Television Revision: Doctor Who – Season 3

Dr Who S3

By Andrew Williams
June 5, 2013 

Television Revision is a weekly feature in which our tuned in TV critic trawls through the best the box has to offer, giving you a primer on some of history’s finest shows (and warning you away from the specific episodes – or even seasons! – that might have ruined their reputation).

Now, this is a story all about how… Still grieving his separation from previous companion Rose Tyler, The Doctor (David Tennant) joins forces with new companion Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman) to tackle his most personal adversaries yet.

Dr Who S3

Happy days? Season Three of Doctor Who is a tale of two seasons. The first seven episodes are surprisingly sluggish; lacking the pace, fun, and spirit of adventure that represent the show at its finest. It’s almost as if the writing staff, like The Doctor himself, were taking some time to get back into the swing of things after such an emotional finale. The characters are poorly drawn, the writing affords Agyeman and Tennant little chance to build any chemistry, and there’s no sense of a season-long arc to keep us going through some sub-standard individual episodes.

That all changes come the eighth episode, where Doctor Who’s third season goes from acceptable and inoffensive to inventive and thrilling. The last six entries are an unparalleled run of quality in the show’s history, full of thrills, clever stories, and fantastic guest stars. It’s Doctor Who at its best: scary, funny, confusing, and above all, fun. Tennant is fantastic through episodes both good and bad, and Agyeman acquits herself fine as his new companion (though it would have been nice if she’d been given any actual character traits to work with).

The final frontier: Despite a slow start, Season Three of Doctor Who morphs into a series of classic episodes anyone with a vague familiarity with The Doctor would be crazy to miss.

Dr Who S3

Top three episodes: 10) Blink. One of the best Doctor Who episodes of all time features a charming performance from Carey Mulligan as Sally Sparrow, and introduces some fantastically scary villains in the Weeping Angels. Also, if you’ve never seen an episode of Doctor Who in your life, watch this one first: it’s a great introduction to the world of The Doctor. 8/9) Human Nature/The Family of Blood. A David Tennant showcase double episode enables an outstanding actor to fully explore the darkness inherent in The Doctor’s mission, all while playing an entirely different second character to boot.

Worst episode: 4) Daleks in Manhattan. Despite guest starring future big screen Spider-Man Andrew Garfield, this one’s a mess: plagued by clichéd, nonsensical storytelling and hammy supporting actors with dreadful ‘Noo Yawk’ accents.

Season MVP: People know John Simm from his brilliant work on Life on Mars, but he’s equally as brilliant when freed from the straight-laced shackles of Sam Tyler. He pops up at the end of this season as The Master, and it’s a bravura performance; enormously fun while retaining that important sense of malicious darkness. The episodes based around his character are perhaps not quite at his level, but this remains my favourite Doctor nemesis of these first three seasons.

3.5/5

Check out Andrew Williams’ previous instalments:

Television Revision: Doctor Who – Season 1

Television Revision: Doctor Who – Season 2

Doctor Who is available on Quickflix.

2 Responses to “Television Revision: Doctor Who – Season 3”

  1. Hello Andrew! I’m writing to you ’cause I found a blogger from Spain who copied this post translating it into Spanish on his personal blog without mentioning that the original post is yours. You can see it here: http://imperdiblesvaqueros.blogspot.com.es/2013/08/doctor-who-temporada-3.html

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