They say that drama is about conflict, and great drama needs a great enemy.
New Earth wasn't riveting because the enemies weren't formidable enough, evil enough, relentless enough, or chilling enough. And there were too many of them.
The zombie-like lab-rat humans were too sympathetic to work as a horrifying menace. And the chase scenes with them were played like a romp, with comedy-chase music.
Cassandra was too likeable, and not even close to being an enemy that could match the Doctor.
The cat-nurses weren't seen very much, and again it's hard to see them being any kind of a serious threat to the Doctor.
So the episode was enjoyable fluff rather than great drama like Dalek or The Empty Child.
The other side of the equation is that RTD seems to be attributing ever greater power to the Doctor. There were references to "a lonely God" and "if you want to appeal to a higher authority, tough, because there isn't one". Add to that the previous mentions of "the technology of the Gods" and "The Oncoming Storm" and RTD's Doctor appears so powerful as to be invincible.
A hero who so out-classes his adversaries doesn't make for a gripping battle.
Then there's the added complication that David Tennant doesn't actually project the awesome power that is implied, so it is only talked about, not felt. So mostly the drama feels like a lightweight Doctor matched against lightweight enemies.
Next week might be very much better… from the trailer, those werewolves might be just the kind of enemy that makes great drama.
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