Review: The Long Game

Last Alteration: Monday 19 September 2005

Episode Seven: The Long Game, by Russell T Davies

Well, I always enjoy watching a new episode of Dr Who but I get the feeling that whatever episode followed Dalek would have perhaps been a bit of let down. Even taking this into account, The Long Game didn't quite press the right buttons.

The real problem with this story is that the resolution is poor in that we never learn of the reasons or motivation of the monster or villain. On the whole the special effects were brilliant again, particularly the CGI shot of Earth. However, The Mill could have saved a lot of money on the monster (Jaggra-thingy) by going to the shops, buying a blancmange and strapping a rat's jaw to it. It might have been a bit more convincing too.

Simon Pegg put in a great performance as The Editor but was a tad David Brent at times which I found a little distracting. The regulars also performed well (Billie Piper is the star of this show) and the chemistry between them is fantastic - I can't stop saying that word. The episode also benefited from some superb direction.

The story gave a chance to show us all what Adam is capable of and he wasn't even trying. It could get quite interesting if he starts acting like the genius he claims to be. I hope he's back soon, once he's calmed his mother down. But by focusing on this new, brief, companion we missed a bit of storytelling in terms of beginning, middle and ending within that 45 minutes. In this respect we witnessed a messy episode like Rose at the beginning of the season. I liked Aliens of London because it showed the pitfalls of travelling with The Doctor for Rose and her world but in this episode bringing Adam back to Earth felt a little less soapy and a bit too gimmicky for me.

I take the view that this episode will not be one that will stand up to repeated viewings unless it's part of some elaborate story arc nonsense. Time will tell on that point but despite not making much sense it was still an enjoyable slice of Saturday night telly. It was a vibrant 45 minutes complete with the OTT incidental music but thankfully good direction and slick dialogue.

And that, perhaps is the point. We're watching a series which most people will never watch again. Despite VCRs and DVDs and the wonders of SKY+ Dr Who is still throwaway TV and most of the 'casual viewers' I've spoken to really enjoyed The Long Game - enough not to watch Celebrity Wrestling anyway.

Jonathan Bigger

  • Read Jon's review of episode six, Dalek, and episode eight, Father's Day.