RELEASED: December 25th 2005, April 15th 2006 – July 8th 2006
DISTRIBUTED BY: BBC
SHOWRUNNER: Russell T Davies
WRITTEN BY: Russell T Davies, Toby Whithouse, Steven Moffat, Tom MacRae, Mark Gatiss, Matt Jones & Matthew Graham
DIRECTED BY: James Hawes, Euros Lyn, Graeme Harper, James Strong & Dan Zeff
MUSIC BY: Murray Gold
STARRING: David Tennant, Billie Piper, Noel Clarke, Camille Coduri, Shaun Dingwall, Penelope Wilton, Elisabeth Sladen, Zoë Wanamaker, Sean Gallagher, Pauline Collins, Anthony Head, Roger Lloyd-Pack, Andrew Hayden-Smith, Marc Warren, Peter Kay, Shirley Henderson, Tracy-Ann Oberman & Nicholas Briggs
REVIEW: After a great first revival season, Doctor Who quickly jumped into the regeneration game, transforming our hero from Christopher Eccleston to David Tennant at the end of the first season. Billie Piper stayed on, and what followed is one of the most fondly remembered seasons of NuWho. But does it live up to that reputation?
Fresh off his regeneration, the Doctor and Rose Tyler set off for another bunch of adventures through space-time as the Doctor experiences a new lease on life. However, as the pair’s feelings for each other grow, their time grows shorter and shorter, as they encounter a wealth of dangerous enemies such as the Cybermen, Werewolves and even the Devil himself?!
Much like the first season, series 2’s greatest strength is once again it’s heavy drama focus, albeit to a lesser extent this time around. The growing romance between Rose Tyler and the dashing Tenth Doctor hooked audiences around the world, due to Tennant and Piper’s undeniable chemistry. Personally, I prefer my Doctor-companion relationships to be strictly platonic, but having watched both the first two seasons in relatively quick succession it’s clear to see how these two became such fan-favourites.
But we were all already aware of Tyler’s strong performances as Rose from the first season, and so it was Tennant who was the enigma this time around.
Fortunately, for many people, Tennant IS Doctor Who. He’s the mysterious, dashing hero who never gives up, and is both fair, but forceful. He can play seriousness and goofiness equally effortlessly, and watching him take the controls of the TARDIS and have fun travelling throughout time and space really is a joy.
Furthermore, some of the adversaries the two get to face this season are really great. The obvious is, of course, the alternate universe take on the Cybermen, who were my personal favourite villain when I was younger. While the story is hampered slightly by the slightly over-the-top performance of Roger Lloyd-Pack as John Lumic (whether that was an actor choice or a piece of direction he was given, I’m unsure, but it was a bit much in the context of the episode), overall it manages to bring back another classic Who villain and make them threatening once again.
But the Cybermen aren’t the only great villains to grace the series. Seeing the Doctor interact with some more mystical elements like a Werewolf makes for some fun watching, and the clockwork robots in the fantastic The Girl in the Fireplace also make for a capably mysterious foe. But of course, perhaps the greatest villain of the series comes in The Impossible Planet, where the Doctor has to tackle the devil himself. This late-series two-parter really encapsulates the high points of Davies-era Doctor Who; villains who are actually scary; a well-thought-out plot, high stakes and a bunch of very human, relatable characters, with enjoyable personalities and well-written dialogue.
Unfortunately, not all episodes are as great. Other episodes, like Fear Her and The Idiots Lantern, don’t always hit the mark, and the series as a whole doesn’t have some of the ramifications of time-travelling to fall back on in the weaker episodes like it did in season one.
For the most part though, series 2 of Doctor Who is another strong season, albeit not as strong as series one. All-in-all, I give it: