Doctor Who – The Doctor’s Daughter Review (or “Built On A Cop-Out”)

Doctor Who fans are mostly an optimistic bunch.

Don’t get me wrong, there will be some fans who are the epitome of pessimistic and who hate everything as a default, but I tend to think that it’s the other way around as a rule.

Certainly my brother fits the mould of someone who thinks every story is at the very least “Good” after its first broadcast. It’s not that he thinks everything is brilliant – this isn’t an Ian Levine declaring Tooth & Claw as the best story since The Massacre type deal – but he doesn’t really watch a story and say “Well that was crap”.

And to an extent I am the same.

Or at least I used to be up until May 10th, 2008.

Because that was the day I watched The Doctor’s Daughter for the first time, and the first time where I finished watching a new episode of Doctor Who and declared “That was a load of absolute shite”.

Doctor Who – The Doctor’s Daughter Review: What’s This One About?

It’s the one with the worst bait and switch cop-out ever seen in Doctor Who.

It also has a guy who looks like an ancient Peter Crouch, the boy with the bad skin from…erm…Skins and some of the worst aliens in the show’s history.

Thoughts – Start Badly And Never Recover

The Daughter’s Daughter is sold on a lie.

The Hath; a bad idea, even if they look good

The Hath; a bad idea, even if they look good

In the Next Week trailer in the last episode, the suggestion is that it’s the Doctor’s actual daughter, which is something that you could believe in since he has a granddaughter and has remarked before on how he has had kids.

So at the time I was quite looking forward to this episode.

And then, before the opening credits had even rolled, they ruined it.

The Doctor gets out of the TARDIS, has a bit of DNA taken from him, it gets put into a device and out pops Georgia Moffat.

What a fucking cop-out. Seriously.

So instantly, this story is off to a bad start,

Does it get any better? No, not really.

The story then develops into the usual futuristic setting of unclean looking humans living on a dystopian old space craft/station that looks exactly like all the other ones we’ve seen in the show before; Dark, rusty and lit with a red hue.

Nothing even remotely original.

And the plot? Well it’s basically a two different factions travelling to the centre of the station. Nothing exciting, nothing innovative, nothing to write home about; just people walking.

Once they are there? Well they throw in some stuff about how the war has only lasted for a week, the Doctor throws a ball onto the floor to terraform the planet and then – to ensure the reset switch is pressed – they kill of the Doctor’s “Daughter”; a daughter by the way who he initially didn’t want to know but then fell into a deep paternal love with because he saw her do some gymnastics.

Basically, it’s just a crap story.

And yes, you could argue that it tries to fit too much in and that’s why it doesn’t come off as being particularly well told, but I just think it’s a lazy idea built on a cop-out.

But then they copped out of their cop-out of killing off their cop-out (see how many cop-outs there are?) by having Jenny survive and then wander off to “save the universe”. Aargh.

The Hath

Another crap thing about this story is The Hath.

Look at the quality of the "Holding Back" acting

Look at the quality of the “Holding Back” acting

I get the idea behind them, and they do look good, but why bother with it? What is the point of an alien that you can’t understand? How can they even understand each other? It doesn’t make sense.

And what makes even less sense is that Martha seems to understand them. How? Is she just correctly guessing what they are saying like people did with Lassie, or is it that we’re supposed to believe the TARDIS has translated for her?

And in that case, can we assume that the TARDIS also allows people to understand dogs, cats, fish and all sorts of other animals? And if not, why not?

Martha – A Terrible Doctor and a Terrible Person

So Martha – a medical Doctor no less – had established simply by looking at Jenny while she was still able to hold a conversation that she was going to die. She made no effort to save her life at all. I’d hate to have her as my Doctor. Then she says, with a sense of authority, that there are no signs of life or that she would regenerate.

How does she know this?

And why does the Doctor take her word for it?

And how Jenny come back to life anyway? It’s not like she regenerates? So was she never dead?

What crap storytelling.

Back to Martha though, and this is the same woman who only minutes earlier let a Hath save her life at the expense of its own because of her stupidity. Was she affected by it? No, she couldn’t give a shit. She didn’t even mention it to the Doctor, Donna or the Hath.

What a terrible person.

How Is This Meant To Have Taken Place Over A Week?

As much as the writer – Stephen Greenhorn – probably thought he was being clever, the idea that this war took place over a week is an absolute nonsense.

Something unspeakably mucky looks like it's about to happen

Something unspeakably mucky looks like it’s about to happen

It’s just ridiculous.

For a start, the only casualties we see in this war are two blokes being shot and a Hath getting a dislocated shoulder. Has the war just calmed down a lot in the space of a day?

And has nobody – not one person – survived from the beginning of the week?

Pitiful; but then this is from the pen of the guy who wrote the Lazarus Experiment. Why he was asked back but Rob Shearman and Paul Cornell weren’t is anyone’s guess.

Random Thoughts

  • Neither Tennant nor Tate are up to much either in this; even they couldn’t turn this into gold.
  • How come Peter Crouch’s Bristolian dad is so much older if he too is supposed to be a clone?
  • And again I ask; why did he try to shoot the Doctor, other than to conveniently “kill” Jenny and hit the reset switch?
  • I’m getting really tired of The Martha Jones Incidental Music Jingle.
  • What exactly is up with Joe Dempsie’s skin? It’s not even as though you can google to find out since it’ll just come up with “Joe Dempsie Skins”
  • Ok, I’ll say it; it’s a little creepy that the Doctor married his fake daughter in real life. Just a little. It shouldn’t be of course, but it just is.
  • So Martha is married to that bloke from The Last of the Timelords. Viewers on Netflix will be thinking “Eh?” seeing as some key scenes were cut from when they met.
  • To top off all the bad writing, the story finishes with a line about how Jenny was the reason the TARDIS went there in the first place and it became a paradox. Now it’s me saying “Eh?!” That doesn’t add to the story, nor does it make sense.
  • Oh how moralistic the Doctor is, telling them all to start their society on the basis of a man who never would. Boak.
  • The acting as the humans “Struggle to hold back” Peter Crouch’s dad is pitiful.
  • DWM Mighty 200 Ranking: #140. I’m surprised the readers of DWM have actually got one right, although I’ll have it a lot lower.

Doctor Who – The Doctor’s Daughter Review: Final Thoughts

A badly told story, built on a cop-out. Awful.

Some of the ideas weren’t bad, but the execution of them was, and that’s because the writer is of a lower standard than is acceptable for a show like this.

One of my least favourite stories.


3 Responses to Doctor Who – The Doctor’s Daughter Review (or “Built On A Cop-Out”)

  1. Another interesting tidbit – Jenny surviving/resurrecting was supposedly a last-minute Moffat idea. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility she may return as a companion one day, harkening back to the 1st Doctor and granddaughter relationship. Given they’ve cast an older doctor and Jenny could regenerate… hmmm… hope not.

  2. Rob says:

    Thank you. Thank you. I knew I couldn’t be the only one that despises this episode. Everyone else seems to love it and I cannot understand why. It was abysmal.

  3. niallfraserlove says:

    Did you know Stephen Greenhore is the man who invented River City? So it any surprise this episode is poorly written?

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