This post is going to be overview of series three and in other posts I'll review the episodes themselves in more depth. In many ways series three is very enjoyable. David Tennant is a fantastic Doctor and is still able to give great performances in even the worst episodes. Had it not been for his brilliance as an actor I think I might very well have given up on Doctor Who. The new companion helps to give the show a fresh feel as well. In my eyes Martha is a far better companion than Rose and a lot more likeable. There are fewer modern-day episodes in series three and we get more episodes that are set in the future and the past - more actual time travel then. There are some awesome episodes in series three too! In fact this series features my favourite stories of the David Tennant/Russell T Davies era: Human Nature/Family of Blood and Blink. Sadly though there's also a lot that's wrong with this series. Although I'll always be grateful to Russell T Davies for reviving Doctor Who the quality of the show was very variable and inconsistent in his time as the showrunner and I don't think he's that much of a writer. The best episodes of the show during his era weren't usually written by him and most of the worst episodes were. Smith and Jones and The Shakespeare Code are the sole highlights of the first half of series three and the finale of the series is pretty terrible and massively frustrating. The Master is a disappointing villain, the episodes are full of plot holes and the Doctor is turned into a stupid-looking Dobby-like creature and put in a birdcage! I wish I could permanently erase that image from my mind! Helen Raynor's Dalek two-parter episode of this series is also dreadful.
However, in the second half of the series, the Doctor's relationship with Martha improves and he begins to treat her better. He acknowledges that she's more than just a passenger in The Lazarus Experiment, he's clearly concerned about her in 42, he trusts her with his life and is completely dependent upon her in Human Nature/Family of Blood, and he trusts her to save the world in The Sound of Drums/The Last of the Time Lords. Tennant gets better material in the second half of the series too - until the finale - especially with the episodes Human Nature/Family of Blood and Blink. These are fantastic episodes and are two of the best Doctor Who stories ever. Tennant really gets the chance to shine in these stories and to showcase what a fantastic actor he is. In Human Nature/Family of Blood he gives a magnificent performance as John Smith, the Doctor, and the Doctor-pretending-to-be-John-Smith. Tennant gives a brilliant performance in Blink too even though the Doctor is barely in it. Tennant is a fantastic actor and I loved his portrayal of the Doctor : )
My favourite episodes of series three:
- Human Nature/Family of Blood (by Paul Cornell)
- Blink (by Steven Moffat)
- The Shakespeare Code (by Gareth Roberts)
- 42 (by Chris Chibnall)
My least favourite episodes of series three:
- Daleks of Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks (by Helen Raynor)
- The Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords (by Russell T Davies)
- Gridlock (by Russell T Davies)
- Carey Mulligan in Blink
- Jessica Hynes, Harry Lloyd and Thomas Sangster in Human Nature/Family of Blood
- Andrew Garfield in Daleks of Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks
- Derek Jacobi in Utopia
The episodes of series three summarised:
0. The Runaway Bride (written by Russell T Davies)
This episode is the 2006 Christmas special and it introduces Donna Noble, who would eventually become the series four companion. I know a lot of fans really dislike this episode. Well, it's definitely not a great episode and Donna Noble is really obnoxious and grating for the first 20 minutes. However, Donna becomes more bearable after that and I love the motorway scene with the TARDIS weaving in and out of cars. I love the scene where the Doctor drowns the spider babies as well. I love the look on Tenannt's face in that scene. He just looks so cold and dead behind the eyes. It really shows how dark and dangerous the Doctor can be when he's pushed to his limits and I think it's a bit of a shame we didn't see get to see this side of the Doctor more often in the Tennant run.
1. Smith and Jones (written by Russell T Davies)
I'm not a huge fan of this episode but it's pretty enjoyable and the best series opener of the RTD era. It's fun, the story is good, and it's a brilliant introduction for Martha. She's an immediately more likeable companion than Rose!
2. The Shakespeare Code (written by Gareth Roberts)
This is a pretty fun episode and one of my favourites from series three. This is despite the fact that I don't really like how Shakespeare is written as a arrogant, womanising loudmouth and I don't like it when the Doctor tells Martha that he wishes Rose was still with him as well - that's really insensitive! But this episode is visually stunning, there's a lot of humour, and this is another great episode for Martha.
3. Gridlock (written by Russell T Davies)
I really dislike this episode. It's full of plot-holes, it has a weak plot, and the final revelation that the Doctor isn't alone in the universe is underwhelming. It had already been announced that the Master was coming back for series three. I only like the final five minutes of this episode are really good. The Doctor finally opens up to Martha and Tennant's acting is lovely.
4-5. Daleks in Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks (written by Helen Raynor)
Awful, absolutely awful! The story is an absolute mess. It's badly-written. The Daleks and the Doctor act out-of-character. There's some bad acting from the supporting actors (Miranda Raison, Ryan Carnes, Eric Loren). I could go on and on!
6. The Lazarus Experiment (written by Stephen Greenhorn)
A pretty underrated episode in my opinion. I admit that there's some bad CGI and that Martha's mother is very annoying but Mark Gatiss does a great job as the villain, the final showdown at the cathedral is great. and from this point onwards the Doctor begins to treat Martha better.
7. 42 (written by Chris Chibnall)
Another underrated episode. Sure it's very similar to The Impossible Planet/The Satan's Pit from series two but it's still a really good episode. David Tennant is terrific, the supporting cast are all really good, it's fast-paced and tense and I even like the pub quiz element.
8-9. Human Nature/Family of Blood (written by Paul Cornell)
My absolute favourite Doctor Who story of the RTD era and one of my all-time favourite Doctor Who stories in general. It's absolutely amazing. David Tennant is magnificent. Freema Agyeman gives her best performance in the whole show. It has a brilliant story. The supporting cast are excellent. The script is intelligent and thought-provoking. It's flawless!
10. Blink (written by Steven Moffat)
Another one of my favourite Doctor Who stories ever! It's also flawless! It's brilliantly-written, the Weeping Angels are fantastic villains, and Sally Sparrow is a brilliant character. I could go on and on about this episode!
11. Utopia (written by Russell T Davies)
A pretty overrated episode in my opinion. Apart from the final 10 minutes it's really not that great and the story is lacking. Martha gets very little to do as well.
12-13. The Sound of Drums/The Last of the Time Lords (written by Russell T Davies)
Terrible. The Master is far too OTT. There are annoying and pointless celebrity cameos. There's bad pop music. Captain Jack is wasted and he gets barely anything to do. The Doctor gets turned into Dobby. The resolution is a massive deus ex machina. It's awful!