So! Another year, another series. As ever, when I finish a rewatch, I like to do these general retrospective posts, to just sum up my thoughts on the series as a whole, as well as seeing how effective the series is as a single block.
(This post is a little late, due to my oversleeping considerably yesterday. Ah well.)
First of all, let’s just look back at the scores I gave to each episode. Each episode title contains a link to the original review.
- The Christmas Invasion | Russell T Davies | 9/10
- New Earth | Russell T Davies | 8/10
- Tooth and Claw | Russell T Davies | 8/10
- School Reunion | Toby Whithouse | 8/10
- The Girl in the Fireplace | Steven Moffat | 9/10
- Rise of the Cybermen | Tom MacRae | 7/10
- Age of Steel | Tom MacRae | 6/10
- The Idiot’s Lantern | Mark Gatiss | 6/10
- The Impossible Planet | Matt Jones | 8/10
- The Satan Pit | Matt Jones | 8/10
- Love & Monsters | Russell T Davies | 10/10
- Fear Her | Matthew Graham | 5/10
- Army of Ghosts | Russell T Davies | 8/10
- Doomsday | Russell T Davies | 9/10
Pictured below we’ve also got the traditional handy-dandy graph, which I am becoming ever fond of with each passing year.
What immediately stands out to me, actually, is how different some of these scores are to what I would have expected – based on general fan reception, as well as what I remembered of the episode myself. I was quite surprised at The Christmas Invasion, in hindsight, and I fear I might have been a little harsh on the Cybermen two-parter. It does, I think, highlight how I’ve started to move away from trying to give “objective” scores – I realised a while ago that was quite a silly thing to do, and so I’ve ended up with a far more idiosyncratic grading scale based on my own personal enjoyment.
As ever, we’ve also got the maths to do. (Forgive any errors in calculations – over the past year I have realised that my mathematics skills are abysmal, so I fear even basic addition and division might be beyond me at this point.)
Excluding The Christmas Invasion, the series comes to a total of 108/130, which equates to a mean score of 8.31/10. The inclusion of The Christmas Invasion brings the mean score to a slightly higher 8.36/10, or 117/140.
The series did, in fact, do better than Series One; you can read my retrospective of that series here, but the main point of comparison is that it only received 107/130. Despite more lower rated stories (none of the series one episodes received less than a seven), the abundance of high rated episodes meant that Series 2 just managed to pip Series 1 to the post by a total of one point. Again, that’s an interesting one, because I don’t know if I would have said that Series 2 was better than its predecessor.
(Also of interest is that Series 8 received 89/120, or 7.47/10. For series 9 I apparently didn’t feel the need to break down the calculations, but it received a score of 106/120, or 8.83/10. Roughly speaking, I’d say that feels right in comparison to series 2, but I’m also having a massive crisis of faith over my maths ability right now.)
I have previously done breakdowns comparing writers, but I think that’s probably not wholly productive really; it’s clear enough that there isn’t exactly enough diversity in the writing pool for that sort of maths to be really indicative of much.
As to the series as a whole, in terms of my general thoughts?
It was, of course, very good. More than that, though, I think was Series 2 does is prove conclusively that Doctor Who could be an ongoing, continuing force; the first series wasn’t just a flash in the pan, as it were. What we saw this year was a further example of the breadth and potentIal for the concept, while at the same time demonstrating that it could all keep going with an entirely new leading man. Had Series 2 been a failure, I doubt that we’d have made it as far as we have – in some ways, as much is owed to series 2 as is owed to series 1.
Outside of that? I think the most resounding impression that I’ve got from this rewatch is, in fact, quite how much of it I did (and in some cases didn’t) remember from my original experience watching the show. This was, after all, where Doctor Who really began for me, and so looking back on it now has been particularly interesting from a personal perspective. It might be worth, I suppose, doing a post someday about Totally Doctor Who, Panini Sticker albums, Doctor Who Adventures, and those Battles in Time trading cards – for me, those are just as much a part of the texture of the program as Target novels and Weetabix cutouts were for the generation before. (To say nothing of the action figures, of course.)
In the end, I don’t really have a lot of cogent, articulate points to make. At this stage, I feel I’ve made them all; while I’m still planning to write a post taking a look back on the development of the Doctor and Rose, I think for the most part it’s quite clear already what I’ve thought of this season. Broadly speaking, I was pretty positive, because it was very good.
I’m glad of that, really. Because it would have been so dispiriting if, when turning my critical eye to these episodes, I’d found out that they were actually all just a little bit crap. Thankfully, though, they weren’t! And, I guess, that’s the real conclusion for this little rewatch. The best conclusion that I could possibly have reached.
All those years ago, I was right to love Doctor Who.
And I still am today.