Planet of the Dead
“Doctor Who” is much more a big thing in 2009 because a) David Tennant will be leaving at the end of the year and b) it’s not a regular TV series but a quartet of specials this year – the final one featuring Tennant’s regeneration into Kid Who, Matt Smith. “Planet of the Dead” is the second of these 2009 specials.
Other than the scifi elements, “Planet of the Dead” at first bears a scary resemblance to that 1970s O.J. Simpson telemovie Detour to Terror. I’m sorry, a bus in the desert just puts me there, no choice. This special is another one of Russell T. Davies’ drawing-room-mystery episodes. As much as I love Davies for bringing The Doctor back, rejuvenating the franchise and bringing the whole package into the 21st century, I am annoyed by his penchant for having a certain type of story every year. We have seen this before in each of the last seasons, like the obligatory Dalek story and the scary one and the different point of view one. It gets old when it’s expected.
That said, “Planet of the Dead” is pretty cool and has a lot stuffed into it. Michelle Ryan plays Lady Christina, a Tomb Raider template thief who would make a great companion, and her chemistry with The Doctor rocks. A companion who leads him around is a great change of pace – however that may be needed once Kid Who shows up. We also get to see the return of UNIT as well as a few interesting new UNIT characters that we’ll hopefully get to see more of.
The end has surprises of its own, including possibilities for a Lady Christina spin-off and a prophecy for what is to come for the end of David Tennant’s run. Do I smell a return appearance for The Master coming up? Time will tell. Next up is “Waters of Mars” in September. Can’t wait.