The Ninth Doctor Chronicles
Audio / May 13, 2017

Released May 2017 SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW Christopher Eccleston burst onto screens in 2005, instantly winning over fans with his confident, funny, and tormented incarnation of the ages-old titular Time Lord. Unfortunately, although his decision to leave the role after just thirteen episodes probably helped the viability of the franchise by allowing regeneration to be introduced and incorporated so early, it also left the Ninth Doctor as one of the most tragically unexplored incarnations to date. As of yet Christopher Eccleston has declined any invitations to reprise his role, but Big Finish has employed the stylings of its The Companion Chronicles range and Nicholas Briggs’s ability to channel the essence of the Ninth Doctor to once more bring 2005 to life with its The Ninth Doctor Chronicles. Cavan Scott’s ‘The Bleeding Heart’ opens the set, focusing on a very emotional and wounded Ninth Doctor fresh out of the Time War prior to his meeting with Rose. It seems natural that he would seek out a respite following the atrocities he both witnessed and committed in the name of the universe, and a planet of perpetual peace provides the perfect draw. However, when a mysterious death prefaces an increasing number of mysterious…

The Doctor Dances
Episode / July 5, 2016

Aired 28 May 2005 After the spectacular success that ‘The Empty Child’ represented, Steven Moffat does the seemingly impossible and fulfills expectations by delivering an equally satisfying concluding act in ‘The Doctor Dances.’ Delving into his past with both drama and comedy, ‘The Doctor Dances’ touches upon multiple genres while presenting intriguing and engaging events and characters that leads up to one of the most glorious conclusion in Doctor Who history. Truly the testament of a good concluding act is its ability to wrap up its storylines, and Moffat does so ingeniously in one single scene when Nancy is forced to reveal her secret to her brother while under imminent threat from a horde of gas-masked zombie-like creatures. The reasoning behind the secret as well as the way in which it is handled is simply superb and touches upon the morals and social norms of the time, another reminder amongst the carnage of war of just where and when this episode takes place. As strong as the special effects continue to be to bring the environment to life, it’s rightfully the emotional core of the story itself that brings the episode to life. And, finally, after the bombardment of turmoil…

The Empty Child
Episode / July 4, 2016

Aired 21 May 2005 The new series of Doctor Who has only lightly connected with the classic series so far, not wanting to risk alienating viewers with too much continuity right off the bat. Rather than delving too much into the history of the Time Lord, this first series seems content to simply show the breadth and scope that the format of the programme offers while keeping it grounded through the eyes of Rose. As such, it has been the tone of certain episodes that has really sustained the connection so far, and ‘The Empty Child,’ as the first of a two-part story, certainly hearkens back to the more romantically gothic era, featuring a fascinating setting and incredible character interactions. A definite part of what makes ‘The Empty Child’ so successful already is that the slower pace that the two parts affords allows the atmosphere and setting to be fully explored. Having the Doctor slowly figure out where he has landed through a series of missteps is cleverly done, and having Rose inexplicably end up hanging over London during a German blitz instantly sets the danger of the scene while allowing for a spectacular introduction of the roguish Time Agent…

Father’s Day
Episode / June 28, 2016

Aired 14 May 2005 While Doctor Who has always been known for its ingenious concepts and stories, rarely has the programme purposefully tried to bring emotions to the forefront. There are, of course, some exceptions, but Doctor Who has usually been about the stories first with the characters’ emotions and motivations second. That changes with ‘Father’s Day,’ though, a story in which the typical script is flipped and the usual alien invasions and grander storylines takes a back seat to a very personal crisis, the death of Rose Tyler’s father, Pete. Rose finally realizes the opportunities that time travel could afford her, and she asks the Doctor to take her to learn more about the man who was her father. The Doctor even- against his better judgment- agrees to take her to the day in which her father was run over by a speeding car so that she could be by his side when he passed. Of course, the reality of seeing the situation is different that an abstract thought, and Rose can’t help but intervene and save his life, causing havoc in the timelines. With the Doctor still hurting by Adam’s betrayal in ‘The Long Game,’ he berates Rose…

The Long Game
Episode / June 24, 2016

Aired 7 May 2005 ‘The Long Game’ is not the best episode of this series of Doctor Who so far, but it unequivocally the most ambitious, trying to juggle an incredible number of storylines while proving once and for all that the programme can remain loyal to the past while still remaining socially relevant in the present. There is a lot to commend in ‘The Longest Game,’ and even if some of the story’s aspects fail to live up to their full potential, it’s hard to fault a bold science fiction story that is unafraid to tackle bigger issues like media corruption and its effect on the public at large. This may be the second episode set far in the future, but the drama within the Fourth Great and Bountiful Human Empire here fits much more in line with a traditional Doctor Who story than ‘The End of the World’ managed, the stakes and mystery being so much bigger here than the characters themselves. Christopher Eccleston continues to do wonders in the role of the Ninth Doctor, his bitter anguish possibly making him the most humanized of the Time Lord’s many incarnations yet. In fact, one of the Ninth Doctor’s…

Dalek
Episode / June 22, 2016

Aired 30 April 2005 The Daleks are an institution, a phenomenon that managed to transcend Doctor Who itself during the early years of the programme and that have remained firmly int the popular consciousness ever since. With the aptly-titled ‘Dalek,’ the Doctor’s most iconic foe makes the leap to the modern series to once more wreak havoc and to instill fear into a whole new generation of fans as a deadly menace with no morals or feelings whatsoever. In that sense, ‘Dalek’ is a bit of an odd choice since there is only one single Dalek and it ends up showing the most emotion and character of any Dalek in the show’s long history; however, by the time the end credits roll, it has also proven itself to be one of the most effective explorations of the Dalek consciousness as well. In a bold move, the Dalek presented is a helpless prisoner, held captive by Henry Van Statten as the crown jewel of his extraterrestrial collection. Seeing a Dalek so helpless and so easily tortured by Van Statten’s staff is quite shocking, but it’s not until Van Statten sends the Doctor in to interrogate the creature that the episode really…

World War Three
Episode / June 20, 2016

Aired 23 April 2005 ‘World War Three’ is tasked with providing a satisfying resolution to the intriguing events set forth in ‘Aliens of London,’ but the results are mixed to say the least. As with the first part, this is not an episode for those looking for a dramatic and tense story, but the fluctuating tone and gaps in story logic further hinder the overall experience despite a quick pace that sufficiently covers a lot of ground. The Slitheen themselves proved to be a calculating menace in ‘Aliens of London, having arlready infiltrated top-ranking positions before staging a fake alien invasion, and here their physical menace is truly showcased. These are strong, powerful hunters that can move with surprising speed, and the danger they possess and exude contrasts nicely with the innocence that their wide-eyed and baby-like faces would otherwise imply. Unfortunately, the cumbersome physical models of the Slitheen simply don’t mesh well with the CGI effects of the blazing fast hunters, and the Scooby-Doo chase scene that ensues further minimizes their threat. One of the things that the modern series of Doctor Who has done well so far is in basing its more ludicrous concepts in realism, but that…

Aliens of London
Episode / June 20, 2016

Aired 16 April 2005 ‘Aliens of London’ represents the opening installment of the first two-parter of the modern Doctor Who series. Following the brilliant sequence of a beautifully-rendered spaceship crashing into Big Ben and splashing down in the Thames River in broad daylight, the bar is set high from the start for a modern-day alien invasion tale. Before delving into the alien events, though, Rose’s domestic life again takes centre stage, reaffirming that viewers are experiencing the madness of the Doctor’s world through Rose’s eyes. With the Doctor miscalculating the TARDIS’s arrival, though, and Rose being missing for a year from Earth’s linear perspective, she has the unexpected task of having to mend relationships with her mother and boyfriend, forced once again to consider the danger and absurdity of the situation she has put herself in by deciding to join the Doctor. Just as she’s pondering how she will ever be able to fully communicate with and explain what she has seen to mother, she witnesses the spaceship’s crash, not only giving her a frame of reference but forcing all of London and the world to suddenly accept that maybe aliens just are real. With an inspecting policeman asking Rose…

The Unquiet Dead
Episode / June 17, 2016

Aired 9 April 2005 Doctor Who continued its run of new episodes with ‘The Unquiet Dead,’ marking the first story not written by Russell T Davies and shrewdly choosing to follow up its invasion in the present in ‘Rose’ and its futuristic adventure in ‘The End of the World’ with a horror story set in the past, firmly cementing the breadth of the programme’s potential and bringing new viewers completely into the fold. The Doctor himself seems to be quite overjoyed at the prospect of being in the past and coming across Charles Dickens, exclaiming his love of ‘The Signal Man’ in particular. Eccleston gets to portray elements of a lighter Doctor here, especially at the beginning, one getting a much-needed reprieve after experiencing such atrocities before meeting Rose. Along the way, ‘The Unquiet Dead’ suggests that there could be just the faintest hint of some romantic feelings forming within Rose. While hints of romance within the TARDIS are certainly not new to the programme, this could be an intriguing avenue to explore given the change in times and what is now allowed on television compared to the classic series’s broadcast dates. For Rose, in particular, this is a logical…

The End of the World
Episode / June 16, 2016

Aired 2 April 2005 Following on from the resounding success of ‘Rose,’ the modern continuation and reinvention of Doctor Who continues with ‘The End of the World,’ a story that shows the scope and ambition of the new series while also starting to delve much deeper into the characters of the Ninth Doctor and Rose. It’s not perfect by any means, but it certainly provides a visual treat as Russell T Davies starts laying further groundwork and themes into his work. Death is, of course, an inevitability, and ‘The End of the World’ really starts to explore the question of whether the Doctor follows death or if death follows the Doctor. Wisely, though, despite setting the story at the end of the Earth’s existence, the plot does not devolve into a last-second attempt to divert history to save the planet. Instead the Doctor matter-of-factly accepts that the planet has reached its natural end and, though this seems strange for the second episode of a franchise so filled with hope and optimism, it does serve as a valuable grounding in realism amongst the more fantastic events and alien delegates who have gathered to watch the planet burn. While Billie Piper’s Rose…