New Series Review #11: Boom Town

Ah, the calm before the storm…

“What can be said about Boom Town?”, I lay awake last night wondering. “What can I, Christian Cawley, amateur writer and Led Zeppelin fan possibly write about an episode of Doctor Who that could possibly, on one hand, be considered the dullest ever with a tacked on resolution, while on the other be considered a triumph of storytelling in a series about a man who rights wrongs and legs it before he can view the consequences of his actions?”

And then it sunk in. Russell T Davies has described this piece along the lines of the Doctor being faced with the consequences of hi actions. On reflection, this is the case. But it is nothing new – ever since he failed to destroy them outright in Genesis of the Daleks (1974), the Doctor has been cursed with their periodic return. Jon Pertwee’s Doctor often gave the Master a second chance, only to find himself fooled, and Sixth Doctor was put on trial for his recklessness.

Boom Town represents, however, a good opportunity to calm things down pace-wise. The return of the Slitheen woman is a chance to flesh out the character of one of these bizarre monsters from the planet with the long name. It is also an opportunity to reconcile the pieces of the jigsaw that is BAD WOLF.

In amongst all of the special effects and characterisation in the latest episode, the most significant moment was the Doctor and Rose realising that the phrase was following them around through all of their adventures. (I’d previously assumed that they’d been oblivious, but it’s good to know otherwise.) This moment was of course cleverly defused until next week, with the Doctor’s declaration of coincidence.

So, what did we get for 45 minutes of Doctor Who?

A slight aspect of panto in the attempted teleportation of Margaret Slitheen, flashing lights, less than convincing CGI earthquake cracks in central Cardiff and a smashing time-rift opening below the TARDIS – although that seemed to owe a lot to the TVM. We also got some excellent dialogue – witness the Eccleston and Badland’s scene in the restaurant – Noel Clarke as Mickey as well used as he was in the last Slitheen story, and at last some focus on the real star of the show, the Doctor’s best friend – the TARDIS.

Jack Harkness was pretty much underused, unsurprising in the presence of Mickey, but Billie Piper again shone under the frustations of her characters boyfriend. I can’t think of any character in fiction or reality that has the weight that Mickey carries. Dare we say we would be any bigger a man than him under those circumstances? Dare we say we would let our love travel time and space with a “thing?”

The resolution to Boom Town was frankly tacked-on. However this isn’t another in a long lin of RTD-attacks. I’ve been more than happy with the varying tone of the series, and Mr Davies work will be forever remembered; let’s face it, EVERYONE is talking about Bad Wolf…

Christian Cawley

A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

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