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"Doctor Who" Planet of the Ood (2008)

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31 out of 34 people found the following review useful:

An "old school" episode with oodles of atmosphere

Author: DVD_Connoisseur from England
20 April 2008

You can always spot a Graeme Harper directed episode - it may be the pace or the themes but there's a certain gritty atmosphere in his tales that's quite unique.

In "Planet of the Ood", The Doctor and Donna visit the Oodsphere, a beautiful snow covered world where humans are exploiting the planet's occupants. It's a welcome change to see the action taking place on an alien world and the episode successfully captures the feeling of another planet.

Tim (Percy from "Blackadder") McInnerny is a memorable balding baddie whose follicle obsession takes centre stage in his thoughts. McInnerny's treatment of the Ood race is despicable but there's the feeling throughout the episode that his comeuppance is nigh.

This is very much an "old school" episode. It feels like "classic" "Doctor Who" and contains at least one disturbing scene and quite a high body count. There's questionable morality in this story, as acknowledged by The Doctor himself. This could well be a darker season of new "Who" but early signs are that this is going to be the best one yet.

Observant viewers will by now have latched onto the "disappearing bees" sub-plot. I wonder what this could be about? Whatever the outcome, it's definitely this year's "Bad Wolf" / "Saxon" guessing game. And then there's the musical cue from "Doomsday" to consider. I have thoughts about how and why The Doctor's "song" will end but time will tell...

8 out of 10. A strong episode, beautifully produced and directed by the team.

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12 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

"I don't know what's right and what's wrong anymore"

8/10
Author: farleyflavors10 from United States
29 May 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Ahh the Ood have returned. Those brilliant squiggly faced slaves from "The Impossible Planet" and "The Satan Pit. I've always admired the ingenuity of the Ood and of how they are a wholly sympathetic group of Doctor Who monsters and despite that it never gets in the way of them being extremely intimidating. This definitive trait is ever present in this episode. However the one thing we find here which wasn't present in our previous encounter with them is that this time we are cheering them on as they begin their revolution.

First off I will definitely agree with those who have lovingly compared this episode to classic Who, because it feels like a traditional Who-Story, namely that of The Doctor arriving to find a docile species enslaved and he sparks the revolution to liberate said species. It's the age-old Doctor Who story but the twist that New Who delivers is a sort of personal edge to it. It definitely never holds back punches in showing the ugly side of human enterprise and the deliberate blinders they put on to the pain they cause.

Every episode that passes makes me love Donna more and more because she has more heart than I had ever thought she was capable of having after her debut story "The Runaway Bride." It's crushing to see the unprocessed Ood in the cage cradling their secondary brains. The Doctor's description of the procedure is sickening and Donna's reaction echoed my own. It solidifies Donna's stance in her role as a companion, how she sees the horrible things that transpire in the Universe and her reaction to it is far more real and by the end, after all is said and done she learns that the traditional concepts of right and wrong are warped and that many times the enemies aren't who you think they are.

Temple's script also offered up some nuances which actually stray from the obvious. Firstly, In situations like this you usually expect The Doctor to have a local who helps them out, and you think that the character of Solana was going to fit the bill. Boy, was I wrong. Shortly after she betrays The Doctor and Donna i found myself wishing for her demise. Luckily, she did pay the price for choosing the wrong side. As for Tom McInnery's character of Mr. Halpern. He's nothing new in the Who-niverse. We've always seen slimy callous little profiteers, but he's definitely an ideal example of one. His complete and utter contempt for the Ood is abominable and what happens to him in the end lends a lot to the term "Let, the punishment fit the crime," because I don't think I would have been satisfied if he was dispatched in the way of all his subordinates. He needed to face justice and what better way to do it than for the persecutor to become the persecuted. The conclusion of this story was extremely gratifying because I always love it when The Doctor's endeavors provoke real change on a grandiose scale (same reason why "Gridlock" was one of my favorites.) and the newly liberated express their gratitude. I also loved the cryptic foreshadowing in the line "Even your song must end, Doctor." Director Greame Harper has truly been an asset to the Who-niverse of late ever since his return to the series in 2006. He has an incredible knack for pacing and atmosphere and he has a gift for bringing out some spectacular performances from his actors, I truly can't pick out a negative element of the technical side. Then again I don't think I've ever had the need to attack Doctor Who on the technical side. Even in the old days.

All in all for me this series has knocked another one out of the park with this episode. Now as for next week here we are again Ms. Raynor lets see if you redeem yourself for "Daleks in Manhattan."

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11 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

The Ood are back, and they're not happy

8/10
Author: cameron-burn from United Kingdom
23 May 2008

This episode is both horrifying and beautiful. And in the same way that last year's Gridlock was about faith and believing in something, this story is about choices. And what's right and what's wrong.

The two keywords I'd give to this episode are "chilling" and "entertaining". It's certainly filled with creepy moments. But mainly because of the ood you get the freaky atmosphere you did in "the impossible planet" and "satans pit". It is the most chilling so far this series. And again, the special effects are some of the best I've seen so far.

The criticism i'd give to this episode is the big action sequence with the doctor inside a big warehouse which looks really bad. The real action in the story is all emotional, as we see how the Doctor and Donna react to the events around them.

It is entertaining because of the way we see the ood,which gradually changes throughout the episode. By the end they seem a million miles from the creatures first met two years ago in The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit.

The very best episodes of Doctor Who are the ones which not only entertain you, but which also leave you thinking about them after they've finished. And this is one of them.

My Grade: B+

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14 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Ood, Glorious Ood

9/10
Author: Stargazer59 from United Kingdom
21 April 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'll lay my cards immediately on the table and let you all know that I absolutely adored the latest episode in the new series of "Doctor Who", "Planet of the Ood"! It's as big a surprise for me as it is you, dear reader!! In spite of Tate, regardless of Davies and notwithstanding a rather naff gag dependant on, admittedly minimal, knowledge of "The Simpsons", I would love it if the programme were like this more of the time. I confess I'd been looking forward to this episode, more than any other, because the Ood story from two years ago is my favourite of the tenth Doctor's era, to date. Ironically, considering my preference for the classic series, but not being particularly partial to the Sontarans, I haven't been looking forward to next week's two-parter nearly as much! One of the things I like about these Ood tales is the turning on its head of the master-servant/slave relationship. Usually, it's the humans who are subjugated in "Doctor Who", not the aliens. At the start of the story, a mystery is quickly inaugurated for the Doctor and his companion to investigate when the pair chance upon what-is-soon-to-be-revealed-as a red-eyed Ood dying in the snow whose last words plead, "The circle must be broken". The whole setup of this adventure is very similar to that of "Revelation of the Daleks", with the fast-fading Ood being comparable to the forgiving mutant near the start of the earlier escapade. Both stories feature a trudge through snow, from where the TARDIS has materialised, across an alien landscape. Both include the aforementioned preliminary confrontation before reaching the hub of the action. And, both deal with the nature of conducting business while, perhaps revealingly, both are directed by Graeme Harper! It doesn't take the time travellers quite as long to reach their destination in "Planet of the Ood", however, as it did the Doctor and Peri twenty-three years ago!!

As "Planet of the Ood" hurtles towards its climax, the Doctor and Donna make an alarming discovery. Huddled together in a cell, singing the song of captivity, are a group of natural born Ood, unprocessed, before they're adapted to slavery, unspoilt. They carry their secondary hind-brain in their cupped hands. Donna finds the music overwhelmingly unbearable, emotionally speaking, and asks for it to be taken away. I used to have the same problem whilst spinning discs for customers, when working in a record shop back in the Eighties! Joking aside, the use of music here is exemplary, for once, and connected to a warning in the final moments of this sequel, when, speaking to the Doctor, an Ood forewarns, "I think your song must end soon. Every song must end." Earlier, the Doctor offers stunning marketing manager Solana Mercurio, played by the beautifully named Ayesha Dharker, the hand of friendship which she briefly considers then rejects. She proceeds by betraying both him and Donna at the first available opportunity, not being able to step outside her own small, seemingly secure, world of the workplace. This is a minor moment of momentous tragedy, more real than any of the nonsense concerning the separation of Rose from her mentor at the end of Series Two! And, the themes of this Ood episode have resonance, not just emotional content. We are privy to a great big (business) empire built on slavery, witness to battery-hen farming for Ood-kind. There is a slowness and precision in both manner and movement of the Ood which makes them a very dignified race of beings, and that is key to their success. As Tennant said in the following "Doctor Who Confidential" documentary, "Oods and Ends", "they are benevolent and non-invasive". By way of contrast, this time round there are also rabid Ood, perhaps comparable in concept to rogue Cybermen as seen in "The Invasion" and "Attack of the Cybermen".

I guessed, before "Planet of the Ood" commenced, that the Doctor wouldn't be able to resist mentioning the "real" snow, on this occasion, as opposed to the raining ash etc of previous instances! I also predicted the fate of Tim McInnerny's Klineman Halpen, when he first commented upon his hair loss ten minutes into the episode, even though the manner in which it happened was still a pleasant surprise! Transformed into the very creature he's been abusing, it's not quite as agreeable for the character as the viewer but justly deserved, nevertheless, for both murder and as amoral "owner of the franchise for selling Ood, domestically, across the known and unknown galaxy"!! A nice commentary on the nasty and seedy nature of business, generally, I thought. I hope Sir Alan was watching, though I'm not sure he would heed any message even if attuned to literary subtext! The enemy within Halpen's company was successfully disguised throughout by the discreet performance of Adrian Rawlins, as much put upon Dr Ryder, having been a friend of the Ood, working for their release, for the past ten years! The almost-chanted and oft-repeated phrase, "Doctor, Donna, friends", will no doubt pass into the folklore of the programme though I'm more likely to remember the Time Lord's criticism, "Who do you think made your clothes?" As producer Susie Liggat indicated, "Planet of the Ood" is a really important story about liberating repressed people, a metaphor that can be applied the world over both on a personal level and globally. Writer Keith Temple fashioned what-turned-out-to-be a very old school episode of "Doctor Who", and good on him!!

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17 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

Traditional Story Hampered By Overstatement

7/10
Author: Theo Robertson from Isle Of Bute, Scotland
22 September 2008

There's something refreshingly old school about Keith Temple's script of Planet Of The Ood . The Doctor and his companion land on an alien planet , come across an alien , meet up with humans on a base and get involved in an adventure with humans on a base where mysterious things are happening , mainly humans being killed one by one . Also nice to see Mr Temple's use subtext in his story which is the fundamental basis of science fiction

Unfortunately the subtext on corporate greed and enslavement is rather overstated and heavy handed " Just because an alien is an alien doesn't make it any less human than you or I " is a very common approach used throughout the history of the programme most especially during the Pertwee era . I don't know if I'm getting old , or if I'm more sophisticated than I was in the early 1970s but I sometimes got a headache after the massage " Slavery is wrong " hit me over the head a number of times

Director Harper does well and again it's refreshing to see a future planet that doesn't look futuristic and we see weapons and uniforms that are functional . Harper does let himself down somewhat with the battle scenes alas with a complete lack of long shots which gives the action mis en scenes a rather cheap feel as if to say we couldn't afford to get hundreds of extras so let's pretend most of the carnage is taking place off screen

All in all a very watchable story , but like its immediate predecessor you are left with the distinct impression that it could have been even better if slightly more work went in to it

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11 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Good effort from Keith Temple

Author: ametaphysicalshark from prejudicemadeplausible.wordpress.com
19 April 2008

What really initially stands out in "Planet of the Ood" is that it sure is great to leave Earth for a while! Seriously, what is wrong with visiting some alien planets once in a while? Take a break from the space ships/vessels/stations and Earth and get some good old fashioned Doctor Who planet visitation done! The next thing that stands out is what an absolutely brilliant job Graeme Harper does directing Doctor Who. I've never seen a badly-directed episode from him and this is no exception, as "Planet of the Ood" is filmed so well and looks so good you barely notice some of the flaws in the script.

I say the script is flawed, but it's nothing too serious, maybe a little unsure on the mix between comedy and drama which it alternated between a little too quick at times.

All in all, "Planet of the Ood" is a fun, exciting Doctor Who adventure, nothing too special overall, but with some lovely parts to it. There was also an air of the Pertwee era in the story, definitely. The last two minutes or so once again very interesting, with the line "every song must end" in relation to the Doctor's 'song' being especially interesting.

7.5/10

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Revolution of the Ood

10/10
Author: Paul Evans from Swansea, United Kingdom
22 August 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Doctor and Donna land on The Oodsphere in 4126. They arrive on the site of a sales company, who are selling the Ood on mass to three galaxies. Naturally all is not well, 3 deaths have occurred in the complex, the Ood are responsible, and 'red eye' is the cause. The business is led by Mr Halpen, played by Tim McInnerny who is merciless with the Ood. What is up with container 15, and what's lurking there and who are the friends of the Ood?

The imagery is fantastic, the Ood's planet looks wonderful, and it's both well designed and stunning. The Andy Warhol style Ood pictures in the marketing suite are great.

The combination of Tennant and Tate is proving to be a perfect pairing. I don't think they're been surpassed in nu who, the mix of energy, humour and emotion they bring is still unrivalled.

Third episode in, and Tate steals the show once again, her reaction to the Ood was priceless, she's showing exactly how good she is. The writing is spot on for her and she is totally in character. At the time I took it for granted how good she was, second week she's had me shedding a tear, note to producers 'bring her back!!' In conclusion there's a huge impact from this episode, the origins of the Ood are explored, and it's an emotional roller-coaster. The Doctor and Donna are fabulous as always. Great special effects and some rough justice is dished out to the bad guys. Fabulous 10/10

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10 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Thought-provoking and surprisingly beautiful

9/10
Author: LaFeeChartreuse from Toronto
8 July 2008

I wasn't expecting too much from this episode other than a high level of creepiness, based on the Ood's previous appearance in The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit. And in the beginning it seemed like it was going to go in a similar direction -- but instead it ended up incorporating some very different elements.

I don't want to spoil any surprises, but I will say that this episode ends up dealing with some thorny moral issues and carries much more emotional impact than it initially seems it will.

And also: there have a been a few Doctor Who episodes that have hit me hard enough emotionally to make me cry - Father's Day and The Girl In The Fireplace come to mind - but this is the first one where the ending (or near-ending) brought tears to my eyes not because it was sad but because it was so beautiful.

Highly recommended.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Captivity and Freedom

8/10
Author: Matthew Kresal from United States
30 October 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When this episode first aired on the Sci-Fi Channel here in the States in 2008, I wasn't a big fan of this episode. Mainly it was down to the fact that I felt that it took all the mystery out of the Ood in one go. Looking back on it now, four and a half years later, I can see that I missed a lot as a result of focusing on that.

There's the script for example. On the surface, Planet Of The Ood is your fairly typical Doctor Who runaround. It's got chases, it's got gun-play, and it's got threatening alien monsters. One might even argue it's a play on the old "base under siege" formula that was so well used during the Troughton era. That's on the surface though.

Look a bit farther down and Keith Temple's script is so much more. It uses the Ood , the Ood Operations corporation and its CEO Klineman Halpen (wonderfully played by Tim McInnerny) to explore a series of complex issues. Those issues range from corporate power, animal rights, slavery and genocide to name but a few. The scenes of the Ood in the container and the unprocessed Ood in captivity are but two examples of this. The point though is made by the Doctor's response to Donna saying that she doesn't have slaves: "Who do you think made your clothes?" It's a bit heavy handed at times perhaps, but Temple's script makes its points effectively.

It's helped by the rest of the production as well. Graham Harper's direction shines throughout, especially in the dialogue scenes, showing that Harper is far more than an action director. There's also a standout performance from Catherine Tate, who is given a chance to let her acting abilities shine as Donna comes to term with how the Ood are being treated. Last but not least is Murray Gold's haunting "Songs of Captivity and Freedom" which underscores both the sadness of the Ood's captivity and the joy of their freedom.

Not that this episode is perfect. This episode has one big flaw: the quality of its CGI. From the rocket seen early on in the episode to the claw at the center of one of the action sequences to the object at the center of the finale, this particular episode is blessed with some of the most noticeable CGI produced for the revived series of Who. Perhaps it is noticeable as a result of the high quality of effects elsewhere in the new series, but the CGI occasionally distracts from an otherwise top-notch episode.

Looking past the issue I had with this episode in 2008, I've found a lot to like about this episode. It's an episode that's well written, well directed, nicely acted and features one of the best pieces of music yet produced for the new series. It also does what all great Doctor Who is capable of: entertaining its audience, but also making it think.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

"The Circle must be broken!!"

8/10
Author: identitystaysamystery from United States
26 September 2012

This is a very old fashioned episode of Dr.Who. Why? I'm not really sure. It just had that feel of an old fashioned episode! Like returning to it's old ways. And I loved it! I've been loving the new stories! But it's nice to go back to the good stuff! The storyline isn't very deep or mysterious. Just an action story featuring the Ood. Who we last saw in the Impossible planet where they were possessed. Now they have a master plan! Though quite quiet and not used very often, these "villains" if you can even call them that gave a nice feel to the episode. Making this for me an instant classic! Tennant and Tate still deliver that classic duo that we sort of missed with Martha and the Dr. So I'm glad that these two really hit it off! They're bond gets really stronger as the season goes on!

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