As with all of season 26, I've seen "Survival" before, so I'm trying to remember what I thought about it the first time I watched the DVD. I remember thinking bits of it were poor, particularly the Cheetah people.
Now, having watched from Full Circle onwards, and seeing this in context, it's impressive. The beginning is a good place to start: in this, a weird thing happens on a suburban street in Britain, and then, moments later we see the Doctor and his companion arriving on the street in the TARDIS.
Simple. Effective. Became a bit of a staple of the show in the RTD era. But at this point the show's not tried it for ages. Not properly, anyway - "Silver Nemesis" used the contemporary setting mostly for gags, and "Attack of the Cybermen" and "Resurrection of the Daleks" are only barely set contemporaneously.
So, the TARDIS lands, and the Doctor quickly spots clues and investigates spooky stuff in the background (in a manner not completely unlike The Beast Below), while the actual camera-work and dialog mostly follows Ace's story. The Doctor's taken her back home, you see, to Perivale, where she was never really very at home. We meet people who knew her! And we discover she's been reported as a missing person (like Aliens of London), and we meet some people who knew her - Patterson, who thinks her a vandal, and then her friends. And like, Curse of Fenric, this is all the stronger in context.
Some of the dialog is a bit heavy-handed. And the cheetah people costumes, not exactly great. Karra is done well, despite that, though.
All in all, it is a fitting end to the season. It'll be interesting to see where they go after this, in season 27!
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