The Next Doctor

Doctor WhoThe TARDIS lands in London, 1851, at Christmastime, but before the Doctor can even be serenaded by carolers, someone is calling his name. He discovers a woman in an alleyway, but even though he’s arrived to save the day, she doesn’t stop calling for help until another man shows up – another man claiming that he is the Doctor. Some sort of Cyber-converted creature bursts out of a building, leading both Doctors on a wild goose chase until they lose track of it, but then the Doctor – and the Doctor who was already on the case in 1851 – encounter real Cybermen, apparently escaped from the Void. Curiously, this other Doctor remembers nothing of his tenth incarnation, who then discovers why: this Doctor isn’t the man he says he is. But why does he think he’s another incarnation of the Doctor, and what monstrous plans are afoot that involve the Cybermen enslaving the children of London?

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Russell T. Davies
directed by Andy Goddard
music by Murray Gold

Cast: David Tennant (The Doctor), Davis Morrissey (Jackson Lake), Dervia Kirwan (Miss Hartigan), Velile Tshabalala (Rosita), Rauri Mears (Cybershade), Paul Kasey (Cyberleader), Edmund Kenie (Mr. Scoones), Michael Bertenshaw (Mr. Cole), Jason Morell (Vicar), Neil McDermott (Jed), Ashley Horne (Lad), Tom Langford (Frederic), Jordan Southwell (Urchin), Matthew Allick (Docker), Nicholas Briggs (Cyber voices)

The Next DoctorNotes: While Peter Davison reappeared as the fifth Doctor in Time Crash, and Human Nature‘s Journal of Impossible Things showed sketches of all of David Tennant’s predecessors in the role of the Doctor, The Next Doctor marks the first time that actual footage from the original series or the 1996 TV movie have been incorporated into the new series, with a brief clip of each Doctor. The potential inconsistency of the alternate universe/”Cybus” Cybermen having information about the Doctor’s prior regenerations is avoided with the Doctor’s conjecture that these Cybermen stole the information from the Daleks in the Void, which also explains why few if any of the clips are from Cybermen stories (though they’re not necessarily from Dalek stories either).

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Planet Of The Dead

Doctor WhoThe Doctor boards a double-decker bus in London, on the trail of a space-time disturbance somewhere nearby. But to his dismay, the bus drives straight through the disturbance: a wormhole that deposits the bus to a rough landing on a barren desert world. Among the assortment of passengers on the bus are a slightly psychic woman whose abilities have been enhanced by the trip through the wormhole, and a mysterious and surprisingly well-equipped woman named Lady Christina de Souza, who quickly teams up with the Doctor, if only because he seems to be the only one who knows what’s going on – and she wants to know why. When a group of insectoid bipeds called Tritivores find the travelers, it becomes apparent that the double-decker isn’t the only recent arrival on this distant world. There’s another race on this planet as well – one which created the wormhole, and intends to widen the wormhole leading to London. Their objective is to feed on everything and everyone on whatever planet they swarm to; their only obstacle is a Time Lord and a resourceful woman who’s almost as mysterious as he is.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Russell T. Davies & Gareth Roberts
directed by James Strong
music by Murray Gold

Cast: David Tennant (The Doctor), Michelle Ryan (Christina), Lee Evans (Malcolm), Noma Dumezweni (Capt. Magambo), Adam James (D.I. McMillan), Glenn Doherty (Sgt. Dennison), Victoria Alcock (Angela), David Ames (Nathan), Ellen Thomas (Carmen), Reginald Tsiboe (Lou), Daniel Kaluuya (Barclay), Keith Parry (Bus Driver), James Layton (Sgt. Ian Jenner), Paul Kasey (Sorvin), Ruari Mears (Praygat)

Planet Of The DeadNotes: Michelle Ryan may be best known on both sides of the Atlantic for starring as Jamie Sommers in the short-lived NBC remake of The Bionic Woman. This marks the second appearance of Noma Dumezweni as UNIT’s Capt. Erisa Magambo, first seen – albeit in an alternate timeline – in season four’s Turn Left; this is the first time we’ve met her in the Doctor’s “home” timeline. The Doctor’s reference to an incident involving a giant robot was, in fact, the first adventure of the fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) in Robot (1974/75), which also involved UNIT. The desert scenes were filmed in Dubai, though the plot point of the bus being heavily damaged was helped along a little bit by damage incurred during shipping of a real double-decker to the location. In some respects, the character of Lady Christina vaguely resembles the character outline for Kat (sometimes referred to as Kate in the sparse documentation of that character’s development) Tollinger, a feisty female burglar who would have been introduced in the never-made fourth season of Sylvester McCoy‘s era, had it gone into production in 1990. Planet Of The Dead was also the first Doctor Who adventure to be shot on high-definition video, though the first Doctor Who-related HD production was actually the first season of Torchwood.

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The Waters Of Mars

Doctor WhoThe TARDIS materializes on Mars in 2059 near Bowie Base One, the first human settlement on the red planet. The Doctor’s stroll across Mars is interrupted by an armed robot, which brings him back to the base at gunpoint. It’s only when the Doctor meets Captain Adelaide Brooke and her crew that he remembers how history records the fate of Bowie Base One: the base is doomed to be destroyed when Brooke activates the self-destruct mechanism. Why she did it, or will do it, is still a mystery – one in which the Doctor is reluctant to get involved. But when other members of the Bowie Base One crew stop communicating with their crewmates, it seems that the Time Lord has no choice but to play a pivotal role in the events that will transpire. The Doctor soon discovers the truth: a living form of liquid is taking over the crew one-by-one and intends to force an evacuation so it can stow away aboard the escape vehicle and begin to take over Earth. But even knowing that, the Doctor hesitates to interfere – the death of Brooke and her crew is a pivotal event that sets the stage for humanity’s eventual expansion into interstellar space, and not allowing them to die could undermine all of Earth’s future history. But does the entire crew have to die? It’s not as if anyone’s around to enforce the laws of time if the Doctor decides to save them.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Russell T. Davies & Phil Ford
directed by Graeme Harper
music by Murray Gold

Cast: David Tennant (The Doctor), Lindsay Duncan (Adelaide Brooke), Peter O’Brien (Ed Gold), Aleksandar Mikic (Yuri Kerenski), Gemma Chan (Mia Bennett), Sharon Duncan-Brewster (Maggie Cain), Chook Sibtain (Tarak Ital), Alan Ruscoe (Andy Stone), Cosima Shaw (Steffi Sherlich), Michael Goldsmith (Roman Groom), Lily Bevan (Emily), Max Bollinger (Mikhail), Charlie De’ath (Adelaide’s Father), Rachel Fewell (young Adelaide), Anouska Strahnz (Urika Ehrlich), Zofia Strahnz (Lisette Ehrlich), Paul Kasey (Ood Sigma)

The Waters Of MarsNotes: The Doctor mentions a mighty empire on Mars that may have contained and frozen the Flood; it’s likely that he’s referring to the Ice Warriors (not seen on TV since 1974’s The Monster Of Peladon starring Jon Pertwee), though other Martian societies have been portrayed in Doctor Who, including the godlike Osirans and the Ambassadors of Death. A sign that The Waters Of Mars is a true product of the DVD/download age, the many “computer screens” depicting the crews’ biographies can be read in full when paused. Waters is dedicated to Barry Letts, producer of Doctor Who from Jon Pertwee’s second adventure through the first Tom Baker story, who died shortly before this special premiered.

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The End Of Time – Part 1

Doctor WhoNightmares plague the human race; every nightmare features the same laughing face – the face of a man that the world once knew as Harold Saxon. Most people forget the nightmares and are vaguely troubled the next day, but one man retains his memory of each incident – Wilfred Mott, Donna’s grandfather, who immediately begins to keep a watchful eye out for the Doctor’s return.

The Doctor, on the other hand, seems to be in no hurry to rush to the rescue. After events on Mars, he’s actively avoiding situations where he must save the day, but a visit to Oodsphere changes that. The Ood are also experiencing nightmares involving the Master, as well as a disjointed series of images of other people, including Wilfred and Donna. The Doctor returns to Earth and discovers that a cultish group of followers has resurrected the Master’s body, and the twisted Time Lord is now more powerful than ever, with abilities far beyond those of a normal Time Lord, and a bottomless appetite as a result. But not all-powerful: the Master is abducted before the Doctor’s eyes.

With Wilfred’s help, the Doctor tracks the Master down to the mansion of billionaire Joseph Naismith, who hopes to enlist the Master’s help to gain control over an alien artifact called the Immortality Gate. But the Master, even though he’s working at the point of a gun, has his own plans for the Gate – plans to achieve dominance over the human race and remake it in his own image.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Russell T. Davies
directed by Euros Lyn
music by Murray Gold

Cast: David Tennant (The Doctor), John Simm (The Master), Bernard Cribbins (Wilfred Mott), Timothy Dalton (The Narrator), Catherine Tate (Donna Noble), Jacqueline King (Sylvia Noble), Claire Bloom (The Woman), June Whitfield (Minnie Hooper), David Harewood (Joshua Naismith), Tracy Ifeachor (Abigail Naismith), Sinead Keenan (Addams), Lawry Lewin (Rossiter), Alexandra Moen (Lucy Saxon), Karl Collins (Shaun Temple), Teresa Banham (Governor), Barry Howard (Oliver Barnes), Allister Bain (Winston Katusi), Simon Thomas (Mr. Danes), Sylvia Seymour (Miss Trefusis), Pete Lee-Wilson (Tommo), Dwayne Scantlebury (Ginger), Lacey Bond (Serving Woman), Lachele Carl (Trinity Wells), Paul Kasey (Ood Sigma), Ruari Mears (Elder Ood), Max Benjamin (Teenager), The End Of TimeSilas Carson (voice of Ood Sigma), Brian Cox (voice of Elder Ood)

Notes: Naismith says that the Immortality Gate was originally recovered and held by Torchwood, and that he acquired it after Torchwood fell; this could either be referring to the fall of the London branch of Torchwood in Doomsday, or the destruction of Torchwood Cardiff in Children Of Earth. This episode marks the first time Bernard Cribbins has stepped into the TARDIS since the 1966 film Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150 A.D., in which he co-starred with Peter Cushing as the Doctor.

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The End Of Time – Part 2

Doctor WhoThe Master has twisted the Immortality Gate into his own weapon, projecting himself as a template onto every human on Earth: every human on Earth is now the Master. The two aliens working undercover in Naismith’s operation are unaffected, and Wilfred is unaffected as well, stuck in the Master’s isolation booth. But the only other human not possessed by the Master is Donna Noble, whose adventures with the Doctor are flooding back into her mind. Wilfred urges her to run, but soon the amount of information crowding her human brain causes her to collapse. The Master interrogates the Doctor, demanding to know the whereabouts of the TARDIS, but this grueling interrogation is soon interrupted by the two aliens, who teleport themselves, the Doctor and Wilfred to their ship in orbit.

An alien artifact arrives on Earth, a piece of the extinct world of Gallifrey, and only then does the Master realize what the drumbeat in his head is: the rhythm of a Time Lord’s hearts. The Master uses this piece of Gallifrey to establish a link, and the entire planet of Gallifrey materializes close enough to Earth that tidal forces begin tearing the smaller planet apart. The Time Lords, desperate to escape their imminent doom in the Time War, have broken free by sending their distress signal – the drumbeat – back in time. They created the Master and made him a madman, all to compel him to provide an escape route for Gallifrey. The Lord President and members of the High Council of the Time Lords arrive on Earth, where the Master demands their obedience and just as quickly discovers that the Lord President is ready to eliminate him: the Master has served his purpose where the Time Lords are concerned. The Doctor cuts Gallifrey’s link to Earth as the Master and the Time Lord President do battle; the planet of the Time Lords disappears again, taking the Master with it.

But it is only after the crisis is averted that the Doctor realizes that the prophecy of his own death has nothing to do with the Time Lords or the Master.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Russell T. Davies
directed by Euros Lyn
music by Murray Gold

Cast: David Tennant (The Doctor), John Simm (The Master), Bernard Cribbins (Wilfred Mott), Timothy Dalton (Lord President), Catherine Tate (Donna Noble), Jacqueline King (Sylvia Noble), Billie Piper (Rose Tyler), Camille Coduri (Jackie Tyler), John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness), Freema Agyeman (Martha Smith-Jones), Noel Clarke (Mickey Smith), Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith), Jessica Hynes (Verity Newman), June Whitfield (Minnie Hooper), Claire Bloom (The Woman), Thomas Knight (Luke Smith), Russell Tovey (Midshipman Frame), David Harewood (Joshua Naismith), Tracy Ifeachor (Abigail Naismith), Lawry Lewin (Rossiter), Sinead Keenan (Addams), Joe Dixon (The Chancellor), Julie LeGrand (The Partisan), Brid Brennan (The Visionary), Karl Collins (Shaun Temple), Krystal Archer (Nerys), Lachele Carl (Trinity Wells), Paul Kasey (Ood Sigma), Ruari Mears (Elder Ood), Silas Carson (voice of Ood Sigma), Nicholas Briggs (voice of Judoon), Dan Starkey (Sontaran), Matt Smith (The Doctor)

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