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Doctor Who: Waters of Mars

Matt Smith , David Tennant , Graeme Harper    NR (Not Rated)   DVD

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Something terrible awaits the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) on the surface of the Red Planet in The Waters of Mars, the second 2009 Doctor Who special in the handful of shows that brought Tennant and producer Russell T. Davies's tenure on the venerable UK science fiction series to an end. On one hand, the hour-long story is an unsettling hybrid of horror and science fiction, with the Doctor joining forces with human colonists on Mars to fight a life form that turns its hosts into zombie-esque creatures (younger fans should be forewarned that the infected colonists are quite alarming). But The Waters of Mars is also about a schism that develops within Tennant's Doctor as he approaches the end of his current form (Tennant closed out his run on the series with the two-part special that followed, The End of Time): his knowledge of the fate of the colonists and his inherent need to help others results in a decision to use his powers over time and space, with devastating consequences. The result is one of the most dramatic stories in the long history of Doctor Who, and it's highlighted by powerful turns by Tennant and Lindsay Duncan as the leader of the Martian outpost. Extras are unfortunately limited to an episode of the informative but lightweight Doctor Who Confidential that covers the making of The Waters of Mars, and stands in stark contrast to the supplement-heavy archival Who discs. --Paul Gaita


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  26 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well, here we go... Dec 9 2009
By B. Starbuck - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I keep asking myself if I'm ready for the David Tennant finale, and I'm not quite sure that I am. It's gonna be hard and emotional and if this episode is any indication, Tennant and Russell T. Davies are going out with a bang, and rightfully so. Of all of the episodes Davies has penned for the series, "The Waters of Mars" ranks somewhere at the very top. It's a little more menacing than what we've seen before and Davies takes our favorite Time Lord down a darkened path that will disturb the faithful, while recalling echoes of the classic series (remember the Valeyard?). But Davies really shows his brilliance and passion for the Doctor with this episode, and even as the Doctor is reacting to the situation in frightening ways we'd never dream of, there is the underlying reason for his behavior, which Davies reminds the audience of, which in turn makes your heart ache for the Doctor and his truly tragic existence. This is an episode full of pathos, and Tennant absolutely dazzles, proving exactly why he will be missed by millions the world over. Lindsay Duncan as Adelaide Brooke is also a stunner in her role and her final scenes with Tennant, as she confronts the Doctor and tries to set him straight, will send a shiver down your spine.

All in all, it's going to be interesting to see how they bring the Tennant era to a close, to the heartbreak of a multitude of fans, and I hope it lives up to the expectations. But even if it does or it doesn't, it ain't gonna be easy. David Tennant has completely endeared himself to the Whoniverse and it's going to be hard to watch him leave and watch that first episode without him. But that is the nature of the Doctor Who beast, I suppose. Change is never easy, but the next chapter in the life of our favorite Gallifreyan awaits. As for Russell T. Davies? The Whoniverse owes him a debt of gratitude for resurrecting our beloved time traveler and returning him to our screens and hearts with such brilliance and care. Bravo to all!
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars That's much better! Dec 15 2009
By Chris Swanson - Published on Amazon.com
I wasn't too terribly impressed by the previous two specials, "The Next Doctor" and "Planet of the Dead", but this one was much improved.

The Doctor pays a visit to Mars where he meets a group of people he knows well from history, and that he knows are doomed. He knows that this isn't one of those times when he can intervene and that the best thing to do is just to leave. He knows all this. But he stays, and in staying winds up showing the audience just how very few the steps are between the Doctor and the Master.

The overall problem of weird alien things at the Mars base isn't that interesting. We're told up front everyone's going to die, so there's not much tension there. What we get instead is a fascinating example of how the Doctor's mind works and just how dark he can be at times. We see how close he is to the Master and, going even farther back, just how he might end up as the Valyard.

This wasn't a perfect story, but it was very, very good, and I'm really looking forward to owning it on DVD and to seeing the last two specials. I feel much more confident about them being good than I had after watching "Planet of the Dead".
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging, poignant Feb. 11 2010
By E. Beckstrom - Published on Amazon.com
The story is not entirely new (the Doctor and a group of people battle monster in isolated setting), but the script takes the character of The Doctor (in both senses of "character") to places he has never been, particularly toward the end of the episode. Dr. Who fans know that David Tennant's Doctor, and the scripts through which he has conveyed the character, have recreated him as a tragic figure. That same general arch is continued in Waters of Mars in a very engaging, poignant fashion. The supporting actors are fine, as are the effects.

I also suggest that after you watch the episode itself (and only AFTER), you then watch the making-of documentary. It could easily have been condensed into half the time, but it does offer some good commentary on The Doctor by Tennant and Russell T. Davies.

TV is not the most important thing in the world; that said, I am very, very sad to see Tennant and Davies departing the series. With only one more Tennant episode to go (as was publicly announced ages ago, so this is no spoiler), we can only hope they are leaving The Doctor in good hands.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars that looks like a tasty carrot, and I would like a glass of cool Martian water too please. Dec 4 2009
By The Mad Prophet - Published on Amazon.com
This is getting serious now. As we near the end of the Tennant era the episodes are going to get intense if this one is any indication. This episode saw the Doctor walking into something casually and then trying to run out when he realized he should probably not be there. The episode was really creepy. The monsters were just downright sick looking. Perhaps the best monsters are those that can't be seen, as when we are children, and those which do not speak, as is the case here. It is really hard to negotiate with a nasty killer when they refuse to speak to you. It has long been a belief that when Timelords get to the end of their regeneration cycle-13 times, that they begin to get a little loopy. As was the case with Borusa, and a number of others we have seen over the years. The Doctor gives us a glance at his really downright nutty side when he takes control of the situation and decides he has the power,the right,etc. to wield time and space to his will. This was the most intense we have seen Tennant as far as slipping a disc. He has taken some liberties sure, but this was way out of line. The Ood Sigma appearance at the end brought him to his knees. Perhaps he thought at that moment that time and space were the ruling forces and he was just their pawn. My son disagrees with me on that. He believes that Tennant has made his stand as the Last of the Timelords and history be damned. We shall see....
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Always dark and serious, right before the end. Jan. 17 2010
By Doctor Trance - Published on Amazon.com
There seems to be a pattern here in the world of Doctor Who. Those stories that fall right before the final episode of a certain doctor's reign seem to always take on dark, serious tones, and usually stray from the lighter material found in earlier episodes of the season: The Keeper of Traken, Planet of Fire, Terror of the Vervoids (although this whole season was dark), The Curse of Fenric, and Boom Town. This one is no exception.

Right off the bat, we get a Titanic like feel going in, knowing the fate of the occupants of this Mars outpost. This gloomy episode features a strong supporting cast, which certainly helps the viewer on this ride toward impending doom. Unlike another reviewer, I did feel it still had tension and suspense. Even though we were given the premise and apparent ending right up front, you just never know what the doctor was going to do, and how he may have affected the outcome. An enjoyable watch, right up to the surprise ending, but a little darker than I would have liked. I enjoyed the previous two specials a lot more.

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