Timestamp: Series Three Summary

Doctor Who: Series Three Summary

 

Tennant’s sophomore year is a winner.

The big arc for this series was the story of Martha Jones. She starts as a medical doctor and ends up saving the world, and I consider her one of the best companions in the history of the franchise. It’s easy to see her as the Rebound Rose, particularly since that’s how she feels for the entire run, but I think that her presence on the TARDIS is so much more important than that.

Martha is enamored with the Doctor, but she’s perpetually perplexed by the unrequited feelings. The Doctor doesn’t romantically love her, but I saw that he develops a different type of love for her over the span of adventures. Her journey starts as a thank you for saving the Doctor in Smith and Jones, but by the time that we reach Human Nature we see a different side of the Doctor. She’s gained his confidence and respect, and he trusts her with his life, even though guarding his identity will be one of the most trying things she’s ever done.

She faced abuse and racism because of the Doctor but she kept to her mission because she loved him. He loved her enough to place his life (and the fate of the universe) in her hands. It’s a good reminder that not all love is romantic and that platonic love can be a force far stronger than sexual attraction.

When we get to “the year that never happened,” he shows that trust and respect once again, and Martha comes through to save the universe one more time. Martha’s character grew even more when her family got involved with the Saxon campaign, providing her a choice between saving her loved ones or saving all of existence. It was a clever move from the Master, and a brilliant choice to present to Martha. The entire time, Martha remains Martha. She doesn’t change herself to win the Doctor’s love, and she has enough self-respect to walk away when she knows that her efforts are futile.

It’s a far better relationship than we saw with Rose, the woman who melted for the Tenth Doctor and changed course from the shop girl we met way back in Rose. I know that fans love her, and that’s their prerogative, but I felt that she became less of a companion and more of a groupie as she went on. Rose had an important role in helping the Ninth Doctor heal after the events of the Time War, but Martha definitively showed the Tenth Doctor that there was more to life than death.

 

I don’t want to take away from Donna Noble’s debut in The Runaway Bride. She was amazing and took no nonsense from the Doctor. I’m glad that we get to see her again.

 

Series Three comes in at an average of 4.3. That’s a tie for third with Series One, coming behind the Ninth classic seasons and the Eighth Doctor’s run.

 

The Runaway Bride – 4
Smith and Jones – 5
The Shakespeare Code – 5
Gridlock – 4
Daleks in Manhattan & Evolution of the Daleks – 4
The Lazarus Experiment – 4
42 – 4
Human Nature & The Family of Blood – 5
Blink – 5
The Infinite Quest – 2
Utopia & The Sound of Drums & Last of the Time Lords – 5

Series Three (Revival Era) Average Rating: 4.3/5

 

As the Doctor Who universe continues to grow, the path for the Timestamps Project gets a little wibbly-wobbly. Next on the agenda is the first series of the Sarah Jane Adventures. We get back to Doctor Who for a brief moment with Time Crash and Voyage of the Damned, but then dive into the second series of Torchwood before returning to Donna Noble in Series Four.

We also have a rapidly approaching holiday season on the horizon.

Allons-y!

 

UP NEXT – Sarah Jane Adventures: Revenge of the Slitheen

 

The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.

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Timestamp: Torchwood Series One Summary

Torchwood: Series One Summary

 

Torchwood was dark and gritty, but its core message emphasized humanity, compassion, and companionship.

The first series took full advantage of its post-watershed television position, complete with adult themes, nudity, and mature language. The franchise itself is hit and miss with fans because of these elements, but the core mission of the first chapter in the show’s run is something that we should all pay attention to. Each of the characters, including Suzie, tried to balance the darkness and secrecy of their clandestine jobs with the need to talk about it with anyone who would understand. This common thread wove around each of Torchwood Three’s team members and slowly pulled them apart.

That is until the tension snapped them back together with the mutual understanding of where they stood and what they needed to do.

The stories may have varied in quality and entertainment, but the message that we all need empathy, compassion, and friendship to help us make it through the darkness makes Torchwood‘s first series worth the journey.

Now, it’s obvious that we can’t make a direct comparison between Torchwood and Doctor Who. The themes are similar, but the content and feel are markedly different. But we can look at the twenty-nine season/series grades so far to get an idea of how it fits within the Timestamps Project’s scope.

Torchwood Series One earned a 3.8 average. There are six seasons of Doctor Who, all of them from the classic era, that met that bar: The Seventh, the Tenth, the Thirteenth, the Fourteenth, the Twenty-Fifth, and the Twenty-Sixth.

Of course, we will be able to compare each series of Torchwood as they are reviewed here.

 

Everything Changes – 4
Day One – 4
Ghost Machine – 2
Cyberwoman – 4
Small Worlds – 3
Countrycide – 5
Greeks Bearing Gifts – 4
They Keep Killing Suzie – 3
Random Shoes – 3
Out of Time – 4
Combat – 3
Captain Jack Harkness – 5
End of Days – 5

Torchwood Series One Average Rating: 3.8/5

 

The Doctor Who universe continues to grow from here. Since I’m approaching the revival era from a (mostly) chronological order, our next stop is the first episode of the Sarah Jane Adventures. That series is all new territory for me since I haven’t seen a single episode.

After that, we’ll dive headfirst into the Series Three and meet Martha Jones.

 

UP NEXT – Sarah Jane Adventures: Invasion of the Bane

 

The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.

Timestamp: Series Two Summary

Doctor Who: Series Two Summary

 

The revival and the franchise continue to burn bright.

The Tenth Doctor’s freshman outing was entertaining and, with minor stumbles, about on par with its predecessor. David Tennant has really taken the role and run with it, bringing enthusiasm and energy that buoys up every story.

The big arc in this series was the story of Rose and her family – those the Doctor leaves behind – and its (current) resolution at Bad Wolf Bay. As I mentioned in Doomsday, it was time for Rose to leave the TARDIS. While they worked well as a team, her infatuation with the Doctor began to consume things and stymie her growth as an individual. For her to evolve, she needed to leave and apply what she had learned. It hurt, but it was necessary.

Series Two also developed the world around the Doctor Who franchise, properly introducing Torchwood and re-introducing Sarah Jane Smith, as well as opening the door for new adventures for both.

Series Two comes in at an average of 4.1. That puts this series in a three-way tie for fifth overall – its comrades in arms are the Fifth and Eighteenth classic seasons – and places it behind the Eleventh and Ninth classic seasons, the Eighth Doctor’s run, and Series One.

 

Born AgainThe Christmas Invasion – 4
New Earth – 2
Tooth and Claw – 5
School Reunion – 5
The Girl in the Fireplace – 5
Rise of the Cybermen & The Age of Steel – 4
The Idiot’s Lantern – 4
The Impossible Planet & The Satan Pit – 4
Love and Monsters – 4
Fear Her – 3
Army of Ghosts & Doomsday – 5

Series Two (Revival Era) Average Rating: 4.1/5

 

From this point, the Doctor Who universe gets a little bit larger with the adventures of Captain Jack Harkness and his team. I’ll be proceeding (for the most part) in chronological order in order to keep the mythology straight.

As such, the next stop is the first season of Torchwood.

 

UP NEXT – Torchwood: Everything Changes

 

The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.

Timestamp: Series One and Ninth Doctor Summary

Doctor Who: Series One and Ninth Doctor Summary

 

The return to the TARDIS was, to quote the Doctor, absolutely fantastic.

There are always rumblings in fandom about the differences between the twenty-six classic years and the TV movie/revival years. Sometimes you get statements that the classics are unwatchable and sometimes you get statements that the revival era Doctors don’t hold a candle to the mythology and precedent of the classics.

I believe that the former, personal preferences aside, can be easily disproved with continued projects like Earth Station Who, The Watch-A-Thon of Rassilon, Next Stop Everywhere, Who’s The Doctor: Talking Outside the Box, and the Timestamps Project… to name but a few.

The latter? I wholeheartedly disagree!

Sure, the Ninth Doctor is a break with the ideal of the Doctor doing whatever it takes to defeat evil and save lives. Across the classic years, the Doctor lamented loss of life when there was another way to solve the problem, and that’s the ticket here. Something happened in an all-out war between the Time Lords and the Daleks, an event that has been brewing since the two sides met all the way back at the beginning of the journey, and the only solution was to extinguish the fire permanently.

That extreme measure was traumatic, especially for a being of peace and love like the Doctor, and it shows in the arc of the Ninth Doctor’s life. The Doctor goes on a journey from Rose to The Parting of the Ways, trying to heal from post-traumatic stress as the sole survivor, and learning to live again in a changed universe. Rose Tyler was key in that therapy with her innocence, wonder, and empathy, and watching the Doctor rebuild in this manner was a fascinating character study.

It was a reconstruction of the franchise, and a regeneration of the character from the roots up. The power and performance from Christopher Eccleston make me wish that we had more stories with him in the lead role, but his conflicts with the BBC are an understandable reason to not come back. No one should be expected to live in a toxic situation if they don’t need to be there.

As I noted in the later entries from this series, I also really enjoyed seeing what happens to those left behind. Rose is the center of the universe for both Jackie Tyler and Mickey Smith, and her selfish decision to remove herself from those equations severely rocked their worlds. It’s great drama and great television.

So where do we stand now? Series One comes in at an average of 4.3, which is third all-time for the Timestamps Project. It comes in behind the Ninth Series and the Eighth Doctor’s run, and just ahead of the Eleventh Series.

 

Rose – 5
The End of the World – 4
The Unquiet Dead – 4
Aliens of London and World War Three – 4
Dalek – 5
The Long Game – 3
Father’s Day – 4
The Empty Child and The Doctor Dances – 5
Boom Town – 4
Bad Wolf and The Parting of the Ways – 5

Series One (Revival Era) Average Rating: 4.3/5

 

 

 

Following tradition…

The First Doctor was a wise grandfather, the Second a sly jester, the Third a secret agent scientist, the Fourth an inquisitive idealist, the Fifth an honorable humanitarian, the Sixth a squandered cynic, the Seventh a curious schemer, the Eighth a classical romantic…

…and the Ninth Doctor is a hopeful healing veteran.

 

Series 1 – 4.3

Ninth Doctor’s Weighted Average Rating: 4.30

 

Ranking (by score)
1 – Eighth (4.50)
2 – Ninth (4.30)
3 – Third (4.00)
4 – Second (3.67)
5 – Fourth (3.67)
6 – Seventh (3.54)
7 – First (3.41)
8 – Fifth (3.20)
9 – Sixth (2.73)

Ranking (by character)
1 – Second Doctor
2 – Ninth Doctor
3 – Eighth Doctor
4 – Third Doctor
5 – Fourth Doctor
6 – Seventh Doctor
7 – First Doctor
8 – Fifth Doctor
9 – Sixth Doctor

I should note that those top six spaces (on both lists) are really, really, really close. I was tempted to make it a tie for first place since I would gladly watch any of those stories at the drop of Tom Baker’s fedora, but it’s far more challenging to actually rank them.

 

Next up, it’s my Doctor.

 

UP NEXT – Doctor Who: Born Again and Doctor Who: The Christmas Invasion

 

The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.