Christmas Eve, 1851, and the Cybermen stalk the snow of Victorian London. When the Doctor arrives and starts to investigate a spate of mysterious deaths, he's surprised to meet another Doctor and soon, the two must combine... more » forces to defeat the ruthless Miss Hartigan. But are two Doctors enough to stop the rise of the CyberKing?« less
Immensely entertaining, a prime example of modern Dr. Who
A. Gammill | West Point, MS United States | 07/01/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The thing that immediately impressed me about "The Next Doctor" was that you don't necessarily have to be a long-time fan to enjoy it. But for those viewers who ARE faithful followers of the traveling Time Lord (myself included), it's a fine combination of elements that have traditionally worked in Doctor Who stories. The episode is full of action, humor, pathos, better-than-average performances, and a sense of wonder that has long been missing from t.v. science fiction.
[SPOILERS AHEAD] The Doctor is delighted to find himself in Victorian England at Christmastime. He is soon surprised, however, to encounter another fellow claiming to be "the one, the only, the best" Doctor. With his own companion, sonic screwdriver (sort of) and TARDIS (a wonderful twist which I refuse to spoil), this Doctor is man with some crucial memories missing. What the REAL Doctor finds out about this mystery man is tragic yet inspiring, and touches on the whole history of the series. Oh, and did I mention the Cybermen are on-hand as well?
The entire production is first-rate, from the gorgeously-realized snowy streets to the impressive spectacle of the Cyber King on the march. Guest star David Morrisey is so good in his role, you almost wish he WAS the next Doctor. And like the best of the modern episodes, the resolution is both satisfying and leaves you wanting to see more.
The disc also includes an interesting special, "Doctor Who at the Proms." This is an hour-long concert of the show's music peformed at the Royal Albert Hall. In addition to big screens projecting images from the show's first 4 seasons, there are actors dressed as Cybermen, Judoon, etc. that roam through the aisles to the delight of the crowd. Freema Ageyman hosts, with a special appearance by Catherine Tate. It's a fun way to enjoy the great music from the show.
I have no doubt that BBC will eventually release all the one-off specials featuring David Tennant in a box set when all is said and done. But if you can't wait, "The Next Doctor" is a perfect way to pass the time. "
A four because I do love David Tennant...
B. Starbuck | Denver, CO United States | 07/28/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"... and it's not a horrible story. I've seen worse.
Plus, most of the Christmas specials are filled with fluff anyway, in keeping with the holiday spirit. That being said, this story is a fun bit of Christmas cheer, although it lacks depth on some levels, but I'll still line it up with the other Christmas specials for Christmas morning viewing. I will say though, I thought the Cyber-Shades were kind of creepy and I hope they bring them back at some point. On the other hand, the Cyber-King "ship" was a bit too much on the cheesy side for me, and while I first relished the character of Ms. Hartigan, she completely crashed and burned into the cheese fest.
Another thing that stirred the bee in my bonnet was the Rosita character, and I'm going to say something that a lot of people ~ especially fans of the new series ~ won't like: Enough with Rose Tyler, already! I mean, come on. Bleeding hearts of the world unite! Enough with the references, the inferences, the parallels, the longing, the tragedy of it all, etc. The writers, including Russell T. Davies, whom I happen to actually love, being a writer myself, have beat this like a dead horse and to a bloody pulp. Yes, we know the Doctor has great affection for her; yes, we know he can never be with her, but let's move on. Please.
It's for this reason that I am really anxious for Steven Moffat to take the reins of the series ~ and in a way, I'm glad there's a new Doctor. I love David Tennant and I think he's been absolutely brilliant ~ right up there with, if not surpassing, Tom Baker ~ but this whole, galactic playboy thing (as further evidenced in Planet of the Dead) is wearing thin. The character of the Doctor is NOT Captain Kirk and he is NOT about romantic baggage, thank you very much ~ and I'm saying that as a chick, who initially loved the character of Rose and her deeper friendship with the Doctor. It was different than the classic series, with a little more humanity thrown in, instead of the cold, androgynous, teacher-student, master-apprentice dynamic. But enough.
There, I said it. I feel much better now.
On the upside, David Morrissey's portrayal of "The Doctor" was quite fun to watch as a romanticized, chivalrous version of our favorite Time Lord, and some of his dialogue and interaction with the real Doctor was thrilling, thinking that this might just be a future version him, with memories lost. Alas, 'twas not meant to be, which is kind of a bummer, because I think Morrissey would have made a great eleventh Doctor.
On the whole, though, it's a fun little frolic ~ not on the A-list, but rather on the B-list, in the canon of the Whoniverse. But like I said, I've seen worse, and as we tick down the days and months to David Tennant's departure, I do feel a certain sadness. He's been MY Doctor of the revived series, just like Baker was in the classic, even though I loved Christopher Eccleston, too, and I will be sad when Tennant leaves.
But hey! Viva la Doctor! As one chapter ends, another begins. And that's what the Doctor's story is all about!"
A. Edward Azad | Brooklyn, NY | 10/14/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"First off, let me say that if "The Next Doctor" has any shortcomings, it's not the fault of the actors. The two Davids (Tennant and Morrissey) give some really stellar work here; nuanced, passionate and believable. Morrissey, in particular, gives a much better performance than this deserves. I would recommend seeing this special solely for their performances alone. Even the actress who plays Rosita is delightful, and I wish we saw more of her in this episode. The actual story, however, reeks of wasted potential, even for 60 minutes. For a premise this grand, you really need two hours to properly present it all. Failing that, however, you could at least make this Cyberman adventure distinguishable from the others. Simply jacking up the awful musical score to downright-intrusive levels won't do the trick.
The revelation about the "next" Doctor's nature is revealed pretty early on, which deflates most of what follows. The Cybermen have learned a few new tricks, including the part-simian versions that are covered in fur, but we don't delve into exactly what they are or why the Cybermen are making them. To put it bluntly, the whole affair feels by-the-numbers. It begins with a haphazard murder mystery which turns out to be superfluous; yes, the Doctor will snoop around and find the answers instantly; yes, the Doctor will casually overpower the villain with little to no effort; yes, everyone fawns over the Doctor (the camera literally zooms in whenever someone even mentions his name) and thinks he's the greatest thing since ice cream. The only thing lacking is...well, a plot. The villain's motives and overall aim are taken for granted; she's evil, she wants to rule the world. What else is there to know?
Well, nothing much, if you're a kid. In fact, the series as a whole has been drifting further and further away from the mass appeal of the earlier seasons, and is now catered exclusively toward kids. And rather dim kids, at that; the script is overloaded with exposition, literally narrating the Doctor's every move, no matter how obvious it is to the viewer. I shudder to think what will become of this series once David Tennant's seasoned grasp of the character and his mannerisms have left the show, and the lead performances become as hollow as everything else. "
Should have been the "next doctor"!
Christopher Abbot | Oak Bluffs, MA | 09/19/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For reasons passing understanding, this program, the Christmas Doctor Who special for 2008, has been released this month (September), while its successor in this season of Doctor Who specials on the BBC, "Planet of the Dead", was released earlier this summer. This episode is by far the superior story.
The strongest element in the program, besides the characteristically endearing Doctor of David Tennant, is the "Doctor" of David Morrissey (for those who haven't seen the episode, I'll leave it at that). Morrissey is familiar to many of us for his stellar contributions to "State of Play" and the BBC "Sense and Sensibility". Morrissey is, by turns, dashingly heroic, confused, and crushed, as the true nature of the presence of Tennant's Doctor is made manifest. His is that increasingly rare feature of the "new" Doctor Who--a sympathetic male companion, evoking nostalgia for the likes of Nicholas Courtney's Brigadier and the late Ian Marter's Harry Sullivan, not to mention Frazer Hines' Jamie. Dervla Kirwin is delightful as the villain, following in the footsteps of such Doctor Who femmes fatale as the Rani and Chesene, the murderous Androgum. And Russell T, Davies' favorite baddies the Cybermen make a grand appearance as well.
The screenplay is superb, set in a Dickens Christmas London, one of the time periods that this era of Doctor Who has been most successful at evoking. There isn't a wasted scene, as the script moves at a fast pace, but manages to give Morrissey time to flesh out his character.
These one-shot episodes are pretty skimpy as to extras, and this one features only one--but it's pretty special: the BBC Night at the Proms concert that was devoted to the music of Doctor Who, composed by Murray Gold. Freema Agyeman serves as MC, and there are guest appearance by Catherine Tate, Davros, and several Cybermen, Sontarans, Judoon and an Ood or three. The highlight is a special video appearance by David Tennant's Doctor.
It will be a sad day indeed when Tennant's Doctor regenerates into his new body in the person of Matt Smith. This terrific program gives us an insight into what might have been...."
Fun & Entertaining!
FLYingG0D | GLENDALE, AZ USA | 09/19/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This Christmas Special has a bit more comedy than others, in my opinion. The whole "Next Doctor" bit is very entertaining. Although the method of how he came about, and their primary weapons against the Cybermen seems a bit far-fetched and silly.
In comparison to the general series, this special is a bit less serious and is not as thoroughly backed with details, but as long as you are familiar with the series most of the information fills in. It does introduce a new type of Cyber-unit and these information storage units called "Info-Stamps" that hold a load of data in picture format, it would seem. There is no real information on where this new Cyber-critter came from, and the Info-Stamps are a bit overly powerful. They can project the information on a wall, be plugged into the Cybermen and the information is immediately transferred, or one can pop the cap off of them and obliterate most anything with the wonderful power core. How handy! Sounds like the ultimate weapon/tool all wrapped up into one handy hand-held cylinder! Oh, and apparently, they can imprint a lot of information into a person's mind if they hold it wrong. I kind of feel that these little Info-Stamps were given a bit too much weight in the show. It just seemed like a much-too-easy solution to everything.
This DVD comes with a 1 Hour "The Next Doctor" episode, along with a 1 Hour "Doctor Who at the Proms" special which is a musical special that takes place at the Royal Albert Hall. It is entertaining to watch as well, although they mixed in a lot of clips from the show with the video of the performance. There were many familiar aliens from the new Doctor Who series running about the audience. It must have been an awesome experience to be there!
All in all, for the price, it was wonderful! Maybe not the best Doctor Who plot of all time, but it certainly helps break up this year without any new episodes! I enjoyed it, and am happy to have bought it!"