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Planet Of The Dead!!
All Of Britain Appraises
The First Of The BBC’s Four
2009 DOCTOR WHO Specials!!

I am – Hercules!!
“Palimpsest” says:
Hi Herc Another review of the first of the four Doctor Who one-offs that are running in the UK in 09/10 proir to the new series/new Doctor due to premiere under the fresh showrunner this time next year. I'll keep this relatively spoiler-free: on the upside, the confidence on display is breathtaking. David Tennant is on the top of his game. He's swaggering, serious, attentive, flirty, funny and serious as the situation demands. Guests Michelle Ryan (as a foxy posh heist-vixen) and Lee Evans (Welsh-techno-nerd) push the extremes of their character without overbalancing totally into parody. James Strong's direction is effective throughout, and displays an interesting attitude towards the possibilities of HD television (this is the first ep of WHO to be filmed in HD), with some superb shots and a distinctly cinematic style. The story's straightforward enough; a disparate group, including The Doctor, end up on a red London bus that rips through a wormhole being deposited on a desert planet. The next hour (a 60 minute episode this, with no commercials as this is the glorious BBC) is straight FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX with asides to PITCH BLACK. For about 45 minutes it holds together fine. The last 15 minutes are weakened by contrivances that take it from SF to outlandish kiddie fantasy strictly for those who think the THE ABSENT-MINDED PROFESSOR equates to realism. There are earlier set-ups so patently rigged towards legitimising this last sequence that might well make a second viewing annoying in the extreme. The script's credited to Russell Davies and Gareth Roberts, though it's Davies' voice which shines through. Here (as usual with WHO) he's fantastic with banter, witty asides, character interplay (the sexual element between Ryan's and Tennant's characters is splendidly done), with building cohesive minor characters, with due regard to SF canon (a lovely QUATERMASS nod) and so on. The plot, though, is another matter - like any bubble, it's a lovely thing until it bursts, and this one pops a quarter of an hour early. Technical credits are, overall, fine. The practical effects are great throughout, and there's some decent CGI though some shows evident signs of budgetary/time constraints. On top of that, the idea that the ep builds to is so dumb that the best effects house in the world couldn't have saved it even with unlimited resources thrown at it. In summary, an annoying piece, ultimately. The first three quarters roll along beautifully but then it falls apart. Even when it does deconstruct though, the character dynamics and the clever dialogue writing make you want it to be better, resolution-wise. The ep was followed by a very effective trailer for the next special to come "later this year" - the hot money is on the late August public holiday in the UK - which looks at on this showing at least like a hard SF take on John Carpenter's PRINCE OF DARKNESS. Till next time
“Unknown Reader” says:
Hi Herc Just thought i'd chip in with a review of the brand new Doctor who special that has just aired this easter saturday in the u.k. Title - "Planet of the dead" writers - Russell T davies and Gareth Roberts. As most people know this is the first of four 1 hour specials to be aired through 2009 before David Tennant hangs up his coat and hands over to Matt smith next year. The episode co-stars Michelle Ryan who you americans might remember recently as the Bionic woman in the u.s tv show last year..Back in ole blightly she has made 2 genre appearences recently both in "Merlin" and now "Doctor Who" The other major guest star is comedian Lee Evans who has been in several u.s films but is better known in the u.k for his stand up comedy tours. SOME SPOILERS AHEAD The episode starts with Lady de souza (played by Ryan) stealing a precious artifact,a cup 1000 years old from a museum. Narrowly avoiding escape from the police she boards a London bus in the hope of escaping. The bus stops and The Doctor enters with a device that he is using to detect a wormhole..before we know it the bus has travelled through a wormhole to an alien planet!. The bus is badly dmaged but the passengers are ok..The doc manages to contact U.N.I.T back on earth and they set up a blockade at the earth side to the wormhole..they discover the wormhole is gaining size and even worse..there are stingray flying creatures that created the wormhole and are on there way to earth to devour everything !! What ensues is a race against time to get back..including lots of running about and help for the bug like creatures The Tritovores who have also crashed on the planet! After the fairly low key xmas special this is an an epic fast paced episode with lots to like but it's not perfect. THE GOOD David tennant for starters..we are so so going to miss him and it's heartbreaking to think there are only 3 more eps to go with him! Michelle Ryan is looking as gorgeous as ever..a natural beauty to behold! Lee Evans is very funny as Doctor Malcolm Taylor and The FX are of a high standard mostly..even more impressive as The Mill had little time to do them as this was filmed only 2 months ago! The Dubai setting gave the ep some added scope to it, though i wouldnt be surprised if some people thought it was a green screen effect! Some hints of darkness to come as the doctor is warned that his song is ending..the same message the Ood gave the Doctor in "The planet of the Oood" Episode. The Doc is also clearly damaged after losing all his companions in some way or another and doesnt take up the offer of Lady De Souza's company when offered to travel with him in the Tardis. THE BAD A slightly silly premise of the Bus flying ( so so Russell T davies, he can't help himself can he!) a slowish start and a couple of dodgy fx here and there but given the timescale this ep was made on it can be excused. All in all this was very enjoyable and would have made a better xmas special than "The Next Doctor"..not that that was bad at all but this had lots more fun but tinged with a hint of darkness to come. A brief clipS at the end showed a few scenes of the next special called "THE WATERS OF MARS"..rumoured to air in November before the 2 part finale which will end Tennants reign as the doctor..looks good but little was given away unfortunately. Only 3 Tennant eps to go but it looks like from this ep and from what i've read they are going to be crackers..can't wait! 8/10
“Celtican” says:
So the 4 month wait is over and finally the new installment of Doctor Who has arrived and to be honest even though the show has graduated to high def I'm still a little underwhelmed. The story starts off well enough if a little cliched with a 'by-the-book robbery of an expensive item in a using wires' the story then hops onto bus which rip roars through a wormhole to a seemingly desert world; but it's passable enough. Not classic Who but entertaining enough and better than we deserve. Tennant is on suitably manic form and with only a few more outings to go it will be a sad day when he regenerates into Matt Smith. He will indeed be missed. Michelle Ryan (late of the Bionic Woman and even later Eastenders) fills the companion role nicely demonstrating her received pronunciation skills as Lady Christina De Souza and a perfect foil for Tennant's Doctor. Their onscreen chemistry is great and one of the episode's saving graces. The supporting cast work well enough although I felt there were extraneous characters who didn't seem to contribute anything to the story, namely some of the bus passengers. Lee Evans (yes that Lee Evans from 'There's Something About Mary') provides the comic relief as a geeky Welsh U.N.I.T. scientific advisor whilst Noma Dumezweni makes a welcome return as U.N.I.T.'s Captain Erisa Magambo. We get to meet an interesting new race called the Tritovores that I'm sure Jeff Goldblum would love to meet but begs the question of how they put on their under t-shirts on with such big heads. To be honest these guys were a bit naff, overalls and fly heads would have been more at home in classic Who but I suspect the budget for this special was used up on the CGI which included a flying double decker bus and a swarm of planet killers (now theres a sentence I never thought I'd see myself write!). On the good side the location looked stunning, Dubai was an obvious choice and well worth the effort. The performances were spot on and the story (however contrived) moved along at a reasonable pace. Overall an enjoyable romp but could have been better.
“The Handsome 12th Doctor” says:
I wonder if the Brit folks in the talkbacks could help me out here. This was the first time that Doctor Who and Primeval have been shown directly against each other, right? It wasn't exactly tough choosing which to watch. Primeval is generally pants. Especially since Hannah Spearitt no longer wanders around her flat in her pants. That's enough pants....... Doc Who was specially class tonight. I thought it was wholly better than the Christmas day instalment. That one was a bit too by-the-numbers for my liking. Whereas tonight I had no idea what would be coming next. I.e. there was no hot air balloon shown in the first 10 minutes which, hmmm, do you think could come into play later? Also tonight the monsters felt far more threatening. Baddies seem scarier when they don't have any convoluted scheme and only want to eat. There was nicely looming build-up of suspense as the 'storm' approached. Now I'll quickly get the Pitch Black comparisons out of the way. Yeah those monsters looked similar, and so did the desert planet landscape, with multiple suns in the sky. But the comparisons end right there because....... well, they just do. Because everything else was different. It was strangely more akin to Flight Of The Phoenix. With the nifty addition of the Tritovore, which were a terrific creation that could so easily have gone wrong. The idea of half-man/half-fly things could have ended up like 1950's The Fly. Or even Fly Vs Fly. But they didn't. The make-up/prosthetic team did a superb job with their look. David Tennant again gave us a skilful performance. I prefer it when he solves things with a thoughtful scientific side, rather than just running around a lot. There was extra shiny support by Michelle Ryan, dressed appealingly Emma Peel-y at the start. I liked her character loads and I wanted to see it left open for her possible return. Lee Evans did some excellent comic relief. And I'm not referring to his dodgy Welsh accent. I did feel sorry for the black lady who easily had the most unconvincing character. I think her name was Mrs Exposition. Was she really only there to ominously preview a future episode? If we can ignore her drivel of dialogue then the rest of it was well written. "Quite a big estate" was something of a corny line but Tennant's deadpan delivery sold it. I also laughed at the cracked idea that the psychic paper works as an Oyster card. And then the climax, while being utterly ridiculous, was still totally appropriate. I was watching that with a great big smile on my face. Exactly the response that this show should elicit. Here's looking forward to The Waters Of Mars. With Lindsay Duncan (yay!). We may have to suffer a longer wait for it. I've heard talk of November time. That's bloody years away!
“Gabba-UK” says:
Hi Herc, Well it's popular Sci-Fi weekend here in Blighty. Last night it was the slightly disappointing return of Red Dwarf. My thoughts on the second part of that later on tonight when I got home from work to watch it Stuck at work however is where I am. Fortunatly for me, the first of David Tennent's last four appearences as Doctor Who is on and no one is here to stop me watching it. Matt Smith is going have be something special when he gets the keys to the TARDIS. Starting with a heist from a museam, Lady Lara Cro... sorry, Lady Christina de Souza escapes from the police onto a number 200 bus. Joining her is the Doctor, looking for something with one of his lovely low tech A-team style cobbled together gadgets. Complete with a little dish, he was quite proud of that and delighted when it started to spin. He's not so delighted as to the reason why it does. A wormhole is forming near the bus and as the police are chasing it to capture Lady de Souza it's a good thing for her too. Driving through the wormhole, the red London bus exits onto a alien desert world. Wailing and much confusion from the other passengers begins. Stuck in the sand with sand in the engine and going nowhere, the driver boldy and gallently decides to leg it back through only to be rendered to his blackened bones. The bus acted like a Faraday cage and the Doctor realize's they need to be in when it returns but it's not going anywhere and something else is on the planet. Something that's feeling a bit peckish..... It was a fun romp I thought and Lady de Souza, played by the horn inducing Michelle Ryan (she of the recent short lived Bionic Woman) was clearly having a blast with the part. And every male will have a blast looking at her. It actually got a little tense in places, the acting was good from all the cast. Standing out from the rest was the cameo by Lee Evans as a UNIT boffin contacted by the Doctor using his mobile phone trick, to help analyze the wormhole and shut it. The SFX were top notch and even the usually OTT background music was held in check. Good: Tennent. As always. Ryan. Shhwinggg!! Evans. Barking but in a good way. Script. Solid work from RTD. The end. A creepy foreshadowing warning for the Doctor 'He will come... and he will knock four times...' Bad: It's not on next week...... Overall, a very solid 8 out of 10. The next one is on mid-summer I believe and is called 'The Waters Of Mars' Classic sounding Who title if you ask me... can't wait. P.S. If this rumoured reboot of the Tomb Raider films happens they need to consider Ryan. Seriously.
“Supertoyslast” says:
All aboard for the 200th story of Doctor Who. After a daring raid on a museum, and chased by the police, aristocratic thief Lady Chrisitina de Souza makes her getaway on the number 200 bus. The Doctor is also on the bus, tracking a small wormhole. But when the wormhole suddenly grows larger, the bus and its passengers are stranded on a desert planet. And a storm is approaching... This was a brisk, fun adventure. It was light and a marked improvement on most of the Christmas specials which tend to be a bit underwhelming. The chemistry between Lady de Souza (a thief) and the Doctor (who stole his TARDIS from his own people) works well. It's good to see a companion who considers herself to be (at least) the equal of the Doctor. There were plenty of good lines and small touches, such as the Doctor's comment about being at the first Easter. "Between you and me, what really happened was..." The script was tight and the basic concept of Doctor Who meets The Flight of the Phoenix was satisfying. Lee Evans also turned in a memorable performance as an eccentric UNIT boffin. But I think what most people will remember is the warning given to the Doctor near the end: "Your song is ending soon. It is returning. Through the dark. And then.... he will knock four times." I'm guessing "He" will be the Master. And it would be cool if "It" was something like Gallifrey. I'm prepared to be way out on that one, but RTD likes to keep us guessing. There was a brief post-credits teaser for the next episode: The Waters of Mars. We didn't see much beyond the Doctor and a group of people in some sort of complex (presumably on Mars). They appear to be under seige by more people (apparently human) who spray water out of their hands. The Doctor says "Water always wins".
“Kelvington” says:
This episode of Doctor Who, one of the four specials we get this year, starts out like something from "Mission Impossible" with a heist, that was worthy of the Pink Panther, not the crap ones with Steve Martin, but the good ones with Peter Sellers. But I digress, the bus the Doctor and his new friend played by the lovely as ever Michelle Ryan, end up on a desert planet. This episode is a bit of romp, and it's great to see someone other than the Doctor take charge for a bit. While we only get to see Michelle as a companion for this episode it would be great to see the next Doctor pick her up for a good series or two. While there are many shades of "Midnight" in this episode. One thing Russell T Davies is very good at, is giving a little shock with his story. Including a bus driver who gets sort of terminator treatment, except in this case... seems skin can't pass through a worm hole. The story only seems to suffer when UNIT gets involved, I think the story would have been much better had it only dealt with the Doctor and the bus occupants. In the end, this is at best an average episode, nothing great, nothing to terrible. The fly guys are passable, the flying dust mites are mildly interesting, but the worst thing about this episode and the previous one, is you have all this talent, and it's only being partly used. I'll very much be looking forward to Moffat taking over. Just my 2¢
“Jadstersdad” says:
Guerilla review here....not much time....had to comment! Here in the UK it was the first of David Tennant's 4 final Dr Who specials before Matt Smith takes over next year. Simply....for me.....10/10 for this one. Funny how the shows really hit their stride towards the end of an actor's tenure. They got everything right in this one. God if only Michelle Ryan could be a regular companion. The pace, the humour, the script, the acting.....this felt like the 'Voyage Home' of DW. Not to every die hard fan's taste maybe, but for this fan....Wow! And, I suspect, for the ordinary viewer also. Look forward to hearing what everyone else thought. for now
“GreenFlashlight” says:
hey herc, Just watched the easter doctor who special and have a few thoughts. Overall a very good, old school standalone episode. Michelle Ryan was great as a Lara Croft rip-off. I was worried that the set up was a bit too similar to last season's Midnight episode but the fact that the majority of things occoured away from the confined space of the bus stopped this from being too repetitive. Lee Evans was very annoying as a mad scientist straight out of central casting and the insectoid aliens seemed a bit pointless, although I thought the prosthetics were above average. SPOILERS AHEAD The show ended with the Doctor being warned by one of the bus passengers (who has a 'gift') that his song is coming to an end. Could this be the return of Alex Kingston? And there was a hint of a big bad who would knock four times. SPOILERS DONE. Like I said, a steady monster of the week ep, just not what I expected when e were told we were only geting specials this year.
“V'Shael” says:
Hey Herc, You've probably been inundated with reviews of the Easter special, but I figure what the heck, I'd throw my two cents in. The episode is not as good as the Christmas special, and is about on a par for most of Russel's efforts. That means thatit's aimed at children, contains a few childish jokes, and makes basic errors in science, etc... Russel's script writing skills have always lain in the personality/relationship areas, and not in the plotting or factual science areas. (e.g. how far away is a visible horizon. If a wormholes radius is 4 miles, what's the point of clearing air traffic if you haven't cleared the streets of London, etc..) The main guest character is obviously Michelle Ryan, (of Eastenders and Bionic Woman fame) who plays the Lady De Souza. Her banter with the Doctor is very well done, and while the character is a bit sterotypical (think Lara Croft), she brings morecharisma to this one hour than she ever brought to the Bionic Woman. David Tennant plays off of her really well. He of course, brings his A game, as always. I'm really going to miss him in the role. Some of the effects in the show were very disappointing, particularly the swarm shots. They looked like they were rendered onan old 386 or something. Whereas some of the floating viewscreen shots were extremely well done. This might have been a budgetthing. And for those who were afraid (like myself) that the terminally unfunny Lee Evans would drag the episode to Slitheen depths of "comedy", breathe a sigh of relief. The man is playing it more or less straight. It's a quirky character, but Mr. Evans is not playingit for laughs. Thank your personal diety. The other guest characters on the bus, are mostly ciphers, though the minimal screen time they are given is put to good use. The psychic lady gives the Doctor an ominous prediction of his personal future, which won't come as a surprise to anyone. The resolution of the plot, again, won't take anyone by surprise. It's pretty by-the-numbers stuff. I'd give it a 2.5 out of 5. And that's actually better than Iexpected.

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