Sunday, 25 June 2017

Doctor Who: World Enough and Time (1)

Bill: 'I... waited... for... you.'

Well, it may have taken us eleven weeks to get there, but we finally got our first stand-out episode of the season. Its only weakness was that its main reveals were already known to us, but since that was by design rather than by accident, then I'm not sure we can really complain. (Of course, I do below.) At last, a story that was genuinely engaging, mostly free from the story glitches that have thus far plagued the season, and that featured not one but two captivating Masters.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Doctor Who: The Eaters of LIght

Doctor: 'That's the trouble with hope... it's hard to resist.'

I almost never read spoiler-free reviews prior to an episode airing, but with tonight's story heralding the return of Rona Munro, after a wait of almost 28 years, I couldn't seem to help myself. I'm not going to lie: the reviews were less than dazzling. One described 'The Eaters of Light' as 'underdeveloped', another called some of its plot elements 'forced', and a third complained about the now customary mention of Bill's lesbianism. Personally, I found it rather enjoyable. Which confirms what I've suspected for some time now: I am hopelessly at odds with what virtually everyone else is thinking.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Doctor Who: Empress of Mars

Doctor: 'There's no setting for wood. Why is there still no setting for wood?'

This was by no stretch of the imagination Mark Gatiss' best episode, but it was far from being his worst. The dialogue was at times bland, the contrived way in which he split up his three main protagonists clumsy, and Catchlove was a walking cliche. Thankfully, the return of the Ice Warriors and an unexpected voice cameo from Ysanne Churchman injected some interest into the proceedings—I just wish there'd been more Nardy. There, I said it and the world didn't end.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Doctor Who: The Lie of the Land

Doctor: 'I thought I was just being kind, but I was saving the world.'

As a one-parter, I think this would have been a half-decent episode. As the culmination of a three-part story, however, it felt sadly lacking. It was at times funny, the acting was occasionally excellent, and the premise had oodles of potential. What a pity the conclusion was so weak. It wasn't quite a love-saves-the-day style cop-out, but it came perilously close.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Doctor Who: The Pyramid at the End of the World

Bill: 'How would I know the president? I mean, I wouldn't have even voted for him. He's orange.'

After the return to form that was 'Oxygen' and 'Extremis', we're currently three for three after yet another tale reluctant to give up its secrets. I confess, I'm loving the three-part format. Since Chibnall's no stranger to serialised storytelling, here's hoping that he milks the crap out of it next season; the show's clearly so much better when the stories are allowed to breathe. Unless Daleks and Manhattan are involved.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Doctor Who: Extremis

Doctor: 'In darkness, we are revealed'.

This was the first really interesting episode of the season. After the more linear opening stories, this felt like classic Moffat: with its fractured narrative, ugly-AF bad guys, returning classic adversary, and half-answered questions. Which means the internet's already whining about not getting enough answers. At the end of the first part of a three-part story. Which actually gave us plenty of answers. Yeah, the internet's great.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Doctor Who: Oxygen

Doctor: 'Bill, I've got no TARDIS, no sonic, about ten minutes of oxygen left, and now I'm blind. Can you imagine how unbearable I'm gonna be when I pull this off.'

This felt like the first solid episode of the season—just as I was beginning to fear one would never materialise. The story filled its running time comfortably, its main characters were effectively used, and the CGI was the best we've had all season. Even Matt Lucas earned his wages this week. I quite enjoyed Nardole, actually. Not that he added anything essential to the story, but at least I didn't feel like slapping him.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Doctor Who: Knock Knock

Bill: 'Basically, this is the bit of my life you're not in.'

If I'm honest, this season is turning into what I imagined next season would be, with its vanilla stories, its super-friendly Doctor, and its simpler season arc. Not a bad thing if done correctly, but I can't help but feel the show's lost some of its pzazz. I know the convoluted storytelling of seasons five and six was confusing to many (myself included), but I'd sooner be utterly baffled by an episode than have little to say about it.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Doctor Who: Thin Ice

Doctor: 'There are situations when the options available are limited.'

Well, this felt more like a Christmas episode than the Christmas episode. It had a festive fair (not to mention festive flair and arrestive hair), falling snow, not too stinky street urchins, and a whopping big Christmas pud with holly on top. This was also Sarah Dollard's second attempt at a Doctor Who story, and after the unmitigated success of 'Face the Raven', was it another 'Nightmare in Silver' (Neil Gaiman's rather pungent second abomination), or did it reach the lofty heights of Paul Cornell's 'Human Nature'?

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Doctor Who: Smile

Doctor: 'I met an emperor made of algae once. He fancied me.'

With shades of 'The Happiness Patrol' and 'Ark in Space', this felt like an episode from the classic era. Internet consensus seems to be that it was a better episode for Frank Cottrell-Boyce than his earlier effort, 'In the Forest of the Night'. Well, yes it was... but that's hardly a ringing endorsement. It's like saying that nappy rash is better than piles. It's likely true, but you still wouldn't want either infesting your nether regions.