Sunday, May 30, 2010

Doctor Who - The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood

This was an interesting two-parter if for no other reason than I've never felt such an imbalance between two halves of a Doctor Who story. I felt The Hungry Earth was a bit filler for the most part and there were several story problems that made the episode feel particularly weak. Whereas Cold Blood was a really exciting fast-paced episode with a great payoff. Its actually hard to believe it was all written by the same writer.

My problems with The Hungry Earth were:

1) Are we really supposed to believe that the entire village is made up of only 5 people? Where is everybody else while their village is under siege by the Silurians? There were some workers in the very beginning of the episode but apparently they all commute to the operation. Its very odd without a bit of dialog to reveal why there is a lack of a population.

2) It really took me out of the moment to see our protagonists accomplish so much in the space of only 9 minutes before the Silurians arrive. They managed to set the entire village up with cameras around the perimeter, gather a bunch of weapons and also have a plethora of casual conversations in only 9 minutes. I guess they used the restriction of 9 minutes to create tension but it was all very unbelievable. Chibnall should have made it 90 minutes which would have been much more believable and its not like they could go anywhere with the barrier up. And after all of that prep work it was all for naught anyway as the Silurians drain the power.

3) Not enough really happens in the episode. Its like an extended prologue.

By contrast, I found Cold Blood to be gripping edge of your seat entertainment. This was what I was waiting for! Fantastic performances all around and huge plot developments in the ongoing arc! The new Silurians were very good and very expressive which was a plus even though I do lament the sacrifice of the old design. Although to be fair although a bit vague, its implied that these Silurians are a third species of Homo Reptilia meaning that these Silurians, the originals and the Sea-Devils are actually all designated Silurians or Eocenes or Earth Reptiles or Homo Reptilia, take your pick. And the implication is backed up by the lack of a third eye and the new ability to inject venom through their tongues. So these foes are actually both recurring and brand new at the same time which is very cool as we receive our dose of nostalgia whilst also getting a fresh exciting new monster.

The crack makes another even more important appearance and I must say I'm really intrigued by what the Doctor pulls through it. This series finale is starting to feel very ominous especially knowing River Song is back and that she killed the best man she ever knew.

And unfortunately the three-story curse for a male companion continues in what is perhaps the most tragic ending I've ever seen for a character.

So in the end I really liked it overall I just wish the first half had been stronger although in its defense apparently the original edit ran over by 15 minutes. So perhaps my complaints would have been resolved in an uncut version. Chibnall's script may actually have suffered from over-editing and time constraints. Hopefully we'll get those deleted scenes on the DVD release.

Again with a two-part story I like to choose a title to refer to it as a whole and I must say Cold Blood fits best as a title for both parts over The Hungry Earth.

Comparison of each Doctor's seventh story:

1) The Evil of the Daleks by David Whitaker
2) Revelation of the Daleks by Eric Saward
3) Father's Day by Paul Cornell
4) Cold Blood by Chris Chibnall
5) The Claws of Axos by Bob Baker and Dave Martin
6) Time-Flight by Peter Grimwade
7) Silver Nemesis by Kevin Clarke
8) Planet of Evil by Louis Marks
9) The Idiot's Lantern by Mark Gatiss
10) The Sensorites by Peter R. Newman


Fer said...

I totally agree with calling the story "Cold Blood."

I liked the first half more than you did; I agree with you about the "getting ready in 9 minutes then *poof* it was all for nothing anyway" part, but it never occurred to me about the empty village. And I was fine with the pacing; I felt the first half provided some good character development. Compared to the pacing with "Doctor Who and the Silurians" it positively flew by!

The second half was very good-- very hopeful then oh so tragic. Breaks my heart.

Here's my list. This was a tough one, it was really hard for me to pick a #1. Not because they were all great, but because there wasn't any one that I particularly loved. Alexi Sayle has one of my favorite lines ever in "Revelation of the Daleks," but the actual story itself is just okay.

1) The Evil of the Daleks by David Whitaker
2) Cold Blood by Chris Chibnall
3) Revelation of the Daleks by Eric Saward
4) Time-Flight by Peter Grimwade
5) The Sensorites by Peter R. Newman
6) The Idiot's Lantern by Mark Gatiss
7) Father's Day by Paul Cornell
8) Silver Nemesis by Kevin Clarke
9) The Claws of Axos by Bob Baker and Dave Martin
10) Planet of Evil by Louis Marks

greatplaidmoose said...

I've heard the story pacing works better when you watch it back-to-back. I didn't dislike it per se I just thought it could have been better.