“Nightmare in Silver” – Review: Redux

Doctor “Don’t wander off! Now I’m not just saying, “Don’t wander off.” I mean it. Otherwise you’ll wander off. And the next thing you know, somebody’s going to have to start rescuing somebody.”

Nightmar in Silver

The penultimate review. It’s been one helluva journey over the last 101 days to reproduce (or in many cases, write new) blog reviews of all the twenty-first century Doctor Who episodes. And after this one, there is only “The Name of the Doctor” left to complete. It goes without saying that my Doctor Who excitement levels are currently stratospheric and show no signs of slowing down any time soon. Planning for the Official 50th Celebration on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Excel in Docklands area of London, not to mention the 3D screening of “The Day of the Doctor” on Saturday. Once it’s all over, the blog will hopefully be replete with reviews and commentaries on the biggest Golden Anniversary of them all. In the meantime, I was forced into watching “Nightmare in Silver” again. Over the course of the last 100 reviews, only 4 episodes have managed to achieve the Demon’s Run Rating of 20 out of 20. One of them was Neil Gaiman’s “The Doctor’s Wife”: a beautiful love letter to the fans. However, it is unfortunate to report that ‘nightmare’ is a pretty appropriate word. Continue reading

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“The Crimson Horror” – Review

Madame Vastra “I was in fact speaking to Jenny.”
Strax “Jenny?! If this weak and fleshy boy is to represent us, I strongly advise the issuing of scissor grenades, limbo vapour and triple-blast brain spitters.”
Madame Vastra “What for?”
Strax “Just generally. Remember, we are going to the north.”

Crimson Horror

Following “The Snowmen” at Christmas, “The Crimson Horror” takes us back to Victorian England and the chance to meet up with Team Vastra again. Having left the Doctor babbling about the ‘impossible girl’ in the graveyard at the conclusion of the annual festive outing, the team from Paternoster Road had no idea that another Clara had been found… again. However, it was quite some way into the episode before we got to meet up with the Doctor and his newest companion. Before that the news of the Crimson Horror had been relayed to Vastra along with the fact that there was suspicion around the Sweetville community. Confusingly, Mr Thursday (the man who contacted Vastra and kept fainting) was supposed to be the brother of the first victim, however, they were both played by the same actor, which left me bewildered on first viewing. Continue reading

“Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS” – Review: Redux

Doctor “I met you at the Dalek Asylum. There was a girl in a ship wreck and she died saving my life. And she was you!”

Clara “She really wasn’t.” 

Doctor “Victorian London. There was a governess who was really a barmaid and we fought the Great Intelligence together. She died and it was my fault. And she was you!”

Clara “You’re scaring me.”

Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS

There was a sinking feeling that I had, when I heard that there would be an episode called “Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS” because it sounded for all the world like one of the those episodes from Star Trek: The Next Generation, just as it was about to jump the shark. You can imagine Journey to the Centre of the Enterprise taking place (as I type these words, and without looking at Google, I’m actually quite sure that this a premise that was in fact used), but it all just seemed so… unnecessary. Even in the pre-title sequence we had contrivance layered upon contrivance as the impregnable, impossible time machine had all its defences taken down for the first time in 1200 years of travel, just as a salvage team needed the defences taken down. Continue reading

“Hide” – Review: Redux

Doctor “Listen, all I need to do is dive into another dimension, find the time-traveller, help her escape the monster, get home before the entire dimension collapses and Bob’s your uncle”

Doctor Who - Series 7B

When you think about ghost stories in Doctor Who, which ones do you think about? For me it’s always the creepiness of “The Horror of Fang Rock” and “Ghostlight” that spring to mind but there is an intrinsic problem with supernatural tales. The show has it’s basis in science. Not in any real world, educational way: it’s not generally the kind of science that you can learn anything from. Unless, of course, you found yourself watching Professor Brian Cox’s lecture “The Science of Doctor Who” last week, in which the aforementioned professor and star of “The Power of Three”, proved that the Eye of Harmony was sort of real. No, the science in this programme is the kind of science that assumes a rational, scientific-sounding explanation for any odd goings on. So when you get a ‘ghost’ you already know that it is not the disembodied spirit of some deceased person, so it’s not as scary as it should be. Continue reading

“Cold War” – Review: Redux

Skaldak “My distress call has not been answered. It will never be answered. My people are dead. They are dust. There is nothing left for me except my revenge.” 

Cold War

“Cold War” was the latest offering from the pen of Mark Gatiss. Some have argued that there has been a gradual decline in the quality of the episodes that Mark Gatiss has written; certainly there are episodes that I do not rate as highly (e.g. “The Idiot’s Lantern”), which do not get near the high water mark of Series One’s “The Unquiet Dead”. However, I have to say that “Cold War” is a great episode. The setting, on a Russian submarine at the height of the Cold War in the 80’s, is suitably claustrophobic (despite the vessel being a little more roomy than I would imagine a real sub to be) and the accident that it has early on in proceedings means that the ever present water dripping or in some cases gushing everywhere, increases the sense of peril. Continue reading

“The Rings of Akhatan” – Review: Redux

Clara “You’re going to fight it, aren’t you?”
Doctor “Regrettably yes, I think I might be about to do that.”
Clara “It’s really big.”
Doctor “I’ve seen bigger.”
Clara “Really?”
Doctor “Are you joking? it’s massive!”

Rings of Akhaten

I’ve been looking forward to writing this review for “The Rings of Akhaten”, or more correctly, I should say that I have been looking forward to re-watching it and then writing the review. As I am now at the stage in the series where I had ceased to write reviews in the immediate aftermath of first broadcast, I have no existing blog upon which to base any re-analysis. However, I clearly recall back in April of this year as the credits rolled on the first of Neil Cross’s two episodes in this little run, turning to my wife and saying “I really quite enjoyed that.” It was a gentle, fairy-tale-esque episode that didn’t really do very much to deliver upon Clara’s request to see something awesome for her first trip onboard the TARDIS. There seemed to be a bit too much singing, and Matt Smith’s shouting at the sun-God was overly reminiscent of his hollering while atop Stonehenge way back in “The Pandorica Opens”, but all in all, I felt it was charming. If I were to have given my patented ‘marks-out-0f twenty’ there and then, probably 13 or 14. Continue reading

“The Bells of St. John” – Review: Redux

Doctor “Right then, Clara Oswald. Time to find out who you are.”

The Bells of Saint John

So the first review of an episode, the original airing of which was this year, which can only mean that the end is in sight. Quite how I’m managing to concentrate on “The Bells of St.John” after today’s revelations is beyond me though. Expect some rambling below. TBOSJ, while ostensibly the beginning of the second half of Series Seven, felt for all the world like the beginning of a new Series. The splitting of this series across two years effectively delivered a slow-down in the number of Doctor Who episodes produced, from the heady days of fourteen a year (plus all the extra stuff we used to get like Confidential, Totally Doctor Who, Torchwood and the Sarah Jane Adventures) to a rather miserly-sounding, eight. Of course 2013 is a year quite unlike any other before it in the universe of Doctor Who given its Golden Celebration happening in ten day’s time, but this reduction still sticks in the craw somewhat. Continue reading