Monday, October 27, 2014

Straight out of child's book - In the Forest of the Night

There's been a lot of talk this season of Doctor Who maybe starting to not be for kids any more. Mostly because of its later time slot. It's the sort of topic I'd avoid, it not really fitting into the whole narrative approach I'm interested in, except 'In the Forest of the Night' shuts all those critics up.

An episode about a forest springing up over night just to protect us, while also managing to fit in a missing sister and a bunch of escaped animals from the zoo is perfect kid fodder. Not to mention we set the whole thing up as a school trip. If there was ever a more kid-friendly episode of Who, I think we'd all be diabetics after it.

Besides Who’s reputation has always been scaring the bejesus out of kids and them watching behind a sofa.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Clara plays at being the Doctor - Flatline

Again we've got another episode with the focus firmly on Clara. I had a friend moan to me about this recently, feeling that while Coleman is doing an amazing job, the show perhaps needs a bit more focus on the new Doctor. And I can certainly agree with that. Even after last week which was a Doctor heavy episode I don't feel like we've spent quite enough time with Capaldi as Moffat has a very clear idea of his Clara/Danny storyline.

That said, this episode was a great way to focus on the Clara without losing the Doctor. The Doctor stuck in the TARDIS while the companion has to do the work is one of those tropes that seems incredibly obvious but doesn't get trotted that often. The only other example I can think of is 'The Horns of Nimon' and the less we talk about that the better – partly because that review isn't out yet.

I think 'Flatline' is a spectacular concept. The 2D aliens is a great idea, and the visuals to accompany them were fantastic. The shrinking TARDIS was fun, and the Doctor's frustration at not understanding how someone could do that was well played, and his realisation worked brilliantly. I felt there was more talking to himself with impersonations too, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. The community workers being those that needed saving was an interesting twist, and it was brave that one of the survivors was clearly the 'evil' one, and for the Doctor to quietly admit that maybe he shouldn't have.

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Mummy only the victim can see! - Mummy on the Orient Express

A Mummy on the Orient Express. In Space. That's a concept only Doctor Who could get away with. But by embracing the very epitome of an Agatha Christie story (yet again), and having the train and its occupants act like they're in the twenties or thirties, this episode absolutely sings.

The use of a jazz version of Don't Stop Me Now alone is absolutely genius. It's one of those touches that settle it in the future, yet still have it feel like a time past, just like BioShock Infinite did with it's cover of Tears for Fears. But the song choice isn't a throwaway choice either. Don't Stop Me Now could almost be a rallying cry for this episode's endgame.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Clara learns that you can't always trust the Doctor - Kill the Moon

The Doctor's been a bit of a dick to Courtney Woods, a school girl that has appeared multiple times throughout this season of Who, and even got a ride in the TARDIS at the end of 'The Caretaker'. Where she promptly puked because she couldn't handle it, and proved she wasn't special and not companion material in the slightest. The Doctor told her that, and Clara is not impressed, so he decides to take them both to the moon at the time of First Woman to land there. And then they have to decide whether they're going to blow up the moon or not.

I like that in the end it was a story about the Doctor not getting involved and leaving it to Humanity to make the decision, and also his absolute trust in Clara in what she would do. Unfortunately he's a bit of a dick about it.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Taking care of Who? - The Caretaker review

Let's face it, the stop motion model of an alien killer robot is window dressing to what's really going in this episode, as the Danny/Doctor problems for Clara come to a head. Finally the two men in her life come crashing together and she has to deal with how unalike they are.

This is all set up by having a montage of her trying to juggle them, running from one appointment to another like some nineties teenage sitcom. That said I liked the vague hints at various adventures the Doctor and Clara go on that we don't get to see, and what that means for the extended universe. At some point I'll probably do a post about how Moffat has done this, and just why it's so handy for the future of the series.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Doctor's Seven... I mean Four – Time Heist

Doctor Who does Ocean's Eleven. It's one of those concepts that just sounds like it was designed exactly for me. But the execution seemed off. The Doctor allows himself to be mind wiped and is following another person's instructions. It just doesn't work. Especially for this new Doctor.

But things belt along quickly enough that you don't really have to worry too much about it either. Before you question just what someone could offer the Doctor to do this, armed guards are battering on the door all while we're still being introduced to the other two bank robbers, both human, which could seem lazy for Who, but then one's cybernetic and the other is a mutant, which more than makes up for it.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Time Heist review Delayed

Due to two whole days of travelling, and a very drunken wedding of a good friend, my review of Time Heist is delayed till tomorrow. It's half written, but I really don't trust myself to edit properly today.