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Old 13-11-2012, 08:57
daveyboy7472
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Itís amazing how many times in Doctor Who, in both Classic and New Series, that the worst story of the run is followed by the best(and vice versa). Human Nature/Family of Blood is my third favorite story of the New Series behind the Series 2 and 4 Finaleís. Itís also the point where Series 3 finally got going for me and like a London Bus, you wait ages for a decent episode to come along and then four come along at once. This Story was also for me the best of Series 3 and is the only RTD Series where I feel the Finale has been bettered.

Key to the success of this story for me was David Tennant in what I regard as his best performance in the show in his dual role as The Doctor/John Smith. Some of the scenes he was in were just amazing. These include the cricket ball scene with the piano, the scenes involving those where he has all the dreams, every scene with Joan and the gradual deepening of their relationship. The moment where he first holds the watch and The Doctor briefly appears. Plus,as he gradually realises he is The Doctor, he just gets better and better culminating in the best scene of the entire story where he has to make the choice between a happy future with Joan or save the Earth from The Family's Bombardment as The Doctor. I just love those future scenes at the wedding, the kids and his first old make up appearance of the series(Seems to be a thing with Series 3 after Lazarus and the Finale)

Just to top it off, there is the scene in the Familyís ship where weíre deceived into thinking John Smith has not gone through with the decision to change back to The Doctor (though his pressing of all the buttons gave me an inkling)before suddenly bang! The Doctor is back and at his Tenth Doctory best, glasses and all. But it still doesnít finish there. The scene where as The Doctor he speaks to Joan and tries to persuade her to come with him is also one of my favourites from this story. Here he shows the difference between The Doctor and John Smith. Something Joan picks up on all too readily. She asks the question everyone probably could have asked hundreds of times before about The Doctorís presence causing major deaths, something he canít answer and leaves. I think you had to show Joan talking to The Doctor for real or the story wouldnít have been complete.

Freema Agyeman also puts in her best performance of the Series here. You could say this about the Finale as well, but I prefer her here as like the Finale she was on her own without The Doctor but in this story it was for the best part of two whole episodes. Anyone who has doubts about her abilities as a companion really needs to watch this again. In what was in essence a Doctor-Lite story, Martha had to carry the action and be the identification figure with the audience, the person who we related to in all things about The Doctor. She also had to deal with a great deal of prejudice both in terms of racism from the likes of Baines and in terms of Class from Joan and the Headmaster. Throw in the fact she was trying to protect The Doctor, be a Maid and also have to watch jealously as John Smith fell for Joan and I think this was the strongest story she ever had.

The guest cast were superb as well. Jessica Hynes was just awesome as Joan and the struggle she had as she coped with having to face, and then see it happen, losing John Smith to The Doctor. As Iíve said, the chemistry between her and Tennant were just superb. Other characters I enjoyed were Harry Lloyd as Baines, just how snobbishly brilliant was he, even before The Family took him over?!

Then there was Jenny, loved the contrast between happy Jenny and the Mother of The Family. And off course, Tommy was a brilliant addition to the story. I liked his story the whole way through, with his premonitions aqnd all the stuff with the watch etc. I liked all the references to the forthcoming war a year later, it was an interesting sideshow to the main story. Considering it was Remembrance Sunday two days ago, that last scene was very beautiful and relevant watching it yesterday.

I didnít know at the time this had been written as a Novel for the 7th Doctor, (keep meaning to read it sometime.) I just think it was such a radically different idea for the Series, something that hadnít been tried before and I think the fact it was original, had superbly written characters and in depth characterisation (even for the RTD Era) that makes it such a good story. Even the cliffhanger was one that is rarely seen as John Smith struggles to choose between his friend and his companion. What makes it better is that the resolution wasnít a copout and came from an unexpected source.

Other things I like about the story, the scarecrows were good, loved all the lopsideness which the Family also did as well. The scene where they shot the scarecrows to the sounds To Be A Pilgrim; somehow that shouldnít work but it just does. The little girl was reminiscent of the one from Remembrance Of The Daleks. I also loved the resolution with the Family where The Doctor gives them what they want, to live forever, but in a different way. This is also where the Third Party Narration that so spoiled Love And Monsters actually worked.

Another thing I enjoy about it is that like Army Of Ghosts, the build up to the first episode Cliffhanger is very gradual. The episode starts of very quickly with The Doctor but then as we are quickly transported to 1913, the pre-credits setup is just amazing and then there is a good ten minutes of action before the Family arrive, allowing the rest of the setup to be complete. Then as they take over people one by one they find out where The Doctor is and who he is at the last minute. The Second Episode was just as good and to have those 5-10 minutes after the main threat was over was unusual and it worked.

Also love all the continuity references in this. As well as the journal and the references to Rose Etc, I did like the fact his parents were called Sydney and Verity in reference to those behind the original creation of the show. I also liked the Terror Of The Zygonesque theme of The Familyís Spaceship and The Family themselves where instead of making copies they just overtake peopleís bodies. Plus the design of the ship was eerily like the Zygons with The Doctor doing exactly the same thing here as he does in the Zygon story, set it to self-destruct!

Off course, the fob watch was also part of the Series Arc, though we werenít to know that at the time.

I canít think of anything I donít like about this story, not even as much as a minor quibble. It was just superb and maybe with a few tweaks it would have made a better Finale than the one we actually got IMO.
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Old 13-11-2012, 09:27
gslam2
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As well acted as this is, the story isn't as interesting as the book was so I'm not as in love with these episodes as most people are.

Solid 8 out of 10 but no more than that.
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Old 13-11-2012, 09:29
darthbibble
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Off course, the fob watch was also part of the Series Arc, though we werenít to know that at the time.
By this time it was obvious to a lot of people that the Master was coming back, and I can't have been the only one thinking "oh that's how he's hiding"
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Old 13-11-2012, 10:34
daveyboy7472
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As well acted as this is, the story isn't as interesting as the book was so I'm not as in love with these episodes as most people are.

Solid 8 out of 10 but no more than that.
I can understand that actually. I think opinion can be different if you've read the book first. If you haven't, like me, you probably appreciate the story a lot more as it is.

By this time it was obvious to a lot of people that the Master was coming back, and I can't have been the only one thinking "oh that's how he's hiding"
Maybe I should have said I didn't know it at the time as I didn't link it to The Master coming back. Glad I didn't actually otherwise Utopia wouldn't have been half as enjoyable.

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Old 13-11-2012, 11:29
PJ68
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am i right in thinking at the end of this he tries to get joan to go with him - and that he had no problem leaving martha behind..? i remember being quite shocked at the time.
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Old 13-11-2012, 12:17
Mystical123
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I have to admit I really didn't like this on first viewing, thought it was boring and overly sentimental, and was very annoyed with the Doctor's dismissive treatment of Martha.

But on rewatch I've grown to quite like it and appreciate the intricacies and the stunning acting performances - Freema particularly is excellent, her best performance I think.
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Old 13-11-2012, 13:06
Granny McSmith
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These are my favourite DW episodes since An Unearthly Child.

I think the emotional content alone would win me over - the love story between John Smith and Joan Redfern. But the whole thing was just amazing. In the beginning the bafflement - what was happening; was this the Doctor or not? The gradual explanation, the introduction of the Family of Blood, and poor Martha's plight. That poignant bit in the Tardis when she says "You had to fall in love with a human - and it wasn't me".

There were all sorts of little shocks and surprises along the way - when the Doctor as John Smith agrees to the beating of Timothy I nearly fell off my chair in surprise. That great bit with the piano! The bit when the Doctor says "My mother was Verity, my father was Sydney". And the final bit when the Doctor comes back, and, boy, is he mad!

Jessica Hines has long been a favourite of mine, but she was wonderful in this. The scene where she tells the Doctor he can leave in their last conversation she looks at him with such scorn and it cuts him to the quick.

Martha was great. A wonderful companion. I never thought the Doctor was thinking of leaving her behind. (The thought of the Master never entered my head, either).

Tennant was beyond great. A perfect performance.

I loved the ending when the Doctor and Martha attend the Remembrance Day service and Tim sees them again.

I could go on and on , there were so many good bits in this, it all hung together so well, and the script and actors were so excellent. It kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. I can't think of a single bad thing to say about it.

But the absolute best bit was when Tim describes the Doctor as he has seen him via the watch; "He's fire and ice and rage...and he's wonderful!" Yes.
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Old 13-11-2012, 13:35
John_Strange
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Basically, what Daveboy said. This is a magnificent story, for so many reasons. I'd just like to emphasise that Martha's companion has transcended her innocent beginnings. Here, she is the narrative driver, almost totally independent and utterly wonderful in shouldering the responsibility of looking after the Doctor. It is as though quite a bit of time has gone by since the earlier episodes and Martha's character arc has been catapulted towards being an utterly competent hero. She has already been transformed by her association with the Doctor, in ways that took Rose two seasons to be. Indeed, she has stepped out from behind Rose's shadow and proves to be a far more able companion - and, of course, this sets her up to become the hero who walks the Earth at the end of the series.

And finally, after nearly 90 mins of superb drama, the Doctor returns as an utterly ruthless judge, a figure of myth who eclipses John Smith. And even then, this wonderful story is not finished. The final Remembrance Day scene delivers a stunning emotional and intellectual pay-off.

An astonishing story that never grows old, no matter how many times you watch it.
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Old 13-11-2012, 16:54
rumpleteazer
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This is one of my favourite Doctor Who stories, I can't really add to what's already been said but I will say I was so glad the Doctor went to see Joan's grand-daughter during his farewell tour
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Old 13-11-2012, 17:36
kyllerbuzcut
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I have to admit I really didn't like this on first viewing, thought it was boring and overly sentimental, and was very annoyed with the Doctor's dismissive treatment of Martha.

But on rewatch I've grown to quite like it and appreciate the intricacies and the stunning acting performances - Freema particularly is excellent, her best performance I think.
Not watched this one in ages but yeah- what Mystical said sums it up well for me
There were interesting bits but some boring mushy stuff in there as well. I liked seeing the journal and the past docs and all that, that was great. And after all the effort of hiding from the family, they were defeated a bit easily in the end. He just put them in places that were like weird prisons. Surely people must ask why he didn't just do that in the first place, to avoid the possibility of them causing more trouble.
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Old 13-11-2012, 18:02
Granny McSmith
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Not watched this one in ages but yeah- what Mystical said sums it up well for me
There were interesting bits but some boring mushy stuff in there as well. I liked seeing the journal and the past docs and all that, that was great. And after all the effort of hiding from the family, they were defeated a bit easily in the end. He just put them in places that were like weird prisons. Surely people must ask why he didn't just do that in the first place, to avoid the possibility of them causing more trouble.
Answered in the episode; he was trying to be kind. He had hoped to escape them, leaving them to die a natural death.
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Old 13-11-2012, 18:35
kyllerbuzcut
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Yeah- I remember that bit, but really- he was trying to be kind by running away and basically allowing the family to go around killing people?
That's what I was getting at anyway, surely people need to ask that question of the episode.

Or maybe I'm remembering it all wrong- it has been ages since I've seen it.
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Old 13-11-2012, 18:40
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It's odd for an episode/story I consider to be overrated to actually still be exceptionally good, but that's where I stand with Human Nature/The Family of Blood. Whilst it is a fantastic story and one of the strongest of the third series, I still personally feel it is a bit over-hyped...maybe I just don't 'get' it.

The cast, both regular and guest, was probably the strongest of the whole series and that is where this episode finds its strength. In addition to a rather good performance from David Tennant, and an evermore successful turn from the lovely Freema Agyeman, we get the likes of Jessica Hynes, Thomas Sangster and Harry Lloyd. All three of them deliver striking, memorable, interesting and fantastic performances and it's a real shame we were not to see them again, albeit from Hynes' brief cameo in The End of Time. Speaking of that cameo, it simply illustrated the strength of the characters of the piece... everyone here was very well rounded and for the most part was at ease in the time period they were conveying. This acted out like a subtle period drama, and it did remarkably well.

The plot came across as a bit of a novelty, and another cog in the Series 3 campaign to explore 'what it means to be human'. Although it did the job relatively well, I think that it is perhaps the fault of other episodes shortcomings that make this one struggle. We are to believe that The Doctor will face an army of Daleks or Cybermen, but must go into hiding from the admittedly cool sounding 'Family of Blood'. And that's where it strikes hard that this story lacks a particularly menacing villain. Harry Lloyd delivers a wonderfully psychotic performance, as does Rebekah Staton who plays Jenny. The problem is that they look just like people, with occasionally glowing auras. We're never really given an insight to what it is that makes the Family so menacing, and we never learn enough about them to feel that The Doctor has taken a necessary course of extreme action. This goes beyond having to use your imagination, as the villains are rather weak. The Jack Straws are an impressive design, and stick out for me as more of a villain than perhaps they should - such is the visual and motive weakness of the family. It's a shame that a story so rooted in choices and villainy would deliver a rather lacklustre bad guy (again, I'll clarify that the acting was superb!).

The underlying theme of war coming to England was nicely dealt with and played a nice part in the story. It was refreshing to see a WW1-era story as we get far less of those in Doctor Who than WW2 (unless Series 7b changes that). It was also nice to see Martha grow stronger as a companion here, though once more it becomes alarmingly obvious the writers struggled with her - for the Doctor's companion, she spends alarmingly little time with The Doctor, split from him in Gridlock, for much of Daleks in Manhattan, and for most of 42. The same happens here, we see virtually nothing of her in Blink and she has to make way for Captain Jack in Utopia. All in all, she's not getting the scenes with The Doctor that perhaps she should and whilst Freema delivers a wonderful performance here, maybe it actually did some long-term damage to the character to be so distant from The Doctor.

So I consider this story to be far better than most of the third series, and most of what has come so far. It does seem a bit overrated, and for me isn't quite the classic a lot of people think it is, but I'd put that down to having a weak antagonist for such a significant story.
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Old 13-11-2012, 22:04
daveyboy7472
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Not watched this one in ages but yeah- what Mystical said sums it up well for me
There were interesting bits but some boring mushy stuff in there as well. I liked seeing the journal and the past docs and all that, that was great. And after all the effort of hiding from the family, they were defeated a bit easily in the end. He just put them in places that were like weird prisons. Surely people must ask why he didn't just do that in the first place, to avoid the possibility of them causing more trouble.
Answered in the episode; he was trying to be kind. He had hoped to escape them, leaving them to die a natural death.
Yeah- I remember that bit, but really- he was trying to be kind by running away and basically allowing the family to go around killing people?
That's what I was getting at anyway, surely people need to ask that question of the episode.

Or maybe I'm remembering it all wrong- it has been ages since I've seen it.
This really wasn't suggested in the story as much but my theory as to why they weren't able to take The Doctor out even after he'd destroyed their ship was because maybe some of their power came from the ship itself.

Not saying that's right, just always thought about it that way.

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Old 13-11-2012, 22:35
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It's stories like this which make series 3 my favourite RTD series, it's so different, but brilliant. Human Nautre is a bit slow, but it's all vital stuff in setting up the 2nd Part, Family of Blood is an absolute belter. It's just one of very few episodes (such as the Rose, Parting of the Ways, The Satan Pit, Blink, Sound of Drums, Midnight, The Eleventh Hour, Amy's Choice, Vincent and the Doctor, The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang, The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon & A Town Called Mercy) which simply get's EVERYTHING right, it is literally perfect and real top quality entertainment. I really cant think if a single criticism of it (except perhaps with Human Nature as that episode does get quite slow, but like I say I'm more talking about Family of Blood here). I'd usually pick out my favourite scenes, but with Family of Blood I cant, simply cos, in my op, EVERY scene is literally great. It's a mystery why the writer for this story's never returned, it's all fab, from the Joan+Martha saying they shouldnt fight, to the Headmaster confronting the Family where we have some really nicely subtly done references to the war to come, to Tim showing the Little Girl the Doctor in the watch, to the scenes in the cottage, to the scenes in the ship, to the last few scenes, it's all so masterfully done.

So, as I cant talk about everything it does, I'll just mention some of the 1st stuff that spring to mind. All the references to the war are really nicely done and it's appropiate we review thsi episode just 2 days after Remembrance Sunday, the anniversarry of the guns falling silent. I actually missed the 2 min silence etc, but I did catch all the regiments going by, and I remember good old David Dimbleby repeating the motto of 1 such regiment which was something along the lines of "death before dishonour" or something stupid like that. I almost threw the tv out of the window. It's that sort of thinking which led to catastrophes like WW1, with hundreds of boys lying about their age to join up while the generals made stupid decisions with little regard for how many would die in order for them to kill more of the enemy. These 2 episodes do a really good job of capturing that e.g. the scarecrow shoot up scene. There's a really authentic feel to the setting of this story which you sometimes wouldnt get in Dr Who. I like how Martha etc are treated. **** Downton Abbey, if you were a servant back then you'd likely be treated like rubbish, especially if you were black. And **** Doomsday too, I know I said I wouldnt really be picking out favourite scenes or we'd be here forever, but I love the last few scenes where we see an elderly Tim at a remembrance service, that scene is SO sad. I NEVER cry watching tv, but I almost cried there, it was heartbreaking.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bh78...PLrj7KqP3CnOJw

The star of the show here is David Tennant of course. It's wonderful to see him playing such a different character (LOVE how he's all awkward in Human Nature) and I feel so sorry for John Smith, though I must admit it's brilliant when he catches the watch onboard the ship and, ooooooooooohhh, hell yeah, the Doctor is back!

All the scenes in the cottage are great and I agree with everyone that this really is one of Martha's finest moments. It's heartbreaking. I also feel sorry for Joan, the woman playing her is great and the scenes between her and the Doctor are great.
I especially like the scene where she asks the Doctor is anyone would have died had he not done what he did. The look on his face...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gb0u...eature=related

The acting is all top notch. Tim is great, cos, just cos, and I love the guy playing Baines, he's really creepy and he's really convincing as a proper full on psycho. The Head masters great to, I like the scene where he goes on about the Boer War and we have more subtle hints to WW1. The good thing about the episode is that, even though it's all moral and emotional etc, it doesent shove it in our face, it all seems so realistic.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kexk...feature=relmfu

So, all in all, a perfect episode, fantastic, 100%

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzbKYJKZghQ
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Old 13-11-2012, 23:39
DavetheScot
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This is a really excellent story. The idea of the Doctor not only appearing to be an ordinary human, but actually thinking himself to be just that, is a brilliant one (and yes, I know it's taken from a book, but it was a brilliant idea for a book and the were right to make sure it reached a larger audience on TV). We have an excellent script, an excellent guest cast, and both David and Freema are superb.

I must admit - and it's my sole issue with this story - that I find the punishments of the Family a bit hard to take. They seem gratuitously sadistic, and not really what I expect from the Doctor.

Others have rightly praised Jessica Hynes, Harry Lloyd, Thomas Sangster and Rebekah Staton for their performances. I would also like to mention young Lauren Wilson, who is very good indeed as Lucy Cartwright/Daughter of Mine.
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Old 14-11-2012, 00:01
krikkiter68
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I think this story is an absolute masterpiece, my favourite Doctor Who episode ever, and as such I have very little to add to the comments above. It just gets everything right - and every single cast member is fantastic in it.

In addition, I'd just like to say that Charles Palmer is a fantastic director. He was great in Smith and Jones, but he's even better here. For example, the scene where Smith and Joan are walking across the hill, seemingly carefree - but just look at those lengthening shadows! Superb.
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Old 14-11-2012, 01:41
sohoguy
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I would say that in many ways it's one of the finest pieces of television ever, let alone Doctor Who.

The ending of Part 2 is especially brilliant.

Loved it.
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Old 17-11-2012, 09:31
doublefour
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Can't really add much to comments here, espcially another superb opening post by daveyboy.
I didn't enjoy the book as much as the televised episode, which I suppose is good for me!
Just some things I like about this story, again the build up and pace of the Human Nature episode ending with a superb cliffhanger. Might I add this is my favourite series 3 story, just edging out the excellent Blink. But it is on a par with my favourite Classic or new Doctor Who stories.
The scenes with the Doctor and Joan are fantastic, love all of Martha's scenes also and is good to see the John Smith and Martha scenes. Love it when Martha shows Joan all the bones in the body as well.
This is Tennant's best acting in the role, he plays the John Smith character just right. As Joan says something like you feel as if he has left the kettle on or something like that. He plays it as if there is something missing and can't put his finger on it. I do love all the nods to the classic series, the faces of the other Doctor's in the book and his parents names, always bring a tingle to the back of the neck.
Awesome story, one of the first I always choose to rewatch. Love it.
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Old 17-11-2012, 12:40
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One of my all time favorite stories in Doctor Who, or the whole of television for that matter. One I could watch many times without getting tired of it.

One other continuity reference that's worth mentioning is Joan's assumption that Gallifrey is in Ireland, an assumption that was previously made in The Hand of Fear.
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Old 17-11-2012, 15:58
nattoyaki
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Still the best of the revival for me, epic Who, with all sorts of undertones and not rushed.

The only thing that didn't wash with me was the all-powerful (and ultimately vindictive, which supposedly he had been trying to avoid by hiding in the first place) Doctor ending. But it didn't detract too much overall.

I haven't read the book btw.
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