Review of "New Earth"
Written by Russell T. Davies, Directed by James Hawes                                    First broadcast 15 April 2006

The TARDIS lands on New       Earth in the year 5 billion        and 23.                                         

   

Rose sees a cat nun at the hospital.

 

Cassandra-Rose with her servant Chip

 

Cassandra kisses the Doctor.

 

The Doctor and Rose enjoy New Earth.

by Monika Lewis                                                                     22 August 2008

"New Earth" is a bit uneven, but still funny episode.  The writing tests the limits of "pre-watershed" programming, and might have been told more realistically as a Torchwood-style show.  Torchwood did a similar show in series two's "Reset," in which Martha Jones investigated a hospital where scientists were experimenting on humans to find a cure for disease.  While "New Earth" employs quick editing to cut out violent or explicit material, Torchwood, as a program exclusively for older viewers, is able to portray those situations in more detail when called for.

What "New Earth" does do well, is the interactions between characters who are constantly changing identity and form.  Rose has just seen the Doctor transform himself while remaining the same person, and then experiences it herself when Cassandra takes over her body.  The last human first introduced in "The End of the World," who is a brain attached to some skin with a face on, she is eager to attain a body again and takes full advantage of it.  Billie Piper convincingly portrays the new character, and transforms her performance as Cassandra pretending to be Rose and then Cassandra after she is found out by the Doctor.  The kiss Cassandra gives to the Doctor is surprising and highlights the new directions Doctor Who is willing to explore.  David Tennant seizes the opportunity to carry the episode since the Doctor was unconscious for much of "The Christmas Invasion."  In showing off for Rose for their first trip together as the Tenth Doctor, he takes her to the first alien planet of the new series.  The Doctor as Cassandra is a bit over the top, yet amusing as he appears self-absorbed instead of altruistic.

 

The episode does have classic Doctor Who moments like the continuation of the "everybody lives" theme from "The Doctor Dances" and the Doctor's defense of others (when he is himself).  He even gives Cassandra another chance even after all the trouble she's caused.  She begins to have sympathy for the cloned humans when she possesses one of them and learns the value of connection with other beings. 

 

7/10