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Mini-review: Doctor Who - 7x11 - The Crimson Horror

Posted on May 7, 2013 | comments | Bookmark and Share

The Crimson Horror

In the UK: Saturday, 6.15pm, 4th May 2013, BBC1/BBC1 HD. Available on the iPlayer
In the US: Saturday, 8pm/7c, 4th May 2013, BBC America

Not worth a full review, more a mini-review this, I think, since despite the presence of Diana Rigg (and daughter) in the cast, a reference to Tegan and a nice joke about Tom Tom (the sat nav, not the fourth Doctor), this was a pretty meh episode. It started off well enough, going for northern comedy and Victoriana, which are writer Mark Gatiss's real strengths. Rigg was good, everyone was acting fine, and despite being Doctor-and-Clara-lite, it was engrossing, right down to Murray Gold's Sherlock-riffs in the soundtrack.

But then it just sort of carried on, progressively becoming thinner, more predictable and less interesting as it tried to deport itself not as merely a comedy, but as a proper Doctor Who story, complete with evil, incredibly shit-looking beastie (we're talking Invisible Enemy shit, here). Not even an Avengers joke, more references to Clara's significance and a certain Sontaran getting to shoot people for a change could lift it from the "When's this going to end, again?" Which is a shame, because as a comedy, it would have been a really good episode, I reckon.

Oh well, it's Neil Gaiman doing Cybermen next week, albeit with the addition of a couple of kids to the companion line-up. Fingers crossed, it should be better.

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  • Rullsenberg

    Not a major favourite but definitely one of the better ones this (half) season. Bloke on sofa liked it too.

  • Mark Carroll

    I actually thought it was okay, too, one of the better ones lately, and more in the direction of what I think the show should be. It didn't quite have time to entirely make sense, and I'm not going to rank it among my favourites, but, yeah, it had themes and characters and mostly hung together and wasn't overambitious in scale.

  • The references were mostly front-loaded. After about the mid-point and after the flashback, it just sort of petered out for me. The first half was excellent though

  • That was The Avengers reference I meant, although full on leather and lots of throws is more Cathy Gale and her judo than Emma Peel and her kung fu.

  • Robin

    I really enjoyed it. Length felt just right for once. Gatiss got stuck into all manner of things in his beloved Victorian era - industry and moral improvement among them - and crammed in a huge number of references and tributes to movies and genres. I like the attempt to continue to shape the Silurian history and link it to the plot here and for me the Penny Dreadful atmosphere worked very well. Excellent flashback sequence too. Two enjoyable Gatiss stories in one season is a welcome surprise since he's been patchy since his excellent debut The Unquiet Dead.

  • Gareth

    Jenny's victorian catsuit was reminiscent of Emma Peel. Not sure if it was intentional, though

  • It requires a certain discipline to maintain that kind of joke. It's like Joey or Phoebe on Friends, where they started as New Age or Not College Educated and became Stupid within a couple of seasons

  • They did the Frankenstein homage in the TV movie. And Brain of Morbius. It's a bit old hat for Doctor Who, isn't it? They'll be do vampire stories again at this rate

  • SK

    The Sontaran became insufferable about halfway through, his one joke having switched from 'he approaches every situation like it's a battle', which is at least an explorable comic angle, to the much less original 'he's stupid'.

    And, yes, beyond that didn't make much of an impression.

  • tobyob

    I thought it was one of the more enjoyable episodes this season. Everything you mentioned brought it high marks from me, plus its connection to the opening paragraph of the Holmes' story "The Adventure Of The Golden Pince-Nez". Also liked its homage to "Frankenstein" with the Doctor as the Monster.

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