TV EYE: Doctor Who, S4 E01: Partners in Crime

Okay- I have to admit that compared to how bad I originally suspected having Catherine Tate onboard was going to be, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed that. While still packed with plenty of RTD’s usual selection of caricatures and some offensively overplayed gags, the plot didn’t have any gigantic holes in it, and came worryingly close to being the strongest first episode that New Who has had so far (Smith and Jones is close, but loses out for the straw gag, and the insanity of the MMR machine doomsday weapon). Once again, Murray Gold is on overdrive, and the new remix of the theme tune was quite, quite horrible (electric guitars and a Geoff Love-style drumbeat- not a good plan), but it rattled along fairly quickly, and while the physical comedy moments from Tate were way, way too much (I’m hoping they dial it down later), I managed to buy into the Doctor and Donna’s relationship, and this actually felt like it might work. As with plenty of New Who, much of it is a case of “Good Lord- it wasn’t as offensively bad as I suspected”, but an RTD episode where the plot works is always something to be thankful for, and the appearence of Rose was a much needed darker note. Not a classic, not something I’d be in a desperate rush to watch again – but also not something that made me want to claw my own eyes out (unlike The Runaway Bride), so they must be getting something right…

Next week – Pompeii, ancient Romans, and Phil Davis giving it all he’s got…

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