Catherine Tate, David Tennant and Yasmin Finney in Doctor Who

‘Doctor Who’ Is Back With a Stellar Episode in ‘The Star Beast’

5/5 Meeps

Doctor Who has a long history of reinventing itself but sometimes it’s good to go back to what works. Russell T. Davies returns as showrunner for the series after Chris Chibnall’s departure, and kicking off the 60th anniversary celebration is a special featuring David Tennant’s grand return adventure as the Doctor.

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“The Star Beast” follows the Doctor as he tries to figure out why he’s regenerated back into this form. Tennant, who was originally the 10th Doctor, left the series back in 2010. The episode, which premieres on Saturday, November 25, reunites fans with Tennant’s Doctor and his former companion, Donna Noble (Catherine Tate). The episode is written by Russell T. Davies and really does feel like a return to form in a refreshing way after a dividing time for the show with Chibnall’s run as showrunner.

A celebration of everything that makes Doctor Who as beloved as it is, “The Star Beast” feels plucked out of Tennant’s original run—just more in line with a modern sensibility. One of the worries I had going into Davies and Tennant’s return was whether or not the show would feel pandering. Luckily, it never does.

If anything, Tennant’s return feels like a necessary transition from Jodie Whittaker’s run to balancing out the series with answers that fans have been looking for. After seasons of complicated questions and arcs, seeing such a laid-out plan and somewhat goofy villains in “The Star Beast” really feels like time traveling with the Doctor back to what made you love the series in the first place.

It also helps that outside of just having David Tennant back with us, we also have Catherine Tate’s Donna Noble and her family there to make it all worthwhile.

It’s a family affair!

Donna Noble’s return to the world of Doctor Who is obviously an emotional one because she still has one of the best arcs in the show’s history. (I stand by the opinion that she has one of the best character arcs in television history, period.) This time, she brings along Rose (Yasmin Finney), her teenage daughter, as well as her husband Shaun (Karl Collins).

Making it a family affair is very fitting for Donna. It’s always been that way. Wilf (Bernard Cribbins) ended up loving the Doctor nearly as much as Donna did. Donna’s mother Sylvia (Jacqueline King) was part of the show, too, but the Doctor was more Wilf and Donna’s deal. Still, Donna’s family being a part of the episode really does feel right.

It feels odd to say but heading back to the series with Davies was really the right move post-Chibnall. It gives fans a chance to remember what we love so much about the show. While I don’t agree with the pushback against Chibnall’s era, watching “The Star Beast” felt like coming home to Doctor Who. It is a perfect return to form and a great showcase of what makes this series so special.

David Tennant is our Doctor once more and “The Star Beast” reminds us all why he is still a favorite among so many fans of the series. You won’t want to miss the brilliance that is this celebration of 60 years of Doctor Who.

(featured image: BBC)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.