Monday, 10 November 2014

Death in Heaven

"Okay, f**kity bye."

Let me just start off by saying what a cool name "Death In Heaven" is. But if I were just to review the name, this would be a very short article and - to the disappointment of those looking for a quick read - I don't think it will be! Unfortunately, I don't think Death in Heaven fully reaches the level needed to elevate Dark Water. Instead, it manages to come out just above average, and that is mostly down to the efforts of one character...

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Dark Water

"Its the end of the world as we know it. To paraphrase a popular Bangles song"

More than any other, I have felt that Series 8 has all been leading up to the two-part (at last!) finale. Usually this would be a criticism but in the case of Dark Water, it's more of an emotional build up. Almost all of the Series 8 has been working around the issue of Clara's lies, questioned what kind of man the Twelfth Doctor is, how their relationship affects each other and the people around them. Dark Water and Death in Heaven looked set to conclude those emotional arcs in a big way.

Plus we get to find out who Missy is!

Sunday, 26 October 2014

In the Forest of the Night

"I promise that I will never call an 8 year old girl a c**t again."

The episode preceding a series finale has traditionally been a lighter affair, or at least not bore much relevance to the story arc. A breather, if you will, before the roaring finale. It is also customary for these episodes to be a bit crap. In The Forest of the Night does not disappoint in this respect; unfortunately it's about the only front it doesn't fall on.

A car crash of an episode, I'm finding it quite a challenge to thread all of its biggest problems into a coherent post. So taking inspiration from the story itself, the best I can put forward is a meandering mess...

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Flatline


"Clara Who" is a criticism I've seen fired at Series 8 on many occasions - that Clara has taken up a disproportionate amount of screen time and development. Intentional or not, Flatline takes this complaint and plays it about as literally as one can get. The increased focus on Clara hasn't bothered me as such, but I don't appreciate the reduced focus on the new Doctor which it has necessitated. Surprisingly, in the one episode which is explicitly light on The Doctor, this is not a significant problem - leaving us with perhaps the most satisfying episode of the series so far.

When the TARDIS lands in Bristol and begins to shrink, Clara finds herself carrying The Doctor in her pocket and the Sonic Screwdriver in her hand. It's not long before she blurts out "Doctor Oswald" and it becomes clear to us why she has been given so much development: By developing Clara, it becomes easier to see the dark and mysterious new Doctor through her eyes, and it's finally all starting to pay off here. A bit too late if you ask me, but you probably didn't.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Mummy on the Orient Express

"Having an accurate wee into a moving train toilet would make a great round on The Cube."

Mummy on the Orient Express is nothing like what I was expecting it to be. I will try not to let my expectations to affect my ultimate opinion, but I'm afraid that's inevitable to some degree.

First off, I wasn't expecting Clara to even be in the episode following last week. I knew she would be back for Flatline, but in the synopsis for that, it stated she was separated from The Doctor, so I thought this could be a 'Clara-lite' story which would demonstrate - perhaps - why The Doctor needed her. I mean... after last week's fight between the two and the promise of consequences, there's no way that Clara could poss-

Oh dammit, why is she stepping out the TARDIS doors like nothing happened?!

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Kill The Moon

"Sort it or abort it."

I was looking forward to Kill The Moon very much. From the previews and descriptions, I thought it could be the first 10/10 of Series 8. It looked terrifying, atmospheric, and we were promised an episode which would change the show forever. I for one have grown very tired of silly promises like that, but nonetheless a moral dilemma and some serious emotional fallout is always pretty cool.

To a certain extent, the episode lives up the hype. While still overstated, this really is the turning point of Series 8, particularly with regards to The Doctor and Clara's relationship. While not as scary as the likes of The Empty Child, it certainly has its share of scare. While not as gut-wrenching as The Girl Who Waited, the emotional thread is... Oh, you get the idea.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

The Caretaker

"The guy is an epic f**k-up. He’s so dense that light bends around him."

Gareth Roberts is a writer whose episodes I haven't always gotten on very well with. The Shakespeare Code was decent, and The Unicorn and The Wasp is actually very funny... But then he found his niche with The Lodger - an episode where The Doctor goes deep undercover, posing as a normal human in order to investigate some local shenanigans. Neither of his episodes since have done much for me; lacking the humour they're supposed to be boasting and sacrificing plot in order to prop-up said humour.

In The Caretaker. The Doctor goes deep undercover, posing as a normal human in order to investigate some local shenanigans. Yes, this is very much "Lodger Mk. II". But is it an improvement, or another disappointing rehash?

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Time Heist

"Life is interesting at last, I've been so f***ing bored the last two years."

Maybe I'm losing whatever semblance of an edge I once had, maybe I'm on a Fresher's week high, but this is another review I'm not sure how to tackle. It is not, however, similar to the problem I had taking on Listen. It's more I don't have a great deal I feel like I can give a thorough critique as I would normally try to. Time Heist is... it's okay. There's not much about it which it spectacularly screws up, but also not much I can hail as being the best thing I've ever seen. Which is fine.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Listen

"Enough. E-f***ing-nough. You need to learn when to shut your f***ing cave!"

Listen is an odd episode. In a series where average tends to mean something along the lines of "the Robin Hood episode", that is quite a bold statement to make. To be perfectly honest, I don't know how to tackle it. This post will therefore be less of a review, and take the form of a bit of a ramble.

I didn't like it very much. Well... Actually, that's a total lie. I liked certain sequences in the episode very much. But from about halfway through, it took a downward turn for me and the story never fully came together. In fact, the issues I have with it are not dissimilar to the problems I have with The Time of The Doctor, albeit not to quite the same extent.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Robots of Sherwood

"Their hordes of f***ing robots - they're coming over the hill. And all you have to do now is bend down, pick up any f***ing weapon and t**t the f***ery out of them!"

Mark Gatiss has a... polarizing effect on the Doctor Who fan base. With the possible exception of The Unquiet Dead, all of his episodes have been met with fairly mixed receptions. For me personally I think the only real stinkers have been Night Terrors and Cold War, but his episodes have never impressed me. Which is why I wasn't looking forward to this episode that much; it seemed to be very much a filler story with not much connection to the story arcs or character development and the premise seemed a bit shaky.

To compare to other Gatiss stories, I'd place it somewhere around (albeit below) The Crimson Horror, and overall it's similar (although, again, weaker) to The Shakespeare Code: A perfectly enjoyable, but somewhat underwhelming and silly, psuedo-historical story which isn't bad but ultimately forgettable.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Tracheotomy of the Daleks

"Come the f*** in or f*** the f*** off!"

Well then... Only one week into the Twelfth Doctor's run and we have already come face to face with the Daleks. While I have personally grown very tired of the Time Lord's most persistent foes, it's become a rite of passage for each incarnation to face them at some point in their run. With that in mind, it's probably for the best that time has come nice and early!

Having said that, I was looking forward to Into The Dalek. Instead of the standard yearly invasions of the Russell T Davies era, it would be wrong of me to accuse Moffat's tenure of playing the Daleks too safe and this story is not an exception. This time, as the title suggest, Phil Ford is taking us inside the Dalek itself, physically and metaphorically. I'll forgive you if you're having flashbacks to Lets Kill Hitler.

So how does this fantastic voyage hold up? While it's certainly not up there with the best of the Dalek stories, at least doesn't find company with the worst. It is - if nothing else - a different kind of Dalek story, but one which ultimately falls somewhere around average.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Deep Breath


After a long break of around nine months, Doctor Who has returned! With a new Doctor in the vaguely praying mantis-like form of Peter Capaldi, we're ushering in a new era. Steven Moffat has promised a different direction for Calapdi's tenure: More consequences, more drama, more darkness. A feature length episode, Deep Breath ought to be a showcase of this new direction. A promise. A statement.

Definitely an episode of two halves, I'm still not sure what I think of Deep Breath. There are parts of it which work very well, and parts of it which I think weren't very good at all.