Well, this one has caused some controversy. Clearly the story is absolute pants, but does it have the heart to be one of the greats of Who History?
Well, the catnun doesn't inspire any confidence, and when she pulls out a gun it doesn't inspire confidence at all. The Face of Boe doesn't improve things, as bad memories of New Earth abound. Then the Doctor speaking far too loud over the rain and some people selling emotions (the patches which include bliss, sleep and forget... now emotions... hmmm...) Plus one of them describes people as carjackers because they kidnapped someone into a car... RTD really needs a dictionary.
The Doctor shows a lot of anger, including anger at the people on the street. Now, while he may not agree with them, why is he so angry that he threatens to close them down? Why does the girl randomly wear an honesty patch? (Another emotion...) Also, the numbers are completely off whack. The old lesbians seem to have taken 23 years to travel 12 miles, Thermoman has taken 12 years to travel 5 miles, but the carjackers expect to take 6 years to travel , whereas the two "carjackers" plan to travel 10 miles in 6 years... Father Dougal travels 20 yards in one day, which would mean that they move approximately once every nine days. If that is true, how do new cars get in, like the carjackers? There surely isn't any room, because they would have to wait a week for anyone to make room, and then they still wouldn't fit in. In theory, if the traffic had built up over 5 billion years, I could understand that people would be prepared for years to wait in transport, but the old lesbians were among the first on the new motorway, and were quite ready to wait 23 years without concern. Also, humans were extinct 20 odd years ago, yet there are humans who are probably between 20 and 30 years old, and so therefore were up to 10 years old in the events of New Earth. But there weren't any new humans who were that age. And how can a virus become airborne across an entire planet in 7 minutes? No winds could travel at that speed without taking those skyscrapers with them.
Well, that's my numbers rant out of the way. Now my second rant. THE OLD RUGGED CROSS?!?!? Where did that come from? It seemed to have no bearing on anything, and just appeared. Why was Martha crying? What did she have to be sad about? Okay, there was the prospect of never getting home, but she hasn't said anything about that so far, so why just start crying?
Why is New^15 York simplified to New New York? Surely it would be simplified to New York, or here's a wacky thought, York?
You all have commented on a humanoid cat and a human having baby kittens, so I won't touch on it.
Why on Earth did Martha think that the skeleton was The Doctor? She'd spoken to him 5 minutes ago.
Finally, why didn't the poisonous air flood through all of the cars the Doctor jumped through? He was quite prepared to let the poisonous air kill everyone in them, and they didn't seem too bothered to shut the doors.
Okay, good stuff. Well, there's a large variety of people/creatures in the cars, which is rather pleasing. I wish Branigan and Novice Hame had cat eyes, though. You can still see too much Ardal O Hanlan in there, some contact lenses wouldn't be too hard, would they? And doesn't Novice Hame ham it all up? Completely over the top acting. Ah, well. The carjackers do well, for a former regular in Doctors and a former regular in The Bill. Ardal does his job well, not being instantly Dougal or George Sunday, while still having the charm of Ardal.
Now, RTD goes over the top on continuity heaven. However, I love every minute of every classic reference. The Macra I didn't get immediately, having not seen the original (obviously), and missed his announcement of their name. The burnt orange skies. The citadel. I loved it all, the slight connections while being not neccessary for understanding of the story.
The last two scenes are definitely the highlights. The Face of Boe's final scene is the most poignant, because it combines two emotions for the Doctor: sadness and confusion. Martha demanding to know more about the Doctor develops both of their characters: it shows that Martha is much more inquisitive than Rose, and it shows just how much the Doctor misses his home. He is almost in tears when reminiscing of Gallifrey, and that is more touching than anything else.
Richard Clark's directing is pretty good. Like Palmer's last week, it keeps quite mellow, but it lacks the same attention to detail: every camera angle is very obvious, very run of the mill. However, it can be forgiven for the limited amount of space in each car to position cameras. Here's hoping for more imagination for The Lazarus Experiment.
So, was it worth it? Well, I've watched it twice now, and survived.
The Bumper Book of Made Up Doctor Who Facts has this to say about Gridlock: Gridlock is now viable currency at the BBC, worth approximately 45,400 New Earths.