Doctor Who: Journey's End

Posted Sunday, July 6, 2008, 6:50 PM

Companions and crossover stars out the wazoo, most of whom were named either Jones or Smith, populated this episode and tended to crowd things somewhat. Plus an additional character that was unexpectedly present. It made for quite an epic tale.

The Doctor, Donna Noble, Rose Tyler, Martha Jones, Ianto Jones, last week was Harriet Jones, Francine Jones, Mickey Smith, Sarah Jane Smith, Luke Smith, "John Smith", Mister Smith, Captain Jack Harkness, Gwen Cooper, Jackie Tyler, Sylvia Noble, Wilfred Mott, K9, and, of course, Davros, and the Daleks.

After the unbelievable cliffhanger last week, and a very successful series, with a ton of hints about what may happen at the finale, the conclusion to this season was enough to leave me breathless. After last week, where I've never seen such a reaction online to an episode before, and with a build up like that, there was no way to really live up to the promise; but I have to say it came very close. Sure, if you look too hard you can nitpick everything about it, but as it's an SF adventure show ostensibly for kids, you have to realise it may go a little askew in some ways to please its young audience. If you can accept that inevitability, then you'll have to agree that this episode, and the season as a whole, delivered all it could possibly hope to, in as spectacular a fashion as you could ever desire.

It is the last episode of a four season arc, the seasons that were under Russell T Davies's supervision, and as he is going to be leaving for pastures new after the Specials next year, he apparently decided to put in as much of his own particular self-indulgent fanboy fun as he could, all in this one big trilogy of episodes that made up the finale: all his favourite recurring characters; his favourite enemies with an appearance from a classic villain; his style of epic danger - the destruction of everything; crossovers to the spin-off shows; and an iconic location to end the episode. There is a definite closing of open-ended threads; a satisfying conclusion to the story, the season, and the four season arc; some explanations of long ago set-up mysteries; but still a few hints remain of some potential revisiting of these characters again, which, who knows, may yet come to pass if the powers deem it worthy.


Next up is a short special one-off episode, set to air in a few weeks. This may be the one that's rumoured to include multiple past incarnations of the Doctor, such as the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and maybe even the Eighth or Ninth Doctors! Or, if those rumours are even true, that may be for a different special, much like last year's Children In Need Fifth Doctor cameo. And then there will be the Christmas Special, featuring the return of the Cybermen.

Next year there are apparently three more extended episodes, presumably released spread throughout the year, and perhaps another Christmas Special for 2009 too. But then, in 2010, there will be a whole new full season, this time under the auspices of popular writer Steven Moffat as Show Runner.

It's not known if David Tennant will continue for that series, as he has not signed on beyond next year's Specials; plus, with a new Show Runner they may decide that a more complete changing of the guard might be appropriate. But, then again, as David Tennant is spending the next twelve months reducing his commitment to TV, and instead is doing a theatrical Shakespeare season of Hamlet and then Love's Labours Lost, he may be re-energised by then, and up for continuing the series. Since he's so popular as the Doctor, it might be a bad move to remove him during a transitionary period like that, risking the possibility of losing a considerable chunk of the current audience, and they may feel it would be best if he stays on for a little while yet.

I hope he will stay, I find him to be a charismatic and compelling actor and person, and his Doctor is exactly what the show needs, long term. Anyone who follows on beyond him, as there inevitably will be, would have to be equally as vibrant a personality, and that's a tough ask. I say keep Tennant around for as long as they can, even if it means doubling his paypacket. Here's hoping.

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