“How many seconds in eternity?”
Well, that was a thing of dark beauty. It was a bold move to have an episode that was, to all intents and purposes, a one man show; but with Steven Moffat’s writing, Rachel Talalay’s direction and, above all, Peter Capaldi’s acting, Heaven Sent turned out to be one of the strongest episodes this year. Continue reading “Doctor Who: Series 9, Episode 11 – Heaven Sent”
“There’s no nice way to say you’re going to die.”
And finally, all those series-long hints paid off this week. Clara Oswald is dead. Or is she? In one sense, it’s an audacious thing to do for Steven Moffat; this is the first time a companion has actually died since Adric in 1982. And definitely the first time a companion has left by dying since the show’s revival. Continue reading “Doctor Who: Series 9, Episode 10 – Face the Raven”
“We’re time travellers. We tread softly. It’s ok to make ripples, but not tidal waves.”
With the fifth episode of this much-improved series of Doctor Who, we’ve finally reached the episode with the much-trumpeted casting of Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams. As a stalwart of probably the most successful show right now, Williams’ casting generated much in the way of headlines; she’s certainly a talented actor, having shown herself to be more than capable of matching the likes of Charles Dance in a scene of heavy dialogue. And the ep was written by Jamie Mathieson (with some nudges form one Steven Moffat), who wrote two of my favourites last year, Mummy on the Orient Express and Flatline. Continue reading “Doctor Who: Series 9, Episode 5 – The Girl Who Died”
“Imagine. To hold in your hand, the heartbeat of every Dalek on Skaro. They send me life. Is it beyond the wit of a Time Lord to send them death?”
I’ll admit, last week I was a trifle surprised to find that Steven Moffat had the chutzpah to open the new series of Doctor Who by writing, effectively, a sequel to Genesis of the Daleks – a story regularly voted the best the show ever did. Yet for me, he pulled it off surprisingly well, building cleverly on the themes, characterisation and philosophy espoused by both the Doctor and Davros in that first meeting. Continue reading “Doctor Who: Series 9, Episode 2 – The Witch’s Familiar”
“Do you know why people get together at Christmas? Because every time it might be the last time.”
Do you know what, for me, is the biggest disappointment when I’m reading or watching a story? When it ends with some variant of “he woke up and it was all a dream”. For me it cheapens and discredits everything that went before, however good it might have been. It also provides licence for some very dodgy writing, with the inevitable defence that, if it’s a dream, it doesn’t have to make sense.
Continue reading “Doctor Who–Last Christmas”
“Turns out the afterlife is real – and it’s emptying. Every graveyard on Earth is about to burst its banks.”
One of the frequent (and justified) criticisms of Steven Moffat’s tenure in charge of Doctor Who is that he tends to undercut the sense of jeopardy by presenting death as something that can always be revoked. He even made a running gag of it with the many deaths of Rory Williams. But now, in a story that was far darker and far bleaker, he’s confronted the reality of death – and its consequences – head on.
Continue reading “Doctor Who: Series 8, Episode 12–Death in Heaven”
“You asked me what we’re going to do. I told you. We’re going to hell.”
After a very divisive season of Doctor Who, we’re finally at the endgame, where all those seeded themes throughout the year may (or may not) pay off. It’s been a new approach for Steven Moffat; while there was an overall plot arc, it was kept very much in the background. Meanwhile, the real arc of the season has been its main characters, and how they’ve developed. The new Doctor, abrasive and hard to like, questioning whether he’s “a good man”; Clara, recast from part one as a “control freak” and more believably fallible as a result; new boy Danny Pink dragging her back to the real world in a kind of relationship many have interpreted as passive aggressive manipulation.
Continue reading “Doctor Who: Series 8, Episode 11–Dark Water”
“You can’t do this. You cannot pretend to be an actual person among real people.”
When an episodic TV series has been running (on and off) for fifty years, it’s hardly surprising that some episodes instil a feeling of déjà vu. Terry Nation, notoriously, wrote the first Dalek story again several times, changing a few names and locations but keeping the same basic plot. That same feeling of déjà vu was very much present in The Caretaker. The concept of the Doctor trying (and comically failing) to fit in with everyday life on contemporary Earth has become a bit of a trope in recent years, most notably in the work of Gareth Roberts, who set the template with The Lodger and revisited it with Closing Time.
Continue reading “Doctor Who: Series 8, Episode 6–The Caretaker”
“Today is a good day to be a bank robber.”
One of the things I’ve been noticing about this season of Doctor Who is that there’s been very little unanimous like or dislike of any of the episodes. None have achieved the near-universal acclaim of Blink, or the near-universal derision of Fear Her. Even last week’s Listen, which was pretty widely acclaimed, has a number of fierce critics among my friends, either for its ambiguity or its deliberate slow pace.
Continue reading “Doctor Who: Series 8, Episode 5 – Time Heist”
“Question – why do we talk out loud when we know we’re alone? Conjecture – because we know we’re not.”
After last week’s love-it-or-loathe-it comedy episode, this week saw Doctor Who back on more familiar ground with an outright horror story. The show’s always traded on an ability to scare small children, and in the post-2005 run, arguably nobody’s been better at that than Steven Moffat. Before he became showrunner (and subject to vitriolic brickbats from those who disliked his style), his episodes for Russell T Davies traded on being ‘the scary ones’ – The Empty Child, Blink, even Girl in the Fireplace, with its organ-harvesting clockwork droids that hid under children’s beds.
Continue reading “Doctor Who: Series 8, Episode 4–Listen”