Adam's departure. It didn't feel as if it was a natural part of the storyline but instead tagged on when it was decided Adam wouldn't become a regular. It's quiet likely that it was always intended for Adam to leave in this episode but that doesn't come across on screen.

With that aside I'll concentrate on the good aspects. Excellent script, for a change, and excellent acting all around. I can't think of one bad performace. Another round of excellent guest stars with Judy Holt & Tasmin Greg both giving excellent and amusing performaces even with their limited screen time.

The supporting characters are all well done and fit the storyline perfectly. In other episodes they have felt rather pathetic and weak, also pointless, but here they seem to serve a purpose.

As always Billie Piper continues to shine but I suspect next week's episode will outdo all of her performances so far and that's no easy task! At last I am slowly warming to Christopher Eccelston's Doctor. He is starting to feel like the hero I watched on UKGold when I was younger. He is becoming the Doctor more and more instead of some character stuck with that name tag, as other episodes have made me feel. But just as one grows to like the 9th Doctor he's going to regenerate and it does feel rather pointless growing to like him when he's going so soon.

And finally, the banks sold the human race to whatever the creatures name was. Not the most original plot device ever, is it, really? But I'll give this episode 9/10.

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As a Television series progresses, one hopes that it will introduce new ideas and stories whilst tying up old ones. This episode has answered a question that has long plagued me and a few people I know. Why haven't any of the companions tried to gain knowledge for personal gain..? Well, now we know.

Eccleston and Piper have developed such a dynamic that it is amazing how well they play off of each other. The love and care that the characters have for each other develops more as the series goes on. In the way they look at each other, and comments made by Adam as to their relationship.

Simon Pegg was great in the role of The Editor, but I feel that he should have had a bit more screen time. And the creature was just disgusting. At one point it really looked like he was drooling on Rose's head.

The effects department (both SFX and CGI) need to be commended for their work on the new series. The effects seem flawless and unnoticeable.. which is the greatest compliment that one can pay to an effects team.

With six episodes left in the first series, one wonders how it will all play out.. especially with the whole "Bad Wolf."

It was nice to see "The Face Of Boe" turn up in a newscast.

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Episode 7 was always going to be the middle of the series, and this is turned out to be in more ways than one. Not that I'm complaining as being middle of the road is no bad thing in the quality series we are being presented.

The story was a risk for RTD (and his team) as it had many areas that could go horribly wrong. The editor could have been played over the top, the monster could have been plastic and the large open sets could have appeared as no more than large open spaces. But this is where Doctor Who is now safe, the clever acting and excellent dress of the editor kept him realistic, the monster was CGI'ed and limited in screen time and the sets were kept busy and were sensibly weathered.

Once again the main and support cast were strong and kept me focusing on the story rather than some poor or obscure acting technique. Chris' Doctor has now truly settled down from his wobbles in AOL and I now feel he has excelled all expectations.

The down side to this story was it felt ninety eighties, I had to keep checking the TV to ensure it wasn't going to be Sylvester McCoy's Doctor in the next shot. Whilst this was not a problem it seemed a little out of place with the other episodes to date.

In summary it was great to see an episode not on earth and a true run of the mill Doctor Who story.

(Did anyone else think it was odd Adam's family home looked current day despite being in 2012. Furthermore Adam's ability to phone 2012 further confuses the Rose's mobile phone issue as discussed by RTD in DWM!!)

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Interesting - That was kind of the word that was in my head throughout this episode. But that is a good thing.

We are now at the half way point of the first season and really the first episode that I have seen that I was not aware of the plot. The hype (and that's not a bad word) for the new series has pretty much covered every aspect of the first six episodes but from 7 - 13 I personally know very little. You could say (and I would agree) that this is where Dr Who starts. Rose had (pretty much) the introduction of everything, End off.... had the first collection of New wave BBC aliens, The Unquiet Dead had the first PAST ADVENTURE, Aliens... the first cliffhanger and Dalek, well duh! This episode was BRAND NEW!!!!!

But because of that I found it very difficult to judge either positively or negatively. However I did find it Doctor-lite (is that a word?)

There is no need to continue praising the effects or the production design because they remain spot on. Nor can I fault Billie Piper's performance and the series still seems to be HER story rather than that of the Doctor. Chris Eccleston is however pretty much excellent in this episode and oddly, concidering that it has so much humour in it, has become the most serious portrayal to date. To get it out of the way though, I will say "Max" (because I can't pronounce his name either - see Simon Pegg's attempts in 'Confidential) reminds me of the Nestene in "Rose". Otherwise it's excellent.

I say Doctor-lite because I found The Doctor and to a degree, Rose rather absent from most of the proceedings and certainly had nothing to do in solving the mystery or defeating the Villian. But this certainly showcased the talents of Tamsin Greig, Bruno langley and especially Simon Pegg who stole the whole show. I found him the most captivating character in the series so far. Sorry Doctor - Sorry Rose. Every line was delivered perfectly, his mannerisms and humourous giggly and again although humouroius was played straight and with menace and certainly the best Villian of the series. His on again - off again appearance in the show was publicised in the media and I did expect some Pegg mannerisms but he eclipsed the work he has already done in series such as SPACED and the film SHAUN OF THE DEAD. Bruno Langley hopefully will come back as his character makes a certain foil to the Doctor/Rose team. The additional cast handled their respective roles well.

The plot was thin in the extreme and I'm still not sure what it was all about but this however plaid to the actor's strengths and I even kind of hoped The Editor had survived.

I noticed another reference to "BAD WOLF" on a tv broadcast to which my partner said "Normal people would not have noticed that" He is enjopying the series howver so I'll let him off.

The episode again was easily told in 45 minutes so this seems the perfect length to tell a story in after the (necessary) rush of episodes "Rose" and "The End of...." - Trek - Galactica - Buffy can all do it - So can Who.

Overall though and barring the excellent perfomances and perfect humour (especially the final shot) the episode seemed empty of something so only comes back to me thinking - Interesting.

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I came to this story with a certain degree of trepidation. The Unquiet Dead and Dalek are amongst the very best stories the show has ever produced, but the RTD scripted episodes, whilst always well-written and entertaining, have thus far been irritatingly lightweight at times. . . . and so it was a pleasant surprise that for me the Long Game was a solid, entertaining mid-season story with a nice dramatic build up and not too much frivolity in between.

The idea of media manipulation and control, the 1984 style reference to Room 500, Earth's development being impaired by an interfering malevolent alien. . . . familiar territory this but effective nonetheless.

A feature of this series whether people like it or not has been the emphasis on character development and here we have the Doctor's apparent disgust at Rose and Adam sharing the same breathing space, whilst elevating Rose even further up his personal pedestal;Adam's struggle to come to terms with the enormity of the difference between Satellite 5 and his own little world and the resultant almost disastrous consequences of his curiosity and Rose's increasing ability to adapt quickly, almost effortlessly, to whatever extraordinary situation she finds herself in. The acting of all concerned was excellent especially of course from the Editor himself Simon Pegg and the nurse played by Tamzin Greig.

It is becoming increasingly obvious that this season is a resounding success which has restored the concept of family viewing on Saturday night and drawn praise from many non-fan quarters. All concerned deserve every credit for what they are achieving here and the minority who feel it's all a load of empty childish tripe may have to take off their rose coloured spectacles (no pun intended) and realise that their views were no doubt expressed by others about the old series. Roll on the next episode.

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At the beginning of The Long Game, you might be forgiven for thinking, 'Hang on, wasn't this episode screened already?' The sets and CGI shot of the satellite look lifted straight out of The End of the World. Only less expensive-looking. End has been my favourite Davies episode thus far (although Dalek blew everything out of the water), so I held back my worry and let it happen. It wasn't half-bad.

I mentioned in my Aliens of London review that RTD seems to have a tension in his writing between his more radical nature and his love of traditional Who. This was blatantly evident here. The first 15 minutes of The Long Game feel like a McCoy story. With the icy Floor 500, I kept flashing back to Dragonfire. Major problem is that Who has moved on - we really shouldn't be stuck in that mould any more. Thankfully things picked up in the second half, as Adam had a bizarre personality change and became a money-grubbing liar. You have to wonder just what RTD was intending to do with the character - why bother to introduce him (relatively anonymously bar some entirely understandable flirtation with Rose) at all in Dalek if he's going to be dumped in the next episode?

Some of the issues (lightly) touched upon concerning the power of the media and how people will do almost anything if told to were extremely interesting. It was a joy also to see Rose playing the part of the seasoned time traveller, giving new-start Adam his induction. The CGI beastie was one of the best thus far in the series, too. And, of course, Simon Do-No-Wrong Pegg.

But there were problems - mainly in the design. The sets looked like ... well, sets. The matte backgrounds were horrifically realised and it all felt a million miles away from the spectacular spaceship crash in AoF or the planetary explosion of EotW, or even the ethereal Gelth of UD. It was just kind of shoddy.

Also, the Bad Wolf references that were so teasing initially seem to be a bit silly now. It's as if they're just being stuck in any-old-where and it'll take some serious explanation to justify this come episode 12.

Still, a good, solid, standard episode.

What's most annoying is that Davies really is a stunningly good writer, but we just haven't seen that in his Who work so far. He's written a good pilot, a clever follow-up and then treaded water a bit. Every one of his stories has parts that are great. Just not full episodes that are great. Personally, I'd love to see him rework some of the ideas from his old Dark Season children's drama. Dark sci-fi doings in a High School. I'm sure he's got some superb adventures in him for the show. He just hasn't got them to us, yet. Still, at least there was no farting or burping this week, so things are looking up.

The concept for next week's episode is a killer - always rely on Paul Cornell to take a love of traditional Who and shake the concept up a little.

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An icy interior, a Giger-esque monster, a melting enemy, and the departure of a companion: if 'The Long Game' felt like a 21st century version of Dragonfire - complete with dodgy slang and canteen scene, but without the Shirley Temple kid - then, for me, that was no bad thing. In many ways, this was the most 'science fictiony' of the new series to date, with the cyberpunk elements in the 'living computer' scenes suggesting that Russell, like Cartmel before him, knows his Cronenberg and William Gibson.

This also felt more like 'Doctor Who' than we've come to know it lately. The decision to let Rose and the Doctor take more of a back seat than usual allowed the supporting cast to come to the fore, among whom were some familiar Whovian archetypes: the boy genius, the freedom fighter and the slick-tongued villain sneering at the Doctor's 'Time Lord' pedigree. Unusually, given that this was a Russell T. Davies script, the story didn't sacrifice suspense to pace; there were several jump-out-of-your-seat shocks, and at least one genuine moment of peril, as Adam writhed in cybernetic agony, forced to sacrifice his knowledge of the Doctor at who knew what personal cost?

From interviews with the production team, beforehand, you'd have thought that they were working a little too hard to convince us of the appropriateness of Simon Pegg's performance. But, in the event, there was nothing to complain about: Pegg brought to the part an estuary twang and gutter carnality, befitting a symbol of the worst excesses of Wapping 'journalism'.

Less successful, however, was the characterisation of the Doctor. Magnanimous on a universal sacale, but capable of pettiness, petulance and possessiveness on a personal one, particularly where Rose's boyriends are concerned, too often the Doctor comes across like a surly political activist, who has pulled the prettiest girl on the housing estate and isn't allowing anyone else to get a look in. I'm not particularly sure that this is a Doctor I like, still less one I would ever want to travel with; and this in itself marks a significant change in the way I respond to the series. Even in the days of Colin Baker would-be-strangling his companion, there was something reassuring about the figure of the Doctor, smiling out at me from the title sequence and commanding every narrative by sheer force of character. In the final scene, here, however, as Adam's punishment far exceeds his crime, the Doctor seems motivated as much by sexual jealousy as moral outrage. Adam is condemned to a life of mediocrity with an alien technology in his head, and the Doctor's response is callously to finger-click. Worse still, Rose temporarily loses her trademark empathy, siding with the Doctor, as the script plays Adam's predicament purely for laughs. Russell has hinted that a future story will see the revelation as to who installed the Jagrafess and why. The sequel I want to see, however, is the one involving Adam. Adam's fate hereon seems either melancholy, madness or medical curiosity, and if he were to return at a later date to take his revenge on the Doctor, I, for one, wouldn't blame him. Here's hoping Bruno Langley is in it for the long game yet.

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Russell T Davies, you bastard. I find it deeply distressing that one man can be so talented. In forty five minutes – forty five bloody minutes! – you delivered a sly satire of contemporary politics and media (I cannot wait to see how the Murdoch press reviews this episode), an intriguing examination of what it takes to be an assistant and a thrilling and chilling science fiction story. Oh, and you wrapped it up with one of the funniest gags I have seen for a long time. This script should be dipped in gold and put on the spare plinth in Trafalgar Square.

Of course the trouble with a script this good is that you find directors, set designers, lighting engineers and all the myriad of behind the scenes people who rarely get their deserved praise feel compelled to step up to the challenge. Technically the episode was superb – yes, I noticed the CGI lens flare on the external shots and, yes, it was beautiful.

With all of these technical wonders in place it became inevitable that actors would come scurrying out like the rodents that they really are. King Rat was Simon Pegg as The Editor delivering a master class in being scary and unsettling for no discernable reason. I desperately want to hate him for being so talented but “Spaced” and “Shaun of the Dead” revealed that Pegg is just a fanboy living the dream and, as such, deserves all the success that he is enjoying.

The character of Cathico showed more development in one episode than most other characters get in a series and Christine Adams’ subtle performance neatly portrayed this.

Adam (Bruno Langley) was just slimy enough for the purpose of the story but not so irritating that he threatened to usurp Adric’s position as most hated companion (I didn’t realise for years that there was no music at the end of “Earthshock” as I was too busy laughing). If we compare the Doctor’s attitude to Adam to that he showed towards Turlough then we see that this is a very different Doctor with less patience and less time and I wonder if how this will replay having seen the entire season.

Last week I said that “Dalek” would not be topped and I was wrong. I started this review with the words “Russell T Davies, you bastard”. I stand by that comment.

In addition to being an anorak (and proud of it) I am also a counsellor in training. One of the main counselling theories is Carl Roger’s Humanistic approach which states that everyone has the desire and drive to achieve their best and that a counsellor can help them to realise this but the person already has the ability to achieve this. A fairly convoluted sentence but one which I feel is relevant as Christopher Eccleston is the Humanistic Doctor. While some people have criticised him as not always being in the thick of the action, I see this Doctor as manipulating events and people to allow them to resolve the situation and leaves them with the confidence to improve their lives.

Had the Doctor defeated the Editor in Chief and left then humanity would have taken years to recover but by giving the required information to Cathica and allowing her to be the victor he has left humanity with someone possessing the self confidence to get history back on track. This is a Doctor who truly loves humanity and wants people to achieve greatness for themselves.

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It seemed unavoidable that “The Long Game” would mark the end of a long week’s comedown after the exceptionally brilliant “Dalek.” Had “The Long Game” been up to the standard of any of the first five episodes, it would STILL have been a comedown after “Dalek”, but sadly it didn’t keep up the high standards set by the new series at all.

I don’t want to focus on the negative, but the space station just looked like the same set as Platform One, re-hashed. Of course, being “Doctor Who” that’s forgivable but I’ve come to expect more from this brilliant new series. The monster with the unpronounceable name – feeble. The realisation was dire. The plot – NOT the character story, the science-fiction story – abysmal. Moreover, I don’t know whether it was just my reception or not but in the opening scenes the dialogue was virtually inaudible over the score (I’m not slagging the score off… it was especially brilliant last week… it was just too loud this week!)

I had to look hard for things I liked about “The Long Game,” for some reason I couldn’t stop thinking about “Paradise Towers” afterwards. Must be the elevator! The whole episode had that awful studio-bound money-saving “filler story” feeling to it. It really was that bad!

I liked the premise of a companion that couldn’t cut it – it hadn’t really been done before. To actually have Adam as a threat was a stroke of genius. Even the reality TV / propaganda angle was interesting; the problem was that the plot didn’t grab me at all – it just wasn’t very good.

As for the character story, the sub-plot as it were, that I felt was well done, if a little rushed. It took Adam far too little time to decide that he was no match for the Doctor in Rose’s eyes; though I can see why it was put in so early because Adam needed to take off on his own for the purposes of the main plot. I liked the closing scene where the Doctor frog-marched Adam into the TARDIS on Satellite Five then straight back out into his living room in 2012. The last scene with Adam’s Mother clicking his fingers was the episode’s highlight for me, at least in comedic terms.

The only thing good about the episode at all, really, was Simon Pegg as the Editor. He portrayed the character with a cold humour which suited him very well; it’s a shame Russell T. Davies couldn’t concoct a better story for him to star in.

I’m very sorry that this review is so negative – I’m a huge fan of the series and I’m so happy we have it back it’s just that I didn’t enjoy the episode. I think the first six episodes have been excellent and I’m a huge fan of Russell T. Davies’ work, and while I can see the potential of this episode it just came off as cheap and throwaway, second-class. Borders closed to aliens? Another space station? Talk about a money-saving show! The Psychic paper… even the Face of Boe, nearly five million years younger, popped up again!

One MAJOR criticism. Thirteen episodes. Eleven likely set on Earth, two in orbit of Earth!!!! I hope I’m wrong and the final two-parter takes us off to an alien world somewhere, just for a change!

I’ve always thought some “Doctor Who” stories were poor. “Paradise Towers,” “Creature From The Pit,” “Frontios”… the list goes on. You have to take the rough with the smooth I’m afraid; nothing’s perfect. To end on something positive, though, the trailer and the plot summary for next week’s episode looks absolutely brilliant. I for one can’t wait!

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After last week's "Dalek", which I found ultimately disappointing, I was hoping that "The Long Game" would live up to the promise of the intriguing trailers. It did. The plot was classic Doctor Who - the Doctor and his companions arrive on a space station in the distant future, where life seems to be going on as normal. But something is wrong. The 4th Great and Bountiful Human Empire is not as great, or as bountiful, as it should be - something is holding back their technology and their society. As the episode unfolds, we discover that those who get promoted to floor 500 never return - something is lurking up there, directing everything, controlling the lives of every single human being by manipulating the news media. In a nice little nod to the series' previous incarnations, you don't see the alien until the end of the episode, and while the toothy CGI Jagrafess was a bit of a let down, it still looked more scary than, say, a big rubbery glowing blob, or a man made from licourice allsorts.

The episode is a very obvious and at times unsubtle satire on the modern media, with all the galaxy's news manipulated by the Editor (played with gleeful menace by Simon Pegg, who stole every scene he was in) in order to turn humanity into a race of unquestioning conformists. There were some more subtle moments, such as when the Doctor confronted Cathica over the absence of aliens on Satellite 5. Defending the strict immigration controls, she could only cite vague "threats," reflecting the current climate of distrust created by politicians and the media on matters of immigration and asylum.

The acting was at times excellent - Simon Pegg stuck a wonderful balance between pragmatic self-interest and hand-rubbing evilness - and at others, poor. Bruno Langley's Adam never really moved beyond "irritating idiot side-kick," making it quite a relief when the Doctor got rid of him, and the character of Suki, while no more fleshed-out than the usual "first victim of the alien" role, seemed a rather unlikely freedom fighter. And mention should briefly be made of the moment when, as his brain absorbs information directly from Satellite 5's computer, Adam's mobile transmits glowing blue light to his mother's answerphone, destroying any suspension of disbelief that had been built up.

All in all, a thoroughly watchable episode - inventive, satirical, and with one or two genuinely scary moments. Classic Doctor Who with a very modern slant.

Filters: Series 1/27 Ninth Doctor Television

I'm not a person who watches particularly masses of television, and as such I hadn't sampled any of Russel T Davies' work until the new adventures of Doctor Who graced our screens. As such, I was quite intrigued by the veritable waterfalls of liquid gold that drenched his reputation in the excited and egaer run-up to the 26th March. I pondered whether Davies was genuinely as talented as the magazines, websites and newspapers so enthusiastically proclaimed, or if this was only a generous dollop of varnish as a component of pre-series hype. Having watched four of the Davies-penned episodes now (Rose; Aliens of London; World War III; The Long Game), I regret to conclude that the latter is the case. All of the adventures that Russel has written are hit-and-mostly-miss: if you'd excuse the contorted metaphor, there are occasional great peaks of brilliance and ingenuity in the topography of the episode's integrity, yet these great vantage points look out over an uninspiring landscape of humdrum, monotonous level plains and a few plummeting abyssal crevasses of simply dreadful ineptitude that set you squirming.

"The Long Game" is unfortunately no exception to this model. To its credit, there are excellent production values manifest in this episode. The sets are marvellously designed and convincingly constructed - Level 139 is bustling and thriving, but equally cloying and oppressive, just like a real congested centre of humanity, and the icy, harsh, sharp-edged domain of Level 500 is very professionally made: there's not even the slightest suggestion of the wobbly cardboard that undermined the drama in so many of Eccleston's predecessors' adventures. The CGI is also impressive, with the viscous slime-sheathed alien looking genuinely organic and the image of dawn in space construed of genuine gold (even if it was hideously clichéd). I particularly enjoyed Adam's subplot - he acts extremely well, conveying the incredulity and incomprehension of the most pronounced culture shock that someone can ever be subjected to perfectly, and Davies does tie his bumbling misadventure into the main plot effectively. The summary expulsion of Adam from the TARDIS (is one single adventure the shortest tenure for any Companion?) I think is also a good way for detailing the character of the Doctor: like when he was proclaiming victory over his chained nemesis in "Dalek", Eccleston's incarnation of the Doctor has a savage undercurrent. Adam's error in trying to send back data to the past (silly boy - has he never watched "Back to the Future"?), whilst severe, is understandable - he is a virgin time traveller unaccustomed to such things after all. Yet the Doctor sees fit to use this one mistake as an excuse to terminate his berth on the TARDIS and also to consign him to a life sentence of insignificance and obscurity thanks to the encumbering albatross of his cranial implant, when as a genius he's supposed to be a person who's going to make his mark in the world. Meting out this fate takes vindictiveness to a whole new level!

I would have liked Adam to have stayed on longer, but who knows - he might return someday. If Mickey the Idiot can investigate a comprehensive profile of the Doctor, it shouldn't pose much trouble for Adam the Genius.

But despite the limited and individual positive sections I mentioned in the second paragraph, the overarching theme of the episode is riven with so many holes that Davies was probably eating a sandwich with Swiss cheese on it whilst writing. It's difficult to appreciate Suki being a "freedom fighter" when she has a handbag around her shoulder whilst pointing guns... and if she's been killed, how is she supposed to be able to latch onto the Editor's foot to prevent his escape? It may be justice, but it's frankly illogical. Furthermore, the way the crisis is resolved - the journalist just STANDING THERE and listening to the long exposition before toddling off to make everything better was painful to watch. Also, if Adam has only been abaord the TARDIS for a short while how does he know "everything the Doctor knows"? The resolution of the main plot was also far too neat and sanguine - everything accelerating back to normal? When you destroy the controller the result is invariably anarchy and chaos. The Doctor acting as some great revelationary angel - breezing in, making grand society-convulsing seismic changes to humanity, and zipping back out in the blink of an eye - is corny beyond belief.

I know that this is only a nitpick, but since when did Yale manufacture a line of TARDIS keys?

So, altogether, I have to conclude that this episode is an average one. It has its moments, and when those moments arrive they are marvellous. Yet they're only transitory, and are painted against a tedious backdrop. The trailer for "Father's Day" looked mightily impressive - but it's a cause for worry when the seconds-long snippets for a forthcoming episode provoke your interest more than the preceding complete one...

Filters: Series 1/27 Ninth Doctor Television

I love the new series of Doctor Who. It is exciting, occasionally scary, funny, romantic, cheesey, but above all else fun. At last, we have a television series that people actually like and enjoy. With ratings justifying a second series, and rival networks competition failing in their battle to rule Saturday nights, every Saturday the tension is almost unbearable as I sit with some friends awaiting the Doctor's latest adventures.

It was with a massive disappointment, then, that 'The Long Game' seemed to be a real downturn in the programme's ambitious scope. Whilst I applaud Mr Davies for helping to resurrect the series, I find that his latest script suffered from acute 'sameness' from two recent storylines. Basically, he has said that Doctor Who can go anywhere and anytime - truly, the basis behind the programme. Yet, the journey with the wonderful Rose and annoying Adam was simply too similar to previous outings. So... where to begin?

First: A giant space station revolving around the earth. Whilst the special effects were marvelous, wasn't the viewing platform which showed the 'magnificence' of the planet the same one as in The End of the World? Far too similar in concept and design to be an error on someone's part? Or was it just a 'running out of concept sketch ideas' for this? Mmm...

Secondly: The whole end concept - 'The End of the World' and 'World War Three' concerned the ruling of the planet/selling of the planet FOR ECONOMIC GAIN. Which is exactly what seemed to be the point of 'The Long Game'. Whilst it is nice to see that journalism and the journalistic empires of media barons can be attributed to being callous, manipulative and harmful, the fact that the ruling or governing of the planet was all part of some banker's get-rich-quick scheme seems to indicate that this story, as well as having similar thematic elements as those listed above, was too stuck in a certain period of actual-history i.e. the 1980s. Admittedly, Mr Davies has said that his story was a re-hash of an earlier story submitted to the then-production office during the Murdoch empire-building years. Yet it is stale for modern audiences. If, for example, the story had been set on earth during the eighties, still with the monster etc (although various elemts would have to be 'tweaked' to become contextually real rather than fantastical) then a direct critique against the power of television could have been made (a forgotten example of media manipulation is John Carpenter's 'They Live' which although short on many a dramatic situation, useds the idea of media manipulation adroitly). It just did not seem to have a decent enough 'hook' to justify the entire story. I know that 45 minutes is a short time to develop an entire story, but it can be done. However, this story seemed incredibly rushed both in execution and storytelling. For example, the Doctor and co immediately get taken to the television chamber where Cathica 'plugs' herself into the network. What happened to the plot exposition scene which shows how the Doctor et al got there? Poor, poor storytelling. It's okay to suspend disbelief, but let's have some credibility in there somewhere, if only from a directorial point of view. And talking of poor directorial abilities...

THIRDLY: Whilst 'Dalek' and 'World War Three' were given a sense of a director in charge of his material, 'The Long Game' seemed to be sadly lacking in most instances. For example, when the Doctor, Rose and Adam first step into the space station, the resultant imagery is so jumbled (yes, I suppose the space station is overcrowded) that any sense of 'place' is actually dissipated. By using a rapid-editing style, the audience is fed the message that the place is bustling. Yet, I cannot believe this at all. Perhaps if a better image of, say, a high-shot looking down at crowds of (CGI crowds of) people had been used then this would give a better example of 'a crowd'. If one takes the end scene of 'The End of the World' in juxtaposition to this, which sees Rose wanting a bag of chips (mmm... chips!) then a simple two-shot of the Doctor and Rose walking through a crowded street is done simply and economically, with no hint of directorial 'fussiness', which is unlike the similar opening scenes of Saturday's episode. Admittedly, there were some nice directorial sweeps - the finding of the dead body in that freezing ante-chamber stands out as simple yet effective, rather than fussy and rushed; yet, the whole directorial tone was steadfastly uncontrolled unlike say, 'Dalek' which was a high-point in the series so far.

Fourthly: Characterisation. I love Rose's character; witty, funny, spunky and a 'real' companion for once, which throughout the series has only ever happened twice before with Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright. Rose is meant to help and guide us through the adventures. The character does this with style. The Doctor? Well, I like the fact that he's nasty and irritable, fun and adventurous, chivalrous and romantic, morose and manic - a good melding of previous incarnations. It seems to me, however, that Mr Davies has turned these two into Mrs Peel and John Steed of 'The Avengers'. The last scene of 'The Long Game' is testament to this (as well as the red and black outfit worn by Ms Piper which suits the iconic status of the similarly-garbed Diana Rigg in various episodes of the said 'The Avengers'). For example, with Adam (thankfully) booted out of the way, the Doctor sais that he will only accept the best of companions in the TARDIS. Therefore, a friendship akin to Steed and Mrs Peel has grown between the two characters, and for this, Mr Davies is to be applauded. Yet, in this story, every character was either under-used or badly written/performed for. Why was an actress like Tamsin Greig only allowed two rather ineffectual scenes? She had all the aura of becoming a sinister character, yet this was not followed through. Adam? Badly written, poorly performed and exhibiting all the hallmarks of an Adric. Thank goodness he was gotten rid of. Yes, I know that Mr Davies has said that he wanted Adam to show the good and evil in everyone, but the part was so underwritten, that unlike say Turlough who had the ability of a long-ish run of stories to stand him in good stead for developmental purposes, or Grace from the telemovie, who became instantly likeable with a backstory to create empathy towards, this character of Adam had all the hallmarks of something not properly thought out. I can't say it's a shame, because I thought that Mr Langley's acting style was not particularly good, compared to Ms Piper or Mr Eccleston's. And what a waste of Simon Pegg - so obviously a great choice for the Master. Whilst obviously relishing the part of the Editor, it seems that again, his role was underwritten. Yes, I know that 45 minutes is difficult to get information across, but why 'waste' such a good actor and a well-known one at that in a role that demanded more screen time, rather than concentrating on the Cathica and Suki characters who were bland to the point of inconsequentiality? A shame.

I suppose that there would be downpoints in every Doctor Who season. It's such a shame that this story, which had some nice touches, has come off the back of 'Dalek' which was the highpoint of the series thus far. Whilst some parts of 'The Long Game' were genuinely nice and enjoyable, I get the feeling that perhaps Mr Davies has taken on the mantle of 'saviour of Doctor Who' a bit too far and is relishing his job or 'aura' more than actually concentrating on the drama that has made the programme fantastic. Whilst Mr Gatiss and Mr Shearman have made 'complete' narratives, with beginnings middles and ends, it would appear that whereas Mr Davies has created two great characters in the Doctor and Rose, giving them lovely touches of back stories and great emotional dialogue, his actual storytelling skills have let him down. That's not to say that his stories are unenjoyable, far from it. It's just that with him being the guiding force behind the programme, perhaps writing six or so of this seasons stories was simply too much for him. With him only writing five of next years stories, then this must surely be a blessing for the programme, for without good storytelling, which he seems to strive for yet not quite attain, then the programme may collapse inwards into self-referential twaddle which it is on the brink of doing now. Whilst I applaud Mr Davies for helping (and I stress helping) the show into the new televisual age, perhaps he should now concentrate on good storytelling or executive producing - for to do the two jobs simultaneously would surely be to the detriment of the programme. And that is something no fan wants.

Filters: Series 1/27 Ninth Doctor Television

Well, that was kinda different.

This was another first for TV Doctor Who -- an example of how sometimes, the Doctor might up and pick up someone who is NOT cut out to travel in the TARDIS.

Adam, who you might remember survived the events of the Van Statten Complex last episode in "Dalek," has well, how to put this? Turned out to be a bit of a dipshit. Unlike Rose, who took everything that she's seen so far with a sense of amazement and childlike wonder, Adam was taken to one era (The Fourth Human Empire) and tried to capitalize on it in his own time, by first not only using the cell phone the Doctor gave Rose to call his house and relay future history to his voicemail; but then up and goes and gets a tactical neural implant. And not just ANY implant -- the kind that opens a door on your forehead, revealing your brain, and capable of receiving a compressed information stream, which Adam then tries to call home and record.

So, yeah, abusing not only the Doctor's tech, but trying to bring far future tech into our century? Never a good idea. And the Doctor realizes his mistake, and for the first time ever, merely dumps the fool off at home. Not that the Doctor seemed to mind too much, even before he mucked about -- there was definitely some jealousy there, with Adam around Rose. Hmmm, you don't think? ;-)

Oh yeah, and there was some story happening too, something about an information satellite having been corrupted by am alien parasite thingy, and with Shaun of the Dead in charge of things, and humanity in a cyberpunk/Blade Runner type future setting going backwards because of the parasite....

But you know, it was kinda secondary to the real story in the end -- that sometimes, schmucks come aboard the TARDIS too.

Filters: Series 1/27 Ninth Doctor Television

As an overseer and idea man- "editor in chief", if you will- Russell T. Davies has been a godsend for Doctor Who. But as a screenwriter, his work's seemed a bit flat, with The End of the World being the only one of his stories to date that comes anywhere near "classic" status. The Long Game continues this streak of mediocrity, although much like Rose and the Slitheen two-parter, there are fantastic elements that convince you the second coming of, say, The Caves of Androzani is right around the corner.

One of Davies stated goals for Who is that he wants to give the series a true emotional centre, something it's lacked for a good long while. Curiously enough, The Long Game is perhaps the least emotionally involving episode this season. Intellectually, I appreciated and admired Davies' biting commentary on the current stagnant state of Western civilization, but there was nothing in the episode that really made me want to rush out and change the world. It was only at the end that I really *felt* anything- namely, admiration for Cathica's selfless acts and pride at the Doctor's assault on Adam's selfishness. The rest of the time, I was distracted by the episode's similiarities to The End of the World- everything from the Doctor explaining the state of affairs on future Earth to a new companion while overlooking the planet from an observation window on a space station to the superphone call back home to the villain exploding due to excessive heat right down to the cameo by the Face of Boe reminded me of that far superior episode. RTD would've been wise to explicitly link the two episodes, similiar to The Ark in Space and Revenge of the Cybermen, perhaps with The Long Game taking place on Platform One in its infancy. It probably wouldn't've made the similiarities any less glaring, but it would, perhaps, make them more excusable.

In the plus column, Adam has gone from a character with potential to a fascinating possible new enemy for the Doctor. While I did enjoy Bruno Langley's performances as Adam and wished he'd stayed on a bit longer as a proper companion, I'm glad that he wasn't killed off and that he has an interesting new status quo- the companion gone bad with (potential) access to all the information in the world. Also, Anna Maxwell-Martin was very, very easy on the eyes and lovably perky. In some ways, she reminded me of Jewel Staite from Firefly/Serenity, and it's a shame her character was killed off so quickly. And while Davies aforementioned attack on the rot that's set into American and British culture may not have been terribly subtle, it was brave, and certainly thought-provoking (I hasten to add that I don't think Blair and Bush are controlled by an enormous phallic ceiling-hanger from outer space, but hey- anything's possible!).

Rusell T. Davies deserves all the accolades in the world for getting the BBC to bring back Doctor Who, and honestly, I hope he sticks around for a few years to guide the show. But for season two, I sincerely hope he cuts back on his writing duties. His scripts have been serviceable, but rarely above, and I'm beginning to see a "sameness" creep into them. A wider range of writers would very much help the series stay fresh and diverse.

Filters: Series 1/27 Ninth Doctor Television

First of all let me say to one of the other reviewers Paul Clarke, mate you should put your name down to produce the series, because I agree with you 100%. RTD is ruining Dr Who to the point where I think overtime the series will lose ratings in the same fashion that Star Trek Enterprise did, because the stories are shallow, lacking depth, and lacking that sense of realism.

I am really disappointed in how the new series is going, I thought that RTD being a loyal fan of the series would have stayed true to the original, but he has done exactly the opposite. I love Rose, she is played brilliantly by Billie Piper, and the Doctor is ok but I do feel that he is very violent at times, makes quick judgements, and abuses people who don't know as much as him. This is probably why I loved Dalek so much, because the Doctor finally found his equal, the Dalek.

There was only one thing I liked about the Long Game, and that was Simon Pegg, he was absolutely brilliant, and he would have made and awesome Master! Speaking of which if they could find a way to bring back the Master that would be brilliant, if not then the Valeyard or the Rani would be great. As I mentioned before there just aren't anough ties with the original series. But this story was so shallow, you learn nothing useful about anything, the stories do just seem to concentrate on the relationship between the Doctor and Rose, which I have to say is actually quite sickening. The way he grabs her hand every time he runs off to solve the next part of the mystery.

This story is just so fake, and pathetic I don't know where to start, the only epsidoes I have loved, and I mean really loved are The Unquiet Dead, and Dalek, both of which are the only non RTD stories so far this season. Why can't he pick years which are a little more realistic 'the year 5 billion, the year 200 000', pick something a little more believable. I remember watching an interview with RTD saying that the old way of having two parters and four parters just doesn't suit the new series, but I beg to differ, even the non RTD stories lack some depth and would be brilliant if they were made into two parters, that's what Dr Who is all about, being left in suspense until next weeks episode.

I spose I should get back to the story. This story like the other RTD stories are very manufactured, and it seems that all RTD's writings including this one just seem to be mainly focused on the Dr's and Rose's relationship, whereas the other non RTD episodes developed their relationship with the story. Adam, to me, just seemed like a waste of space in this episode, RTD kind of made him like the other boyfriend, and the Dr was like the jealous boyfriend.

Sorry Russell, but if you continue going the way you are with the new series you are going to have to find yourself a new job, because writing, your writing, is pathetic, and the only reason why people are watching the new series is because Dr Who has a new generation of fans out there aswell as many old fans like myself who have been so anxious to see a new series. Dr Who is the best concept of any sci fi I have ever seen and with every episode you are writing you are destroying a legend. You are turning the Doctor into everything he is not. The RTD episode seem more like fantasy than science fiction, and this time war keeps being mentioned as if it is an excuse to get rid of all the old characters from the original series, I do hope that we one day get to see this time war , and get it reslved finally. What I think would work well with the new series would be a season long story much like what Enterprise did with the Xindi, and perhaps have it deal with the time war when we see the 8th Dr in the middle of the time war, and have the 9th or 10th Doctor there somewhere aswell.

The new series just lacks depth and realism, and this episode is very representative of that, no wonder the yanks haven't bought the rights, they like sci fi that they can believe, and this is just rubbish.

RTD stick to Queer as Folk.

Filters: Series 1/27 Ninth Doctor Television

In my book, the true mark of a great TV series is how good or bad it’s “normal” episodes are. By that I mean an episode that doesn’t have some big event or special status that will grab attention by itself. It can be argued that “The Long Game” is the first episode of the new series that hasn’t got an inbuilt hook like that, and that’s why I was more delighted than usual to find myself enjoying it so much.

In fact, the only thing I can say I didn’t care for much (apart from the odd lick of Murray Gold music, which in general was a bit better this week) was the look and design of Floor 139. We never seemed to get a proper wide shot of it, and I suspect it’s because they knew it wasn’t looking too good. This has the smell of an episode which had to save money after some other ones had blown their budgets, and where this seemed most obvious was on Floor 139, where it’s all tight shots and all humans and really nothing much more than a shabby looking shopping mall food court.

The other floors, while still done economically, came across rather better, especially Floor 500 with all that frost and populated by real dead and living dead people, all with their own sheen of frost. That looked genuinely creepy… like a lesson was learned from “The Tomb of the Cybermen,” where it wasn’t so much that the tombs were full of Cybermen that was creepy but that little extra touch of there being frost on the Cyber Controller’s head (which he doesn’t notice or care about) when he wakes up. That helped to stress his inhumanity, and it does the same job here with the zombies that the Editor oversees.

Ah yes, the Editor. His frosty hair and eyebrows help to compliment a very solid performance by guest star Simon Pegg. He hit exactly the right note between a man who is in charge of everything and knows it and yet hasn’t seemed to let that go too far to his head as he isn’t ranting and raving, nor is he so full of himself that he can’t admit the possibility of his own error. An example of this is after the bit where he’s discovered and dealt with Suki the anarchist and only then spots the Doctor getting up to no good, when he keeps questioning his computer about how the Doctor and Rose can be “no one.” Though he keeps doubting what he’s being told, never once does Pegg do that standard cliché villain thing of getting angry with the people that are giving him these answers… he just keeps asking questions in a manner that suggests he’s not closed his mind to the possibility that what he’s being told can be true after all. In fact, he tells us later on that it’s fascinating not to know something for once.

In fact, I liked the whole set-up in general… Satellite Five and its vertical structure (even if we did see this same sort of thing as recently as episode 2, complete with heating problems)… its function as the news distribution center for the entire Earth empire… the way the news gets packaged by “journalists” who don’t actually do any field reporting but rather just compile and pass along what others tell them (very like how most news agencies do it nowadays… just look at how many Google news entries on a given day are word-for-word the same story as each other)… the casual attitude people have to getting brain implants to get them ahead in their job… how they’re so driven to get a promotion that they put up with never leaving the floor they’re on in the satellite, etc. It felt like a bit of a cross between a good “Farscape” standalone episode and the point behind “Max Headroom” (the media satire), only without so many main characters to juggle (and thus a clearer, cleaner story).

Ah yes, the main characters, temporarily increased to three for this week’s episode. I’ll start with number three, Adam, who becomes the first “companion” that the Doctor throws out of the TARDIS because he wanted to throw him out. Actually, I consider him to be more of Rose’s companion than the Doctor’s, since it was her who wanted him along in the first place and who gets to show off where they’ve landed (with the Doctor’s help) and pass along her cell phone and her TARDIS key to Adam. And this may lead into something in the ongoing story arc which I quite like, where if you stop and think about this, it’s as though the Doctor is here looking to see if Rose can function as himself, i.e. correctly selecting and training in a companion of her own. She seems to get it wrong with Adam since he lets his greed for knowledge get the better of him and winds up betraying the Doctor and Rose as a result, but Rose does seem to get this at the end, for although she tries to blunt the sharper edge of the Doctor’s tongue as he takes Adam home at the end, she joins in the joke of snapping her fingers to open up Adam’s implant, and doesn’t object to the idea of leaving him at home on Earth. Anyway, it’s my guess that with the Time Lords all gone, the Doctor may be looking at the idea of slowly building a new organization of people to take their place, and Rose might be his first recruit. Anyway, Adam was a false start at this, but someone Rose can learn from in who not to look for in future travelling companions.

Our two main supporting characters were very likeable as well. Christine Adams as Cathica was note perfect as the hungry-for-promotion corporate gal who nevertheless eventually sees what’s wrong and puts a stop to it. I was especially glad to see that she survived in the end, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she wound up running the place afterwards. Anna Maxwell-Martin was excellent too, and had a sort of Willow/Dark Willow thing going on where she was so sweet and girl-next-door-ish to start with, only to turn into a perfect soldier type later on when she confronts the Editor, and remains so even after death when she ensures he doesn’t get away. It’s just a shame the sound effects people gave her gun such a naff effect.

And finally there was the Jagrafess of Holy Something-Or-Other, the true power behind the throne that was using the media to stunt the Empire’s growth. We never found out why it was doing this, but from the way the Doctor talked about how the technology and the delay in human progress was “wrong,” I wonder if it wasn’t a time traveler itself or was perhaps working for some.. perhaps even the big Bad Wolf we keep hearing namechecked everywhere. Whatever its motives, it looked really rude and nasty (in a good way)… almost as much so as the real Rupert Murdoch. It’s fitting that it generates a whole lot of hot air and explodes when it has to put up with it itself.

And really finally I should mention Brian Grant’s direction, which I thought was marvelous (given what he had to work with set-wise), particularly the POV shots for the Jagrafess, the way he kept moving Simon Pegg in and around his set, and most especially his removal of that filter on the lens that’s been there in every other episode. It’s intended to help enhance the filmizing effect I think, but I much prefer the sharper image we get as a result of it not being there.

All in all then, a very solid adventure that I was a bit surprised to find myself liking so much. Let’s say… 7.5 out of 10.

Filters: Series 1/27 Ninth Doctor Television

Any episode following the superb Dalek was going to suffer from comparisons. Even so, The Long Game, was undoubtedly the weakest and most superficial episode of this series so far.

The opening scenes were very reminiscent of The End of The World, deliberately so to compare Rose’s reaction to time travel with Adam’s. But to set the episode in an almost identical setting (Platform One and Satellite Five not being the most original of names) seems to show a lack of imagination, both in the writing and the set design. Wouldn’t it have been better to set this episode on another planet or to show a futuristic version of Earth? Even the music was the same, as Satellite Five burst into life just like the arrival of the aliens on Platform One…

The Doctor and Rose didn’t really have much to do in this episode, concentrating as it did on Adam and the Editor. I understand this was deliberate to lessen the work load for Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper, but it made the episode rather dull. Adam’s plight was interesting in examining the way some people might not take to time travel, something which the original series took for granted. Bruno Langley’s performance was just on the right side of irritating, giving Adam some measure of sympathy. However that sympathy was ruined with an ending that was so smug and annoying, it was obviously going for the cheap laugh. It would have been far more effective from an emotional point of view, to have the Doctor leave Adam behind on Satellite Five as a consequence of his actions, not just return him home to his mum like a naughty little boy.

As for the Editor, I really didn’t buy Simon Pegg’s performance. It wasn’t really sinister enough and he appeared to be playing it for laughs too. The other guest characters didn’t really engage me at all, which is a shame as Russell T Davies has written some superb and very strong female characters in this series. Suki and Cath were rather one-dimensional characters, and although competently played by Christine Adams and Anna Maxwell Martin, they failed to engage any sympathy in the way that Jabe or Harriet Jones did in previous episodes. Tamsin Greig, another excellent actress was rather wasted as the Nurse, and actually managed to convey a clinical sort of menace which sadly wasn’t followed up in any way.

And did the costume designer have a day off? For the year 200 000, the characters looked more like they were from the year 2005 with the Editor’s smart suit and Suki’s flowery blouse. The Jagrafess of whatnot doodah was yet another CGI monster that looked great but did very little; he was simply there to roar, slobber and scare the kids. What was he doing there, why was he trying to suppress the human race? I know Russell said all will be revealed later in the series but that’s not really enough for a casual viewer.

I realise that the series can’t be fantastic every week but we really can’t afford to have dull runaround episodes like this. Not when he and other writers have raised the stakes emotionally and dramatically with episodes such as The End of The World, The Unquiet Dead and Dalek. I simply wasn’t gripped by The Long Game as I was with those episodes, which is a shame as the actual premise behind it was rather interesting. However the episode as a whole was a passable and rather forgettable romp, lightweight and in places, irritating. Sorry!

Filters: Series 1/27 Ninth Doctor Television

Quick!! Quick!! Quick
Pack it all in- be slick!
Go Go Go
Do not explain- too slow!

Why? Why? Why?
Did Dr Who land? – I cry.
Holes Holes Holes
This cullinder – own goals!

Who? Who? Who?
Ceiling monster – were you?
Past Past Past – lacking
So Lost in pace – whizzing!

Earth Earth Earth
Reality – Too much
Seen Seen Seen.
Marrs fantasy – spoils dream.

Two Two Two
Parter by rights – would do.
Brew Brew Brew
The plot with care – time flew!

Hiss Hiss Hiss
Happy villain – fright missed.
Served Served Served
Sole strength none – no verve!!

Set Set Set
Plastic door flaps – forget!
Spin Spin Spin
Station so real - revolvin’.

Joe Joe Joe
Average grade – good show.
Act Act Act
This man Chris can- Fact Fact!

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When I reviewed AOL, I said that I felt RTD was a very clever writer.... The Long Game supports my opinion totally. I have read some of the initial reviews on this site of this episode and I have to say I believe some them miss the point - completely.

The Long Game may not be the most Earth-shattering episode of Doctor Who but it serves it's purpose effectively with a storyline that DOES get you thinking. RTD is making a statement here, one that is very relevant to what is going on in our society. One only has to take a closer look at how "free" and "unbiased" media is fast becoming a thing of the past to see where he is coming from. The Murdochs of this world (and I here I hang my head in shame, for his "empire" was born in my city, Adelaide, South Australia) ensure that independant media is something we can no longer take for granted. The vast majority of what we read, what we see and how it is presented to us is is slanted very much toward a certain political ideology (and I wont use this review to wax lyrical on what I think about Rupert's conserative views). We must rely on our Government media outlets such as the BBC and here in Australia, the ABC for that "unbiased" point of vew that is crucial.... right off the soap box and on with The Long Game.

Some criticism has been written about how the episode looked. I do agree it looks somewhat plastic and cheap. But if one were to place this in the context of the story, then I feel the design is about right. The Doctor soon clocks that all is not what it seems. That it is all a little too good to be true, so with this in mind, does it not make sense that everything would look just that little bit too shiny, too false?

Simon Pegg's performance as the Editor was a brilliant. Just enough menace and black humour to not only believe he was a threat but to also relish his evilness. It was not overdone or hammy.

The regulars were in fine form. When I reviewed AOL I felt Eccleston's Doctor was at risk of becoming almost irrelevant - too much the fool. Since then, the greater complexities of this Doctor have been fleshed out. In Dalek, we saw the many layers of the last Timelord. The effect the time war has had on him. Eccleston's skill as an actor were clearly evident. In this episode I felt he had settled nicely into his performance and I sensed little touches of Hartnell and Baker (C) popping up now and then - reminding us that despite his youthful exterior, this was a well travelled Timelord who no longer suffers fools gladly. Billie Piper was once again in fine form, and I dont think I can add much more to what has already been said in other reviews. RTD obviosuly enjoys writing for Rose - it shows.

Bruno Langley's Adam is a less successful character. Im not so sure he is as capable an actor as our time travelling duo. I went back and watched his performance in Dalek and noted in some early scenes with Billie Piper he was not very believable. Where was the boy genius? He lacked the depth that Mark Strickson played with ease as Turlough ( I wont use Matthew Waterhouse as a comparison in anyway here, as I believe Mark Strickson's Turlough is a more suitable character to use). Turlough was played with just the right complexity that you were compelled to follow his misadventures as he grappled with the Black Guardian. Adam seems to just fumble about, I couldnt see the cogs in his head turning (something the actor has a responsibility in showing!) to make me believe he was either a genius or someone whom I wanted to follow and see what he was about to get himself into.

For me there isnt too much to gripe about. The episode is consistant with the vision of the production team and fits nicely into the season thus far. If there is one thing that let it down it was the character of Adam.... which it would seem (for now atleast) is no longer something to worry about! It was well paced and generally well acted. I cant see how any ardent fan or your general audience member would not enjoy it - if one looks at the dross on television these days (Celebrity Wrestling...? dear oh dear!) we shoud not have much to complain about with The Long Game.

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Given the speculation over the media's effect on the election campaign, 'The Long Game''s subject of media manipulation is pretty topical. It's been done before, though (notably by another long-lived franchise in 'Tomorrow Never Dies'), and I didn't feel this treatment brought much insight. Little about the newsgathering technology made much sense (why process the news in a human brain rather than a computer? what are the subsidiary people for? why bother with an external datastream?). As the secret of Level 500 is revealed to the viewer early on, the episode lacked tension, and the CGI Exercise, whoops the Guaranteed-Easy-To-Kill* Alien of the Week, had a refreshingly bland World Domination motivation. (*It's beginning to remind me of that infamous 'Blake's 7' episode 'Sand'.)

Like the main plot, the B-plot toyed with an interesting idea -- the ethics of time travel -- without exploring it in enough depth. Bruno Langley as the teen genius Adam acquired in 'Dalek' never had much oomph, and I'm not particularly sad to see the back of him.

After the heavy investment in the relationship between Rose & the Doctor in previous episodes, I was disappointed that there was no fallout from the events of 'Dalek'. Indeed, neither had much to do here, beyond holding hands in the lift.

All in all, 'The Long Game' had a distinct lack of sparkle. The sets felt very 70s DW, and not in a good way: I wondered if they'd spent all their budget on twelve episodes, and had to squeeze this one in on the tea money. The satellite setting in a far-future Earth empire was over-reminiscent of 'The End of the World', which only highlighted 'The Long Game''s relative poverty.

We're more than halfway through the new season now, and some worrying glitches are emerging. I commented earlier on the upbeat pacing, cutting straight to the action & avoiding all those exposition scenes on the Tardis. The downside is that I'm beginning to miss the grounding effect of the Tardis interior -- like the Liberator flightdeck or the Buffy library it's central to the show, even if scenes there tend to be workaday. The focus on Earth in all the episodes so far is rational given the foregrounding of Rose, yet I'm beginning to doubt the assertion that the new Tardis can travel in space as well as time.

Last week's 'Dalek' set a high standard, and 'The Long Game' just didn't deliver.

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So, what did I like about The Long Game?

It was nice to see the (pregnant!) Face of Boe. The way Adam was 'seduced' by the creepy/sexy/maternal nurse into having the implant was believable - the temptation and eventual submission were well portrayed, and I found myself thinking, "Yes, Adam is wrong, but in his place, I'd be sorely tempted."

The editor was exactly the kind of man who will serve an unjust ruler loyally, and take sadistic pleasure in the power this gives him, but will ditch his master without a moment's hesitation when the game is up.

It's true the editor was played as a comedy villain, but I thought Simon Pegg's somewhat pantomime performance didn't reduce the character to a stock meglomaniac. He's not evil, he's not insane, he's an ordinary, everyday bastard, just like your boss. It pains me to say it, but to me the editor felt a lot more real as a person than Davros ever did.

As for what I didn't like...The sets and costumes looked like they were trying to do Blade Runner on the cheap. I'm sorry, but adding smoke and garish colour scheme to burgervans and background characters with punky hair does not look futuristic. It looks like 'futuristic' looked in 1981.

The Doctor has gone from being annoyingly enthusiastic with a big cheesy grin, to being impatient, judgemental, and inconsiderate of everyone except Rose. Why does he almost simper over Rose while being unfair and hostile to Adam (and indeed Mickey). This isn't a love story, and as RTD knows perfectly well, the doctor has never had a sexuality. At least, not the kind that ordinary humans have.

The dead Suki grabbing the editor's foot as he tried to make a run for it. The way the Doctor estimated the duration of technological retardation to a year's accuracy - progress just doesn't work like that! Yet another 'bad wolf' reference. All these things annoyed in small ways.

More than all that, the question I came away asking was not "How did the big monster on the ceiling get there?" It was "Why is Adam in the script at all?"

Perhaps this is just RTD playing games with audiance expectations - introducing a new companion, then instead of having the doctor travel with them for a while, dump them immidiately. So the whole point of introducing Adam was to surprise us by dropping him. This is the kind of pseudo-interesting idea beloved of students on Media Studies couses - and yes, I was one of those a long time ago.

Besides, hasn't it already been done? Wasn't there a female companion introduced in the Hartnall era who was killed in the next adventure?

Maybe Adam is there to keep the gay male viewers entertained. Whereas once there was Louise Jameson's bikini to keep the dads watching, we now have the cute gay boy from that soap opera. Written by gay blokes, watched by more gay blokes, and played by a straight one.

No. I don't think the reason is as vaccuous as that. I think the only reason to give Adam half the plot of an episode, and leave him in schtuck back on earth, is to reintroduce him later. Give us a companion, make us care about him by giving him a sympathetic subplot and lots of screen time, drop him in a dangerous situation ("They'll dissect you in seconds"), leave him - and us - to stew and worry for a few weeks, then bring him back. We'd be pleased to see the familiar face, a dangling plotline gets resolved, and we get to see him saved and redeemed. The doctor admits he behaved like a judgemental arsehole (which he did - very strange characterisation), and lets Adam back on the TARDIS. We'll see, I suppose.

The satire in New Who is welcome. But the problem is, it's just so patronising. In World War Three we had "Massive Weapons of Destruction, capable of being launched in 45 seconds". This is a good throwaway line - it makes it's point, brings a smile of recognition, and doesn't bog the action down by being long or didactic. But then the line got repeated by Andrew Marr. And then again by a TV presenter. It's like RTD assumes we're too slow to 'get' the joke first time. The point is laboured further when Harriet(?) asks something like "Will people believe it, just because it's on television?" and Rose replys, "It worked last time".

Having 'done' the war, we now get Immigration 'tackled' in The Long Game. What the editor says is substantially correct, "A word in the right place, repeated often enough...Create a climate of fear, and it's easy to keep the borders closed". Cathica's vague, puzzled justification for the lack of aliens, about "all the threats", none of which she can specifically remember, is absolutely in keeping with the easily manipulated public who like to think they're well informed and liberal.

Politics is nothing new to Doctor Who. The Masque of Mandragora and The Curse of Peladon were concerned with social manipulation through religion. Full Circle and The Sun Makers used notions of economic class. And so on. The political content is less intrusive in The Long Game than in World War Three - perhaps because it's more integral to the plot - but I still feel like I'm being lectured on basic media theory by a well meaning but finger-wagging teacher.

The Long Game wasn't actually bad. It was just uninteresting. I think we're entitled to more from Doctor Who.

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It was always going to be tough following an episode like ‘Dalek’ but it would appear RTD didn’t really try and instead recycled a rejected script from series 24.

The Tardis materializes in the distant future, on a space station orbiting the Earth at the height of its Fourth Empire. The series is once again let down by dull, lifeless sets, unimaginative costume design and in the year 200,000 we can still be expecting to eat fast food courtesy of ‘kronck’ burgers. If it had been set in the year 2020 I would have struggled to accept this as the future but 200,000, please…

The story and plot are paper thin, a scary monster attaches itself to the ceiling of a satellite (why the ceiling? – less CGI – saves the purse strings) but don’t worry, turn the heating up and he’ll explode. The End.

The one redeeming factor with this episode has to be Simon Pegg, who despite some seriously dodgy dialogue manages to pull off one of the best performances of the series, so far.

A few people seem upset/shocked with the sudden removal of Adam from the Tardis but I think they’re missing the big picture here. Adam has been returned to Earth with a computer in his head for a very good reason and I expect him to return in series two with a very large axe to grind with the Doctor.

I have enjoyed the series so far but have to agree with the general opinion that the stronger stories are those not written by RTD. He has definitely got the length right, 45 minute self contained stories seem to be the way forward. Imagine having to sit through another three episodes of ‘The Long Game’.

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I wasn't going to submit a review of this epieosde. Earlier today I read through the first few reviews that had been submitted, and was shocked to see so many people coming out to say "oh! Russel T. Davies is a good chap really." I was apalled!

I've seen for a few weeks now a simple problem with the new series, and simply put it's Davies' scripts. The two non-Davies scripts so far, Unquiet Dead and Dalek have been hailed all round as the finest two episodes so far. Please please Davies and BBC take the hint.

So what's wrong with Russel T. Davies' scripts anyway? (and what does the T stand for? Is that like the T. in James T. Kirk??) The problem is a simple lack of any depth or substance. The Unquiet Dead and Dalek both have something in common that no other episode so far has. This is that they took a simple premise and didn't try and either over-complicate it, or do too much with it.

Davies' scripts have so far translated almost as cartoons, parodies of what an episode should be. It's like Little Britain Sci-Fi sometimes.

I didn't really enjoy this episode simply as he was trying to so much with it that there was no depth. I would like him to have completely dropped the Adam story. If you were going to include a parable about "why it's wrong to change history", then I think that'll come about in the next story, and is indeed the entire basis for it.

We didn't find out anything about why the journalists were apparently so unwilling to ask questions. We didn't delve at all into the character of the Editor. Pegg was magnificent. Eccleston and Piper are playing off each-other so well now, that they'll be completing each other's sentences in a couple of weeks.

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Tons of suspense. When that young woman got "promoted" and the bodies popping out - chills!

Great satire too. (Jagrafess should've been called "Murd" not "Max"!)

The "ho hum" previews by Ceefax and Radio Times were wrong. The only thing they made sound promising was the Jagrafess ("send the tots to bed", "Gerald Scarfe nightmare" etc)... but the story turned out great (the Jagrafess design, less so. Bit bland).

Everything was the opposite of what I expected - the story being good and suspenseful, the Jagrafess a bit disappointing. Nice idea calling him Max though (obviously a Robert Maxwell media emperor reference - lucky they didn't call him Murd!)

This could have been a McCoy era concept - and if the McCoy era had had the deft and experienced writing and direction of this, it would've worked.

The Face of Boe thing was a bit daft but fun. The psychic paper is going to make the doctor as invincible as the all-purpose sonic screwdriver (which has more functions now than it ever did in the Classic Series).

Perfectly paced, wonderfully acted (especially by Pegg, predictably) with three (count 'em!) excellent female roles (the Nurse and the two journalists) four if you count Rose.

Some superb dialogue, wonderful use of colour.

And anyone who says Adric is annoying, he's nothing compared to Adam. Think yourselves lucky!

Two things I didn't understand: the title (what Long Game?) and Rose saying Adam was her boyfriend. This was clearly his first trip, so exactly what had they been up to in the TARDIS -- spooning?

All in all, a tight little story and a nice breather after the grimness of last week.

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The TARDIS makes its first random landing since 1983. And despite an apparent lack of enthusiasm in the media, the resultant adventure is an unqualified success.

The Long Game owes much to RTD's previous stand-alone episode, The End Of The World. The jolly music that has irritated so many fans (and delighted this one) is present; there's a breathtaking panoramic view of Earth for the Doctor to explain the setting against; a companion makes a phone call back home; and The Face Of Boe shows up for another irrelevant cameo. But this time, the absence of bizarre aliens is relevant to the plot, and it's the Doctor doing the sabotage, not this week's villain.

New companion Adam gets a bit of a raw deal from his fellow travellers, as he is teased for his all-too evident lack of suitability to life aboard the TARDIS. This might have made for an interesting dynamic aboard the TARDIS, but Adam is given his own plot strand for the majority of the episode, and is written out of the show at the end. A pity, perhaps, but given his part in the story's climax, it's hard to imagine this Doctor acting in any other way. Peter Davison he ain't.

If the children who were so scared by The Unquiet Dead's zombies were still watching The Long Game, it's almost certain that the creepy music and frozen corpses of this episode will have the same effect. The effects here are on a par with the top end of the horror genre, and the Jagrafess, whilst a little unconvincing round the edges, is an original, scary and mostly well-realised creation. The biggest triumphs on the CGI front, however, have to be the holes in the guest cast's foreheads...

Despite plot and theme similarities with The Krotons (aliens promoting humans to a place from which they never return) and Vengeance On Varos (a population controlled through the television broadcasts), this story is far more tightly written than either of those serials or the aforementioned The End Of The World, and should dispel the myth that RTD is the least able writer of the current series. The story is well-acted by all, and in particular, Simon Pegg is a joy to behold as The Editor, and he seems to relish every line he's given. Well, except that one.

Niggles are few. The sets - especially on Floor 139 - look somewhat unrealistic, and there's a lack of sparkling wit, or even quotable dialogue. Once again, it's up to a member of the guest cast to save the day. And why exactly is it called "The Long Game"?

Nevertheless, if this is the series at its most "ho-hum" (as one preview put it), the remaining six episodes promise to be something very special indeed.


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Alanis Morisette are you out there? If so how do you like this for a definition of irony: - A public service broadcaster revives a forty year old television program which, against all the odds, proves a popular move with the Rupert Murdoch owned Sun newspaper, DVDs and merchandise are imminent. One of the episodes of said revived TV show is implicitly about the power of the media and subliminal messages, the result being a intellectual stagnation. Meanwhile on Independent Television channel 1 (ITV1) Chesney Hawkes has just won 'Hit Me Baby One More Time' this is followed by minor celebs making TV comebacks by performing in gladiatorial combat reminiscent of the Roman (human?) empire. I need a piece of paper to work out if this episode is a poor man's 1984, a BBC lead charge against 'I'm a Celebrity...' (but somehow not Strictly Dance Fever) or sombody taking the Mickey. My confusion is not helped by Dr Who Confidential talking about Simon Pegg like HE is the second coming.

Taking this one at face value it had filler written all over it, not that that makes it poor, it was just a bit of a mixed bag. So, what was right, the special effects were on form, Simon Pegg was suitably enjoying himself, although not the Alan Rickman/Sheriff of Nottingham he was made out to be, the sets were great and the script wasn't lacking, embarrassing or silly? Which for me has been a recurring flaw this season. The final scene was like one of the more memorable episodes of the twilight zone, with a grange hillesque wearing clothes in the swimming pool mix of scary, self implicating and also funny and was a refreshing alternativ to the TARDIS dematerialisations were getting used to. I also enjoyed the banter between the Doctor and Rose their relationship being suitably ambiguous to those within, and outside, the diagesis.

So what was wrong? Well not much, more nitpicks than anything else, the year 200,000 seems a bit far in the future for suits to still be in fashion. For that matter the 'future' episodes being set in the year 5 billion and 200, 000 smacks a little of the school playground "lets play Dr Who, lets pretend its the year 50 gazillion, def it lets play conkers". Still its a minor quibble. I also felt that making the episode a crisis threatening all of humanity was a bit ambitious, after all its a bit difficult to contextualise a plan of that magnitude when you can't see its effect, or even the cause for that matter. I also didn't really understand the Jagrophess's plan or how it would make a profit. Like TEOTW, AOL/WW3 the real villain was money which, frankly, is wearing a little thin. Like a bad episode of The Next Generation the moral is plain to see and I prefer my ethical musings to reside in the shades of grey, like a good episode of Deep Space Nine, or Dalek for that matter. I wasn't sure if Adam had had a personality transplant or if his story was a clever cautionary tail? The face of Boe must be a fellow time-traveller or a creature of extraordinary long life, but again intra-series continuity is nice to see.

Overall I enjoyed it but I didn't feel compelled to watch it again on Sunday, Dr Who confidential provided a worrying insight though, Davies seemed to imply that this episode was part of the/a story arc, this completely passed me by and I had no unresolved questions (that I didn't think were attributable to flaws in the script the script) by the episode's end, perhaps all will be revealed and the episode will improve when placed in context? The real twist ending is that despite any criticisms I've made out of all 7 episodes which have aired I'd probably place this one third behing Dalek and TUD in order of preference. I can't decide if that says something good about this episode, something bad about the overall series quality or is a manifestation of my own intellectual stagnation following too much crap telly, wouldn't that be ironic?

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From the outset I must admit that I came to the end of "Dalek" thinking that the following week's episode had a near-impossible task in topping the return of our "pepperpot" friend, however I did expect rather better than we got.

First things first. It seems to be integral to the new series that the Ninth Doctor is not the saviour in all situations that his predecessors tended to be. As has been pointed out, he has only really saved the day in "The End of the World", and in "The Long Game" both the Doctor and Rose seem to be merely bystanders. I am not suggesting that the Doctor SHOULD always be Superman in a police box, but I feel he should provide the answer more than he does thus far, otherwise he comes across as somewhat impotent, possibly even too human...

Unfortunately Satellite Five does look suspiciously like the platform in "The End of the World", and causing the Jagrafess to overheat and explode was exactly how Cassandra was vanquished. It does suggest a certain famine of imagination on RTD's part.

I wasn't at all sorry to see the back of Bruno Langley's Adam, more as I find him irritating than that his crime deserved the punishment it received. The latter was far too ruthless on the part of the Ninth Doctor, I felt, and seemed to be motivated by jealousy over Rose more than anything else. Tom Baker's Doctor and Sarah Jane were close, but you can't imagine him doing the same to Harry Sullivan as Ecclestone behaves here. One could argue he ultimately showed more sympathy for the Dalek.

Perhaps I am being over-harsh, but I found little in this episode from three viewings to make me think other than that it is the weakest of the series so far. Simon Pegg's Editor was predictably excellent and stole the show, and I found myself hoping he would survive to fight another day. Tamsin Greig also shone as the Nurse, gently comic but clearly motivated by money rather than patient care.

In fairness "The Long Game" was weak in comparison with an otherwise fine series so far, and it did keep me watching, disappointed as I was in the end. Next week's episode, however, looks a cracker...

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Is it RTD's secret wish to rename the show Doctor Rose? If RTD was so obsessed with needlessly infusing New Who with just a hint of Buffy (a deplorably stupid programme in my opinion anyway), and have the series give a nod to Girl Power, why didn't he go the full hog and have a female Doctor? God, and to think some of us used to tire of the serial emphasis on Ace in the McCoy era! At least, to be frank, she was a more interesting and troubled character than Rose is, especially in the latter part of Season 26, and though at times Sophie Aldred's mock-cockney vernacular could be grating to say the least, at her best she was truly engaging and had a more natural attractiveness about her than the heavily made-up, paroxide blond Rose. (A female friend of mine, new to Who, recently commented that she thought the series looked quite good, but was put off by the cliche of having a blond, Buffy-style girl in one of the main roles!) If the Doctor was to get infatuated with one of his female companions couldn't it at least have been one more enigmatic and genuinely attractive such as Tegan, who at least had some grit and charisma about her? I don't say much for the Doctor's taste to be honest. Yes, Ms Piper can act, so what? That doesn't in turn make her character any more interesting does it? The character of Rose is quite mediocre because although Piper infuses it with some energy and believability, the basis/background for/of the character just isn't very interesting. I would have preferred a grittier, more cynical kid from the council estates as a companion. In my opinion, excepting Sarah, Romana, Tegan, Turlough and Ace, most companions have been traditionally irritating and superfluous anyway, and while Rose is certainly one of the more fleshed-out of companions, to me she is increasingly irritating, especially in the general air of smugness which she shares with her Timelord travelling companion in The Long Game, much to the detriment of TARDIS Temp Adam, who at least has a vaguely distracting curiosity and ambiguity about him (reminiscent of Adric's and Turlough's disobedience in various Davison stories), only to be swiftly deposited by the Time-Travelling New Avengers (perhaps Eccleston should start donning a bowler hat and umbrella?) in the rather pathetic and implausible denouement of this weird and scrambled episode. The Ninth Doctor is an elitist, even a Social Darwinian (like the villains of Season 26); previous incarnations, especially the Fifth Doctor (as evidence in his retaining an obviously treacherous Turlough in his TARDIS crew in Season 20), would have kept Adam on board precisely because of his suspect character - this Doctor dumps him back home because he threatens to upstage his more superficially appealing sidekick. Plus, apparently, and unforgiveably, he appears to fancy her. This is all rather absurd and I predict potentially detrimental to the series in the long run. What's the point of building up such an over-written and over-emphasized rapport between Eccleston and Piper when he's going to change into David Tennant in a few months anyway? Or is this superfluous and highly intrusive thread to RTD's New Who going to be stretched out into the Tenth incarnation? I sincerely hope not.

After the virtually immaculate Dalek, and the best performance so far of Eccleston as the Doctor (bar a couple of clumsy scenes which portrayed him as a gung-ho assassin), RTD brings the Ninth Doctor's characterisation back down to base level with a thump! We're back to the self-consciously emphasized 'working class blokeishness' of Eccleston's other RTD-episode portrayals, with plenty of 'Oi you' and 'tough''s and even a 'grub' or two. There's nothing really wrong with a Doctor sporting a regional accent as long as articulation isn't compromised, which it is sometimes with Eccleston's Doctor (though not as much and as gratingly as with Rose with her constant and equally self-conscious t-dropping), but why the constant use of bloke-ish vernacular and expressions? All class issues put aside, this just isn't right for the Doctor I'm afraid. It just doesn't convince; it just doesn't work; it just detracts from the character and grounds him far too much in present day Earth, or rather, Salford. I would be one of the first to say it is a welcome social wake up call to the complacent middle-classness of classic Who to have a more obviously 'ordinary', more casually spoken incarnation - but you don't need to take it to the absolute extreme from the RP Doctors 1-6 do you? McCoy's Doctor had the right balance of approach: more casually spoken, with a hint of regional accent (rolling R's etc.), but still essentially lifted in manner and (on occasions) gravitas of verbal command and vocabulary than the average parochial drawl of the apolitical man on the street who mistakenly thinks it is socially progressive to drop your t's. Apart from anything else, in the same way that the so-called BBC English/classless accent makes it hard to pin down where someone has come from in English real life, I feel the RP of previous Doctors translated onto screen in a similar way, adding to the alienness of the character in that on a sort of metaphoric level it emphasized how his own special categorisation was hard to pin down. This over-emphasized regional accent of Eccleston's Doctor is all the more noticeable when surrounded by the received pronunciation of incidental characters - why not have everyone in Who, including the aliens, talking in Salford accents? Why just the Doctor? Of course his attire also needlessly gives even more emphasis to his bloke-ish persona. One can only assume when he had first regenerated from his 8th incarnation, the 9th Doctor must have releaved a paralytic bouncer of his clothes and steel-toecaps! The Doctor was not particularly likeable in this episode, and wasn't even particularly interesting either (Simon Pegg outshone him in a far more enigmatic performance, albeit a completely unsubstantiated one - what exactly was his motive? I suppose he was as much a slave as everyone else. Wow, what a profound message.) We had, as one reviewer has observed already, a manipulative Doctor giving Adam all the green lights to inevitably meddle with the future, only to smugly berate him for it at the end! Does he have a bit of an Old Testament God complex this 9th incarnation? He's very good at dangling the fruit of knowledge at people, encouraging them to 'throw themselves in' to time travel, only then to be judgmental and pompous by the end. What's the point? Or doesn't RTD ever redraft his scripts and spot all these inconsistencies and holes? Obviously not. We also had the Doctor threatening to beat up the Editor while - perhaps then justifiably - restrained; and he did seem very physically intimidating pushing Adam back into the TARDIS at the end. I thought he was going to shove his face up to him and holler 'Are you looking at me?'

The Long Game itself? Seemingly retro in realisation with a very 80s view of the future about it - the twist about human society being held back 90 years could have been much more convincing if, given the ludicrously ambitious year of 200,000 (RTD seems to suffer from an inverse parallel ailment to the equally though prematurely ambitious Arthur C Clarke with 2001; not to mention whoever invented Space 1999), if the society had been stalled at something like 900 years ago at the very least! Again it just doesn't hold up datewise as in End of the World. RTD might also stand for Relative Time Disorder! To hint at the retro aspect to this backward society, we have Suki (her other names were actually quite imaginative) dressed like an extra from The Good Life; not to mention a (nicely satirical) private healthcare system for non-emergencies, but does the satire backfire timewise here too as this seems very similar to how things are today in terms of NHS ethics.

What the hell was the Face of Boe doing a) in the year 200,000 when we have seen him in the year 5 Billion? Is his lifespan really that long? and b) doing being pregnant? Ok, he's an alien, maybe male Boes or whatever they are can have babies, that's probably perfectly possible, but that just leaves one other nagging question: How can a 'face' procreate? I'd be interested to know how RTD was graded in GCE Biology.

Good things about The Long Game? Apart from the Editor, there were some well-realised sets, particularly Level 500's Logan's Run-esque ice-scape; an admittedly brilliantly realised alien which did look genuinely convincing considering it was CGI again - however, I think the story would have benefited from an alien who was more accessible and less unwieldy, something more like a floating Moxx of Balhoon type thing, and also an alien whom we could actually understand (what's happened to the Doctor's TARDIS translation component then?); there does seem to be an interesting parallel between the parochial vernacular of the Ninth Doctor and his alien enemies' equally parochial vernacular in that they speak untranslated in their own home tongues re: the Nestine, Face of Boe and 'Max' (sounds a bit like Mox doesn't it?) The Moxx managed to speak near-perfect English, as did (perhaps unfortunately for us) the Slitheen. Puzzling to say the least.

Other flaws: Adam apparently knowing everything about the Doctor down to him being the last of the Timelords: is the Doctor likely to have related all this to a companion he'd only just met and who he obviously didn't want to recruit in the first place anyway? Also, why did entrust the TARDIS key to Adam? Also, what's happened to the isomorphic nature of the TARDIS key? In the classic series only the Doctor could use the key (see Pyramids of Mars) and it could not be used to open the TARDIS by any other hands (unless he willed it so). Are we to take it then that he would have willed the Editor to use it? No, of course not, hence no real threat there.

Overall, a fairly average sort of episode with an admittedly very good twist that the whole space station was a life support system for an alien - that was certainly a redeming feature to an otherwise uneven and typically clumsy RTD vision of the human future. A few quirky stylistic touches were not enough to lift this story beyond mediocrity, though it is certainly better than all the other RTD offerings so far in that it didn't embarass at any point, only mildly irritate (particularly re the Doctor's portrayal and Rose's growing smugness) - it definitely required two episodes to develop it properly and is thus also let down by its brevity and half-hearted, semi-developed but ultimately completely implausible setting in time. I'm sad to say after Eccleston's superb performance in Dalek, that The Long Game was, in extreme contrast, let down by his unlikeable and unengaging performance.

Oh, and it's also quite ironic that RTD, an expert press manipulator and spin Doctor himself, decides to dedicate an entire storyline to attacking the media - though admittedly this was a fairly nice satirical turn. 5/10.

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I thought this was a good, solid episode witha few salient points to make about the manipulation of the media and how clever distortion of language can lead to overgeneralisation and people not thinking too much as they are bombared with information (All together now, "weapons of mass destruction" opposed to "pretty harmless weapons that don't hurt anybody" perhaps?) Things didn't get too preachy and I think Simon Pegg gave an absolutely terrific performance which was the best thing in the story. So, not up there with 'Dalek' or 'The Unquiet Dead' but not at all bad...

BUT, and it's (ahem) a big but.....

I'm a tad worried about how the Doctor is coming across at present. This is no criticism of Chris (he was SUPERB in 'Dalek') . This stems from the writing....

Basically, my worry is that the Ninth Doctor is in danger of becoming far too unsympathetic in his treatment of supposedly "lesser mortals" which is beginning to risk him seeming far too judgemental and, well, that can lead to seeming positively smug! Not an attractive trait in anybody, let alone our favourite time-lord. Adam may have been foolish in his actions, but come on.....he's a young chap who's been thrust into a ridiculously alien environment and not adapted at all well. But the final scene with the Doctor and Rose leaving him behind (with a massive hole in his head!) left me feeling genuinely uncomfortable. Their behaviour just seemed too, well, smug? Callous? I just didn't *feel* right.

I mean, the Doctor didn't exactly cover himself in glory during 'Dalek' and it was terrifically handled. As a big Fifth Doctor fan I have no problem with fallibility in our hero, but a consistant lack of understanding of the fallibility of others? Yes, I do have a problem with that. (Contrast the 5th Doctors treatment of the would-be assassin Turlough. He came good when the chips were down *because* of the Doctors' inherent goodness, y'know?)

Maybe all this is going somewhere and I'll have to eat my words, but whilst I have no problem at all with a "darker" Doctor, it will be a problem for me if these traits continue without being challenged and I end up not liking the Ninth Doctor very much!

Thinking on, it has been the "stupid apes" that have saved the day in most of the stories so far. Rose, Gwynedd, Mickey and now the promotion-obsessed girl in this episode all helped to save his (and many others) ar*e!!! Shouldn't he have twigged that by now?

If this is a subtle 'character' arc and such potential hypocisy is addressed, I'll have my words served with chips, please. But I'm not sure this is the case!

Whole episode...six out of ten.

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Those in the 'anorak tendency' jumped on the luke-warm previews as proof that this new series of Doctor Who had finally tripped itself up. "The Long Game" certainly does not have the instant impact of the other episodes, but it was not exactly clear why so many vultures were up in the air ready to swoop. Maybe some fans are too eager to jump on every little glitch, for "The Long Game" was understated, but by no means bad.

The episode was a light satire on media power, focusing on an intergalatic organisation which controls the broadcasting of news and information, and where human nature is manipulated for all its negative traits. Certainly this was yet another episode where the money pumped into the new series was spent for all its worth; the effects were fairly impressive, although the "spike" didn't seem to cause its users much affect- even the earlier episodes would have made it clear what was happening without a standard "What's happening Doctor?" explanation. The idea was certainly interesting, with a mysterious upper-level controlling the space station masked by its distance from the 'slaves' in the lower decks. Humans are always going to strive for promotion, and this device was executed well.

The episode felt somewhat deflated because it did suffer from being in 'fast-forward'. Adam's character did have something to do, but it was fairly clear that RTD didn't know what to do with him, so treated him as a kind of modern day Adric. His bumbling into the Medical Floor and operation didn't really have much point to it, and although it was stitched onto the narrative it still felt as though his wanderings were separate to the plot. The Doctor's joking to the effect that Adam was Rose's boyfriend brought to mind the sniping shortness of Peter Davison and Tom Baker, and suggested that the hints of a Doctor/Rose affair are being put to one side in these later episodes.

Rose was not well used in the episode either, but Simon Pegg as the Editor certainly was. His sci-fi kudos was lifted in "Shaun of the Dead" and in this role he managed to weigh up sinister evil with a cool cunning side. He and Christopher Eccleston had a great tussle together, working off each other very well. Yet again, more hints of "Bad Wolf", which was highlighted in a very subtle line from Rose. The Editor and, erm, "Max", were a good team together, with the balance of power shifting in well executed scenes. Sadly, the two female characters seemed too neatly packaged and did not convince.

"The Long Game" may now be shown up by the neigh-sayers as the first loose thread in the fabric, but it was a clever concept which failed to be executed well throughout. It did have too easy a conclusion, although the typical Doctor Who moral tail packed a sting. This episode certainly had some good humourous lines and Christopher Eccleston maintains his high standard of emotion. Playing on the power of the media can often result in less than satisfying stories in many kinds of programme, so it can be excused that it's difficult to put together Doctor Who and such a topic. Certainly this is not the 'beginning of the end', and some fans would like it. Good, just not up to the high standard thus far.

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After the high of last weeks 'Dalek' I sat down to watch 'The Long Game' with much less expectation and a feeling that I just wouldn't enjoy this as much.

I was half right, it wasn't as good as 'Dalek' but I enjoyed it a lot better than I thought I would, considering the last offering from Russell T Davies.

'The Long Game' was Easily as good as 'The End of the World', which had been my favourite Davies script so far. It was quite a nice (but obvious) take on the media and how they can manipulate the public and our beliefs and opinions.

It looked good and the acting from guest as well as regulars was fantastic. The lighting was suitably creepy and the corpses genuinely chilling, which I'm sure will result in a few complaints to the BBC - and as any Who fan knows if parents are complaining then the series is doing something right.

Christopher and Billie shined yet again, I just hope that Billie Piper can generate the same on screen chemistry with David Tennant, though I'm sure the relationship will be different.

Bruno Langley as Adam was far better here than in 'Dalek', chancing his luck for personal profit and being caught out. I feel the only reason for his inclusion in this episode was for us to see that the Doc will not tolerate a companion that tries to manipulate time travel for their own ends. It will be interesting to see if he is so quick to throw Rose out next week as she obviously saves her father and changes history.

Tamsin Greig was very good in this episode, gently, but greedily, encouraging Adam to go for the more expensive surgery.

What a performance from Simon Pegg, easily stealing the show, which is not an easy task with Chris and Billie on form. The Editor was such a fantastically calculating villain. Pegg's performance just reeked of smugness, I was really hoping this arrogant business man he would be a recurring villain. I also hoped for a brief while that he was another Time Lord, though, to be honest, I didn't really hold out much hope for that.

The Editor in Chief (I will not even attempt to spell the full name) looked horrific with some very good CGI, this monster was only let down by my one major disappointment with the episode: The length!

I'm sure I will not be the only one that thought this episode was a fantastic episode 1 & 2 of a classic series 4 parter. The end was wrapped up far too quickly, this episode (like most, if not all of the one parters) could have benefited from a second part. I am so frustrated that the only two parter so far was that pathetic pile of crap 'Aliens of London' and 'World War III', what a damn waste. Davies has written three good single episodes which could have benefitted from a second part and the one that does get two parts is the one that should have been shortened, very frustrating, but at least Davies is back on form.

All in all not the best episode so far - the best two being 'Dalek' and 'The Unquiet Dead' but 'The Long Game' certainly has a good shot at third place.

Oh, and over half way through the series already, time flies when you're having fun.

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Nice to know that the new series can make some really naff Doctor Who…

Following on from Dalek was always going to be a chore and to be honest they probably should have avoided having Adam around for another episode and headed straight into Fathers Day which thanks to a gripping trailer looks set to be one of the best of the year. The Long Game just doesn’t have the oomph to be placed where it is, at the halfway point in the series and the signpost of quality for the rest of the year now that the audience has been won over.

There have been some mightily unfair statements made about Russell T Davies’ scripts in comparison with Gatiss and Shearman, which to me seems a tad ungrateful since we wouldn’t be enjoying a new series of Doctor Who if it wasn’t for him. What’s more he shaped the first season, which has so far proven to be delightful with some of the most consistent and evolving characterisation Doctor Who has ever boasted. What’s more the first three scripts he has written (Rose, Aliens of London and World War Three) have all been winners in one way, the first a confident re-introduction of the series, the second a healthy dose of domestic drama and the third a humorous and dramatic slice of action adventure. The Long Game is the only stumble he has made in my eyes, simply because there was so much potential in this idea and much of it is largely wasted.

I have heard many people complaining about the 45-minute episode format, saying that it just isn’t enough time to tell a satisfying story with any great depth. I have dismissed their comments up to this point because RTD and company seem to have produced a winning formula, one that leaves no time for flabby padding or needless digressions from the plot (a common problem with the old six part Doctor Who stories). But with The Long Game the formula has failed totally, as this was a story that begged to be told at length and on a much grander scale than it is. The central idea of the episode (a media controlled culture with the news used as a weapon to enslave the human race) is fantastic and it is obvious why RTD was so keen to use it but it is abused on a script that has to move so fast that we never get to see the culture that is being manipulated or even glimpse at the Earth besides an establishing planet wide shot and consigns the story to three rooms. Establish the setting and the problem, deal with the problem, that’s about all the length allows this episode to do. Even worse is the Doctor’s casual “I’m leaving and you can sort out all the consequences…oh and the Earth should develop at its usual rate now I’ve interfered…okay byeee!” (okay he doesn’t say it quite like that but it is equally blaze and thoughtless) because the episode doesn’t have any time to deal with the cost of his actions. I understand the limitations 45 minutes places on a writer but compared to RTDs last script World War Three, which managed to give its plot amazing depth without affecting the high action content this is lazy work.

Vengeance on Varos managed to exploit its media theme by cutting the action with scenes set in the average workers home and showing the reactions of regular person receiving the transmissions. And it managed to be traditional Doctor Who run-around with it. The Long Game only wants to be a traditional Doctor Who story with none of the cleverness of Varos, and it wants to be traditional in the sense of the old series AND the new series. You’ve got the smooth talking villain who answers to a horrid creature (old series). And you’ve also got Adam’s first glimpse space being that of Earth from a space station and a quick call home to his parents (both scenes pasted here directly from The End of World). It merely enhances the feeling of lethargy to the script that we’ve seen it all before in both series and that there is little to distinguish itself as anything special. A great shame as I fear this would have made a fantastic two parter with two plotlines taking place, one on the station and one on Earth so we can witness cause and effect of this fake media sham.

Adam, What is the point? To show a teenager on the road to villainy, his ambitions cut short by the Doctor? To show how well Rose has adapted to the time travelling business? To put a bit of male totty on the screen to keep my boyfriend Simon happy? Just because…? Whatever the reason this has got to be the biggest misstep the series has made yet. Not only does it split the episode in half and thus leave us with even less time to explore the BIG IDEA OF THE WEEK but by writing out the character after just one week it exposes as a monumental waste of time and the viewers attention. I don’t want to insult Bruno Langley who gives everything the script requires of him but he is lumbered with a totally thankless character, one I didn’t warm to OR dislike (which I fear was supposed to be my reaction…lets be honest I think we would all have a stab at what Adam tries in this episode). He was just sort of there, going through the motions, not giving enough of a personality or motive or screen time to make his character anything but worthless. It isn’t RTD’s fault; I didn’t think much of Adam in Dalek either (and he was practically ignored in favour of the much more interesting plot anyway). The best thing I can say about this gaping hole of illogic is that Langley is mouth wateringly gorgeous and even that wasn’t enough to keep me interested. Guess I’m not as shallow as I thought.

I want to say something nice about The Long Game so here I go! Simon Pegg! Wonderful, marvellous, witty, engaging, lickably perfect Simon Pegg! What an actor! RTD how right you are when you suggest how mind numbingly dull this episode would be without Simon Pegg. This character is the only one who was scripted with any real style and Pegg brings the Editor to life with charismatic relish. Every line that came out of his mouth was a delight and I was cheering every time the episode returned to floor 500 and this quirky character. He is basically the same as every other quick witted stooge who appears to be running the show in Doctor Who with that marvellous mix of humour and horror (there was a spine tingling shot of the Editor when he says “GOT YOU!”) and gets the same fate as is the usual ( a horrible death). Who cares? This is the best ‘villain’ we have had yet, funnier than Van Stratten, better acted than Mr Slitheen and creepier than Cassandra. Pegg was inspired casting and actually makes this traditional role (which in other hands would be as clichéd and dull as the rest of the episode) something special and the episode well worth watching in spots.

Even the Doctor and Rose are wasted, left to do all the boring investigating whilst Adam gets up to the mischief. The usually dynamic pair are joined by some particularly unmemorable guests characters (I forget their names, such was their impact) and the tedium is infectious. Eccelston seems as bored as I was; at least until he is paired up with Simon Pegg and then at least there is some electricity. But that only comes at the end of the episode; we all know where the Doctor is going to end up but it seems to take age for him to end up there. Instead of enjoying himself spitting insults with the Editor he rambles on about plumbing for Christ sakes!

Add to all this an uninspiring production (the lighting is pretty good, especially on floor 500 but the sets look particularly plastic this week and it is the first week I have actively disliked the music) and truly lousy final joke and you have the first stinker of the new series.

After his previous magic I expected much more than rehashed old stories from RTD. There are many similarities to The End of the World. Except one, this was &%$#.

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With The Long Game ready to be dismissed as a re-hash of Vengeance on Varos I was simply struck dumb by yet another mind blowing episode, both literally and figuratively.

The TARDIS arrives on the seemingly cosmopolitan Satellite 5 with new companion, the slightly shifty Adam. It all seems like a bustling cornucopia of human achievement, however both Rose and the Doctor feel something is amiss. Why does the technology feel wrong, where are the aliens and why is floor 139 so uncomfortably hot.

The sets first off were (to coin a phrase) fantastic and had a real feel of solidity and age about them. The acting was superb, everyone from the coldly sinister Editor to the Kronk Burger Van Man played the action as so without knowing winks or playing down to their audience.

Everything seemed to slot into place with events happening for a reason and every character acting within believable parameters. The most innocuous of plot details bore on all aspects of the denouement which the better of these one-off 45 minute episodes do so well.

Revealing many elements alongside characters who are seeing them for the first time worked even better than in 'Rose' not least because the entire audience were experiencing for the first time as well that character. The most effective of these being both Suki and Kaffika's separate arrivals on floor 500. Despite having seen it on several occasions the character's response, actions and in particular the incidental music relayed the feelings of fear and suspicion which grew in their minds. You could almost feel their apprehension as each character felt their way around the sinister surroundings.

Simon Pegg, cameoing in a similar fashion to many comics in eighties Who, excelled as the sinister editor believing to have control but really being a puppet for the true master of the station.

The Doctor seems to have settled down after his harrowing confrontation last week and his grin/gurn quotient appears to have dropped considerally, and this is a good thing. Billie Piper unfortunately is still not convincing me, particularly as her character is imprisioned in a mockney accent more at home in the mouth of Eliza Doolittle or Dick Van Dyke.

Bruno Langley also shone as the dodgy Adam seeking to better himself financially through foreknowledge, but with a role model like James Statton you can hardly expect him to act any different. His slightly comical fate brings the program back to earth (so to speak) and allows the audience to come back to reality after an engaging and exciting adventure in the far flung future.

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Bog-standard. I felt this was below the standard set so far I'm afarid. I'm glad RTD finally got his old uncommissioned story from the 1980s realised as I hope in vain to get some of mine produced, but it really was a clever idea but badly executed.

Depicting the media as enslaving the population is an excellent idea but the story was a generic runaround without even a gripping runaround! Eccleston was his excellent self and so was Billie Piper who just shines in every episode, no matter the quality of the story. Bruno Langley was quite under-used I felt. It was a surprise [for me anyways!] that he got abroad the TARDIS in the first place but to only use him for one episode seemed pointless. I tend to concur with reviewer Joe Ford on most things, and I agree that Dalek should have come after Father's Day. Much more could have been made of the character, but I was one of the sad minority who thought the joke at the end was quite good.

Simon Pegg, while motiveless, was excellent in this. He gave a terrific performance in every scene he was in and I loved the way he tried to flee the scene at the climax but was trapped by one of his zombies. Christine Adams was absolutely gorgeous - better looking than Billie Piper in fact! I have to really fight the urge to not make this whole review about her! Let's hope we see her in more things!

So there you have it. Ordinary. Traditional Doctor Who, but one of those, like Terminus, which you'd never watch again. Although Christine Adams is a good enough reason to still make me get it on DVD!

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It seems to me that several people have not yet woken up to the reality that Dr Who, to survive, has to go after a mass audience, and that mass audience wants human interest stories and neat packages that the Doctor has not delivered in the past, but is delivering in spades this series. I suspect Dr Who has never been so mainstream since the William Hartnell era. Yes we get the odd plot inconsistency, rehashing of old plots and not always brilliant acting by subsidiary characters, but hey, look back at some of the classic Who episodes and judge them against the same criteria most of us are using to evaluate this series and they just wouldn't shape up. Reading other reviews of this episode it is clear that you can't please all the people all of the time, since the things one set of reviewers have liked have annoyed another set.Perhaps that is no bad thing?

This was another episode that proved the value of the 45 minute timeslot. How on earth did they manage to spread plots over four or five episodes in the past? The action here seemed sensibly paced. Accusations that some scenes were reminiscent of "End of the World" seem to have missed how much there might have been a deliberate 'compare and contrast' approach. To give just one example, Rose in TEoTW was faced with a totally alien culture, here the aliens were conspicuous by their absence.My criticism would be that the whole setting was very Bladerunnerish, but perhaps that was more a case of homage than plagiarism? Generally special effects were good, and 'Max' was very well realised, except that I'm not quite sure what it is he did to kill promotees to floor 500 that left their bodies so in tact, you can't help feeling their should have been signs of poorly executed needle work on the re-animated corpses. the idea that people who get promoted have to leave their real lives behind would strike a chord with anyone who has experience of seeing colleagues climb the corporate career ladder.

I'm surprised Anna Maxwell-Martin's performance hasn't attracted more attention. No one seems to have picked up her role in 'His Dark Materials' with it's echoes of alternative realities, and complaints that her initial persona didn't fit with her freedom fighter background obviously miss the point that she was working deep undercover. I thought she was much more convincing, and likeable, than Christine Adams, who for me lacked any moral anchor.

I do feel that Adam's character was squandered too quickly, it would have been nice to have an episode where he appeared ambiguous before allowing us to make our minds up whether he was good or bad. Plotwise it also seems rather silly, because with his brain enhancement, and his time at Geocomtex he must surely already know enough about alien technologies to make a tidy sum.I wonder how many Who fans would have behaved just like Adam, and whether that was a point being made - the average fan would make a lousy companion.

Simon Pegg was fine as the editor, but it would have been nice to see a bit more motivation behind the character, and a degree of self-delusion. As a character he should believe he is doing a public service by propagating lies.

Nobody seems to have commented yet that the editor calls the alien Max, as in Max Clifford or Robert Maxwell. I thought the alien was really well realised in CGI terms, and vaguely reminded me of Robert Maxwell...

Nagging at the back of my mind is a feeling that time still isn't as it ought to be. Considering the trailer for next week's episode where strange entities try to correct Rose's meddling in time it seems the Dr is very accepting at the end of the day about events that have distorted human history. Shouldn't he be trying to stop Max's influence happening in the first place?

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I noted when I reviewed ‘Aliens of London’/‘World War Three’ that, for me, the rot was starting to set in. I was sufficiently impressed with ‘Dalek’ that I’d forgotten this, but with ‘The Long Game’ the feeling came back with a vengeance. And I’ve realised exactly what it is about the series that is bugging me.

Russell T. Davies has made it well known that his primary concern when writing television is characterisation. This is obvious throughout his Doctor Who episodes, with the main emphasis being firmly on the relationship between the Doctor and Rose. The trouble is, the episodes written by Mark Gatiss and Robert Shearman both boasted characterisation that complimented the plot, with memorable supporting characters in form of Charles Dickens in ‘The Unquiet Dead’ and the Dalek in ‘Dalek’. What Davies seems to be doing is concentrating on characterisation to such an extent that his plots are secondary to it and suffer as a result. Worse still is the fact that none of his characters have any depth besides the Doctor and Rose; the supporting characters are usually barely sketched ciphers, with prime examples here being the Editor and Cathica, neither of whom we learn anything meaningful about; the Editor is a villain, Cathica is a journalist, but beyond that we get no insight into what motivates them. There are obvious exceptions, including Mickey and Adam, but both of these exist purely to emphasis the bond between the Doctor and Rose, and Rose’s suitability as companion material.

This is painfully obvious in ‘The Long Game’, as Davies uses Adam as a contrast to Rose. Consider the similarities; both step out of the TARDIS for the first time to find themselves in the far future on a space station orbiting the Earth. Both initially suffer from culture shock as they stare out of observation platforms at the Earth below, and both are provided with a reassuring link to their lives in the past via the contrivance of Rose’s modified phone. At this point, they make different choices; Rose wanders around with a sense of wonder, talking to various people, whereas Adam quickly sees the potential of his new situation and tries to exploit it, having a chip implanted in his head so that he can download information about his future to make use of when he gets home. The result is that the furious Doctor dumps him back home, informing him, “I only take the very best” and looking pointedly at Rose. Which is fine, except that Davies did exactly the same thing with Mickey in ‘Rose’, presenting two humans of the same age group and background with something alien and terrifying; Mickey ended up gibbering in terror, whereas Rose turned into Mrs. Peel and saved the Doctor. We were given another reminder of Rose’s suitability as a companion in ‘Aliens of London’/‘World War Three’, with Mickey redeeming himself but turning down the Doctor’s offer of travelling with them because he believes that he is incapable of coping with the lifestyle. We don’t need reminding that Rose is great, the Doctor keeps pointing it out to us. It’s also rather ironic that as a result of Davies’ use of Adam here, Rose is relegated to the traditional companion role her, following the Doctor around and asking questions, and being used as leverage over him by the villain.

Then there’s the Doctor. The portrayal of the Ninth Doctor is proving rather interesting, as he seems to be a bit of bastard and not somebody I’d actually like to go travelling with. He’s quick to judge people, and his treatment of Adam here is a case in point; Adam’s actions in ‘The Long Game’ are a mistake, but understandable. Yet the Doctor gives him no second chances, dumping him back at home and rather nastily warning him, “If you show that head to anyone, they’ll dissect you in seconds. You’ll have to live a very quiet life.” This is of course after he not only took Adam to the future and left him wandering about on his own anyway, having told him, “The thing is Adam, time travel is like visiting Paris; you can’t just read the guide book, you need to throw yourself in”, but also after he gave him a credit chip with unlimited credit that allowed him to have a chip fitted in the first place. The point being, that this Doctor is short-tempered, unforgiving, and very quick to judge others. He also threatens the Editor with physical violence, and looks like he’s going to punch Adam at the end; as the Editor says, “Ooh, he’s tough, isn’t he?” All of which makes for an unsympathetic lead character, and is presumably a result of the trauma he feels as a result of seeing Gallifrey destroyed by the Daleks, and whilst I don’t actually like the Doctor as a result, he does make an interesting character in this respect.

Unfortunately, in another key respect, he’s simply irritating across the board. I had put some of my growing dissatisfaction with the Ninth Doctor down to Christopher Eccleston’s occasionally forced and stilted performance, but I think its more down to Davies’ writing, since I had no problem with the Doctor in either ‘The Unquiet Dead’ and ‘Dalek’. This is a Doctor who does tricks, using his sonic screwdriver to pull rabbits out of hats in a way that makes me think it’s time the Terileptils paid him another visit. Yet again somebody else saves the day; having bumbled around until Rose saved him in ‘Rose’, and having relied on Mickey to blow up 10 Downing Street in ‘Aliens of London’/‘World War Three’, he here depends on Cathica to save the day, adding to the air of impotence that surrounds this Doctor. The other main problem lies again with his relationship with the Rose. Having indulged her by informing her that they are in the year two hundred thousand and that they are on a space station he rather sweetly lets Rose point all of this out to Adam in order to show off. Almost immediately afterwards however and for the rest of the episode, he starts acting like a jealous lover. When Adam faints, the Doctor tells Rose, “He’s your boyfriend” and she replies, “Not any more”, a badly scripted a juvenile exchange that makes the pair of them sound like horny adolescents squabbling. Even whilst furious at Adam for getting himself chipped and letting the Editor know all about him, his only reprimand to Rose when he learns that she has given Adam the TARDIS key, and thus provided the Editor with the chance to get his hands on it is, “You and your boyfriends.” Basically, we’ve gone from the kind of subtle sexual tension that arises from the gentle flirting between leads seen in programmes like The Avengers to a situation where the Doctor seems to be actively trying to get into Rose’s pants. I don’t especially want the Doctor to start having sexual relationships with his companions, but if it will put an end to this feeble sixth form sexual tension and petty jealousy, I’d rather he just shagged her on the console and had done with it.

Anyway, what about the plot? For one thing it’s rather flimsy, and is extremely lazily executed, with a massive infodump from the Editor and yet another big explosion at the end. It has already been described as “old school” and it certainly feels like a rather clichéd nod to the past; some fans hypothesized that Simon Pegg’s character would turn out to be the Master, and he might as well have done, since the Editor is a smug, self-satisfied, gloating, chuckling megalomaniac with a goatee, who sells out the human race to a big alien monster and then tries to leg it at the end. Pegg is also slightly hammy at times, which only heightens the effect, but I must admit that despite my reservations about the episode, the Editor is easily the best and most entertaining thing about it. The plot is also used as an excuse for some more satire, and as in ‘Aliens of London’/‘World War Three’ it’s far too unsubtle to be called subtext, with commentary on the use of the media to manipulate the public, such as when the Editor notes, “Create a climate of fear, and its easy to keep the borders closed. It’s just a matter of emphasis.” Cathica explains the lack of aliens on Satellite Five by telling the Doctor, “I suppose immigration’s tightened up, it had to what with all the threats” but is of course unable to specify what these threats are. The trouble is that whereas the satire in, for example, ‘The Sunmakers’ was used to drive the plot, here it feels bolted on so that Davies can take casual pot-shots about whatever issue happens to on his mind this week.

‘The Long Game’ is at least quite well directed by Brian Grant, with some particular scenes worth mentioning, including Suki’s discovery of the rather grisly frozen corpse, and the swift cut between the Doctor bundling Adam into the TARDIS on Satellite Five and the throwing him out into his living room. The design is bizarre, with very retro sets that like a nineteen-eighties attempt to depict the future, with padded red leather walls, perforated metal seats, and junk food outlets. The Jagrafess also looks quite good, although it does remind that the scripted reasons for keeping aliens out instead of trying to manipulate them like humans is more down to budgetary limitations than plot logic. The guest cast is also generally good, with Bruno Langley working perfectly well as Adam, Christine Adams as Cathica, and Tamsin Grief as the slightly sinister yet slightly seductive Nurse.

But it isn’t enough to save the episode. Yes, ‘The Long Game’ is mildly entertaining, but it really ought to have been so much better. So many details annoy me here, from Rose’s utter stupidity in forgetting the word “Jagrafess” seconds after it’s been said several times, to the fact that yet again a character in a Davies script keeps uttering “Oh my god!” which is starting to feel like a lazy catchphrase. I’m also getting board with his sense of humour; I didn’t mind the burping wheelie bin or the farting Slitheen, but I don’t want this kind of base humour every single week, and in this episode we get the facile inclusion of the utterly ridiculous vomitomatic. But the part of the episode that annoyed me like no other was the diabolical final scene, as Adam’s mum comes into the room. Guess what? She clicks her fingers! No, really, did anyone see that coming? As a consequence, ‘The Long Game’ had the unexpected result of making me try to remember when I last heard somebody clicking their fingers in real life, and coming the conclusion that it doesn’t actually happen all that often.

So basically, I’m starting to realize that whilst I’m still entertained by the new series, I’m looking forward to the three remaining episodes not scripted by Davies far more than the ones that he’s penned. Which does rather bode well for next week.

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Bog-standard. Uninspired. Treading water before the next big 'special episode'. I can't tell you how much I was dreading having to write a luke-warm review for this story.

Happy chance, then, that it turns out to be fantastic.

Lacking what advertisers call the 'unique selling factor' of all previous episodes ('the one with the Dalek', 'the one where the world ends', 'the one with the ghosts', 'the one where a spaceship hits Big Ben', even just 'the first one'), The Long Game is harder to pin down, and arguably all the better for it. A satire of Fox News? An adventure story? A nostalgic reworking of classic Dr Who? No, better: it's all these things. Adapted in part from one of Russell T Davies's rejected submissions from the 1980s (now THAT's how to get even with an editor), it's gloriously traditional while keeping all the trademark features of the New Who, and best of all absolutely stamps on the opinion festering around fandom that Russell T's scripts are the weakest of the series.

While overdoses of comedy in his previous efforts left room for only lightweight, superficial plots, here the whole script is full of dense, multifunctional scenes, and there's not a wasted beat among them. The result is an undeniably classy, well-paced piece that - even more than The Unquiet Dead - definitely proves the 45 minute format can support a complete story. Perhaps this is due in part to an often overlooked limitation of the new series, where the one-companion setup, and Rose's defiantly equal status with the Doctor, tends towards a more linear narrative. With the addition of Dalek's Adam to the crew, an opportunity at last arises to split up the regulars, and as a result not only he but two guest characters are provided with suitably fleshy subplots and character arcs, in addition to the exciting story happening around them.

Arguably this happens somewhat at the expense of the Doctor and Rose, but happily Billie Piper and Christopher Eccleston do an excellent job of handling their relatively thin part in the action. The duo squeeze every drop out of their limited screen time, milking an excellent script for all its worth to inform their fun, charming and still sometimes unexpected relationship. Chris in particular copes magnificently with an unprecedented quantity of exposition, although as if to compensate he has some absolutely cracking dialogue, including in the pre-credits sequence one of the funniest lines in the series. The guest stars are similarly impressive, with star turns from Christine Adams and Anna Maxwell Martin, and Bruno Langley returning to bring the character arc begun in Dalek to a satisfying conclusion. Simon Pegg - comedy genius behind (and in front of) Spaced and Shaun of the Dead - is less impressive as the Editor, although this is more a problem of casting than performance. The part was written to play against expectations, the villain chatty and affable rather than moustache-twirling and "I have you now!", but with Pegg in the role this was already what the audience was expecting, so that the intended reversal goes unnoticed.

Still, viewers have by now come to expect a high standard of special effects from the series, and in this regard the episode really delivers. While the design feels a little off in places - the decor and inhabitants of AD 200000 aren't very different from those of 2000; the Spike Room is rather uninteresting for such a significant location, and the observation deck a bit too similar to that of The End of the World's Platform One - the realisation is solid throughout, and occasionally tremendous. This is enhanced through impressive use of CGI, subtly adding matte effects to increase the impact of the studio sets as well as combining seamlessly with live action to create important plot-elements. Only the set-piece villain is a little simplistic, its lack of gripping limbs or tentacles making it more of a hemorrhoid with teeth than the lurking horror earlier shots promise, but with corpses and head-holes aplenty there's already more than enough gore to go round.

Overall, The Long Game is one of those stories that will have people complaining that it's complex enough to have been a two-parter, but its joy is precisely that it feels like one already. Pacey without being rushed; funny without being silly; complex without being confusing - and perfect Dr Who without being 'special'. If only all bog standard episodes could be this good... Then the series really WOULD be in it for the long game.

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Hear ye, hear ye- I am here to defend Episode Seven of ‘Doctor Who’: Series One, more commonly known as ‘The Long Game’. This lovely example of ‘Doctor Who’- one of the best since the Eighties- has been slated by all known fields of fandom, and I therefore consider it my duty to address this and ponder why this seems to be the case.

After the thrills and chills of ‘Dalek’, the following Episode of Series One was always going to have a spot of difficulty; ‘Dalek’ had single-handedly reminded everybody quite why ‘Doctor Who’ was so brilliant, and it had even made a fair few people sob in the process (bless that emotive blob of blue!)

It was going to need something truly amazing to beat it, and thus ‘The Long Game’ was transmitted.

Instantly, the viewer is struck at how unlike ‘Dalek’ this Episode is. Things look bright, the music suggests fun, the Doctor and Rose are in full-on friendly mode and there is something sinister lurking up above- substitute Floor 500 for an Attic and you pretty much know what ground you are on.

There is nothing out of the ordinary in ‘The Long Game’, but for me this is why it is a joy to behold. Of all the Episodes in the New Series, ‘The Long Game’ has the most in common with how ‘Doctor Who’ looked and felt during John Nathan-Turner’s tenure as Producer. Now is not the time to go into an analysis of JNT’s skills as a Producer, so I shall not, but I can definitely see similarities between this story and certainly some of the material in Season Twenty-Four.

In many ways, it reminds me of ‘Dragonfire’: we have an evil man in a cold room and a large group of people working for him who become ‘zombies’; we have a slightly quirky companion who breaks the rules set by the Doctor (for Ace, read Adam); we have a set full of characters looking neither human nor alien; and we have the obligatory monster which doesn’t do much as it doesn’t really need to.

‘The Long Game’ is Adam’s story in many ways. Throughout the Episode, we are given direct comparisons between himself and Rose, with the pre-title sequence segment parodying Rose’s reaction to seeing the planet Earth through the window in Platform One- whereas she took it in her stride, Adam promptly faints.

The Episode continues with parallels between the two characters. Both Rose and Adam felt the need to have some time to themselves when first witnessing the future, but whilst Rose went and talked to a Plumber who was promptly slaughtered, Adam goes and tries to use the future to his advantage.

Whilst doing this, Russell T. Davies also delivers a character with traits that are almost a halfway point between Rose and Adam in the form of Cathica, played brilliantly by Christine Adams. Unlike Rose, she is unsure quite what to do given her situation, but unlike Adam she eventually uses her ingenuity to solve the problem; all the while, Adam is lying back on a chair is dire need of help.

I couldn’t help but feel that the Doctor’s comment, when rejecting Adam, that he only takes the best was a bit rich- poor Victoria Waterfield spent the vast majority of weeks in dire need of help, but I suppose this is a sign of the times moving on…

The plot itself concerns the delayed evolution of Earth due to the manipulation of the News due to the sinister Editor and the Mighty Jagrafess of the Holy Hadrojassic Maxarodenfoe. Whilst all this is going on, Adam The Genius is busy having implants inserted into his head so he can absorb information from the future to use back on Earth in his Present time. One of the nice things about ‘The Long Game’ is that it has such a nice gentle pace that it fills the forty-five minute time slot allocated for each Episode perfectly. The two plot strands are given equal time to develop, and both have more than their fair share of light-hearted moments.

Despite this, it is the brilliant interplay between Adam and the Nurse played by Tamsin Greig that gets the biggest laughs. Her slow seduction of Adam into persuading him to have a head implant is both well written and well directed, with the highlight being when Adam attempts to vomit and instead spits out an ice cube.

As the Editor, Simon Pegg proves himself to be one of the best pieces of casting in Series One, really bringing his role to life and equating the sinister elements of the News story-strand with his more comedic approach to the situations. He also fits into the age-old role of ‘Doctor Who’ baddie, tying the Doctor and his glamorous Assistant up before telling them the plot.

In fact, ‘The Long Game’ is the most dialogue-driven Episode in Series One, with much of the conclusion taken up by the Doctor egging on Cathica. However, rather than be an annoyance, this works very well since it is able to both show off the Doctor’s intelligence and also provide a neat end to the character development of Cathica.

The music in ‘The Long Game’, as already mentioned, tends to veer towards the light-hearted though it also has its moments of tension to match the action on-screen. Like much good incidental music, most of the time it simply blends into the background, but when in the foreground it is pleasant enough to listen to.

‘The Long Game’ is the only Episode of Series One directed by Brian Grant, which is a shame as he does a really good job with this one. Whereas I felt that Euros Lyn suffered slightly in ‘The End Of The World’ due to the sets being made up of various rooms, here Grant shows that such rooms can be made interesting. Whilst he never tries to do anything overly ambitious, what he does do is provide a consistent pace to his Directing, allowing the viewer to take in enough visual information without making one want to see more.

In all, I feel sorry for ‘The Long Game’ as it has been much underrated. The characterisation is nice, with Adam’s slow downfall managing to be simultaneously hilarious and in an odd way rather sad; the Direction and Music are once more uniformly great; the plot itself is not overly complicated but good enough to sustain interest for forty-five minutes; and the supporting cast all play their roles brilliantly, with Simon Pegg and Tamsin Greig stealing the show.

Oh, and though I didn’t mention it before ‘The Long Game’ has a great ending too. I genuinely believe that this is as good as any ‘Doctor Who’ has been since the Eighties. I’m not saying that it is necessarily better, nor that it is my favourite story of all time, but in terms of quality, it stands up with the best of them, firmly above the worst.

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I have to confess that this was the episode I was least looking forward to out of the whole season of new 2005 Doctor Who. We didn’t know too much about it, and the Big Brother News type set-up didn’t appeal initially. Then I remembered the wonderfully different Big Finish Audio, Natural History of Fear – and I had felt the same about that too – and how brilliant was that! Would this then be like that, or a Ratings War debacle?

Actually it’s nothing like Natural History of Fear, or Ratings War – it’s somewhere in the middle of those BF offerings in terms of quality, but it does have its plus points.

With the addition of Adam into the TARDIS it’s fascinating to see Rose put him through the exact same acceptance routine (mobile phone to home, futuristic space station overlooking the Earth) as the Doctor did with her. It’s as if Russell T is showing us that Adam isn’t going to measure up to the wonder of Rose. I liked Adam in Dalek, but this was a story too far, so it was good to see him dismissed so quickly. Funny how the Doctor is so trusting though, then so dismissive at the end – rather extreme reactions – but then there’s a lot of that with this Doctor.

My immediate thoughts were that this was rather similar in tone to End of the World, it being the far future and all that. I began even to look for similarities between Satellite Five and Platform One. There seems to be a far more connecting arc running through this Series (that Russell T alluded to in Confidential) than initially suspected. I rather enjoyed Satellite Five. The mystery of Floor 500 dominated all – and like some bizarre department store you just wanted to get up there and explore as soon as possible.

Adams descent into the Dark side seemed to serve only to accentuate Rose’s glory – so that’s enough about that character. The Doctor was his excitable self – but getting captured and tied up in 2 episodes on the trot seems rather clumsy. Again too it is other people who bail him out. I don’t recall even the 5th Doctor being this vulnerable. Rose lost out somewhat because of Adams presence – and that’s a great shame – but maybe it was just mid term holidays for Billie Piper.

Of the Supporting Players it is the Editor, Suki and Cathica who stand out. I found them both likeable in very different ways. The delightful Sukis story was most surprising, and for my money she got the best scene when she arrived at the 500th Floor. Cathica seemed sensible enough too, thankfully for the Doctor and Rose.

The stand out was The Editor, as Simon Pegg joins the exultant ranks of Doctor Who Villainy. He lit up every scene he was in and looked splendid. Russell T very poignantally observed in Confidential that without him the scenes on the 500th Floor would have been rather dull! He certainly played the part with relish – and was the best part of the episode. What that thing on the ceiling was doing there though I have no idea – though again answers are promised later.

Didn’t care for the information dump sub-plot, including vomit-freeze unnecessary perks, or clicking of fingers holes in the head – but there were some wry observations about the media in general. Contemporary Who indeed.

The Long Game isn’t likely to be many peoples high point of the season – but it is, to use another Beautiful Games parlance, mid table respectability – and that’s okay. 7/10

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What was that? I'll apologise in advance - this is going to be a rant. There have been some great stories in this series and some awful ones (all written by Russell T Davies unfortunately - big shame) but how could you put something like this in alongside the contributions of the guest writers?!

RTD has said in an interview that he submitted this story line before at the start of his television career and received a polite letter suggesting he write about a man and his mortgage. Why then did he use this so much later in his career when he has presumably learnt alot and gained manifold insights into what makes good drama and what is boring and overdone?

The premise that an alien intelligence is holding back the technological progress of the human race is pretty old to start with, but could be woven into some really quite interesting and mysterious narratives. But instead we get a horribly unsubtle satire on the media that has been done to death elsewhere (including the 'classic' series). The Doctor has been brought back as a much more realistic and believable character - if one that is very unpleasant at times - as the previous portrayals are too camp. Fine. No problem. So why is it suddenly OK to have Simon Pegg playing one of the campest characters since the hight of the Carry On franchise (sorry - I mean since the Slitheen)? The script was dire and the guest stars (excepting Pegg who did the best he could with a difficult part) occasionally performed like amateurs.

The set design was lazy - it looked more like a parody of 1980s sci-fi than an effort at what a space station might look like far in the futue. And the costumes were very confusing - if the 1980s had come back into fasion in some bizarre retro statement in this time period shouldn't that have been commented on in the script- or do the production staff really think someone would wear that terrible floral dress in the future. If it was to add to the illusion that the freedom fighter was a quiet and demure employee, it was a little unsubtle...

Finally the ending. The Doctor's leaving Adam at home in the 21st century with a head that opens on clicking is excessively cruel. I get the impression that RTD thought this was a rather clever or ingenious punishment for the character and couldn't resist the clicking gag with Adam's mother at the end. Unfortunately it's not funny, and would be a rather interesting just-deserts for a deeply evil character, but with Adam it just makes the Doctor look childish and malicious. Whici is unfortunatley what he has become in the hand of RTD and Christopher Ecclestone. Ecclestone has put a huge amount of effort into his performance as the Doctor which comes across on screen and is commendable. But the efforts to make him a bit blokier, less camp, more 'northern' (would a Scots accent have detracted from McCoy's performance? I don't think so), and to have some kind of semi-sexual tension with the companion have pushed him too far. As I've said before there are alot of likeble touches in Ecclestone's performance, but over-all he looks too much like he has to TRY to be happy, and otherwise just doesn't present a character whom I feel any respect for.

Rose is a different matter. Billy Piper is so good, I think perhaps she should ditch the Doctor and the series should be renamed. Or maybe she could come across another northern Timelord who has some charisma, wit and doesn't tell everyone to shut up.

And we've got to go back to 'Satellite 5' for the series finale. It had better have changed!

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So there I was, a month after I’d seen my last Doctor Who episode, in the middle of my overseas trip. I was incredibly homesick, I’d just been living it up at the Edinburgh Festival (a happy accident), and now I was alone in a relative’s place near Stirling. Oh, and I’d just bought a Doctor Who DVD for the first time in years. It contained four episodes, none of which I’d seen before. I felt twelve years old again. It was the middle of the day, and I couldn’t wait till tea-time, so I closed all the curtains, switched off all the lights – mercifully it was a grey day outside – and sat back to watch The Long Game.

It didn’t take me long to sit up and notice something – I’d forgotten all about Adam! It had been far too long since I’d seen Dalek. So the TARDIS crew was now back to three for the first time since 1984. (On TV, anyway.) It was a frightening thought, especially considering how close the Doctor and Rose had become by this time. Their closeness was evident in the pre-credits scene, when they played their little trick on the new kid. Of course, in Who tradition, the kid faints. The Doctor looks at him, and remarks, “He’s your boyfriend.”

Er… huh? When exactly did this happen? Doesn’t Rose already have a boyfriend? And haven’t these two kids just met? This is Adam’s first trip in the TARDIS… how long have they been travelling? And if the Doctor’s just teasing her – it certainly sounds like that in his delivery of the line – then why does Rose reply with “Not anymore”? Simple answer. Second-rate writing. The last RTD episode I saw was World War Three, which was terrifically written. (We won’t go into its predecessor.) So naturally I was a little worried when I heard this opening exchange. Hopefully, I thought, things would get better.

Mercifully, they did. When the episode properly opened, and we were introduced to Satellite Five, I got a real sense of culture shock – far more so than in The End of The World. Don’t ask me why. Perhaps the direction was better this time around… no. Can’t say that. Euros Lyn really proved himself with his two consecutive episodes. The Long Game just looks like a modernised Colin Baker story. But back to the script. Yes, things began to look up, especially with the introduction of our three other main characters – Simon Pegg’s immediately chilling Editor, plus the terrific Suki and Cathica. The first “spike” scene made me feel very much like I was watching a JNT/Colin Baker story, but I was kept interested by the cutaways to Floor 500. Kudos to Simon Pegg for this achievement. I might’ve switched off otherwise.

Anna Maxwell-Martin really came into her own when she arrived at the top floor and her true identity was discovered – suddenly this nice, shy journalist is a cold, tough freedom fighter. And when she was eaten by the Editor’s “boss”, her scream was traditional and perfect. I also loved the way that was shot. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – traditional Who elements are a breath of fresh air in this series.

Unfortunately we then came back to Adam. This guy, I recalled, had shown real promise in his introductory story. Now I hated him. Was this another case of bad writing? Probably not, actually. I just didn’t like his acting anymore. He was already annoying me more than Adric. Thankfully he then met up with the Nurse, beautifully portrayed by Tamsin Greig, who obviously relished her role. Has she been waiting for a Doctor Who gig for a while, I wonder?

The “investigation” scenes with the Doctor, Rose and Cathica were a triumph, and made me wish Cathica would join the TARDIS crew, even if she was a little sceptical of… well, everything. But isn’t that what makes the best companions in this show? And when she follows them up to Floor 500, we’ve got a nice piece of writing and characterisation – RTD hasn’t forgotten this woman is a journalist. Of course, the Doctor and Rose had to come up against the Editor at some point. And when they do, their interplay is just beautiful. I got shivers when the Editor hissed, “Time Lord.” Again, I get the feeling Simon Pegg has been after a role on this show for yonks. He’s just such a good villain. Unlike the one-joke Slitheen (or whatever their race is called), I finally found a villain I wouldn’t mind returning. And how horrible is his boss? Great effect… and great name too.

I cheered when Cathica saved the day – and Suki too, sort of. The later scenes between Adam and the Nurse helped to break up the action on Floor 500 and build up the suspense. But once the Mighty Jagrafess of the Holy Hadrojassic Maxarodenfoe (just wanted to type all that out) is defeated, and it’s time for the Doctor confronts Adam, I just wanted him to throw the kid out into space. But hey, what he did do was good enough. I’m not a huge fan of Rose as a companion either, but I guess she’s the lesser of two evils. It’s too bad Rose didn’t get much to do in this story, actually, but then again, The Long Game is bookended by two very Rose-oriented stories. So I can’t complain, and neither can she.

So The Long Game wasn’t bad. Cleverly plotted, for the most part very well-acted, but it still seems like a small-impact episode compared to the epic of the Aliens Of London two-parter and the sheer beauty of Dalek, not to mention the excellence of The Unquiet Dead and The End of The World, and the unmitigated excitement of Rose. It didn’t help matters that I sat through this story eager to move along to the next three, all of which have been purported to be classics. But for an ‘in-between’ story, The Long Game could’ve been far, far worse.

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Finally! A Russell T. Davies episode that I really enjoyed!

Ok, so I liked "Rose", and "The End of the World" was good. "Aliens of London" and "World War 3" just made me want to cringe at times. Taken as a whole, Mr. Davies episodes have been the weaker ones of this run of Doctor Who, being somewhat lean in the plot department and filled with left-wing political preaching, sexual innuendo and juvenile humor in the form of flatulent aliens or burping trash bins. "The Long Game" avoids most of these pitfalls to one extent or another (apart from the ever-present left-wing politics... one would think we're watching televised NAs here), though it has a few of its own. On the whole, it's pretty good.

Just to knock out the complaints first, so I can get on to the strengths of the episode, let's start with the year: 200,000? I mentioned this in my review of "Bad Wolf" since the setting is the same, but there's no way that I can accept so many similarities to the 21st century would exist 198,000 years in the future. Look at how much societies have changed in 2000 years, or 5000. It's night and day, and yet the year 200,000 looks not too dissimilar than our own time, some technical and architectural details aside. It's absurd.

Leaving that aside, the idea of a society manipulated and made docile by the mass media is nothing new, but it's handled well enough here. The Doctor, Rose and Adam arrive during the time of "the fourth great and bountiful human empire" to find that empire's growth has been stunted by media manipulation. People don't think or question, they just accept what they're spoon-fed on the 24-hour news and information network, broadcast from Satellite Five. Evidently they don't have the sense to turn the TV off.

Naturally, the Doctor smells a rat and starts to sniff out the source of the problem. In the context of this story, unlike others this season, it seems appropriate that he does not himself end the threat, but instead leads Cathica to the truth of events so that she can end it, since his goal once he determines what the problem is, is to get people to think for themselves. Of course, there's likely to be anarchy and chaos for a while if the population is as dependent on media as the episode makes them out to be.

Cathica and Suki were both well-realized characters. The episode's only real "uh-oh, something's wrong here" moments came when Suki steps from the lift into the glorious floor 500 only to find an icy room with dead people. It wasn't hard to guess that this was where she would end up, but the scene still worked well, as did her sudden change into freedom-fighter mode, which I did not expect. The misdirection at the beginning of the episode where the Editor talks about someone being out of place is well executed as well. I (of course) expected that he was talking about the Doctor and Rose rather than Suki, so her singling out as the one out of place and promotion was a nice little twist.

Cathica's desire to avoid trouble and not be involved with the Doctor's little bit of anarchy is nicely realistic, but it's also nice to see that she has enough curiosity or concern to take the elevator up to the 500th floor and see what's there. And it's nice to see that she has the courage to act when the true facts are presented to her. My friend who watched this episode with my wife and me got a good laugh out of the "you should have promoted me years ago" line, and decided that the moral of the story was "always promote your good employees".

I like the villains of this episode. I've not seen Simon Pegg in anything else, but he seems to be enjoying his role in this episode, and is indeed one of the highlights. His character, The Editor, is mean and nasty by virtue of his actions, but he's also amusing and fun to watch. I get the sense that he enjoys his job, though I wonder how he got it, and what happened to the marketplace of ideas when it comes to news, if indeed the Jagrafess and satellite 5 have a monopoly on the media. The Editor says that he works for a consortium of banks, seemingly another swipe at the free market and capitalism by RTD, when ironically the free market and competition of ideas would solve the problem presented us by the episode.

The Jagrafess is a big nasty zit with teeth, with no real motivation. Cool monster, but if I were him, would I hang around in a space station playing network executive? Not likely, but maybe that's what Jagrafesses the universe over like to do.

As for the regulars, temporary and otherwise, they all get a decent amount of screen time. The Doctor acts as troublemaker and motivator, a typical but well-executed role for the character. Rose has less to do than usual, but we get to watch the rather interesting idea of a companion who is along for the ride so he can get something out of it. Adam has some backbone to get that thing installed in his head, if not a lot of common sense. The Doctor's condemnation of him and unceremonious dumping of him back home is rather cruel, especially considering that the Doctor facilitated his actions in the first place by encouraging him to jump in with both feet, and by giving him the unlimited finances that enabled Adam to pay for his operation. The ending of the episode leaves a sour taste in my mouth since Adam in no way deserved quite so harsh a punishment. Hopefully we'll see the situation remedied somewhere down the line.

Overall: a nice self-contained episode where nothing terribly cringe-worthy happens. The message of the episode does not overwhelm the plot and the guest actors are all excellent. 8 out of 10.

Filters: Series 1/27 Ninth Doctor Television

Apparently, I enjoyed this story a lot more than most of you.

"The Long Game", in my book, stands just as strong as the other stories surrounding it and is nice enough to give us something that is considerably lighter in places. "Dalek" is darker than dark and "Father's Day" is sadder than sad. So, squeezing this particular tale between the two of them, I think, was a stroke of genius on RTD's part. We still get some nice sinister moments, of course. Because, in the end, Doctor Who has got to have a scary villain and/or monster (which, in this case, we get both). But there's also a lot of fun. Something I'm glad the show has remembered to maintain. Fans may take Doctor Who far more seriously thant they ought to, but it's good to see that the production team doesn't!

The nicest surprise I got from this story was Adam. I've been following as many teasers and spoilers as a Canadian can (the show, over here, is getting massive ratings but not a whole lot of media attention) and I had not heard a word about a new member of the TARDIS crew. So it was a genuine surprise for me when he rushes into the battered old Police Box at the end of the previous story. Which was pleasant. My desire to spoil almost any surprise this new series can give me was beaten for once, and I thoroughly enjoyed the loop it threw me for!

But what I enjoyed even more about Adam was how he was used in this story. In the 80s, JNT tried something very creative with the character of Turlough: a companion who starts out "bad" but slowly redeems himself. No such luck with Adam. He just totally blows his chances with the Doctor and gets dumped off after just one story. I really liked this idea. It was neat to see a companion who just doesn't end up "cutting the mustard", if you will. It's almost too bad we haven't seen this sort of scenario sooner - it adds a neat sort of "real world" feel to the show. Like us, the Doctor can sometimes pick the wrong kind of company if he's not careful.

Of course, there's some functionalism to dear Adam too. The negative experience the Doctor has with him helps to re-inforce what he feels for Rose. His "I only travel with the best" line (I'm paraphrasing here) was even a bit touching. Thanks to Adam's blundering, we see just how high of an esteem the Doctor holds her in. Great that, an episode later, she totally lets him down! Again, very realistic character dynamics going on. So often, when we put someone on too high a pedestal we set ourselves up to be let down by them. And I like that the series displayed that to us. Again, great plotting on RTD's behalf.

The other thing that really stands out for me in this tale is something that most of fandomn seems in agreement with: the amazing performance by Simon Pegg. What I think I liked most about it was how radically different he was from his character in "Shaun of the Dead" (so different, that it actually took me a moment to place him). Pegg plays the role perfectly - hitting every "beat" of the character just the way it needs to be hit. In terms of all-time favourite "one-off baddies", he's not too far behind big bad Sharaz Jek in Androzani (who, I think, will always be mine, and everyone else's, favourite single-story villain). It was great to see that this new series still knows how to make a classic villain like this one. That was as important to me as the crafting of the lead character or the companion is.

And now, the plot. Like most of the season - it's a pretty straight-forward one. Which is all alot of these stories can afford to be, given the time constraints. But what makes The Long Game a bit more distinctive from a lot of other stories of this season is how effectively it built up its subplots. In fact, a lot of the guest writers could learn something from this story since many of them are just telling one story and that's it. Here, we have the central idea of "something is rotten in the state of Sattelite Five" whilst at the same time we get "the downfall of Adam". At the crucial climax, the two plots become intertwined and the stakes get even higher because of it. Now, the Doctor doesn't just have to try to topple the Jagrafess' control - he also has to save his own hash in the process since the Editor has discovered who the Time Lord really is and what his advanced knowledge and technology can do for him. This, to me, is what "good Who" is all about. Plot threads coming together from all over the place to give us a thundering little story climax. It's what makes a something like "Mawdryn Undead" have such a special place in my heart and it's also what endears this story all the more to me.

Of course, there is a crucial, more understated third subplot too. As Adam disentergrates, Cathica grows. She starts as a two-dimensional overly-ambitious plot cypher - laying out all the basic elements of the story as the Doctor convinces her with his psychic paper that he's an executive. Slowly but surely, she realises the Doctor and Rose aren't who they claim to be and becomes conflicted because of it. Should she stay loyal to the company she serves or follow along with them to uncover what's wrong with Sattelite Five? It's a nice little moral dilemna and I like how her own personal hesitancy is what resolves the plot. Had she gone up the lift immediately with the Doctor and Rose, she would've gotten caught with them during their great confrontation with the Editor. But because her change of heart only comes later, she's able to sneak up to Floor 500, overhear the sinister plot and then choose to do something about it at the most crucial moment. The "stumbling hero(ine)" characterisation is something I love to see in a storyline - and it's executed quite well here. Both on paper and on-screen. And, as annoyed that some fans might get because the Doctor only seems to "save the day" in about half of the stories this season - I quite like this idea. It's not something all that revolutionairy to the show, really. This sort of thing went on quite often in both the 60s and 80s eras of Who. And I, for one, like it when the Doctor works as just a catalyst in a story. Influencing characters to save themselves rather than just running and solving all the conflicts all on his own. I still think he needs to be "the day-saver", if you will, on, at least, a semi-regularl basis. But it's quite nice how often this particular incarnation didn't play the Messiah (obviously, he got all of that out in another RTD series!). So, no quelm from me that Cathica becomes the ultimate solution to the Jagrafess problem. Because, in the end, she still couldn't have done it without the Doctor. And, in many ways, that makes him a far more effective protagonist than if he'd just come in, waved around his sonic screwdriver and saved the day himself.

These are just a few of the more vital elements to this story that made me like it so much. But there are also some very nice "dashes" of other things too. The clever use of Suki, for example - was a great device that RTD used. How often in the show have we seen the villain pick out the Doctor and his companion(s) as a dangerous anomaly and lure them into his lair? Instead, he misses them altogether, at first, and deals with someone else. A wonderful twist that I felt was thrown in there more for us fanboys than the new viewers.

I also liked what the story had to say about media control - a particularly "hot" topic for me. And though the story's message is so obvious that it does almost bite you on the ankle a bit, I don't mind. Cause I was love it when someone rails against the media and how much we allow it to control us. So, the moral high horse didn't bother me any. In fact, isn't Doctor Who, in general, just one giant moral high horse? So really, gang, what's the problem? I, personally, have always loved the show for the strong messages it tries to deliver.

Finally, we also get great performance thrown in by Tamsin Greig. Another comedic performer whose role in this story greatly contrasted the other role I know her best for. Here in North America, typecasting is "King" in the world of acting. So it's great to see such excellent displays of diversity. Again, like Pegg, it took me a minute to place her because her portrayal was so markedly different from her previous work.

Any weak points to this story? Once more, they're fairly minimal and, therefore, hardly worth mentionning. I do think it funny that so many people nitpicked the opening sequence about the relationship between Adam and Rose. "He's your boyfriend"/"Not anymore" struck me as just a fun little throwaway gag and nothing else. Just like Rose teasing the Doctor about the "Tree Lady" in "End of the World". But, as usual, the geeks have to take things for more seriously than they need to and cry out against Rose's supposedly loose morals. Give it a rest guys, I know it's tough for you to get girlfriends and therefore you get very upset over the idea of infedility but you need to understand that the rest of the world has a pretty light-hearted approach to this kind of stuff!

Wow, was I mean there!

Anyway, as I stated at the outset of this review, "The Long Game" is as strong a story to me as the episodes it is set between. And it continues, overall, the trend of high-callibre story-telling that this season has that is only let down ever-so-slightly by the stuff with the Slitheen.

According to the polls and the reviews that I've seen, I'm somewhat alone in that thinking. But I don't mind. As the good Doctor, himself, once said: "I've always been a bit of iconoclast, myself."!

Filters: Series 1/27 Ninth Doctor Television

One thing I admire most about the new series is the way that every episode fits into a wider narrative as semi-independently of the story that it tells. This creates a sort of loose story arc that is designed to create not just an advancing plot but also characterisation and theme. However, there has to be a healthy balance as an episode is still required to tell a good story in its own right, and that's where The Long Game falls down. Opinion of it reflects this: it bottomed out the Outpost Gallifrey season one poll, and many reviews have been negative. I don't feel that it's the worst episode of the season, but in terms of sheer structure it's arguably the one with the most flaws.

The opening scene is actually quite fun, with Russell T. Davies writing quirky dialogue that manages to stay on the right side of indulgence. It is let down by the big plank that is Bruno Langley as the abortive companion Adam: Dalek was too good for him to let it down, but that's not the case here. Also, the notion that Rose is wilfully cheating on Mickey (see also The Empty Child) makes me wonder about the moral centre (I don't want to sound prudish but I'm a white middle-class guy from Surrey and it'll only be a few years until I'm made illegal). We see a brief shot of Satellite Five before the titles, and the cross between The Ark In Space and 2001: A Space Odyssey works brilliantly creating a much more inventive design than the one for The End Of The World.

After the titles the gig gets wrecked by what I call the Kronkburger scene, as that piece of nonsense perfectly epitomises this sub-Dragonfire set-up of people running round ordering fast food; at least in that episode the milkshakes didn't taste of beef. The music is irritating (Murray Gold is generally okay but he really can't do jauntiness) and the scene is in general overly camp – something Davies stated he was going to be careful about. The Doctor as written by him is completely at odds with the character as written by anyone else, as the sparkling eccentricity that has made him such a captivating television figure for so many years gives way to simple buffoonery. In this case the Doctor is deliberately putting on an act, but for the series in general that point stands. Furthermore, the unimaginative design of the year 200 000 has bee criticised so much that I'm not going to go into it here. It's not all bad though: the massive infodump given by Cathica is at least given some context with the Doctor pretending to be from management, and Simon Pegg puts in a great performance that perfectly suits a character that could so easily slip into pantomime.

The aforementioned beef slush-puppy is another deeply silly scene and continues Davies's habit of creating a largely comedic contextual universe for the characters: in the original series the settings were serious and comedy was added later by the characters, and comedy doesn't feel at all appropriate when it becomes intrinsically part of a non-comedic narrative. It's strange that in an episode featuring two notable comedy actors that I should be complaining about this while praising Pegg as one of its best features. Also of note is Cathica's introduction of "ladies, gentlemen, multisex, undecided"; one of Davies's hobbies seems to be provoking reactions with gratuitous references to sex and sexuality. This is something I never wanted to discuss any episode in relation to, but the cumulative effect throughout the series makes it difficult to ignore. The fact that no aliens are in the room at the time makes it dramatically unjustified, and it merely comes across as self-indulgent writing. I don't want to sound parochial or like I hate the very concept of sex and gender in Doctor Who (not at all); all I have a problem with is Davies's constant need to bait his audience. I'll say again that it's the cumulative effect of the series as a whole that sees me vent my frustration at this scene, as I don't want to mislead you as to the significance of it on its own.

The information stream is a hardly a gigantic leap of imagination, but is certainly off the wall in practice mainly because of the completely loopy idea of people having holes in their heads; unlike, say, Aliens Of London's space pig this sees Davies get right the mix if humour and the genuinely disturbing.

The revelation that Suki is a rebel is an interesting twist as the viewer is expecting the Doctor to be identified. The snowy floor 500 looks brilliant and contains a genuine jump-moment when the corpses are discovered. It is well directed by Brian Grant, who makes good use of a handheld camera, but does go on too long. It finishes with Suki's death though, which is a great moment especially considering that, like many of Davies's episodes, the mortality rate is a fairly low 33.3%.

So far the episode isn't terrible, but I can't shake the feeling that more should have happened by now. It is paced like original series episodes were when they had a leisurely hour and forty minutes to tell their story. This is the main problem with the episode that, through its poor execution, a good core idea goes to the dogs. We're halfway through the episode, and we're still at the initial-setup stage of the plot.

Tamsin Greig's creepy, subtly suggestive performance as the nurse is something I can't quite fathom out, but it certainly tops anything that Langley can manage acting opposite her. The Editor's line about nonentities being promoted is another stalling attempt at satire from Davies; like the low-brow toilet gags and occasional smut the cumulative effect is very grating, and the same goes for the vomit-o-matic.

I'd just like to say that I note with glee the fact that the lift door wobbles as the Doctor and Rose enter it.

Only once the heroes have been captured do we learn anything new since the beginning, either for the episode itself or its place in the series – so badly is The Long Game constructed. However, the confrontation between the Doctor and the Editor is very good and the Jagrafess looks amazing, although its silly convoluted full name sees Davies plumb the depths by plagiarising himself having come up with the ridiculous 'Raxicoricofallipatorius' for World War Three. The 'slave' discussion is great, but why doesn't the Editor sense Cathica come into the room since he's just said how he can detect everyone's thoughts?

The explanation of the Jagrafess leads to many unanswered questions and is inadequate. This is largely intentional, but that doesn't make it a good thing. The Long Game is merely a forty-five minute trailer for Bad Wolf, without containing any real substance to sustain it independently. Taken on its own terms the viewer merely comes away thinking "is that it?", and if I hadn't heard Davies say that these questions would be answered I wouldn't have given it the benefit of the doubt.

And, with that, the Jagrafess is destroyed. Just as the viewer is hoping a bit of proper plot is going to come along the whole thing is over, although we should be grateful that there's no massive fart noise as the Jagrafess explodes. One silly moment is that Suki somehow grabs the Editor even though the zombies' chips are deactivated; even if you explain this away as the Jagrafess taking revenge it's still a cheap attempt at providing dramatic justice. The final scene, in a cursory mention, is straight out of an unfunny sitcom.

I've tried to be kind to this as I've seen many worse episodes (there aren't so many plot holes here as Davies's episodes usually contain), but even so The Long Game is disappointing. It can be seen more sympathetically in the light of Bad Wolf, but in a sense that is irrelevant; however useful it is for the general narrative the fact remains that it is unable to stand up on its own. Therefore, for all it's snappy dialogue and decent visuals, The Long Game remains a very unsatisfying episode.

Filters: Series 1/27 Ninth Doctor Television