Warning â€“ This preview contains spoilers. If in doubt do not read.Â
After last weeks truly awesome episode you can almost feel sorry for Chris Chibnall for he has quite an adventure to follow. Considering he was behind probably one of the weakest Tenth Doctor stories, 42, he had some convincing to do. Favour is on his side as this much talked about adventure has the return of the Silurians which was probably one of the worst kept secrets this season. Newly designed and without the shrill voices we know them for, these creatures from Earths very distant past do hold a special place in the hearts of many fans. But will these creatures, last seen in the awful Fifth Doctor adventure Warriors Of The Deep, be able to shock a 21st century audience?
Itâ€™s 2015 and the most ambitious drilling project in history is being conducted in Wales. The drill is carving its way deep into the Earthâ€™s crust, a place no person has been before. But the ground is fighting back.
The Hungry Earth retains the format and feeling of Classic Doctor Who, meaning the set up and execution of the story feels like anything from the late Jon Pertwee and early Tom Baker eras. Yes it does feel like The Green Death and Doctor Who and the Silurians serials but this isnâ€™t a hindrance to the storyâ€™s flow. Chibnall concentrates on the Doctor and his relationship with humans to get the idea of â€œalienâ€ into the piece. Here the Doctor is bombastic, over confident and ultimately fallible. Having more in common with the sixth and seventh doctors, Matt Smith laps up some of his most challenging dialogue yet. Never during this season has the Doctor seemed so alien. Meera Syal stands out as a scientist who takes onboard the Doctorâ€™s theories without ever falling into the trap of being too smart-arsed and negative.
As Iâ€™ve said the Silurians have been updated (they are a new form of the species) and seem to have lost that magic eye that was set in the middle of their foreheads. They speak in clichÃ©d Doctor Who tones and wear rather strange masks. Prosthetics wise they do look wonderful, similar in style to the reptiles seen in the original series of V and the make-up allows the actor beneath to convey wonderful facial expressions.
For a two part story it keeps up a string pace with very little story padding on show. Fingers crossed Chibnal is able to retain this for the second part, Cold Blood.