Season 3 had more highs and lows than any other season, but my central complaint is the poor treatment of Martha. Why have a second companion fall in love with the Doctor? Didn’t we just do that already? It was a waste of the character and left her with nowhere to go other than out of the door at the end of the year.
- Smith and Jones: the teaser trailers for this season were rubbish (“Two worlds collide!”) and I remember not being particularly excited about Martha’s debut. This episode fixed that.
- The Shakespeare Code: memorable for the sheer audacity – and delight – in its portrayal of Shakespeare. Complete with a barely hinted Queen Elizabeth sub-plot that wouldn’t get its pay-off for another six years.
- Gridlock: a neat concept, and some great supporting characters. Just not particularly memorable.
- Daleks In Manhattan/Evolution Of The Daleks: horrible, just horrible. The story might have just worked if they’d dropped the ‘human dalek’ hybrid awfulness. And the pig-men. Ugh.
- The Lazarus Experiment: of all the new series episodes, this was the first one that really seemed to me like it could have sat well in the classic series. Unfortunately, it didn’t sit so well in the new series.
- 42: another perfectly decent episode that I should probably watch again sometime soon given that I remember very little about it.
- Human Nature/Family Of Blood: a superb, emotional story from Paul Cornell (with some help from RTD according to behind the scenes stories) which throws in some class and race commentary too. I recall the second part not quite delivering on the promise of the first. Loved the scarecrows. Worth watching again for many reasons, not the least of which is Thomas Sangster’s excellent performance.
- Blink: possibly my favourite Who story ever, and remarkable for barely featuring the Doctor at all. It’s a shame we’ll never see the Future Adventures of Sally Sparrow.
- Utopia: a stunning example of a story that starts off as one thing and ends up in a completely different, wholly unexpected place altogether. The sense of something dark unfolding due the Doctor’s presence, but almost entirely without his awareness, makes this a delight every time. I would still like to see just a little more of Derek Jacobi’s Master though.
- The Sound Of Drums/Last Of The Time Lords: and then RTD throws it away with a terrible season finale. That the first part drums up the tension (see what I did there) so well that it only makes the second part all the more painful. The awfulness of the Dobby-Doctor, the ludicrous deus-ex-machina finale and the shameless use of the reset-button make it unlikely that we will ever see a worse Who finale.
- Voyage Of The Damned: another average Christmas episode,. I wish this had been better, but it could have been worse. The Doctor-as-Jesus metaphor gets its second outing in as many episodes. On reflection, offering the Doctor without his companion is one of the things that possibly causes most of RTD’s ‘special’ episodes to underwhelm.
|Smith and Jones||3|
|The Shakespeare Code||3|
|Daleks in Manhattan (1)||2|
|Evolution of the Daleks (2)||1|
|The Lazarus Experiment||2|
|Human Nature (1)||5|
|The Family of Blood (2)||4|
|The Sound of Drums (2)||4|
|Last of the Time Lords (3)||1|
|Voyage Of The Damned||3|