I'm speaking about Doctor Who, of course. David Tennant has brought an undeniable amount of energy to the long-running series, oftentimes emotionally charged. Never before has The Doctor's relationship to his companions been so fascinating or so poignant. Obviously this is a testament to the capable hands of the writers and directors and other actors as well, but Tennant was the glue that bound everything together like never before.
I'm just going to take a few moments and reflect on some of my favorite moments of the past few years. As I sit here with the final episode torrented and ready to roll, I'm both scared and intrigued of Matt Smith as the new 11th Doctor, and incredibly sad that Tennant will be saying good-bye.
2x03, School Reunion
Rose has finally come to grips with the Doctor's new appearance and the gang is acting upon a request by the finally-coming-into-his-own-as-a-character Mickey Smith to investigate some weird stuff going on at a school. That is, until Sarah Jane Smith comes sauntering in with her tin dog. The whole female jealousy thing starts to brew but my favorite part is when they finally relax and realize that they both have participated in such a weird journey and can't help but share a good laugh at the Doctor's quirks. "What?? Stop it!!"
2x04, The Girl in the Fireplace
Easily one of my favorite episodes ever. We get to see a side of the Doctor that rarely comes out: the capacity to fall in love. The breaking point for me is the Doctor's readiness to give up his life of time-travelling and settle down with this woman and the sadness that ensues when he believes he can find a way to bring her with him, but cannot. Incredibly imaginative stuff courtesy Steven Moffat and superbly executed by cast and crew.
2x12, 13 Army of Ghosts, Doomsday
The first parting of a companion in the new series and it has never been this emotional. I don't really have a lot to say about this epic two-parter except I really missed Rose Tyler and hoped upon hopes that some day she would return. The two made a great team.
3x08, Human Nature
A totally brilliant setup. The Doctor has had to make himself human, and can't remember that he was once The Doctor. Martha continues to play second fiddle, taking on the role of a lowly maid as the man's mind is very much elsewhere. The only bummer is that this brilliant opener is hurt by a slightly weak followup featuring some rather cheesy villains.
3x11, 12, 13, Utopia, The Sound of Drums, The Last of the Time Lords
Still the only three-parter in the new series, it's also up there with the best. The relatively ominous Utopia
ends with the shocking reveal of The Master, who is played so well by John Simm. The Doctor and The Master have a brilliant chemistry that was explored in the following two episodes, first with the Doc on the run, and then with him essentially captured and open to The Master's gleeful torture. I get choked up every time I see the part with Tennant holding Simm, handcuffed, dying in his arms, refusing to regenerate.
4x08, 09, Silence in the Library, Forest of the Dead
I really love the entirety of season 4 - Catherine Tate brings a wonderful foil to the Doctor that is much needed after the sexual advances (sort of) of Rose and Martha. But this two-parter, again Moffat's, is so out-of-control terrific it elevates the season to a new level. We've got the discovery of the world's largest library completely abandoned, the entrance of a fun little group of explorers led by River Song, some really neat technologies (the "saving"), and a little girl watching the whole thing unfold on telly. "Spoilers..."
It's sort of like Night of the Living Dead
set on a mysterious planet full of diamonds and light that is poisonous to the eyes. The panic of the travellers ends up causing more conflict than the potentially dangerous entity that has stowed away on board. The tight direction by Alice Troughton in what is essentially a one-room setpiece makes for one of the most gripping, and terrifying, episodes ever produced. The "copying" scene has to be seen to be believed: an incredible feat by two actors put on film by any measure.
4x12, 4x13, The Stolen Earth, Journey's End
This probably should have been a three-parter, as the entourage of companions, Torchwood, and UNIT make for a super dense episode. But Colin Teague does a damn fine job of keeping a steady, slowly-building pace. The reuniting of the Doctor and Rose (forever, in a way?) is touching, the return of Davross is wonderful, and the Daleks have never seemed so imposing. The final scene with The Doctor explaining to Wilf that Donna can never remember her journeys with The Doctor is even more saddening than Patrick Troughton as the second Doctor losing Jamie and Zoe - at least they got to retain one memory. Seeing Donna as The Doctor-Donna is both hilarious and heartbreaking.
5x03 (I guess), The Waters of Mars
I was a little worried these one-off episodes in 2009 were going to be a little too self-contained, after the somewhat odd 'The Next Doctor' and entertaining, but not emotionally-taxing 'Planet of the Dead'. Well, this one kicked my ass with a great setting, great characters, great foes, and a focus on the decision-making of The Doctor that has been a long time coming. By the end we see a side of the Doctor like never before: almost arrogant, power-hungry, and relentless. It sets the tone for Tennant's final two-parter, for sure...
I have a lot of hope for the series to come in 2010. Although Matt Smith looks a little douchey and emo, I've been surprised before, and with Steven Moffat at the helm - who delivered some of the best episodes ever - I know I shouldn't be too worried. Here's to a full season!
And now I'm off to watch the end of David Tennant.
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