TV reviews

Review: Doctor Who – 6×13 – The Wedding of River Song

In the UK: Saturday 1st October, 7.15pm, BBC1/BBC1 HD. Available on the iPlayer
In the US: Saturday 1st October, 9pm/8c ET/PT, BBC America

Erm, yes. Another crazy bit of Stevieness. How does he stop himself from going mad with thoughts like that?

I largely enjoyed that one. Full of fun moments. Good to see quite a big chunk of questions answered – River’s timeline, how the Doctor avoids dying, what’s up with the eyepatches – as well as a few new ones asked, such as Doctor Who? Could have done with knowing why the TARDIS blew up at the end of last season, but maybe we’ll find out next year. The Silence were a little under-powered. Rory was a bit of a letdown. The Doctor’s escape clause felt like a bit of a cheat. But pretty enjoyable and the tribute to Nicholas Courtney was tear-jerking.

But it didn’t feel like a season finale, if you know what I mean. There was spectacle but no real sense of danger or of energy. Perhaps the supposed inevitability of it all robbed the story of that energy, since it felt like it was walking to its doom, Sydney Carton style. And putting out a message to the universe saying "Come help the Doctor" and getting a series of polite responses in return did rob the story of a potential bit of fun.

On the whole, in fact, a slightly less impressive two-part season than Stevie’s first. Amy was a shadow of her former self. A lot of the non-Stevie episodes felt like filler. Maybe a little too complicated for its own good and not as emotional or grounded as Rusty’s era, either. But Matt Smith’s very good, isn’t he?

On the whole, in fact, Doctor Who is starting to feel "interesting" in the same way as a puzzle rather than as drama. For me, it’s hard to feel enthusiasm for it, rather than waiting for another piece of the puzzle to be added to the mix. Not so much fun as homework, if you see what I mean. And a lot of the time, I’m not sure I desperately want to know the answers to the questions being asked. The Silence need to be a bit more threatening if they’re going to be a big bad. The companion(s), if they go through danger, need to change rather than be reset as a result of their adventures.

Although I won’t miss the complete absence of logic and sensible plotting from the Rusty era, he did at least know how to make you care about the companions and the Doctor and the current run is a little too distant from them at the moment.

But what do you think?

TV reviews

Review: Doctor Who – 6×12 – Closing Time

In the UK: Saturday 24th September, 7.15pm, BBC1/BBC1 HD. Available on the iPlayer
In the US: Saturday 24th September, 9pm/8c ET/PT, BBC America

So another one that I quite liked, despite a slightly disappointing ending to the main plot. A strange callback to RTD-era style writing, principally because his best pal Gareth Roberts wrote it (clearly a man who has recently become a father), a lot of the time it felt like a David Tennant-era story. The Cybermen obviously helped on that score, but the familiar, everyday setting, copious one-liners, et al were indicative.

All the River Song stuff at the end was good, as was the Doctor’s maudlin nature as he walks to his own death and the cameos by two former companions. Good to see some cybermats around, too, and they were actually scary for once to boot.

All in all, a good fun one. But what did you think?

TV reviews

Review: Doctor Who – 6×11 – The God Complex

 

In the UK: Saturday 17th September, 7.15pm, BBC1/BBC1 HD. Available on the iPlayer
In the US: Saturday 17th September, 9pm/8c ET/PT, BBC America

Now that’s more like it. I was worried for a minute that I wasn’t going to love any episodes of Who in this second half of the season. But good old Toby Whithouse (School Reunion, The Vampires of Venice and creator of Being Human) has saved the day. And who’d have thought he’d have done it with a story that referenced the good old Nimon?

Continue reading “Review: Doctor Who – 6×11 – The God Complex”

TV reviews

Review: Doctor Who – 6×10 – The Girl Who Waited

In the UK: Saturday 10th September, 7.15pm, BBC1/BBC1 HD. Available on the iPlayer
In the US: Saturday 10th September, 9pm/8c ET/PT, BBC America

So this one’s a bit of a mystery to me. On the face of it, I should have liked it. It was quite clever, it had some poignant ideas, it had some real character moments, some great acting, some great set designs and some good direction. Okay, the robots suffered from perenial robot slowness (where’s a Raston Warrior Robot when you need one?) so weren’t exactly threatening, but that’s not really a biggie, now is it?

Yet, the whole thing left me cold.

Continue reading “Review: Doctor Who – 6×10 – The Girl Who Waited”

TV reviews

Review: Doctor Who – 6×9 – Night Terrors

In the UK: Saturday 3rd September, 7.10pm, BBC1/BBC1 HD. Available on the iPlayer
In the US: Saturday 3rd September, 9pm/8c ET/PT, BBC America

I would review this, but basically I’ve already reviewed it when it was called Fear Her. Okay, it was a lot better. The direction was better. The writing was better. There were some great lines of dialogue, including Rory’s "We’re dead – again." And Matt Smith was very, very good.

But it was still Fear Her in plot, Macguffin and more or less everything else (Doctor investigates alien cuckoo child in suburban estate who can shape reality with its mind, gets trapped by alien and relies on outside help to get saved). And it still wasn’t that good, although I imagine very young kids might have wet themselves.

Essentially, a big set of things that seem scary on paper (and in the case of the life-size dolls, scary on TV) or that were scary when they were last seen in Sapphire and Steel when they were done well, it failed to connect emotionally or hang together properly. With most adults, at least, it failed to scare or engage. The trite ending – "dad must rescue son by telling him he loves him unconditionally" – was as poor as the attempts to add social realism, which were largely thrown away. And above all, It failed to make sense – kid fears getting rejected by parents so distorts reality, causing his parents to think about rejecting him.

It was a lot better than Gatiss’s last effort, Victory of the Daleks, but still a bit of a wasted chance for the plot of Fear Her to redeem itself. Not awful, not bad in places, but still an also-ran episode.