Friday, June 27, 2008

Doctor Who (The New Doctor Who): "The Unicorn and the Wasp"

For the 42 Challenge
(TV Series)
Season 4, Episode #407
Written by: Gareth Roberts
Directed by: Graeme Harper
Cast: David Tennant (The Doctor), Catherine Tate (Donna Noble), Fennella Woolgar (Agatha Christie), Felicity Kendal (Lady Eddison), Tom Goodman-Hill (Reverend Golightly), Christopher Benjamin (Colonel Hugh)

The Doctor and Donna join forces with the world's most famous crime novelist, to encounter a body in the library, poisoned cocktails, and a Vespiform seeking revenge.
In 1926, Agatha Christie disappeared for 10 days. Was it amnesia? A nervous breakdown? Or a giant alien wasp? [BBC]

Since I'm a huge Agatha Christie fan, I had really high hopes for this episode. It also had the presence of Felicity Kendal going for it. And the 1920s setting seemed promising, too.

So, did it live up to expectations? Well, yes and no. Overall, I enjoyed it. I thought it had a very "Old Doctor Who" feel about it, which I liked. It reminded me of the kind of stories they used during the Peter Davison era.

The Cluedo game (or Clue, as we Yanks would say) aspects didn't grate with me the way they seem to have done with some of the critics. And I actually liked the shtick of Donna giving away details and titles of Christie works that hadn't been written yet – obviously planting the ideas in Agatha's head. So we really have Donna Noble and the Doctor to thank for the invention of Miss Marple!

On the other hand, I thought the cgi wasp looked a little too Disney-cute to be really frightening – like something from a Mary Poppins nightmare. And I could have done without the manic charades scene when the Doctor rids his body of poison by turning into Jerry Lewis. That wasn't a pretty sight.

So I'd say not exactly full marks, but more of a hit than a miss for this one.

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