Ever since the shows return in 2005 there has been a war between fans of Doctor Who. On one side you have the fans of the classic series that see modern ‘Who’ as pandering to the ‘Twilight / Potter’ generation; on the other fans of the modern series who see classic who as slow and dated. There are of course those like me, who love both modern and classic ‘Who’, and we sit there screaming “can’t we all just get along”! ‘Empress of Mars’ is one of those episodes where the two sides should come to celebrate as one.
The episode didn’t just nod it also winked suggestively to classic ‘Who’. If you look at it chronologically the follow up to this episode should be 1972’s ‘The Curse of Peladon’; there was even a nice cameo from ‘Alpha Centauri’ to link the two. That aside the pacing, story and even the ‘Ice Warriors’ themselves all felt like links to the past.
Last weeks episode ‘The Lie of the Land’ felt burdened by being part of the ‘Monks Trilogy’ and just didn’t live up to this seasons high standards. ‘Empress of Mars’ almost felt like a reset; this stand alone episode was fun, well paced and nicely moved the series running storylines along. Whilst you never felt it was breaking new ground you felt more than happy to go along for the retro ride.
So here we are nine episodes in and series ten is yet to give us a true dud. Let’s hope they keep up this standard.
Marks out of 10: 8