Sunday, December 3, 2023

Doctor Who - The Star Beast

The first of three holiday specials designed to wash the unpleasant taste of recent Who history out of mouths of fans by returning to a simpler time gives us The Doctor (David Tennant) and Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) together once again when another alien experience coincidentally close to Donna brings about their reunion. "The Star Beast" is forced to deal with the problem of putting the pair together (which should kill Donna), but awkwardly gets around the fact by not having any of the alien space events, characters, or the actions of The Doctor himself trigger Donna in any way (a pretty strong contradiction to events in "The End of Time") until the script is ready to deal with the ramifications (in a way that makes the previous Doctor look incredibly stupid for not suggesting somethin similar years ago).

The triggering event is the crashlanding of the Meep (Cecily Fay), a bizarrely cute alien being hunted by alien soldiers. Befriended by Donna's non-binary child Rose (Yasmin Finney) who subconsciously is more aware of Donna's past with the Doctor than Donna is given aspects of the DoctorDonna were transferred to her via Donna's pregnancy. Unfortunately for the family, Rose is a horrible judge of character as the Meep is a space fascist responsible for the destruction of countless worlds and saving the Meep actually puts all of London in danger.

On the plus side, twist of the Meep's true nature works well enough, it's certainly enjoyable to see Donna again, and (although she doesn't go off with the Doctor and Donna at the end of the episode) Rose would make for an interesting companion. On the negative, the episode really has to fudge its way through Doctor Who history to make the story work and the cheesy epilogue of Donna spilling coffee in the TARDIS creates more trouble that anything The Doctor has ever done just to set up the pair's next adventure. It's a nostalgic throwback to before Doctor Who jumped the shark, but it can't quite capture the magic of those days.

  • Title: Doctor Who - The Star Beast
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