Sunday, 24 August 2014

Deep Breath written by Steven Moffat and directed by Ben Wheatley

This story in a nutshell: The most schizophrenic Doctor arrives on the scene...

Indiscernible: 'I have a horrible feeling I'm going to have to kill you...I thought you might appreciate a drink first.' Welcome to the world of Doctor Who, Peter Capaldi. To say I was disappointed with his performance in the first half of Deep Breath would be an understatement. I had been telling doubters that this was going to be the most interesting Doctor yet and here he was jerking about like a puppet with his strings cut, talking nonsensically and failing to even tickle the funny bone as he did so. It was just irritating wackiness. That's a new approach (unless you count Sylvester McCoy's debut). Fortunately things took a massive u-turn in the second half and all the things I was expecting from Capaldi - gravitas, darkness and a suggestion of something truly sinister beneath - all began to surface. I wouldn't say that he is fully defined as a character like Matt Smith was in The Eleventh Hour. In fact I would say that he is barely defined as a character at all but that is rather exciting. Looking back at the 11th Doctor's era it is clear that he started at his zenith and generally haemorrhaged interest throughout his tenure until he was little more than a collection of quirks come his finale. Capaldi is in a much different place after his debut, with places to go and grow. I think it is going to be a most interesting ride.

His first scene is horribly awkward and packed full genuinely awful dialogue. Why secure an actor of this magnitude and give him such foolish things to say? This dialogue is beneath him and Capaldi struggles under its weight of ineptitude. It's basically the pre-titles sequence of The Christmas Invasion (Jenny's dialogue mirrors Jackie's at the end), three times as long, terribly scripted and without the impressive stunt of the TARDIS crash landing. The bedroom, eyebrows and anti-English dialogue is just as bad, it is a character trying to be idiosyncratic rather than simply being so...and that's painful. And as for the comic noise when the Doctor falls unconscious, that's just peculiar. His chalk equations on the floor of his bedroom was the first point where I thought this Doctor might work out, maybe that was the idea. To wrong foot us so completely. I wonder how many of the casual audience wont be watching next week though because of the crazy old git literally screaming his head from the rooftops and jumping in the Thames (several of my friends that don't watch the show on a regular basis declared this the worst thing they had seen on television in many a year). His sadness and anger for the burning dinosaur felt very Doctorish to me, a lovely touch. Planet of the pudding brains? I preferred it when he just called us stupid apes. The tension and chemistry between the Doctor and Clara in the restaurant scene is palpable, this shows great promise. All Moffat had to do was to add some mutual antipathy. Leaving Clara to her fate might just be the best thing he does in the entire story, for once the Doctor is a genuinely unpredictable. When he confronts the villain of the piece, all mood and wit, the Doctor has arrived, albeit not quite fully formed yet.

The Impossible Girl: The biggest revelation of Deep Breath, even moreso than Peter Capaldi for me. It's nice to see that there has been a genuine character rattling around inside there all this time and this 80 minutes did more to justify Clara's existence than the entirety of her output last year. I'll get the bad stuff out of the way first because the good stuff is worth concentrating on. This is an unrealistic leap in a positive direction. Last year Clara was self assured to the point of no longer serving as a character, she stormed around submarines filling with water, took on a haunted house and directed an army of soldiers against a Cyberman army without batting an eyelid or breaking a sweat. It was infuriatingly smug and unrealistic. This was not a character I could identify with. To have her go from that to falling to pieces just because the guy she fancies has changed faces (a fact that she should be intimately acquainted with because she has jumped all over his time stream) is seriously inconsistent to the point where we could be talking about another character entirely. However the new, less assured, more tentative and angry Clara is one that I very much like and can buy I'll let it slide this time. It is wonderful to see Clara not being able to cope for once, I can sympathise with her for a change. This new Doctor is gangly and awkward and she doesn't know how he fits into the life she has built with the old one. Suddenly this man that she fancies (icky) is old and ugly (comparatively speaking) and it has thrown her. Whilst her anger in the face of Vastra isn't scripted very naturally that is the first time that we have really seen her teeth. I wanted to applaud like Jenny. 'I am extremely cross' she tells the Doctor. Hurrah. We even get to see Clara failing to cope with her class at school. Now she is a mass of neuroses I find her infinitely more believable. 

Lizard Lady, Lesbian Lover & Jolly Sontaran: I fail to see the point in continuing to return to these characters if we never learn anything new about them when we do. Aside from highlighting a pro interspecies and gay stance (and I'm not saying there is anything wrong with that...just that it is highlighted to the point where this is the only interesting thing about these characters), there is little here that we haven't seen before. Frankly I would rather see the Tyler clan coping with a new Doctor because I can buy into them as characters and they mirror how I might react to things. A Silurian, a cockney maid and fat Sontaran form what can hardly be called a realistic set up so you've lost half the battle there already, albeit with the non-fan audience. They are semi-regulars now (having appeared in The Snowmen, The Crimson Horror, The Name of the Doctor and Deep Breath) but I fail to understand what makes them so fascinating that they are worth continuing the association. They're fun, they're worth the odd appearance, maybe once a year but if we're not going to learn anything fresh about their characters (continuing saying 'we're married' doesn't constitute something fresh) then I don't understand the appeal. It doesn't further the exploration of the Silurians, the Sontarans or humanity. I have to say I miss the idea of these species (well perhaps not humanity) as enemies of the Doctor. Using them as characters in a Victorian based sitcom is hardly seeing them at their best. Sorry to be such a killjoy. Plus Strax's idiotic misunderstandings of human anatomy are beyond a joke now, Douglas Adams Moffat aint.

Sparkling Dialogue: 'This isn't a man turning himself into a robot. This is a robot turning himself into a man.'
'Threats don't work unless you can deliver.'
'I am not a control freak!'

The Good:

* The one good thing I took from the first half hour was Clara spending the night with the Paternoster gang and generally slowing the pace down and soaking in the atmosphere of the period. There has been so little of that lately and I have missed it.
* Smacking Clara in the face with the Times. Laugh out loud funny. As is Strax falling to the floor like a sack of spuds after Vastra and Jenny have made such a graceful entrance.
* Brian Miller back in Doctor Who. The scene between the Doctor and tramp might be bizarrely written (all this obsession with mighty eyebrows, the Scots and stealing smelly coats) but it is beautifully performed by Miller and Capaldi.
* Clara insults the Doctor (he doesn't have the attention span) and the Doctor insults Clara (an ego maniac needy game player). This is a promising new trend.
* Simon guessed immediately that this was a sequel to The Girl in the Fireplace once the ticking in the restaurant began resounding. That doesn't make it any less of a chilling moment when you realise that the Doctor and Clara are surrounded by automatons. Moffat still has a penchant for the odd jarring shock. Although it still isn't original, an eatery filled with humanoid machines calls to mind The Android Invasion.
* The visible clockwork inside the robots heads. Just how I like my plots, very neat.

The Bad:

* The dinosaur is probably the worst thought through plot element in Moffat's entire reign and it kick starts a whole new era. Go figure. As far as Moffat is concerned it is probably just a fun way to introduce the Doctor to the audience but it comes with it a whole host of problems that counter the effect of a memorable introduction. For one it is hardly original, we had dinosaurs stomping about last year and the Doctor has already made a disgraceful exit out of the mouth of a giant creature (The Beast Below). Also wasn't one of the reasons Moffat invented the cracks in time and space to tuck away all those out in the open alien invasions that Russell T Davies was so fond of? And he is shamelessly flouting that rule to get a reaction. Don't get me wrong it looks fantastic, as good as any dinosaur I have ever seen on screen...but it isn't even a salient plot point. It is packaged as such for the first half an hour, stomping about the town with attitude but ultimately it is just a distraction, a way to turn a 45 minute story into an 80 minute one. It has nothing to do with the central narrative (nowhere to be seen for the first half an hour, aside from one brief moment) whatsoever. It is just a quirky way to bring the new Doctor to light in a spectacular way and then, like the irrelevant exercise that it is it just fizzles away and burns. And obviously nobody remembered this bizarre dinosaur shaped disaster afterwards. Never underestimate the human ability to forget things it can't handle.
* Ben Wheatley's direction is severely lacking in places. I don't often say that about a new series director but this was more apparent because the talents of this particular director have been splashed all over the media. It reminds me of something Eric Saward said once, that he could get in touch with genuinely strong writers but it doesn't mean that they could write for Doctor Who because it is such a curious beast. I would add direction to that list now. Wheatley manages to frame some scenes very well but were many more moments where I thought the tension and the humour missed the mark by a mile. The scene where the Doctor falls unconscious spectacularly fails to be amusing in precisely the way that Smith's collision with the tree was hilarious in The Eleventh Hour. And I think that is entirely down to the direction. Clara trapped underground without the Doctor should have been stiflingly claustrophobic and tense but shot mostly from a distance it fails to generate any anxiety. A shame, given the conscious choice the Doctor has made to leave her this should have been the most frightening moment of NuWho yet. Sabotaged by the director. His greatest sin is the action sequence at the climax though. Clara and the Paternoster gang are tackling the androids but it so confusingly directed you be hard pressed to figure out what is going on. The editor deserves a slap on the wrist too.
* The new title music is an assault on the ears, unfortunately. Murray Gold's season four score is still my favourite; exciting, dynamic, catchy, nostalgic. This version reduces the Doctor Who theme to the sound of fingers down a blackboard. And we all know how pleasant that sounds. The titles are better than last year but still a little too busy. What is wrong with simple? The TARDIS travelling down the vortex has always been enough...why is there suddenly a need to throw so much at the audience? Is Moffat scared they will get bored during the title sequence?
* Way to admit everything that went wrong during the Matt Smith era by acknowledging that Clara and the Doctor were boyfriend and girlfriend. The script makes several references to the fact that they both consented to that arrangement...and that should never be the case. Even with the Doctor and Rose in series two it was a one sided affair, he did have strong feelings for her but he certainly didn't lust after her in a short skirt or embrace the life as her boyfriend. Moffat has been obsessed with taking the Doctor to brink of consensual sex, acting up as Clara's boyfriend, lusting after her and being pawed at in Amy's bedroom. They've now chosen a lead who cannot fulfil that task for Moffat (visually it just would not work) and so now Danny Pink has been drafted in to add the element to the show that he simply cannot write without. The sex. You mark my words.
* 'It don't look realistic' 'I blame the government...' - why are the Victorian characters all talking in contemporary language.
* Let's count the recycled plot elements. Dinosaurs (Dinosaurs on a Spaceship), regeneration crisis (take your pick), the Paternoster Gang (five previous stories), robots stealing body parts (The Girl in the Fireplace), the Victorian setting (as predictable as contemporary London was during Davies' era after four airings in the previous ten stories), don't breathe (don't blink), the Doctor sailing over Victorian London in a hot air balloon (The Next Doctor). In fact was there a single original notion in this story? You would hope that recycling elements from The Girl in the Fireplace would add an extra layer of interest to the previous tale, would tell us something new that allows us to see it in a brand new way. Nadda, it is just a sister ship, plain and simple. And as much as I like the darker Doctor element, it is hardly a new idea. Hartnell had quite the temper, Troughton could jettison his humour in a moment, Pertwee was violent, Baker brooded, Baker II cut through time a space like a serrated saw, McCoy destroyed entire worlds, Eccleston epitomised menace and Tennant dished out some pretty severe punishments. It is only in the wake of the Nutty Professor that this shadowy approach feels refreshing. Even the Doctor killing somebody from a great height was handled in The Christmas Invasion. And they made far less of a song and dance about it. Tennant was just as dark, but less self consciously so. Next week: the Daleks. What happened to this bold new era of innovation?
* Horsey humour is so passé now. And the broom metaphor might have worked if it hadn't been done to much more amusing effect in Only Fools and Horses. 'Always look after your broom, Dave.'
* With Moffat you have to acknowledge that he changes the rules as he goes along or go mad. He might set something up in one story (say the Doctor's final death on Trenzalore with the TARDIS left as a monument) but he will completely contradict it in another (it never happened in Time of the Doctor so unless he will return once again to Trenzalore on his very last regeneration - which is the stretchiest of narrative stretches - there is no biodata for Clara to jump into a save his life because the TARDIS isn't there. Which means she cannot meet him in Asylum. Or The Snowmen...I'll stop before I short circuit) so that the set up in the first story makes no sense whatsoever. It might be lousy continuity and lazy (and I loathe to use that word) writing but you have to accept it as it is the only way to proceed through his era without having a logic based breakdown. Strax was established as a competent medical Doctor in A Good Man Goes to War. Now he cannot tell a human arse from the far side of the moon. It makes no sense whatsoever, it's character devolution for a cheap gag.
* 35 minutes into the episode, Vastra looks at a map of where the deaths have occurred. That is when the plot kicks in. That is almost the length of a standard episode.
* 'Clara, I'm not your boyfriend...' might be the worst line in Doctor Who ever. Why would that ever need to be said unless something had gone fundamentally wrong with the Doctor in the previous incarnation?
* Why would the Doctor need to phone Clara in the future to help her transition with the new Doctor when he is about to make an ages-long speech to her before regenerating? Why not just say 'Clara, I might be a bit of a wanker but stick with me' instead of all that airy fairy nonsense about never forgetting when the Doctor was me? Oh right, because they wanted a Matt Smith cameo and for the audience (and Clara) to be comforted. Bollocks writing, making zero sense when considered for a half a second. Aren't I clever because I set this up by having the TARDIS phone hanging off the hook in Time of the Doctor? Nope, you've just made yourself look like an idiot for setting up something that really didn't need to happen. Stop trying to be clever and think.
* The advert in the newspaper, that was a lovely hint of an arc. Somebody trying to keep the Doctor and Clara together. The final scene (despite being well played) was an indication that we were in for more of the same. Another smugly self assured mysterious woman who considers the Doctor to be her boyfriend. Hello River. Hello Clara. Hello Tasha Lem. Hello Missy. Try playing a new track, Moffat.

The Shallow Bit: Everyone is up in arms about the lesbian, interspecies kiss. Maybe they have forgotten about the Doctor and Jack's kiss in The Parting of the Ways. Or the thousand references to the fact that Vastra and Jenny are married. What do people imagine they get up to in private? Counting the scales on her lizard head? Upsetting homophobes and racists and delicate parents is three way win as far as I'm concerned. It was a gentle moment between two characters that is barely worth commenting about. The storm that has brewed in its wake proves that family television still has a long way to go. Allusions to Clara watching porn are hilarious, if slightly inappropriate. I hope kids don't probe their parents any further on that one. Jenny let's her hair down in her underwear...and she's beautiful. Who knew? Vastra in green...that's a nice look for her.

Standout Scene: The Doctor brooding menacingly in the TARDIS, refusing to conform for Clara. I feels different. This is a Doctor who wont go out of his way to comfort his assistant or the audience. I hope they keep that up. This is the most vital scene in the entire episode and I'm glad this is the one that Wheatley aced, especially the lighting. Even the TARDIS has more of a brooding edge.

Result: The first half an hour of Deep Breath might just be the most worst opening to any regeneration story. Previous recipients were either so shocking they were like having a bucket of cold water thrown in your face (the Doctor strangling Peri) or paradoxically so dreadful they were deliriously enjoyable to watch (Kate O'Mara dressing up and doing her best Bonnie Langford impression). I found myself drifting off to make dinner and just listening with one ear. Which is bizarre because the last half hour does some genuinely interesting things with its characters. Deep Breath has an extra 35 minutes to play with but it doesn't use them wisely. Time of the Doctor tried to squeeze too much into to short a time...Deep Breath has the opposite problem. Although there is the odd nugget of gold in the script, the dialogue is frequently painful and the plot is entirely made up of recycled ideas. Those who are declaring this as one of Moffat's best are clearly coming to the show from a different place critically than I am. Just because we so desperately want this to be a bold new era of Doctor Who...that doesn't mean it automatically is and whilst this has some fresh elements to it (mostly the Doctor's brooding darkness in the wake of Smith's wackiness) this is still laden with the flaws that have been apparent in Moffat's approach since series six. Perhaps this was the point where a new showrunner (hate that term), one who is not a fan should have taken the reins. It worked for Hinchcliffe. The new Doctor is deliberately awkward and non-conformist and whilst that might work for Doctor Who fans who understand that it takes a while to settle into the role I can only imagine the wider audience watching and recoiling at the enforced strangeness that the protagonist is forced to exhibit. Capaldi pulls it together in the last half an hour and focuses on the Doctor's exciting newfound murkiness but he really struggles in the opening half of this story. Clara is improved exponentially simply by reacting to the situation like a human being rather than the unfazed super companion she was last year. When did acting scared become a revolutionary concept for a companion? Only in the wake of Amy and Clara Mark I... While the plot never thrilled me, there were some intriguing scenes in the tail end of the story (mostly down to Capaldi's riveting performance) and whilst I never for one moment bought that the semi regulars would be killed (people don't die in the Moffat-verse, remember?) the climax is at least dramatically satisfying. Ben Wheatley is a name that has excited a lot of people but judging by the material here he was lauded a little too early. I would say he is one of the weaker directors to have realised a story yet. I would sum up Deep Breath as an abject failure as a story but an intriguing success as a character tale...once it got going. I would say that on strength of Time of the Doctor and Deep Breath back to back that Steven Moffat has gone bankrupt creatively (he has exhausted his well of ideas) but still has some tricks up his sleeves when it comes to his characters. It is a frustrating situation because I want razor sharp stories and strong characterisation but after the trinity of terror last year (Journey, Nightmare and Time) I will happily take at least one or the other for the time being. I am genuinely excited to see what the new writers bring this year with new set up but Moffat is going to have to up his game exponentially, in story terms, in order to get the show up to scratch: 5/10


Carl R said...

hmmm... I actually thought it was unobnoxious as a curtain-closing episode for the 2010-2013 era. Reading Moffat's comments in Doctor Who magazine certainly gives the impression that it's a sign-off from Victoriana, as well as perhaps Vastra and co.

But as an opener, well.... hard to say. The best-case with PC's Doctor may ultimately be that he is part a tightly-knit team with Clara, in a kind of more fractious 7/Ace or late 6/Peri relationship. And there were positive signs of this - more convincing, really, than 11/Amy.

That said, Clara's going to get love interest, so that would seem to make for friction, rather than a parental bond.

I'm not sure these days that Moffat always knows where he's going with these things. I think the potential of the 12th Doctor is massive - we may see flashes of brilliance this year and probably the next too.

That said, I think wobbles are inevitable, desirable, even - if we see a couple of naff episodes and then a couple of brilliant ones - that's Doctor Who. I think the rest of the season will take the story forward, and there'll be less reheating. There are a lot of new writers this time, and Moffat's choice of guest writers has so far been pretty good.

Anonymous said...

oh dear, and I was so looking forward to this...
I wish Moffat could cut off the sex stuff, thank you very much

You know what I would like to see in the TARDIS? a gay or lesbian couple as a companions, normal human beings, and that the show didn't make a fuss of that fact, or bring home the point, just an homosexual normal couple that travel the universe with the Doctor....

Tango said...

I thought that is brilliant of Moffat to use Matt Smith in the cameo. It was EXACTLY like Eleventh Doctor to worry about what Clara might be feeling in the hours and days after he has regenerated. My first reaction, when watching that scene, was that Moffat was trying to make the transition from Smith to Capaldi easier for the audience than the transition from Tennant to Smith was. This was the ultimate opposite of "I don't want to go," and it was probably a very wise idea. Rather than the Doctor telling the audience that the Doctor they love is dying and a new man saunters away, the Doctor is telling the audience that he's still the same guy and they should stick with him. Excellent idea and very well done.

It was a nice epilogue to Smith's era. Smith will always be just another Doctor to me, he didn't leave much of an impression, but I know he means a lot to a lot of fans out there and I'm sure they were excited by it. It was certainly something new and creative.I thought it was brilliant. Totally in character for 11. And in plot line. After all, in the 50th 11 has already telephoned to a mobile in his past timeline to get UNIT to move Gallifrey Falls from the National Gallery to the Black Archive at the Tower. So telephoning to Clara's mobile in his future timeline makes total sense.

Anonymous said...

What I don't understand is why Clara is so pissed off about the regeneration, she has met all the Doctors, saved them all, she has met Harnetll for goodness sake and now she fusses about the fact the Doctor has grey hair and a lined face. This makes her appear too shallow. I wonder if this fuss about the Doctor being "old and ugly" (not that I consider Peter Caoaldi ugly) is Moffat having a go at all those fangirls who were moaning and whining about the new Doctor being "old and ugly"...

I saw a kind of Peri and Six vibe going on there between Clara and the new Doctor (without the Doctor strangling her)

And that Missy character? please... not another mugly self assured mysterious woman who considers the Doctor to be her boyfriend (great phrase, I love it), pleasae please.

Anonymous said...

I think people are mistaken about Clara. She jumped into the timestream and was shattered into many different versions of herself. Dalek clara did not know about modern clara who did not know about cockney clara. So doc 11 was her 1st and only doctor. I like the vastra detective agency. They provide nice comedy relief and would make a better spin off than tortwood. (New UNIT would also be a great show.)

Anonymous said...

"Try playing a new track, Moffat."

PFFT, in your dreams, pal! The fact that he's repeated it so many times proves that he absolutely cannot do anything BUT this. The man is a hack.

"I would say that on strength of Time of the Doctor and Deep Breath back to back that Steven Moffat has gone bankrupt creatively"

Oh, he went bankrupt way earlier than this. It's just that nobody can stop him and he keeps getting worse.


Deep Breath? Deep SHIT!

Anonymous said...

DOCTOR: He's me. There's only me here, that's the point. Now let's get back.
CLARA: But I never saw that one. I saw all of you. Eleven faces, all of them you. You're the eleventh Doctor.

Joe Ford said...

People have short memories...

Spacedog2k5 said...

It does my old WHO-fueled heart good to know that both my wife and I were not the only ones *thoroughly* disappointed in the latest NuWho offering. Thank god for Big Finish audios as well as the Classic Who DVDs and novels!

Anonymous said...

I have to say, I completely disagree with this review. While the story has flaws and several moments of stupid (A few of which you didn't mention), I did enjoy it as there was as much of it that I thought was good as there was that was bad, so it evens out for me. I actually liked the scene with clara and the 'half faced man' (the fandom really needs to give that guy a name already). But yeah, strax is getting pretty tiresome and its pretty sad that moffat keeps using the same jokes with him. Actually its sadder that almmost everyone laughed every time strax got genders confused in the theater I was watching it in. As for ideas being re used.... I can see what you mean about 'missy' being more of the same but a lot of the other ones (such as the balloon) seem like nitpicks. And the reason people object to the kiss I think is not because its gay but because its very much like beastiality. (although theres no proof that theyve kissed before and this could have been the first time as I am assuming that there love is more platonic then anthing else.)

Joe Ford said...

Mr/Mrs Anonymous (I do wish people would leave their names), whst a bizarre, contradictory comment you have left. You say you completely disagree with my review and then go on to agree with several points I have made. You say that there was as much good as there was bad (as do I, surely that is epitomised in a 5/10 score?), you say you see what I mean about Strax and you even admit that I have mentioned several moments of stupid and flaws that you agree with! I suggest you construct your argument a little more less contradictory in the future, if it is to make sense. To say that I am being nitpicky and then to attempt to point out that the Vastra/Jenny relationship is akin to bestiality is pretty embarrassing - this is pure nitpickiness and completely missing the point. A mixed race relationship (two consenting sentient individuals from different cultures) and bestiality (intercourse with an unreasonaing animal) are so different as to be utterly incomparable. And to suggest that a married couple have never kisser before...I can only assume that you are not married yourself, commenter (I mean that not as an insult but as an observation Bourne if you comment). I do wonder that sometimes people should engage their brains before sitting in front of a keyboard, self contradictory, badly reasoned comments like this should never be made public.

Joe Ford said...

Going back to your point about the hot air balloon being nitpicky...I think you are wrong about that too. My point was that this was not only a direct replica of both The Christmas Invasion and The Age of Steel (a villain being defeated by falling from a great as a result of the Doctor's interference) but the fact that it takes place in a hot air balloon IN VICTORIAN LONDON, not just the method of travel but the same time period and geographical location. For a show that can go to any time and place, to slavishly copy something to that degree is not really acceptable. Or perhaps the Doctor should have said once again 'this is very familiar' but then he would be continually pointing out that this story is built up of elements from other NuWho stories.

AFJQCornwall said...

Hello again... Unfortunately the long wait for series 8 has raised expectations to an unrealistic height.

That said this script was a disappointment in many areas as listed above. While there were good sections, particularly in the lair of the clockwork droids not enough was made of them.

Funnily enough, Moffat made a simiilar mistake in Girl in Fireplace. Beautifully designed robots, hardly used.

I think without the dinosaur, the menace of the organ-stealing ticking droids would have been enough. Their creepy wooden-sounding leader made a good foil for Capaldi's doctor.

Great, analytical review as always. Here's to 8.2 and the daleks...

Kevin said...

Brilliant and interesting review Joe.

Dovid M said...

This is the guy who wrote the poorly thought out comment that you responded to. I just read what you said, and I will admit that you are right. To be honest I probably should've double checked the definition of bestiality before saying anything. As for you saying that my own opinion is mirrored in your score, I would disagree although this is probably because the way I would rate an episode and the way you would rate an episode are different. In my mind, a 6/10 means the story was either ok or about average, so a 5/10 would mean below average (which maybe it is ,in your opinion). And I haven't seen The Christmas Invasion, The Age of Steel, or The Next Doctor in a long time, so calling you nitpicky was kind of silly. Either way, your right, and I probably should have turned on my brain before leaving a comment.

Kory Stephens said...

I got to agree with you regarding the T-Rex. The fact that Moffat had the cracks erase all the recurring invasions of the RTD era (Iron Giant Cyberman included) only to do the opposite really smacks of hypocrisy on his part. "Open invasions & Cyber King bad, Dinosaur in Victorian London good!" The biggest WTH about is how did it get in that time period in the first place. I'll have to readdress this in my Reviewer's Cut of it soon.

As for the theme, It's a meh from me since the middle 8 will only be restricted to Proms instead of the credits. Plus The Keff McCulluogh arrangment (and on the Big Finish front, the 8th/Mary trilogy theme) grew on me so the new one may do the same

David Pirtle said...

I freely admit that the episode was pretty ridiculous up until the restaurant scene, but I absolutely loved it thereafter. I also not only like the writing of Clara more here, but I also think Coleman and Capaldi have much better chemistry than Coleman and Smith, which I understand is weird to say, given that their first series together mostly consists of their not getting on very well.