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I'm a sentimental fool...

...and I just loved School Reunion. Best Series 2 episode so far, by a large margin.
From the trailers, I'd expected a light-hearted monster-fighting romp with Sarah Jane and the disco Aibo. What I got was much, much better and in fact could be up there with the best episodes from Series 1. As tight, sinister and low on unnecessary jokes as Tooth and Claw, but with an ending that worked and was properly signposted this time. The Doctor was ... well... more like the Christopher Eccleston Doctor. More otherworldly and slightly disturbing even when friendly. The school setting worked really well. I was actually surprised that the Fear Factor kids only rated it a 3; if I'd been a kid the idea of teachers using school kids that way would have given me the screaming heebie-jeebies.
The inevitable cattyness between Sarah Jane and Rose was resolved quickly enough to prevent it turning into a distraction, but the longer-term issues surrounding the ultimate fate of the Doctor's companions remained in the air. I was a bit concerned before watching that Sarah Jane would be written all wrong, but she was convincing from the get-go.

Even K9 was not annoying. I'd been watching some Original Series Season 17 episodes the past week, and I ended up not being too keen on the metal dog towards the end of it, but fortunately in this one he was kept in the background of things.

The one thing that I think didn't work too well was the bat teachers. They were much scarier in their human form than as CGI monsters, however impressive their movements were. It's a minor gripe, especially in the light of how many previous Doctor Who monsters had been cheaply-made rubber suits. I still believe that because of the physical presence, a rubber monster can work better than a CGI one, but only if a lot of money and effort are actually spent on both the suits and the actors inside them. These CGI monsters came very close to being better than the very best suited-up actors, but the human forms were still scarier. Give us human baddies!

My eyes welled up at the end. There. I've said it.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 30, 2006 10:05 AM.

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