Doctor Who Series 4 – television series review

"Doctor Who" Series 4 poster.
“Doctor Who” Series 4 poster.
Doctor Who Series 4 was the final full season with David Tennant as the Doctor. His companion—first introduced in the “Runaway Bride” Christmas special before Series 3—was Donna Noble (Catherine Tate). My favorites among the best episodes this season were “Planet of the Ood”, “The Doctor’s Daughter”, “The Unicorn and the Wasp”, “Silence in the Library”/”Forest of the Dead”, and “Turn Left”/”The Stolen Earth”/”Journey’s End”.

Deciding to be adventurous, the Doctor has the TARDIS take them to a random location, and they end up on the “Planet of the Ood”. I really liked this episode because it allowed Donna to be on an almost-equal footing with the Doctor in dealing with the nefarious actions of the Ood Operations company. I especially liked their interaction with Ood Sigma, my favorite character in this episode.

By far the most fun episode in Doctor Who Series 4 was “The Doctor’s Daughter”. Georgia Moffett fairly sparkled throughout the episode. The premise of the episode was quite interesting, too, with the people fighting a war for which no one remembers the reason (reminiscent of a few current world conflicts). I think the producers missed a golden opportunity by not spinning off a Jenny series. Moffett truly made this episode.

I enjoy watching Agatha Christie mystery movies, so “The Unicorn and the Wasp” was a real treat. Everything about the episode was modeled after the structure of those films, and it was wonderful. Fenella Woolgar was excellent as Christie, and Felicity Jones did a good job as Robina Redmond (spoiler: the Unicorn), a few years before playing Jyn Erso in Rogue One.

One of the scariest episodes in Doctor Who Series 4 is a two-parter: “Silence in the Library” and “Forest of the Dead”, set in a planet-sized library that mysteriously closed about 100 years prior. This episode marks the appearance of one of the most charismatic recurring characters: River Song (Alex Kingston). The Vashta Nerada are creepy and play on the fear of the dark. I suspect these episodes could give neuroses to younger kids.

The weakest episode was “Partners in Crime”, featuring adorable little baby creatures made of fat. While being my least favorite episode this season, it was also fun to watch because it was so campy. Watch out for new fad diet pills! Peter Capaldi made his debut in Doctor Who as a guest character in “The Fires of Pompeii”. He did a good job with what he was given, but the dialogue in the episode was pretty weak.

After popping up briefly in three previous episodes in Doctor Who Series 4, Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) finally does something in “Turn Left”. While Donna usually annoyed me after only a few minutes, Tate really pulled out all the stops in this episode and made me like Donna. Think of this episode as an adaptation of the short story, “A Sound of Thunder“. One tiny decision by Donna makes a huge difference in the future. This episode led directly into “The Stolen Earth” and “Journey’s End”.

One of my favorite parts of the episode was the redemption of Harriet Jones, MP (Penelope Wilton). It also solidified why the Doctor spends so much time helping humans: because they are resilient and keep fighting even if the odds are hugely stacked against them. I enjoyed seeing so many of the Doctor’s companions working together. The ending—while happy because the Earth (and everything in the universe) was saved due to Donna’s actions—was very sad because of what happened to Donna. I found it more sad than the ending of Series 2.

As I said, Doctor Who Series 4 was (and is, at least through Series 9) my favorite season of Doctor Who. Everything worked so well throughout the season, and the ending was satisfying (though sad). I was sad to see Russell T. Davies go as the series director because he was excellent at it. He brought the series back and updated it while keeping much of the fun and adventure found in the older part of the series.

Episode list:
    “Voyage of the Damned” Four point zero stars
    “Partners in Crime” Three point five stars
    “The Fires of Pompei” Four point zero stars
    “Planet of the Ood” Five point zero stars
    “The Sontaran Stratagem” Four point five stars
    “The Poison Sky” Four point five stars
    “The Doctor’s Daughter” Five point zero stars
    “The Unicorn and the Wasp” Five point zero stars
    “Silence in the Library” Five point zero stars
    “Forest of the Dead” Five point zero stars
    “Midnight” Four point zero stars
    “Turn Left” Five point zero stars
    “The Stolen Earth” Five point zero stars
    “Journey’s End” Four point five stars

Original Air Dates: December 25, 2007 – July 5, 2008 (UK)
TV Parental Guidelines Rating: TV-PG
Network: BBC One
Language: English

MySF Rating: Four point five stars
Family Friendliness: 100%


Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (occasional social drinking)
Language: 1 (infrequent, mild, deity)
Nudity: 0
Sexuality: 1 (mild sexual tension)
Violence: 2 (peril, some science fiction fighting, space battles, some death, nothing graphic)

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