Doctor Who has returned with 3 Specials for 2023. These specials have the return of David Tennant and Catherine Tate to Doctor Who. Tennant was the 10th Doctor and now returns as the 14th Doctor. He has an unresolved “destiny” with his best friend, Donna Noble.
The first special, The Star Beast, has dropped on BBC One and Disney+. I checked it out to give you my review of The Star Beast.
After regenerating in the familiar form of the Tenth Doctor, the TARDIS arrived in 2023 London around the holidays. The Doctor is befuddled as to why he is there and why he has this previous face. He goes to help someone carrying too many packages and it happens to be Donna, who doesn’t remember him. Good thing because she will die from holding the knowledge of a Time Lord and it is too much for any human to hold. Donna’s husband, Shaun, and transgendered daughter, Rose, are also there. While Donna isn’t paying attention, a spaceship crashes in London.
The Doctor rushes out to the crash site to check it out with Shaun being his Uber driver. UNIT is already on site locking everything down. The Doctor observes and tries to hide but Shirely Bingham, UNIT’s fifty-sixth scientific adviser and wheelchair user, discovers the Doctor and knows exactly who he is. The Doctor is still uncomfortable in his old face and decides not to work with UNIT. After he leaves they open the spaceship to only have an energy force come out and possess most of the members but not Bingham.
An escape pod is discovered by one of Rose’s friends. Rose walks home to find The Meep, a cute and fluffy alien ,hiding in the trash. The Meep tells Rose that bad guy Aliens are hunting The Meep. Rose takes The Meep into hiding in her outbuilding and tries to hide The Meep. There are a few scenes inspired by E.T. with The Meep even trying to hide in the stuffed animals.
The Doctor ends up in Donna’s neighborhood and hears screaming from Donna as she discovers The Meep. The Doctor goes to Donna’s house to have Donna’s mom, Sylvia, deck him and tell him to leave. He comes in anyway as possessed UNIT members and the alien race, Wrarth Warriors, both attempt to get to The Meep. The Doctor helps them escape from one house to another through connected attics and the Sonic Screwdriver.
The Doctor drives the group on their escape in Shaun’s car. The Doctor stops in a parking garage and looks at things. He then puts on a powdered wig and pulls in two of the Wrarth Warriors. He has a makeshift trial to determine what is happening and tells the Wrarth Warriors no weapons. There is a discussion on how the weapons are stun only and they are trying to catch The Meep for crimes against the universe. The Meep reveals their true self and kills the Wrarth Warriors with a hidden weapon. The possessed members of UNIT show up and take them hostage.
The adventure ends back up at the spaceship where it will destroy most of London if it takes off. With the help of a weaponized wheelchaired Shirley Bingham, the Doctor ends up on The Meeps ship to save the day but cannot disable it soon enough. Donna comes to the rescue and starts to remember the Doctor. Because Donna had given birth to Rose, they shared the same power and knowledge of the Time Lords so it wasn’t too much for one to handle because it was split into two. Thus fixing the sad ending of the Donna Noble time along with stopping The Meep. Donna did start doing the “Binary” speech she did back in the day when the Time Lord power took over but Rose did a “non-Binary” version of it along with Donna this time.
After it was all over, The Doctor invited Donna into the Tardis for a quick trip to see Wilf, Donna’s grandfather, who kept the secret. But in true Donna fashion, she spilled her coffee on the Tardis control panel and caused the Tardis to jump elsewhere and glitch.
What I Liked:
My favorite Doctor returns. It was amazing to see David Tennant as the Doctor. The quirkiness and the sadness remains. It was the return of a dear friend and picking things right back up. This version of the Doctor felt right.
Donna Noble’s horrific prior ending has now been fixed. A.J. often says there aren’t happy endings for companions. Donna will now have a chance, if they don’t sabotage it during this run, at a happy ending. Catherine Tate was amazing in her return as Donna with all of her attitude and humorous lines.
Tate and Tennant brought back their chemistry and timing. They played off of each other just like they did 15 years ago. They made me long for the glory days of the Doctor and Donna. Seeing two old friends who still know what each other is thinking. It was awesome.
Along with the return of Donna, we have the return of her mom, Sylvia. Sylvia is an amazing character and brought it all for this episode. She only wants to protect and keep Donna safe. I loved her telling the Doctor to go away and slapping him.
It wasn’t an over-the-top multi-Doctor special, even though I do love those, but a great episode of one of my favorite things.
What I Didn’t Like:
The preachiness of the modern culture. It was made a really big deal that Rose is trans in this special. Then we have the scene where they ask The Meep the preferred pronoun. Really? Really? Of course, the evil but innocent-looking Meep says, “My preferred pronouns are ‘The Meep’.” It was just a bit too much. You can model things without being preachy about it but this went to preachy a few times.
It was a great return of David and Catherine. Their chemistry felt natural and was amazing. It was a fun typical Doctor Who episode.