The Doctor, Rose and Adam travel 200,000 years into the future and land on Satellite 5, a space station orbiting the Earth. From the moment they arrive, the Doctor feels that something is wrong but he can't quite put his finger on it. Satellite 5 provides 600 channels of news and information to everyone on Earth and the crew, all humans, have a chip implanted in them allowing their brains to work as computers. As they explore the station, the travelers learn of the mysterious Level 500 that some of them are promoted to but are never seen again. The Doctor and Rose go to that mysterious level to find out just who - or what - is up there. Adam meanwhile tries to access the computer banks with the view to taking advanced knowledge back to present day Earth.Written by
In an ironic twist of fate, the best episode of Doctor Who's first season, Dalek, is followed by the weakest, The Long Game. Adding to the crushing sense of disappointment is the fact that the incriminated 45 minutes are written by none other than Russell T. Davies, the man responsible for bringing back the Doctor in the first place.
This time, it all takes place in the year 200,000. The specific location is Satellite Five, the heart of the Fourth and Bountiful Human Empire, an ideal place for Rose's first "date" with new companion Adam (Bruno Langley), who joined our time travelers in the TARDIS after the Van Statten incident. It all looks perfect, which means it obviously isn't: something or someone is blocking every kind of human evolution, effectively enslaving and entire race. The prime suspect is the malevolent Editor (Simon Pegg), but the increasingly deteriorating situation indicates something more serious than one man's machinations have to be behind this. And it's up to the Doctor to save the day. Again.
Normally, Davies' stories are among the best of each season because they're (usually) part of a more complex mythology arc, similar to what Chris Carter conjured on The X-Files. But whereas Carter never wrote an X-Files episode that couldn't be enjoyed without considering the bigger picture, Davies has managed to come up with a story that makes little sense on its own and seems to exist solely to set up a more important story later on in the season. The consequence is that most of The Long Game passes by without leaving anything memorable behind. Only Eccleston, always a gas no matter how silly things get, and Pegg (a huge fan of the show), reversing his slacker image with an OTT but utterly enjoyable villainous turn, save the episode from being a throwaway experience.
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