Created by Sydney Newman, C. E. Webber, & Donald Wilson/Revived by Russell T. Davies/Starring David Tennant & Catherine Tate
14 Episodes + 5 Specials
My rating: 5 of 5
Alone yet again, The Doctor travels through time and space, doing what he can to help wherever he goes, although it’s difficult to say whether he follows trouble or trouble follows him. In any case, he rapidly proves that he’s relatively useless on his own. Meanwhile(?), spitfire secretarial temp Donna Noble has gone from regretting not accepting the Doctor’s offer to accompany him to actively seeking him . . . by getting herself involved in any sort of weird or sketchy endeavor she can find. And surprisingly, she actually runs into him as they both are investigating a suspicious diet pill corporation. Even more surprisingly, the two make an incredible pair, feeding off each other’s energy and ideas as they travel together through the ages and the stars. In fact, you might almost say they were fated to be together.
I was honestly prepared to hate the fourth series of Doctor Who. (I mean seriously, when Donna showed up in series 3, I absolutely abhorred her.) And I can’t honestly say whether she toned her harping or whether she just grew on me–she’s still certainly go a strong temperament, it goes with the red hair, maybe. But miraculously, I actually enjoyed the dynamic between Donna and the Doctor in this series. For one thing, it was nice to have a companion that is not a romantic interest–clearly stated so right from the start; they’re almost more like brother and sister or something. It’s nice. And they really do feed off of each other in a magnificent way. If anything, she brings out the Doctor’s impudence more than usual. Plus, there’s just some really good story writing in this series. I enjoyed that the main storyline this time is bigger and more involved than previous series. (It’s actually been hinted at as far back as series 1.) It’s nice to see a lot of old friends drawn back into the story here, too. But do be warned, I think this series–especially as it approaches the end, but really even in the first few episodes–is darker than previous series, touching on concepts like fate and inevitability in a way that could honestly be kind of depressing. You can definitely see the Doctor going through all sorts of emotional turmoil and conflict, especially in the specials following the main storyline. But I think it brings up valid considerations in a meaningful way, so I actually really appreciated the authors’ choice to make this part more serious. And really, the story as a whole is still largely just good fun; it’s not all down and depressing, truly. I would highly recommend the fourth series of Doctor Who, especially to those who have enjoyed the previous series of the story.
Note: I know the story seems wrapped up with the end of episode 14, “Journey’s End,” but there’s actually some extremely significant story in the specials following the technical end of this series. So be sure you watch these prior to starting series 5, or you’ll be really confused.