Smith and Jones

 

 

Having not long moved house myself I can sympathise with the staff and patients of the Royal Hope Hospital as it gets transported from its location besides the river thames to the barran wastes of the the luner surface.  Their continued ability to breath is effectivly explained by the presence of a force field (though not the uninterrupted supply of power and, while we’re at it, do the toilets still work)?

It is not long before the instigators of this remarkable feat of redevelopment work arrive and, in what is a very impressive scene, march forth from their fleet of spacecraft into the annals of Doctor Who aliens and monsters. These are, we discover, the Judoon, who seem to be a combination of Sontarans (an earlier Doctor Who alien), the Judges (particularly Judge Dredd) from Mega-City One , and … Oh, of course, a rhinoceros. While Davies” title=”Russell T. Davies”>Russell T. Davies’ tendency to create aliens out of the Earth’s fauna and flora is probably one of his weaknesses, (take a humanoid body and stick an animal’s head on it) he still manages to infuse his aliens with enough personality to make them far more interesting than anything that has appeared so far in Sontarans: Silent Warrior that proved quite significant for me.

The story in Smith and Jones reflects an interesting contrast with classic ‘Who’ stories where it was assumed that humans would shortly set up bases on the moon. In today’s inward looking, self-centred, hedonistic society the thought of investing all that time, money and effort into setting up a moon base seems far too unrealistic. By the little trick of having the aliens transporting a building to the lunar surface Davies manages to give us a traditional Doctor Who ‘off-world’ story, where a (relatively) small group of humans are menaced once again by some alien force.

 

Freema Agyeman as new companion Martha Jones deserves a special mention. For any Doctor Who fan, like me, the introduction of any new companion (or Doctor for that matter) can be a bit of a tense time. I needn’t have worried, within minutes of the action starting she seemed to slip naturally into the role. On the more worrying side, the character of Martha has a a family that has obviously been set-up to provide  the Soap element for future ‘Eastenders meets Doctor Who’ episodes. It’s a pity that television dramas can’t be a success these days unless they seem to follow a soap format of some sort.

 

Finally did anyone else spot Davies’ little parody of the Zovirax TV advert?

 

All in all a very enjoyable episode.

 

 



5 comments


    petegrehan

    April 3, 2007

    You’re right Alyson, 45 minutes isn’t enough to introduce a lot of concepts and characters. That’s been one of the biggest problems with the new series. It’s the double episodes that seem to gel better.

    Sniz

    April 3, 2007

    Yes – I spotted the ‘Planet Zovirax’ gag. What were those guys? They were very cheap too, just a black motorcycle helmet, I’m sure RTD’s ‘mafia’ can come up with better than that. I was a bit disappointed with this episode, it was very predictable. I’m not too sure about the ‘Judoon – rhino’s in skirts’ thing either, but Tennant proves he can get away with it, the new assistant did well, as you say she fitted in quite nicely. I hope it gets better than this one.

    Alyson

    April 3, 2007

    I enjoyed this episode but felt that – as a starter episode it was all a bit rushed. if RTD is trying to add roundness to his characters by introdcing family then as far as i’m concerned its a bit of a misfire. As with New Earth – a golden opportunity missed.

    Frank Sable

    April 3, 2007

    RTD probably doesn??????t have the time to work out the logic of how intelligent species evolved the way it did. If he did he might not have picked on a ??????rhinoceros like?????? creature to evolve intelligence, when it seems clearly to have evolved brute strength a lethal looking horn and a belligerent attitude as a survival strategy. Combining those with intelligence would seem to be counter-productive!
    Robert Holmes, when he wrote the first Sontaran story, thought up a cloned militaristic species that had evolved on a high gravity planet, hence their strength, stocky appearance and absence of a neck!

    Frank Sable

    April 3, 2007

    I too spotted the ??????Planet Zovirax?????? gag. I think that RTD’s sense of humour can be a little on the adolescent side, don’t you think?

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