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Home > Series 4 Reviews > Planet of the Ood

Guest Review
of Planet of the Ood

The Doctor decides to take Donna on a random trip, and she finds herself on an alien planet for the first time. Very soon the Doctor is reacquainted with the Ood, the "slave" race he has encountered before. Something is causing the Ood to go rabid and start to kill their human masters...

After the top Pompeii story I doubted I would get that sort of quality again so soon. And I was right. But PotO only missed by a bit. This was another good story that had a real feel of a classic old school DW story, albeit on fast forward! It's a typical classic set-up - alien planet, industrial setting with monsters going bad and killing people. So if you liked the old series but haven't liked the new one so far, have a look at this story. I think you would be surprised.

The Doctor/Donna partnership continues to sparkle, although I hope, now that Donna has seen some wonders of the universe, that she has some of her excitement toned down a little. The opening scene in the Tardis was perhaps a little over the top. Despite that Catherine Tate is proving herself to be a good actress, handling the dramatic and emotional scenes well. There weren't too many other main parts in the story and they were handled competently for the most part. Tim McInnerny was excellent, and was reminiscent of his "Spooks" roll.

The SFX seem to improve with each series and generally this episode showed some fine examples again. My only slight gripe was one shot towards the end of the story that looked a little poor. I won't say what as it gives something away!

All in all a good all round story that I really enjoyed.

Guest reviewer was Jay from Brisol

An Ood Feeling

I can't quite figure out how I really feel about Planet of the Ood. I didn't dislike it. I didn't love it. I think I liked it.

Why am I unsure?

I think I'm so used to being surprised and delighted by the new series that when a story is exactly what I would expect from new Doctor Who - no more, no less - then it's like putting your hand into a basin of body-temperature water. You almost can't feel it, because it's spot-on.

Planet of the Ood could have slotted neatly into any Jon Pertwee season. It featured a (slightly ropey) alien planet, a routine mystery about corporate accountability, a moral tale, a comic-book villain, and a situation at the end where our heroes were going to be shot, but were saved in the nick of time. Oh and did I mention the being captured, escaping, and being captured again? Just like the old days.

For those whose brains are still wired up to the original episode format of the classic show, the end of episode one comes on 21 minutes when Donna is trapped inside the container with the Ood advancing, and the claw is descending on the Doctor!

Generally speaking, this story contained almost everything I would want from a futuristic Doctor Who adventure but it fell just short by not providing enough lovability. Like with the previous season's episode 42, there was nothing technically or dramatically wrong with it, but it wasn't necessarily an enjoyable watch.

I suppose what let the story down were the characters. Tim McInnery provided a good performance and an adequate villain, but the PR girl was irritating, and it felt like she she let the audience down by not doing the right thing. The guy who attacked the Doctor with the big claw was also irritating. And that was it! The rest of the characters were Ood. A classic Doctor Who scenario usually involves the Doctor meeting some allies. Well, humanoid ones at least. As the time-travellers are running about on their own with no-one to befriend, it's a very lonely and isolated story.

The antagonists are sadistic and eager to carry out their cruel orders, and we find the Ood are being bullied and murdered, in addition to the exploitation we already knew about. It's not a very pleasant world for the Doctor to be exploring. Doctor Who is fundamentally about the good in people and the optimisim of the human race, however this story only gives us the Doctor and Donna to fight the fight. That is, until the twist at the end.

One other minor gripe is that Paul Casey is now so often seen performing his distinctive Weavil walk in Torchwood, that he's instantly recognisable when he turns up playing all the major Ood.

So I'm left with mixed feelings about this story. It is great in so many ways, and it's flaws are not so criminally ruinous as to actually spoil it. I think it undoubtedly stands out as the best new series futuristic story, easily eclipsing the New Earth stories, and is still the outstanding television we have come to expect.

Review by Murphy from Staines

Next episode - The Sontaran Stratagem
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