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Review: Doctor Who Season 4 - The Fires of Pompeii

Category: Doctor Who, Science Fiction, Television
published May 7th, 2008

I still haven't quite gotten used to the new version of the theme music, but it's growing on me and it does suit the frantic pace of the show. As the title suggests, this episode was set in Pompei, so I was really looking forward to a classic Doctor Who historical adventure.

Like last week, it feels as though they're overplaying the humor aspects of the show. Or perhaps its that the humor is just a little heavy handed. A perfect example was the portrayal of the roman family. I get it, humans never change, but they didn't need to beat us over the head with that many examples.
Doctor WhoImage via Wikipedia
On the plus side I'm increasingly appreciating Catherine Tate's portrayal of Donna Noble. Not only doesn't she just accept everything the Doctor says but she's prepared to argue her beliefs. It's interesting to hear the Doctor arguing once again the notion of fixed history. Something that first came up in First Doctor story, The Aztecs (probably my favorite William Hartnell story).

While a lot of the trappins of modern Who are present, in many ways this was an old-fashioned episode. The Doctor goes back into history and gets caught up in a major historic event. I loved the scene with the "dueling" seers and the Doctor being caught completely flat-footed.

Visually it was a very impressive. I'm wondering how much of this season's budget they blew on this episode. Even some of the small and inexpensive details like the eyes drawn on the back of the hands added to the atmosphere of the episode.

I definitely enjoyed Fires of Pompeii more than Partners In Crime, it has all the things I enjoy in a good Doctor Who episode, and more importantly it was all round fun to watch.

Eoghann Irving is amongst other things the creator and Editor of Solar Flare. He has a life long interest in all forms of science fiction and fantasy and a pressing need to share this interest with anyone who will listen. Find out more at his his website

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