Doctor Who

The Waters of Mars (19 Dec. 2009)

TV Episode  -   -  Adventure | Drama | Family
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Ratings: 8.7/10 from 2,314 users  
Reviews: 20 user | 9 critic

In a Mars base the inhabitants are being infected by a mysterious water creature which takes over its victims. The Doctor is thrust into the middle of this catastrophe knowing a larger one is waiting around the corner.


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Title: The Waters of Mars (19 Dec 2009)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Aleksandar Mikic ...
Maggie Cain (as Sharon Duncan Brewster)
Alan Ruscoe ...
Lily Bevan ...
Adelaide's father (as Charlie De'Ath)
Rachel Fewell ...
Anouska Strahnz ...


The Doctor arrives on Mars in the year 2059 and joins the first human Earth colony led by Adelaide Brooke. The day he arrives is also the day history records the entire settlement destroyed in an unknown cataclysm with all members of the settlement being killed. Everyone soon realizes that colonists are being infected by some unknown agent and are being transformed into zombie-like creatures. For reasons that are eventually explained, The Doctor is not prepared to save them and tells Brooke that she has to die. He quite torn by this decision and eventually chooses another path, one that will have other repercussions for him in the future. Written by garykmcd

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19 December 2009 (USA)  »

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The space suit the Doctor uses is from 'The Satan Pit'. See more »


Almost every obituary repeats its opening paragraph as the first lines of its last visible paragraph. See more »


[flashing back]
The Doctor: [to Martha in Gridlock] I'm not just a Time Lord; I'm the last of the Time Lords.
The Doctor: [to Donna in The Doctor's Daughter] It'll never come back. Not now.
The Doctor: [to Rose in Doomsday] Time Lord, TARDIS, same old life. Last of the Time Lords.
The Doctor: [to Mickey in Rise of the Cybermen] Then they died, took it all with them. When the walls of reality closed, the worlds were sealed.
The Doctor: [to Donna in The Doctor's Daughter] Gone forever.
The Doctor: [to Rose in Doomsday] Time Lords kept their eye on everything.
The Doctor: [...]
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Featured in Doctor Who Confidential: Is There Life on Mars? (2009) See more »


Doctor Who Closing Credits
Written by Ron Grainer
Performed by BBC National Orchestra of Wales
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User Reviews

Interesting topics but boring story ; Lindsay Duncan refreshing and convincing performance but disappointing cast ; Intriguing but last minute The Doctor's morality issues
19 December 2009 | by (France) – See all my reviews

A special Doctor Who episode set on Mars in 2059 sounded like a great way to finally discover the show. However I was worried that it would be as disappointing as Torchwood, its spin-off. Now that I have seen it all I can say is that my opinion is mixed. Some elements were interesting but overall it felt like a waste of time. In fact beside the story it's also Lindsay Duncan who convinced me to watch the episode as she plays Adelaide Brooke, the new companion. I really liked her character in Rome and her performance was quite good. As expected her talent and charisma shined and without her The Waters of Mars would have been dead dry. I can't even believe she's almost 60 years old because her natural beauty was easy on the eyes. Moreover her character was fierce and strong-minded so she made a believable commander of the first human mission on Mars. However she shadowed the other cast members and revealed the seams of a questionable ensemble cast. I hope the performers were hired for their talent, not the color of their skin.

As terraforming is a recurring and fascinating topic in the scientific news I was expecting something smart and controversial. But the story was predictable and written around sci-fi clichés and questionable ideas. Only after a few minutes I already wanted to switch off my TV because I thought things could only get worse. I should have because most of the time I was bored and only continued to watch the episode because of the Doctor intriguing attitude and Lindsay Duncan. I can accept they had to produce a family friendly episode but I wasn't expecting some scary scenes to be nearly as ridiculous as in Scream and other teen movies. But the worst idea was probably to include the most annoying robot I have ever seen. It even reminded me of Jar Jar Binks from Star Wars. It's like if the writers had found, dusted and followed an ancient book on Disney worst recipes and black creativity.

Otherwise beside Duncan a few elements saved this episode from reaching the deep sea, where plastic bottles find a second life. First even if the story wasn't frightening I have to admit that it succeeded in questioning the morality of terraforming other planets, to feed our desire of conquest and urge to survive our own mistakes. There were also some deep and sad moments between Adelaide and the Doctor. In fact I think some scenes could be relatively disturbing for young viewers. Last but not least watching the Doctor so tortured was surprising because at first he seemed funny and joyful. However when watching him fight his inner demons should have been fascinating it wasn't because the action was sloppy and they waited for the last minutes to make the scenes more dynamic, but the execution only led to chaotic ones. The actor's performance was also over the top. Otherwise the ending was intriguing enough and made me curious about the Doctor. Because with a better story and without the junk following his adventures could be both entertaining and interesting.

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