It’s here – our last (ever?) Doctor Who review. James Willets hammers the final nail into the coffin of Series 7b. Can it make up for the past six weeks of disappointment?
I think we’re going to face a problem here, because there are essentially two things to consider with ‘The Name Of The Doctor’. The first is the episode itself; the plot driven bit that sought to wrap up the loose ends of the last few episodes, in particular the status of Clara as The Impossible Girl scattered through time. The second is the ending of the episode; not the culmination of the plot itself, although we’ll discuss that too, but the very final surprise, a moment which is going to overshadow the rest of the episode somewhat.
In our last review before the Series 7 finale, James Willets revisits ‘Nightmare in Silver’.
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Neil Gaiman is rightly lauded as a titan of genre writing, the guy behind enduring classics like Sandman, Neverwhere, Stardust and Coraline. He’s written extensively for young adults and comics, and won numerous awards for his fiction.
It’s hard to overstate the impact Sandman had on me. It was one of the titles that first got me into comics – the gateway drug that drew me into the wider four colour world, back when I had a sneering disdain for the garish funny books from the big two. Without them I wouldn’t have discovered the world of non-cape comics; no V for Vendetta, no Transmetropolitan, no Y: The Last Man or Ex Machina or Walking Dead.
Just two days left until ‘The Name of the Doctor’ and James Willets continues his rundown of Series 7b. Was he tickled pink by ‘The Crimson Horror’?
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‘The Crimson Horror’ marks the return of Victoriana, the Paternoster gang, and that gnawing sense that Mark Gatiss may be the most hit-and-miss Doctor Who writer since Chris Chibnall. You may remember that I really loved ‘Cold War’. I thought it was fan-pleasing without being introvertedly self-referential, action packed without being over the top, and in a setting that felt historically real enough that the cracks in the likelihood of eccentric Soviet professors knowing much about English electro-pop bands didn’t really matter too much.
This certainly isn’t to suggest that ‘Crimson Horror’ approaches the levels of ‘Fear Her’ or the inaccurately named World War Two shocker, ‘Victory of the Daleks’, in being a bad episode. Quite the opposite in fact; I found it hugely enjoyable, even on a second viewing. It’s simply uneven in a way that many of his episodes seem to be.
As we count down to the Series 7 finale this weekend, James Willets continues his reviews of the last half-season.
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At what point does a TV series reach a critical mass of recycled plotlines and a bloated parody of itself, reflecting enough of the bits that you used to long for to make you hope that it’ll be good, but never quite managing to regurgitate enough substance to satisfy? Because I think Doctor Who has reached that point.
James Willets continues his run-down of Series 7b, but ‘Hide’ isn’t chilling him for the right reasons.
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‘Hide’ is one of those weird episodes that happen every series or so, when the team in charge of Doctor Who get bored of the usual sequence of historical-alien-future adventure serial, and decide that what the show needs is a good old retreat into other genres; primarily horror. And as with all of those episodes before it, the classic horror setting and tropes are abandoned two thirds of the way through to explain that it’s all just another sci-fi baffler, and that’s not a Werewolf, or a vampire, or a ghost, or a great pumpkin; it’s an alien pitched up on Earth.
These episodes usually aren’t all that great – ‘Vampires in Venice’ stands out for its campy attempts to create an accurate flavour of medieval Venetian life, if medieval Venetian life had included the threat of consumption by horny cosmic piranha girls. Add to that the ‘witches’ from ‘The Shakespeare Code’, the ‘Werewolf’ from ‘Tooth and Claw’ and the Evil Living Scarecrows from the ‘Family of Blood’ two-partner, and you start to build up a picture of Doctor Who struggling to do the monster mash in an enjoyable or sensible manner.
We’re catching up on our Doctor Who reviews this week, ahead of the Series 7 finale. Today, James Willets dives deep into ‘Cold War’…
‘Cold War’ is the first episode so far this season, and probably the first Mark Gatiss episode ever, that I can overwhelmingly say I loved. I think it’s hard not to like an episode that doesn’t overcomplicate the horror movie concept at its heart and is content to be story about a monster in the dark.
There are a couple of neat twists that stop this from being a totally generic episode, although there is plenty here that we have seen before.