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There were a few moments in the third season of the revived Doctor Who when you begin to wonder if the bubble has burst. A couple of tepid Dalek episodes, and a handful of forgettable stories, make you begin--perhaps for the first time since the show’s revival--whether it’s already hits its peak.
But never underestimate the new Doctor Who. For the back run of series three is as good as anything that’s gone before it, with ingenious plotting, the clever layering of elements it casually--nah, crucially--refers to later on, and some quite superb individual episodes. It not only restores any hint of lost faith, it sets the bar even higher.
Examples? The stunning single story Blink is extremely clever, genuinely scary and has immense rewatch value. While the equally strong double-header of Human Nature and The Family Of Blood is a two-parter in the traditional Doctor Who way, building up its story in a measured and really effectively creepy way.
Then there’s the finale. Presenting the Doctor with one of his finest, most ingenious villains makes for quite brilliant television (albeit with a slightly underwhelming concluding episode), as exciting to long-time fans of Doctor Who as it is for the newcomers.
And that, ultimately, is the brilliance of Doctor Who. It staggers so many levels of viewer enthusiasm, appeals to an extremely broad age demographic, and woos over fans new and old in a manner that no show currently on television can manage. And while the cliché of hiding behind the sofa may not be as accurate as it once was, Doctor Who season three will undoubtedly leave you gripped to the TV. --Simon Brew
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