Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)


The Doctor and Rose travel 5 billion years into the future, to that fateful day when, according to popular science, the world actually will end.

“This is the day the sun explodes.”

Wow – what a great hook.

Sadly the rest of this fancy-dress whodunnit could have been set anytime. Wha' haaappened? Did they splice 2 seriously underrunning episodes together and hope we wouldn't notice?

I mean there’s a very old jukebox from the 1960s there. Ignoring the obvious question of how come it hadn’t decomposed, with 5 billion years to choose from it then proceeds to play tracks by Rose’s contemporaries Soft Cell and Britney Spears. Maybe the original, Earthless, script was set only 1,000 years in the future…

They also, chillingly, meet the “last human being alive”…

I've been framed
… although this claim is clearly bogus as in the 1965 story The Ark the entire population of Earth survived and escaped in a giant spaceship. Poor deluded painting.

Lots of alien races arrive to watch the Earth do the big firework, but sadly the show shies away from acknowledging any race from the classic series. Arcturus’ or Sil’s race would have been good here. Instead we just had people dressed-up in make-up. These, would you believe, are trees:

It must be winter
(hey-hey - it's 1973 again!)

We even had robots wearing hoods and calling themselves “The Adherents of the Repeated Meme.” These guys are later revealed to be imposters, a plan that is rumbled when the Doctor says that their race doesn’t actually exist. Now I ask you – if you were going to pose as a member of an alien race, wouldn’t you pick a race that was real?

Equally foolishly, the chief baddie (yep the last human) teleports away at the end to escape, leaving behind a handy REVERSE button. Even handier is the inferred absense of such a button on her own ship.

Again, another thinly scripted climax, which led to some poor editing with no progression. Basically lots of cutting about for a while with nothing much happening

The Doctor and Rose phone home
Rose feels homesick already, so using her mobile phone she dials 5 billion years back in time to talk to her mum - lovely idea.

Unfortunately, this is the first time they've spoken since, after dark, her mum told her to get straight home to escape from the killer manniquins that were shooting everyone last week, when Rose disconnected her mid-sentence.

Jackie, on Wednesday
Now, just half an hour later, her mum has arrived home herself, is doing the laundry, in daytime, and is mistified as to why Rose is phoning.

And yet, if you pay very close attention, you might just pick-up on Rose's mum's line "Put a quid in that lottery syndicate." This suggests that Rose has got through to her mum before all the stuff about her work lottery syndicate last week. If you miss that though, the much more obvious implication is that the same amount of time (as I say, about half an hour) has passed for both of them.

It's like they genuinely expected us to forget what we watched a week ago, and indeed just saw again in the recap.

If the programme-makers have this low an expectation of me, then why should I want to come back next week and see what else they've made?

For me, the appeal in science-fiction has always lain in seriously thinking about it afterwards, but these opening 2 shows fall apart as quickly as the awful Hitchhiker movie.

The storytelling actually gets worse. At the end of the episode, the Doctor – that’s the good guy, the hero, the defender of all humankind, actually kills the human race, or at the very least avoids trying to save it. That’s right – DOCTOR WHO™ does.

Bad everything day
No way. No, no way.

On the plus side, there's certainly alot of mystery to his character, and he appears to be on the run, like in the early days, which is a perfectly good way to go, but my main problem here is this: I just don't know at this stage if he's the same guy I watched as a kid or not.

TV and movies today love remaking a classic TV show from scratch – e.g. Captain Scarlet, Randall And Hopkirk (Deceased) and The Addams Family. (I leave you to list all the movies.) I always feel betrayed when they do that – I’m tuning in to find out what happened next. No, the last time I can remember a TV series revival that actually did follow-on from the original was… errr… in 1996. Doctor Who.

But with this series I’ve just got no idea. Is this a different guy called the Doctor? Is he the same guy? Sheesh - it's like watching Patrick Troughton, only with 23 more series at stake.

If he is the same guy that I watched as a teenager, then we haven’t half jumped ahead. Apparently his entire race have now all been killed-off.

I never like it when a show skips ahead and leaves the viewer on the outside. "Hey – here’s a really great story that we’re not going to show you." It's like starting a book half way through – you don't. If you do, you spend your entire time wanting to go back and read the first half first. Even when you finish, you still feel like you missed out.

This doesn't even help me to identify with Rose, because even for her there is only one possible home planet that the Doctor can have.

I'm feeling pretty low about this show at the moment.

A real street?

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