Review: The Long Game

Last Alteration: Monday 19 September 2005


Are you ready for 'The Long Game?'


Enjoyable enough and perhaps the series does need to take things down a notch following the histrionics of ‘Dalek’. I don’t think this will emerge as anyone’s favourite episode of the season though.


Mid-way through the season and the pace feels to be flagging a little, though only in comparison with the high standards set so far.

A sci-fi spoof on media power and corruption, this will certainly raise memories of WHO during the 80s as well as the Bond movie ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’. Bearing that in mind, one has to wonder if the target here isn’t just a tad dated.

Sadly of course the notion of society being moulded by a warped media is still extremely relevant and some attempt has been made to acknowledge the whole idea of a deliberately created ‘climate of fear’ post-September 11th. Basically though it’s a very old fashioned WHO story, owing more than a little to ‘The Sun Makers’ and even early Hartnell & Troughton yarns

I loved ‘The End of the World’, another ‘traditional’ style story that added a new twist with a script hinting at a huge galaxy full of wondrous creatures and sprawling empires. ‘The Long Game’ lacks that sparkle and seems like it could easily have been dropped into many other generic science fiction series with very few changes.

It’s set on a satellite, it’s got some goofy, futuristic technology, there’re some sinister goings on and a clear villain, but there’s little to suggest that the series is still striving to explore a new side of the old format.

In fact this episode feels like one of those old WHO annual stories where a so-so outer space setting was quickly drawn up, a nasty, largely motiveless, villain was to blame for everything and the Doctor himself didn’t contribute too much to the proceedings.

Perhaps mindful of this, Russell T. Davies has done something distinctly different with new boy, Adam, almost wilfully raising the spectre of Adric merely to show us all once again quite how different the no-nonsense attitude of Eccleston’s Doctor is to his predecessors.

I must say that I’ve never been much of a fan of Simon Pegg, but he does a great job here as the creepy Editor.

Okay, so it’s not particularly biting satire and by no means an original space adventure, but it’s well done and certainly no disgrace to the show.

Jim Hall

  • Read Jim's review of the previous episode, Dalek, and the next, Father's Day.