Doctor Who: Doomsday Review

Summary: Enh. Spoilers follow.

As season endings go, that wasn't all that great. It would have been a nice clean ending if I had any faith in Russell Davies' ability to leave finished plot arcs closed, but I don't. "The last Dalek! Only... not!", "The one single time Rose gets to see her father, ever, only... not!", "Mickey's gone, the alternate world is closed, only.... not!" - and so on. It's like comics, nobody's ever dead, no villain is ever defeated, and they all, always, rise from the ashes.

Aside from that, the amount of melodrama and angst was spectacular. Neither is anything I have much time for; they're cheap tricks in any narrative, and when you tack on a second ending to get in more melodrama, and leave it with the ultimate angst of the undelivered message... that's bargain basement level stuff.

And aside from that, at an emotional level, I didn't like the ending. I know it's being left for resolution later, and I don't appreciate knowing that my strings are being pulled, let alone having them pulled at all. It was unsatisfying.

RTD is quoted as saying that the season ends on a huge cliffhanger. Er, no. A cliffhanger, Mr. Davies, is when you leave the audience still engaged, and wanting to know what happens next, not when you pull a complete non sequiteur after a pile of melodrama, and end the episode. I'm grateful to him for bringing back Dcotor Who and getting me interested, but really, I'm arriving at the conclusion that he's not that great a writer, and he's in well over his head now.

The action sequences were great, Mickey has indeed grown up, I really liked the alternate Torchwood guys... but it didn't make up for the unsatisfactory, irritating conclusion.

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Posted by Drew Shiel at July 8, 2006 10:29 PM

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Well it left me wondering what happens next. Wether Rose will ever see the doctor again(maybe a parrelel doctor). And I think you're being a bit harsh there. The only bit I didn't like of these two episodes is when Mickey takes of the lab coat his colar is down clearly, then in the next scene, it's covering his neck.

Posted by: Dr. Phil at July 8, 2006 11:14 PM

Man, get a life. So much to watch and so much to listen to. Plus all the expense of the special effects and props. And you go on about a collar?

Bet you don't have a girlfriend!

Posted by: Boy-oh-boy at July 9, 2006 2:14 PM

Hey, I loved the episode. I was just pointing out he was a bit harsh. I found it realy funny when the daleks and cybermen are talking: "Identify yourself" "You first" "You first" "Exterminate!" "Delete!"

And that bit where the cyberman Yvonne Hartman shoots the cybermen and says: "I served my queen and country!"

Posted by: Dr. Phil at July 9, 2006 5:52 PM

I don't really see much wrong with either the Doomsday episode or RTD in general as a writer/editor.

Let's face it - the Daleks ALWAYS come back.....they have been destroyed several times over the years and they always return and always will. Particularly as the Black Dalek did and emergency 'timewarp' and escaped in Doomsday. Probably the same goes for the Cybermen...though hopefully neither will be back next season.

And as for all the emotional manipulation.......well, it went on a bit but it was better than the 'ho hum' and a shrug that has accompanied the passing of a companion in the past. And what else could they do? They'd built up an emotional attachment so there had to be something.

It's funny......but growing up with Doctor Who, I always imagined that there were hidden feelings between thr Doctor and the compabnions somewhere in the background - just not played out in the shows. Somewhere in the Tardis, I see a hidden room with little shrines or monuments to the ex-companions, with their belongings on display. Now THAT would be twisted.....

Posted by: Wibble at July 9, 2006 6:42 PM

Well frankly and seriously bare this in mind...because its the obvious truth.....

I sat and watched with my 8 year old nephew and 7 year old niece.....and you know what...they thought it was "FANTASTIC" and you know what.

The children are the pro,s....about time something scared them in a family sort of way :O)

Posted by: Porkyprime at July 11, 2006 11:09 AM

Drew Shei what are you going on about? The NOT answers you have given to the statements you have made... they are all possible in sci-fi. The Doctor gave reasons for Mickey and Pete coming back, cracks between the two parallel universes.

And i thought the ending was a very good cliffhanger, ive been racking my brains trying to find out how that bride got in the TARDIS.

Posted by: Dan at July 11, 2006 12:44 PM

I wrote pretty much the same conclusions on my own blog. Mickey had bugger all to do in the final episode; all he did was touch the Genesis Arc, which was actually a TARDIS... So why call it the Genesis Arc? And if the Doctor planned to close the breech himself, how would he ever have handled both levers? And why didn't Rose go wait in the TARDIS? Plot holes that made Swiss cheese look hole-free.

Catherine Tate, playing Catherine Tate let's face it, coming so soon after Peter Kay makes me think yes, I'm grateful to Russell T Davies for bringing the show back but now I'm keen to see someone PLEASE take it away from him before he kills it in three years rather than the near-30 years it took the classic show to die off! x

Posted by: Andy at July 11, 2006 1:47 PM

That's the good part. The cliff-hanging it leaves you in. You guys ever wander that if the doctor and Rose never turn up in there places there would never be any trouble at all?

Posted by: Dr. Phil at July 12, 2006 4:24 PM

I guess the old adage is true - you just can't please Doctor Who fans!

Maybe Davies style isn't to every who fan's taste. It's one thing to dislike the show, but "not that great a writer" and "in over his head?" Yeah right, I get it - the multiple BAFTA winner doesn't know how to string a script together. Huh? Have you ever read any of the Who Fan Fiction out there? Thank God the actual show is in the hands of professionals.

Ah well, everyone likes what they like! But in my book, if Doomsday didn't tug your heartstrings then you're probably already Cyberman.

Posted by: magpie at July 15, 2006 3:39 AM

In my opinion, this is the best Dalek episode since Genesis of the Daleks (1975). To see them confronted with an enemy we've never seen them with before, being the Cybermen, is quite exhilerating. The dialogue between the two powers was indeed memorable and delivered well. The way the Doctor handled all the action was very Troughton-esque. I love those 3-D glasses! Nice touch.

Posted by: Timewalker at July 15, 2006 11:03 PM

Russell T Davies is a good writer. I have seen a lot of his ‘non Who’ work and I like his wit, his style and his ability to write gripping real life drama. HOWEVER, Russell T Davies is destroying Doctor Who as he has not got a good grip on the character of the Doctor. Thus he is unable to write effectively for the show and should be replaced.

Firstly Russell Davies has downgraded the character by making the Doctor far too human. He has become more human than the humans he is among. There are many situations where the character would benefit greatly by showing that he thinks differently to the people he is with. The Doctor should always be looking at the bigger picture and have a different attitude. He should think outside normal circles. Instead we have a Doctor that is so emotional that it is virtually crippling to his character. How many times is the Doctor going to say, "I'm so sorry" during this new series? So much for the wonderful alien detachment shown in stories like Pyramids of Mars! We even have the Doctor being "So sorry" when he dispatches the three computer operator cyberpuppets at Torchwood despite the fact that he knows they are already dead. For the Doctor to remain a truly great character he should constantly be surprising us with his way of thinking. When we see the body of some poor victim and are feeling “Oh, poor thing”, the Doctor should voice his opinion and make us think “Oh yes. Why didn’t I think of the situation that way?”

Secondly the whole Doctor/companion love affair thing is very detrimental to the character. The Doctor is weakened by this attachment. It is quite clear that the Doctor has been very fond of his companions in the past and when they have fallen into danger the Doctor suffers distress at the peril of his friends. We know however that the Doctor will always choose for the greater good. If asked to decide between the fate of one person or the fate of a world we know that the Doctor will choose the world. The fact that the Doctor is willing to sacrifice millions of people to villains such as the Daleks merely to save one person (Rose in the final episode of the first series) shows how little a grasp on the real character of the Doctor Russell Davies has. He is trying to force the programme in the direction that he wants with no regard for the essential, core structure that made the show great.
In the documentary 'Whose Doctor Who' the character of the Doctor is lauded as being a role model. I honestly can not say that this flawed character is the same as the one we witnessed at the time that documentary was made. The idea that the Doctor never carries or uses a gun, never got the girl and never even showed an interest in romance made him unique among television heroes (with the exception of Patrick McGoohan’s Dangerman, another incredibly popular character who received just as much praise and attention for those traits).
Doctor Who came back to our screens...but it is virtually the same in name alone. The Doctor is not the same strong character and it is a great shame.
Perhaps if the programme was being made by people who were not raised as fans of the show? Then some thing fresh and innovative may have been brought in without structurally damaging and altering the core of the show.

One can only hope that now Rose Tyler and her family are no longer to be featured the programme will be much less of a soap opera and more a sci-fi-fantasy programme like it is supposed to be.
Billie Piper is a wonderful actress. I only wish she could have been allowed to unlock the characters full potential. Instead she was hampered by the unnecessary love affair thing.
The great thing about past companions is how strong they all were. They were not in love with the Doctor...none of them (no matter what School Reunion may try to tell us). They also had lives away from the Doctor but those lives were not brought in as an everyday part of the show. How awful it would have been if Jo Grant's uncle was always in at UNIT pestering the Doctor to come around for Christmas dinner. Or if Sarah Jane Smiths bisexual brother came in so that Tom Baker's Doctor could give him a quick gay kiss before not destroying the Daleks. My point is that we all know that Rose would have had a family. We did not need to see them in more than half the series. It just made the whole thing so soapy and left less room for storytelling. I expect this was done because Russell Davies is better at writing for real life drama than he is at science fiction.
I have read that Rose’s family were included to introduce more realism into the programme. This is a poor argument. If we were to be shown real characters we would have had Jackie Tyler etc having nervous breakdowns after horrifying alien confrontations and a lot more willingness to have nothing more to do with the Doctor.
The reason many companions left the Doctor is because they’d had enough of dangerous and deadly situations and wanted a safe, peaceful life. The idea that any character relishes being unsafe and in danger is not realistic at all. We can have a realistic programme without it being made a soap opera.

I know it is important to bring in new elements into the programme to keep it fresh and alive. The Doctor changing his face from Hartnell to Troughton must have caused unrest among some viewers but it kept the programme alive. I can imagine some viewers back in the1970’s hating the UNIT era and still others being outraged at the changes made during Tom Baker’s reign. Thus if the current production team want to make the programme much more soapy and self aware then that is their decision…however the character of the Doctor himself MUST NOT BE TAMPERED WITH. It worked well just the way it was. As the saying goes…”If it isn’t broken then don’t try to fix it”.

Finally, let's hope that the Tardis winds up someplace other than London/Earth in every single episode of the next series. Speaking of which, whatever happened to the Doctor not being able to control the Tardis? He sure seems to have pretty good control over exactly where and when he lands these days. I guess it is just easier for the writers but wasn't it fun when even the Doctor did not know where he would end up next?

Posted by: Chris Williams at July 16, 2006 8:04 AM

You are all extremely ungrateful and sound like whinging plebs. The new concept Doctor Who is brilliant. Get girlfriends and do things to them. Geeks.

Posted by: Mark Perry at July 17, 2006 12:26 PM

Finally somebody that agrees with me that the new doctor who is great! thanks mark perry!

Posted by: Dan at July 17, 2006 3:42 PM

RTD brought back the series from the dead and he's free to reimagine it as he pleases. John Nathan-Turner listened to demands like those listed here from fans too and now he is lambasted for destroying the show - too much continuity, etc.

The show is a romp - it's a lot of fun and you can tell the actors, the writers, and everyone else is having a good time with it. "Doomsday" was a rush to watch even if it did have plot holes. Take it for what it is and enjoy it. If you still find you don't like it, then by all means list your problems with it. Do NOT however announce that RTD should be fired from the show for all the faults you think it may have. He works incredibly hard to bring it back, turn it into a BAFTA winning Top 10 hit, and make it cool to be a Doctor Who fan! Without him, we're all just reading the over-wrought, continuity-plagues BBC books and hoping the BBC manages to make enough money to keep putting out DVDs of 30 year-old TV shows!

Posted by: Sutekh at July 17, 2006 7:02 PM

I realy can't understand all the criticism being hurled at R.T.D. Lets get one thing straight from the start. If wasn't for him then Doctor Who would never have returned to television.
O.K so every episode isn't great but there are a lot more more good ones than poor ones and even the poor ones are better than most rubbish you see.
I loved the relationship between Rose and the Doctor and rather than having the main character "standing still" it was actually a character development to have him start to fall in love for once in his long life. I for one looked forward to the periodic visits with Rose's family and they will definately be a miss in the new series. One thing that I do think R.T.D should do is to avoid having the "star" guest appear just because they are popular at the moment. The Sarah Jane episode was handled very well, but Peter Kay ? and now Katherine Taite ??
The last few minutes of Doomsday were some of the most moving television I have seen in a long time and this coming from a nearly 50 yr old who can remember watching the very first episode back in 1963.
Keep up the good work R.T.D and long may tou reign.

Posted by: AJM at July 17, 2006 9:21 PM

What?!!!!! Doomsday was amazing! Though not everyone liked the fact that "The Runaway Bride" came on at the last second (and I didn't to begin with), but looking back - I think it was a good move to bring in someone, so that you're not just completely depressed that Rose has left the Doctor, and that you have something to look forward to.

Posted by: catinthehat at July 18, 2006 9:15 AM

I think occasionally people can be a little too nostalgic about the older series as well - I'm not saying they were bad but some of them were a bit shabby. We live in a far more critical age now - if people don't see exactly what they want it's a travesty. I enjoy Doctor Who for what it is - a fun programme with some laughs and some tears. People have made valid points - I think Billie was held back a little, but she's the companion and so bound to come second. Seeing the Doctor fall for someone was new and therefore took the show somewhere new - although I would argue that the Doctor was starting to fall for her - they were best of friends and things were beginning to progress in his mind - but in that way they had to be parted because the thrill is in the uncertain - can you actually imagine Doctor Who in a relationship? (unfortunately) I don't think it would work. RTD is doing a marvellous job producing a fun tv show.

Posted by: Bea at July 20, 2006 1:28 PM

I think the last episode of the seires woz top class. a gr8 series ender, and rose could return in future series, but it could also be left as it is. RTD is doin a gr8 job, cant wait til christmas episode but also agree peter kay woz crap in "love and Mosneters"

Posted by: captin stubin at July 20, 2006 8:59 PM


when will captian jack come back? i think the best episode was doomsday! i loved it!
Cybermen should have stayed with humans and would be good!n but oh well!

Posted by: jordan at July 23, 2006 4:17 PM

sooooooooooooooo true

i HATE the whole last dalek thing... grrrrrr
didnt mind the father thing tho, not so much
also mickey thing a nnoying

PLUS they have come back 3 times and they're still 'wiped out' supposedly. it cant go on can it???
SO... why doesnt it just occur that he reaslied there are tons of dleks blah blah and basically yhrere will be lots of little fun skirmishes, a constant fun threat and no morer annoyance?? whos is with me??

Posted by: moogs at July 24, 2006 1:20 AM

Russell T Davies, or RTD as you abbreviate it to, is a better writer than you will ever be and it takes guts to develop a storyline, like Mickey in another dimension and Daleks returning, when you have already seemingly closed it off.

Posted by: Pete at July 26, 2006 11:35 AM


the genesis arc is a prisonn ship, not a TARDIS, since it cant travel by itself.

the only similar thing is that the arc also uses the 'time lord science'(as the daleks put it)

'its bigger on the inside'

i guess i was close when i saw the preview and thought 'hmm that will probably re-create the daleks or something....'

pretty close considering it didnt create any.. just released a load of imprisoned ones...

Posted by: Richard at July 26, 2006 12:18 PM

Quote: "Russell T Davies, or RTD as you abbreviate it to, is a better writer than you will ever be and it takes guts to develop a storyline, like Mickey in another dimension and Daleks returning, when you have already seemingly closed it off."

I'm not claiming to be a better writer anywhere above, and I'm not sure where you got the idea.

However, as to it taking guts to develop a storyline you've already closed off, I disagree. I think it's an easy way out; it takes much more effort and talent to come up with new orginal material. Recycling the same material over and over again in "new" combinations is dull - for examples, see comics, in which no threat is ever vanquished for good, and no hero ever slain for ever - they ALWAYS come back.

Posted by: Drew Shiel at July 26, 2006 1:16 PM

hi guys i h8 doctor who
love jim x

Posted by: jim hawkins at July 31, 2006 12:30 PM

(Pardon my spelling, just had eye op). I like many was most greatful for the series to return to our screens. However, RTD was not the right man for the job.
having raised this issue with my univeristy proffessor, a huge fan (of which his focas of his works is on metaphysics and time) put forward an interesting point to me, that of the show has been dummed down. The science is no longer there, neither is the inginuity (come on, opening the void to suck the daleks and cybermen back in, how come it let them escape in the first place).
other example where shown again in earlier episodes such as Rose (burping bin) and most recently love and monsters which I feel ahamed to call myself a doctor who fan when presented with.
Steven Fry could wipe the floor with RTD and I am saddened hes pulled out of series three. Fry puts forward oppinions but also has a unike way of dealing with the characters he uses. Also, he doesnt have to resort to "in gay jokes" to suite the needs of a minority of fans that he himself is appart of. Seriously, nothing wrong with the odd comment but god, by doomsday, the dr kissing Micky, its just getting too much.
As for the issue of Daleks being on the verge of extinction, JUST BRING THEM BACK AND STOP DIDDLE DADDALING. Dalek has caused some painfull annoyances, and if eatch time the daleks are to come back, they are to be beaten in such a stupid way why bother brinnging them back. Daleks stand for the ultimate evil, which should mean you cannot be defeated by a flick of a switch of a chav looking into the time vortex (comeon people, shows how bad RTD is, why didnt a single timelord do that in the first place).
My final critisism is the filming itself. always same colour schemes (though liked the planet on army of ghosts), constant mistakes in film:
1. where did the void ship go
2. Drs constant changing hairstyle
3.the foot behing the rear tire of the van at the end scene of doomsday

I say if the new series doesnt improve, canncel it, and give the license to the Big finish production team to carry on there good work. Let the writters (some of which are on the show now) work to there full potential without RTD and his camp and limited syle ristricting them.

Posted by: KAZ at August 1, 2006 4:15 AM

I'll post this to you guys instead (the people discussing Martha Jones are pretty inarticulate). I'm aware of a red herring that dripped through Season Two in the same manner as Bad Wolf did in Season One - a repeated word. Did anyone else pick up on it? It was in "School Reunion", "Rise of the Cybermen", "Idiot's Lantern", "The Impossible Planet" and "Love and Monsters" (by the way, RTD, don't you dare be that "experimental" again). I'm not saying what it is as I don't want eejits replying with "Oh yeah, I noticed that" if they didn't. So, fanboys and girls, what was the link? Curiouser and curiouser....

Posted by: at August 7, 2006 3:29 PM

> Daleks stand for the ultimate evil, which should mean you cannot be defeated by a flick of a switch of a chav looking into the time vortex (comeon people, shows how bad RTD is, why didnt a single timelord do that in the first place).

But what if that's what the Doctor actually did... at the cost of (nearly?) all the other Time Lords as well and likely a regeneration as well. In POTW Rose was just lucky enough to kill the Dalek Emperor along with the new army.

Now for the Master to have gone into hiding too. Maybe he met up with some Krillotanes... ;)

Posted by: Chad at August 24, 2006 6:25 PM