Ever since we
got our first good look at David Tennant in 2005’s The Christmas Invasion, the Doctor
Who Christmas special has become a festive tradition. So you can imagine
the apoplexy of some of the more… reactionary fans when the BBC announced that,
for the first time in 13 years, there would be no new Doctor Who this Christmas (Ian Levine practically exploded, again).
“None of us know for sure what’s out there. That’s why we keep looking. Keep your faith. Travel hopefully. The universe’ll surprise you – constantly!”
One of Chris Chibnall’s stated intentions as incoming showrunner was to abandon the previous two incumbents’ approach of each season having an overall plot arc which would build to a climax at the end of the season. It was often frustratingly done –witness the nonsensically shoehorned references to Torchwood in David Tennant’s first season. But when done well – and probably RTD’s Bad Wolf arc in the 2005 series is still the benchmark – it produces a real feeling of anticipation for the last episode.
“This woman is clearly an alien force collapsing two realities and impersonating your dead wife. Time to move on!”
What an intriguing title! It Takes You Away immediately called to mind the horror genre, with titles like It’s Alive and It Follows. That cabin in the woods setting only served to reinforce the impression, and of course, when that monstrous roar started sounding…
“Together we shall save the souls of our people from Satan. Even if it means killing them all.”
We seem to have settled into a pattern in this new series of Doctor Who that every other episode will have a historical setting. That’s a higher ratio of stories set in the past than any other time since the show’s 2005 revival, but so far it’s been worth it – I’d say the historicals have been far and away the best eps of the season.
“Delivery fulfilled. And remember, if you want it, Kerblam it!”
So the Robots of Death work for Amazon now? Kerblam! (I think it’s meant to have an exclamation mark) was a bit of a confusing one. On one level, it was a light, silly sci fi romp about a futuristic corporation, with sinister grinning robots, breakneck conveyor belts and a dangerous conspiracy. On those largely undemanding terms, it succeeded.
“So it’s just us. Alone. In space. With that creature.”
Well, that was actually an improvement on last week. From 50s B-movie to… 80s B-movie? The Tsuranga Conundrum is unlikely to go down as a classic like Midnight, but it was a fun, lightweight space opera romp in the style of the ones you might have rented in a video shop in the 80s. True, handsome production values put it a little above, say, a Roger Corman or Richard Band production, and the overall feel was Star Trek the Next Generation meets Alien by way of Ghoulies.
“Big spider problem in this city right now, Yaz. Glad to be home?”
After last week’s affecting historical, Doctor Who was back on more familiar territory this episode with its own take on classic giant spider B-movies like Tarantula. Arachnids in the UK (the title presumably a dreadful pun on the Sex Pistols’ Anarchy in the UK) was a pretty undemanding 50 minutes of television, with a fair few plot holes and some underdeveloped guest characters. But you can’t deny it delivered on the giant spider front. Continue reading “Doctor Who: Season 11, Episode 4 – Arachnids in the UK”