After the enjoyable Pudsey Cutaway, The Christmas Invasion (2.X) was a great beginning to Tennant’s era.
With the first normal episode, the argument for introducing more “Planet Zogs” to the programme is weakened as the worst episode of Nu-Who so far – the incoherent New Earth – features one: the planet New Earth.
The first three episodes (2.1, 2.2, 2.3) are again a future/past/present trio – and (in School Reunion) feature the return of Classic icons, K9 and Sarah Jane Smith. The Girl in the Fireplace, 2.4, is perhaps the most iconoclastic Nu-Who episode yet – although this blog will focus on the fact that it is set in the 51st Century. With the 51st Century being the time of last season’s Captain-Jack-Time-Agent, and with the clockwork robot’s ship producing time-windows to the past – and with Magnus Greel’s time-cabinet (from story C14.6) being from the 51st Century – this suggests a period of Earth future-history where time-travel is very popular with humans!
Next, with Rise of the Cybermen/Age of Steel, N2.5&6, another planet other than Earth is visited: the planet Earth-2.5. This is more commonly known when discussing the programme as “Pete’s World”, but this blog has chosen to refer to it like that. Like Father’s Day in the 2005 Season, this is quite radical in its depiction of time and space and again the lack of Time Lords is used to explain the mechanics of it all. Earth-2.5, like planet New Earth, is still really a version of Earth, demonstrating RTD and the team still approach anything like “Planet Zog” with trepidation.
After a very traditional episode seven, 2.7, we encounter the very first truly alien planet, the first proper “Planet Zog” of Nu-Who: the planet Krop Tor. More of a human base than a human colony, this planet provides a great two-parter, strengthening the argument (unlike the episode New Earth) for more “Planet Zogs.”
Love & Monsters, 2.10, pushes the envelope of the programme wildly, and Fear Her, 2.11 is perhaps the most domestic and most “emotional journey” in style of Nu Who so far.
Episodes 2.12&13, Army of Ghosts/Doomsday bring together the emotional can-the-Doctor-settle-down? plot-strands of 2.1, 2.3, 2.4, 2.8&9 with the parallel universe mechanics of 2.5&6 to provide a satisfying conclusion to another great season.
Of the three “Planet Zogs”, two had been high points (Krop Tor and Earth-2.5) and one was the lowest point (New Earth) of the season – but the question was, would there be more planets next season?