Planet of the Dead was this year's Doctor Who Easter special, the first of four 'gap year' specials taking us up to David Tennant's Tenth Doctor's regeneration into Matt Smith's Eleventh Doctor. Billed as the Tenth Doctor's last hurrah, we were told during Russell T Davis' interview on BBC Breakfast to expect a fun romp before the dark end - and that's exactly what we got, lots of fun! I let the story flow over me, had fun and found I laughed more often watching this than I did during the first episode of the new Red Dwarf premiered the night before.
It seems that this episode went down extremely well with the non-fans, the 'not wes'. I was surprised by how many people on Twitter were saying this was the best Doctor Who they'd ever seen, and I heard later that this episode had one of the highest audience appreciation figures ever recorded for a Doctor Who and the highest for a New Who special.
This was also the first ever high definition episode of Doctor Who. I signed up for a HD service on the promise of this episode and I wasn't disappointed - it looked absolutely amazing! Details like the pores on the doctor's face, the amazing sand dune vista, and the detailed CGI Tritovore ship were all crisp and stunning on my HD TV. It seems I wasn't alone; this episode also gave BBC HD their highest ratings figures to date.
Supposedly this was the 200th Doctor Who TV story (if you ask Doctor Who Magazine), if you count The Trial of a Timelord as 1 story and not 3 and count Utopia as the 1st part in a 3 part adventure and not a standalone (as the production crew did), you reach 200 at this episode (if not, you reach 200 at Midnight or The Next Doctor).
( Spoilers for Planet of the Dead... )
But this is still a 4 out of 5 story for me as I had fun and didn't let the details worry me while it aired. It's a very enjoyable, witty story with lots of rewatch value due to the sparkling dialogue. It looks stunning on a 42" TV. I think we may have seen a template for what a big screen Doctor Who blockbuster movie might look like.