Sunday, 25 June 2017

Doctor Who Series 10 First Impressions: Episode 11 (World Enough And Time)

Holy shit. What a state of flux to be left in.

I'm seein' double! FOUR Masters!
By now I'm used to playing in a state of flux when it comes to these two-part episodes. I'm still casting my mind back to Nov. 2014 and Dark Water, when this was a new thing for me to write about. Since then we had an entire series worth of two parters, and more. Some turned out good, some turned out bad. Dark Water seems like a good comparison point to start with World Enough And Time. In a way, we're hitting a lot of those plot beats again. The death of a character. Cybermen and body horror. The end episode reveal of OH SHIT IT WAS THE MASTER ALL ALONG. Writing it out like that, it sounds like I should be infuriated at the episode for rehashing all this shit; much like I was when Lie Of The Land happened. I'm not, and that's probably because the rest of the episode glues together. This was a hell of an episode of television, despite one or two little gripes based on past experience and that state of flux we're left in before the other half drops. As of now it's in my top three... somewhere, but I don't know which one of my previous top three to bump off for it. I won't worry about that yet until we get to the series ranking in a week or two. For now... World Enough And Time.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Doctor Who Series 10 First Impressions: Episode 10 (The Eaters Of Light)

I don't have an easy summary for this one beyond "it's fine" so let's just launch on into it.

It's okay, everyone. I speak glowing tentacle.
This is one of the ones this year I was a little excited for, considering the pedigree of the writer. Rona Munro wrote the final story of classic Doctor Who, Survival, and that's one which I quite like. After a long writing career she came back to Doctor Who for this. I don't know anything about her writing career other than writing a 28 year-old story that capped off old Doctor Who, so I've no clue how her style evolved or anything. Aside from one similar shot, this episode has nary a thing to do with Survival so we're going to ignore it for the time being. Instead we'll just plunge on in to... The Eaters Of Light.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Doctor Who Series 10 First Impressions: Episode 9 (Empress Of Mars)

That's a marked improvement over last week. Thank goodness for it.

"Allow me to break the ice. My name is Iraxxa.
Learn it well, for it is the chilling sound of your doom!"
Mark Gatiss! He's probably Doctor Who's best mid-tier quality episode writer. Sometimes he pens a dud and sometimes he pens a classic of the series. I won't go over his Doctor Who stories in short summation, save for the two I've already looked at in the Capaldi era. Robot Of Sherwood was a fine bit of welcome fluff for the early Capaldi era when we weren't sure about this callous new guy. Not a classic of Series 8, but somewhere in the middle? Possibly lower back since Series 8 was really quite consistently good. Sleep No More is a little more interesting, as it's Gatiss getting a little experimental and doing Doctor Who: Found Footage Edition. Yeah, okay, walking snot monsters and all that but he tried something new and it mostly worked. Also I maintain that the twist ending is still one of the scariest bits of conceptual horror in recent memory on Doctor Who. And now Mark Gatiss is doing the Ice Warriors! Again! He brought them back in 2013 for the 50th after like 40 years and it worked. Now he's done it again and it doesn't work AS well as Cold War... but after the contemptuous dull dud we went through last week? I'll take a mid-tier Gatiss episode like a man dying of thirst. Let's take a quick stroll through... Empress Of Mars.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Doctor Who Series 10 First Impressions: Episode 8 (The Lie Of The Land)


It's not a Before The Flood level of hecking up a good setup, but it still left me wanting.

The Monks are your friends. This is a good episode.
Toby Whithouse is amazing at Doctor Who.
Actually, let's go with that. What did I say last week? "Hecking it up, in this case, would be the Monks ruling planet Earth like a bunch of dictators. Or not following up on the theme of consent and it being healthy.". So within the first three goddamn minutes we heck this up because the actual literal thought police burst in and rush a woman off to the labor camps for 10 years for not believing in the lie of the Monks and making propaganda of this. WHOOPS! I was even ready to play ball with the whole opening monologue from the Doctor about how the Monks have helped us and that all they ask for is obedience... but sweet christ.
It still works with the "fear is inefficient" model and "we need to be loved" and all that but good GOD. I was expecting something a little more meaty and interesting, a world that's imperfect because it's not our Doctor Who world but one that's at least somewhat improved by the Monks. What we get is a drab bland dystopia where everyone wears black and there's an actual literal fucking thought police dedicated to catching people who don't believe the lie of the Monks! At one point in a Bill monologue she mentions that someone was sentenced to 10 years for owning comics! What the actual fuck?  It's going extra to show that this is a bad world that should be torn down, but it didn't really need to do that; the fact that it's not "our" Doctor Who world is enough for the audience to want that. Then again, this is the same guy who thought he needed to telegraph a fucking predestination paradox in the opening of his last episode so I get the vibe that he doesn't trust the audience to pick up on subtlety.