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Friday, June 06, 2008
Doctor Who: The Doctor's Daughter
"Best episode" and "worst episode" is one of those personal preference things that you're unlikely to find more than two Who fans to agree on. For years, I'd say that The Power of Kroll was probably my least favorite episode of the original series, with Tooth and Claw and Gridlock as close ties for least favorite new series episodes. (And yes, that does mean that I'm the one person who doesn't mind either Love and Monsters or Fear Her.) However, that being said, and I really do hate to say it, Stephen Greenhorn's The Doctor's Daughter is easily, bar none, my least favorite episode of both old and new Who combined. And, here's the thing, I can't talk about why I so strongly dislike it without spoiling big chunks of it, so you may want to come back on Saturday to read past the nice fish-man thingie.
Let's get the fanboyish nonsense out of the way first. As appealing an actress as Georgia Moffett is, and as promising a character as Jenny could be, she is not, in fact, the Doctor's daughter. She's just a clone of the Doctor. Here the producers of the show had a chance to do some real meaningful work on the Doctor's back-story, and instead they chicken out and give us a fake-out. It's frustrating, as it's the kind of cop-out that seems calculated to appease both the "the Doctor must never have any kind of a hint of a sex-life" old-school fans and the "Rose is the Doctor's one true and only love" new school fans.
But, even setting all that aside, there are serious flaws in both structure and concept in this episode. The notion of a colony destroyed by warfare is fine, the notion of the war only lasting a short while is fine, but the notion of the war lasting only a short while, and the colonists not realizing this because they're all clones and the original colonists are all dead doesn't hold up. If all the soliders we had seen were in their apparent twenties, but when the leader of the human forces is obviously approaching middle age, he's either deliberately lying about the length of time the war has lasted or no care was taken in the casting. Martha is also completely wasted in this episode, doing little more than providing an excuse for the fish-like Hath to reach the central colony ship at the same time as the humans. The one good thing in this episode is the infectious joy that Georgia Moffett brings to the role of semi-Time Lady Jenny. Watch it for her, and try to blot as much of the rest of the episode from your memory.