|Season 1, Episode 12|
|Airdate: 11 June 2005|
|Writer: Russell T Davies|
|Director: Joe Ahearne|
I’m rewatching the first series of the new Doctor Who with an eye toward looking where the show has gone since.
Ah, TV as pap to keep the masses complacent and not-revolting at the abysmal state of, you know, everything… Why does bread-and-circuses taking the form of game shows and ritual ‘reality’ humiliation sound so familiar? And is there something ironic to be found in the fact that fully 10 percent of the British population — and more than one-third of the people tuned in to U.K. TV at that moment — viewed this episode on its initial broadcast? Can we take it as a potentially good thing that some of that massive audience may have let the pointed satire of this episode sink in?
(It worth noting, too, that Doctor Who often gets the kind of ratings that only the Super Bowl gets in the U.S. Ten percent of the population/more than a 33 percent share is the stuff of very rare programming in North America, not the stuff of early-Saturday-evening drama…) – Flick Filosopher
The casual viewer might be forgiven for assuming that he’s ingested the wrong substances and is hallucinating a Doctor Who/Big Brother crossover, but no—the Doctor really has landed in the Big Brother house. He’s as confused about it as the casual viewer.
Rose, meanwhile, has ended up in a Doctor Who/The Weakest Link crossover; Jack, in a Doctor Who/What Not to Wear crossover. The casual viewer may be forgiven for thinking that this is all rather meta.
But no: it’s a Massive Multiplayer Crossover. All three have in fact landed in the Game Station, which the Doctor and Rose visited back when it was called Satellite Five. The Doctor expected history to get back on course once the Jagrafess was removed, but is horrified to learn that the power vacuum caused human civilisation to collapse instead. It’s 100 years later, and the giant space station is now a home for more lethal versions of 21st-century reality TV . Anyone on Earth can be selected as a contestant and transmatted into a game with no warning, but the Doctor realises that any transmat beam capable of pulling him out of the TARDIS had to be far, far more powerful. Someone wants him here, and he’s going to find out who. – TV Tropes
Bye bye Chris. It’s as if we never knew you.
Yes, already after just one season, Christopher Eccleston was hanging up his leather jacket to move on to pastures new. The news of his departure was leaked just a few days after Rose had transmitted to rave reviews and excellent viewing figures. Unsurprisingly, the fans were a bit concerned about the longevity of Who – only a few more incarnations left, and that’s your lot. There was also the great big cloud hanging over the season finale. Would Eccleston get his very own regeneration scene, and more to the point, would modern-day viewers be able to comprehend such a drastic change?
Luckily, the answer’s yes, since Bad Wolf/The Parting Of The Ways (which will from now on be referred to as Bad Ways, just for the sake of not having to type out the whole damn thing again) ticks all the boxes, not just as a regeneration story, but as a cracking bit of Doctor Who.
What I love about this story is how it changes mood and tempo from a slightly off-kilter bit of surrealism into a full-blooded and grim fight to the death. And literally – the story’s the mirror image of the upbeat Empty Child/Doctor Dances in that Everybody Dies. Well, almost – Rose and Jack make it to the bitter end, but even in Jack’s case, he’s brought back from the dead by a power-drunk Rose. Otherwise, it’s a slightly surprising return to the Hinchcliffe/Holmes or Saward days in that practically every character meets a brutal end before the end credits roll. Bad Ways has the most in common with The Caves Of Androzani in that virtually all of the supporting cast drop like flies, while The Doctor meets his maker by saving the life of his companion. – Shadowlocked