The Infinite Quest
|Production Code||Totally Doctor Who special|
|Dates||April 2-June 30, 2007|
With David Tennant, Freema Agyeman
Written by Alan Barnes Directed by Gary Russell
Executive Producer: Mark Cossey
|Synopsis: The Tenth Doctor and Martha Jones set off on an adventure through space to find the datachips to unlock The Infinite, a huge spaceship that can grant people their heart's desire. However, the evil Baltazar is also searching for the ship.|
I'm supposed to hate this... by Bradford Brown 24/6/08
I know, I know. I'm supposed to hate it. And most of me does. The science is, well, awful. A bird that eats gold flies the Doctor to another galaxy? There's atmosphere on the Infinite, despite being millennia old and with the HUGE GASH on its port side? The sonic screwdriver causes a starship to blow up? (Is there anything at all this thing can't do?)
And there's more headscratchers. The plot is rice-paper thin. An interstellar black box, in four pieces, yet all ended up in the hands of people know to each other? Unlikely. The Doctor gets himself into, and out of, trouble at a mile a minute.
The characters are all cardboard-cutouts. I can forgive Martha, because she was truly an unknown when this started being aired. The first part was aired two days after Smith and Jones, so nobody, including the folks writing this, knew too much about Martha's character when it started. But even the Doctor seems... off. The Doctor starts it off by walking right into a trap. Wouldn't have it made more sense to just destroy the second piece as soon as you found it? And, while the idea of Martha wearing the tracking device is fine, does anyone buy that bird is as fast as the TARDIS? No? Didn't think so.
So why can't I totally hate this? The same thing that carries most of series 29. Freema Agyeman. Tennant's performance here is, to be generous, lackluster. Agyeman carries this childish plot to its conclusion, even despite the bad writing, and is this thing's only saving grace.
Ultimately, not enough. Agyeman and this not being an episode proper, but an extra story, save this from the failing grade it so very much tried to earn.
The Rushed Quest by Matthew Kresal 23/3/13
The Infinite Quest is something of an oddity, isn't it? Originally produced as a series of three and a half minute episodes for the now defunct Totally Doctor Who series, it was to be one of two animated stories produced during the David Tennant era and boasts not just the then current Doctor and companion in its cast but also Anthony Stewart Head as well. So what are we to make of The Infinite Quest?
Well for one thing, it certainly isn't "infinite"; quite the opposite, in fact. Perhaps it's important to remember format it was done in (thirteen three and a half minute episodes) because that isn't how it is on the DVD. The DVD version is instead an omnibus edition that takes the separate episodes and puts them together into a single forty-five minute story. Why is that a problem?
The problem is that it feels incredibly rushed throughout. It simply never stays in place long enough to flesh anything out, be it the characters or the actual locations themselves. Take the planet with the oil pirates for example. It's a fascinating idea that, given the world in which we live in, is a seemingly perfect idea for a Doctor Who story. We're rushed through it though in such a hurry that we barely register it or the characters that inhabit it for that matter. There's no tension, just a fast pace that leaves you wondering if you've missed something somewhere.
Somehow it seems disappointing that the man who wrote the eighth Doctor's first Big Finish adventure Storm Warning (amongst many other Doctor Who stories) is the same writer who wrote this. Whether the lack of story development is his fault as a writer or to the constraints he was forced to work with, I don't know.
What this honestly feels like is what would if say The Keys Of Marinus or the Key To Time season (both from the old series) were crammed into a single 45 minute episode of the New Series. In fact, that analogy can be taken further. Like The Keys Of Marinus, the story is changing locations what seems to be every new episode. Plus, like the Key To Time season, we see the Doctor and Martha on a quest throughout time and space featuring a new villain(s) while also trying to stay ahead of a bigger foe. It's an old series quest story as if remade for someone with a short attention span and it's a mess.
What does this have going for it? Well the animation is good though given its only competition in the Doctor Who world is the various webcasts that were limited by early 2000s internet connections and the other animated tenth Doctor story Dreamland, that perhaps isn't saying very much. The voice work is good as well with Tennant giving what was pretty much his standard performance as the Doctor while Freema Agyeman's line readings give the impression she was simply reading off pages of a script out loud. Much more memorable are Anthony Stewart Head as the villain and one time Big Finish stalwart Toby Longworth as a couple of "robot parrots". None of that though can really salvage it from its biggest faults though.
How are we to judge The Infinite Quest then? The actual story itself is weak, the animation is good and the performances vary. Maybe it worked better as separate episodes but, as it stands, it feels like a rushed mess.