Archive for the ‘Dr.Who-Reviews’ Category

Dr.Who-Review-S4ep11 – Midnight

Posted: February 10, 2014 in Dr.Who-Reviews

s4_e10

I can’t even… I… are… is this the same show?

Well then… i’ll ask again… is this the same Dr.Who that had something called an “Absorber”, which is a fat green alien, running around and eating people? Is this the same Dr.Who with shakespear being badly-spoken ladies man, or farting aliens, or even a werewolf in the Victorian times? After this episode, I’m really not sure anymore… because this episode was genuinly fantastic, almost eerily brilliant, unexpectedly stunning… and the craziest part? It was written by not-steven Moffat!

Yes you heard me, one of my new favorite episodes of the show ISN’T written by Steven Moffat. In fact, it’s written by Russel T Davies… WOW. The guy who wrote the over-the-top cliche, overwhelming, and often hard to comprehend season finales and introductions wrote THIS episode? How is this possible? There was NO deus ex machina, no stupid CGI, and no predictable ending or dialogue. Not only that, it had one of the most interesting stories and dynamics that this show has EVER done.

While the “villian” wasn’t some nasty alien, or terrifying creature, it was simply human nature… This topic has been addressed many times in this show, and every time it has it’s seemingly getting more poignant and disturbing. This season we have Midnight, arguably the most frightening episode this show has ever done. The Doctor loses control, not because he is overwhelmed, or because he’s too weak, but because the humans are too… human. He isn’t.

This is a frightening prospect that was disturbing to see, because it was an honest interpretation. There was no silliness behind it, it was just scary. Especially when the climax hits, and the Doctor starts being thrown out of the ship, I was frightened. Not because of the “oh no what’s gonna happen to the Doctor” because it’s not like he’ll die… but because of the truly disturbing prospect of humans turning on each other in dire times. Something that has often happened before.

Midnight explores a friendly dynamic turned utterly bitter, and it did so with such force. Every actor held their weight in an episode dominated by perfect deliveries and writing. I must ask, why the hell doesn’t he do more of these? Lay off on the silly Daleks, and the world domination plots… how about this? Why not this?

After the episode closed off, and I realized that this would have been my favorite episode if it hadn’t been for the two parter before this, I chuckled to my self as I noticed the fact that Donna was hardly in it… The one companion i’m truly thrilled to see, wasn’t in this utterly brilliant episode. Funny how the world works…

Overall, I’ll say this. Midnight was perhaps the best non-two parter the show has ever done, if not the best, then right up there with BlinkIt’s dialogue was spot on, the story was tight and intense, showing a truly frightening side to human nature, and best of all, it was written by someone who has never done something like this. Brava… this show is seriously on a role.

P.S – Rose appeared behind the Doctor on the ship screen! Weird!

Grade: A

Advertisements

s4_e09

 

Holy…Fuck.

I don’t usually drop “F” bombs in my reviews. I do sometimes say some less-than-professional words such as “Crap” or… “banacafalata”, but never FUCK. I never say that… well, until I finished this episode. I feel this word helps describe my reaction after watching it. Both my excitement, the intensity, the acting, the intrigue, and best of all, the story, of the entire thing… It was hard to fully comprehend at first, but it developed with countless twists and turns, and Mofatt, the genius who wrote “Blink” and now this… well i think he out did himself one more time.

When i say that this is the best episode this show has ever done, and perhaps will ever do, I mean it. This. Was. Fucking.Amazing. Every bit of it. It had the intrigue of “Blink”, as well as the originality, yet it diverged from the story we were thrust into (which was interesting on it’s own) when the second part,Forest of the Dead, began, and then another adventure, within that same world, was initiated. The plotting and pacing was spot on, providing the right amount of tension without letting it hit the diminishing returns of episodes like 42 where it became laughable. 

The perceived antagonists of this episode were the Vashta Nerada… a villian i found more suitable in silence than with words. I say this because whenever a villian is personified, it loses some of it’s frightening qualities. However, this is perhaps the only minor gripe i have with this otherwise fantastic set of episodes. The best set of episodes this show has done. Apart from it, the Vashta Nereda were quite frankly awesome. I say this because i’m always  a fan of this… just… how do i say it? Original villains? The ones that aren’t just big monsters, or tin-cans… the ones with a true original quality to them. Such as this, or the weeping angels.

They provided a stunning threat for the first episode, however, once I switched on Forest of the Dead, Mofatt’s writing truly glowed. Particularly within Donna’s storyline, who thankfully had quite a bit to do in this episode. I will say this, the way the first episode ended… was perhaps the most intense moment this show has ever done, and the second episode played with that. There were alternate universes and perceived realities, all of which fucked with my brain in the best possible way. Only to start this long climax with the creepy and somewhat disturbing notion that Donna’s life is fake…

I say this again, there is too much to cover in this episode, I feel like i can write an entire essay on the moral implications, the theoretical choices that needed to be made, and overall originality of it. But I can’t do this review justice without mentioning the standout of the episode, River Song. She was not only the highlight, but also the most interesting part of it. She seems to know the Doctor before he knows her… that alone is interesting, but it also sets up many diverging theories within my mind on how the rest of the season (if not multiple seasons) can play out.

I doubt this was a one-off thing, and with Mofatt taking the show over at the end of the season, I can’t wait for what he has in store. All three, River, Donna, Tennant, were fantastic within the episode, only to be backed up by a capable set of background characters, and a story that was so original and interesting that it was quite literally oozing the time it needed to tell this story out of every pore. It flowed so naturally, so intensely, and so never-endingly interesting that I almost over looked the fact that Donna could have quite literally found her love within the people who re-appeared by the end of the episode…

Overall,  this was the best two parter this show has ever done, that goes without saying… it was also the most interesting episode(s) the show has ever done, and lastly, it was one of my favorite sci-fi installations of any tv-show I’ve seen. Now i can’t say it deserves my ‘seal of approval’ to make it as being the highest of all possible ratings, if only for that MINOR misstep i mentioned… but that doesn’t matter, what matters is that this show can rise so high, that I pity any episode that follows this.

Grades:

Silence In the Library: A

Forest of the Dead: A

Overall: A

s4_e07

Buzz Buzz, we got another mystery afoot!

I honestly don’t really know what to think of this episode… because even though it does seem like regular “Who” shlock that happens every so often to fill the long gaps in between the meaningful and ‘world-ending’ episodes. But in another way, it felt a bit more like an experiment. However, in typical Who fashion, we got them to meet a celebrity in the past, just like in the previous seasons, and probably in the seasons to come. Here it was a famous writer, and just like in a regular plot, people start dropping like flies as someone tries to kill them in a similar way to how her books killed off people.

What’s more interesting and much more odd, is the way this episode took a very… strange turn. It’s almost as if they were playing around with separate concept episode themes, and couldn’t put their finger on the appropriate one. I could easily say this is what made it totally disjointed and hard to follow, but honestly, i was just having too much fun. Sure by the end you had a plethora of cringe-worthy drama scenes, but you also had a big stupid grin on your face.

For a show like this, this is all you need. Donna was thankfully more prominent this episode, showing off her comedic talent more than anything. Also, the Doctor got poisoned! Holy hell, what was up with that scene? Sometimes when the Doctor gets put in these terrifyingly dangerous situations, the cure isn’t pickled stuff… or anchovies, but it’s the use of overly complicated words. Or at least it seems that way…

This episodes saving grace was it’s somewhat experimental plot, as well as comedic background. In a way, this episode was shrouded in drama and pain, while the gooey insides were pure comedy and joy. Again, this is an understandable and good Doctor Who formula that doesn’t really disappoint me ever. Unless that episode involves a really fat alien that absorbs people… or farting aliens… or shakespear… ok, sometimes this method has failed, i’m just glad this episode it felt more unique and fleshed out.

Overall, this wasn’t a deep episode, but it was an incredibly fun journey. All the acting was accurate, and hilarious, as well as the Doctor’s almost frighteningly accurate performance, it’s almost as if Tennant is slowly honing his skills even more so in this episode.

However, next week we have a big two parter, right when I heard that I knew i shouldn’t stay for the “Next on Dr.Who” trailer at the end of the episode… Here’s hoping the two parter won’t disappoint, it’s Moffat after all!

Grade: B+

s4_e06

What a… misleading title!

I guess it’s not THAT misleading… but still sort of misleading! I mean, she’s not REALLY his daughter, just born from his DNA… which i guess… sort of does make her his daughter? I don’t know! I’m only here to review! So in general, this was another solid installment of the show. I think this episode just missed it’s mark by a little, it always felt as though it’s trying to build this somewhat emotional story (a two parter is USUALLY needed for that), but ultimately doesn’t really do that whatsoever.

In the end, the Doctor leaves his daughter dead, he’s sort of angry, and then she comes back. She climbs into the ship and goes to explore the universe… not does this every actually pay off? Does she see him again? Yeah… that’s also left completely open ended. Which is fine, but I sort of doubt they’d see each other again realistically, but this show is built on contrivance, so it’s not impossible.

I liked martha today, yep… i just “liked” her, that’s about it. I don’t know how i feel about her traveling with the Doctor again, mostly cause it takes valuable time away from Donna. It’s almost as if the writers messed up her season three exit, so they are trying to correct themselves. Which is JUST. NOT. NECESSARY. Usually when a show messes up they try to sweep it under a rug, and honestly, that’s fine in this case. But nope, take time away from the best companion and have the least developed, and least interesting companion walk around a wasteland with a fish-man.

I liked the plot of this episode though, and in casual ‘Who’ fashion, it plays off the twist ending marvelously. I really loved the whole “This war wasn’t really going on for ages” bit, and the way Donna figured it out was splendid. Again… MORE TIME FOR DONNA PLEASE!

If you haven’t noticed, i’m not really mentioning the Doctor’s Daughter all to much, that’s because she was just “there”. I guess she was fairly prominent in the episode, but she wasn’t THAT interesting. I mean, she had this whole “You are as much of a soldier as me” thing… which is interesting philosophically, but quite honestly, that’s just bullshit. Fine, call him a soldier, but he’s actually saving people.

Which i guess was the point… i mean she DID save those guys and didn’t shoot them, but honestly, the entire episode was fairly contrived. Enjoyable none the less though!

Grade: B

s4_e04

 

Attack of the potato people

Yep… pretty much just that, attack of the potato people. They attack, in the cliche and slightly unoriginal “lets take over the world” scheme. And do you know why they attack? Because war. Nope, nothing but war, just war, war is cool, war is interesting, war is fun, war. The entire races favorite thing to do is war… like the Daleks… but they ARE NOT, Daleks, they are actually potato people… the similarities.

I think it’s automatically clear that i had a few issues with this episode, like the madly stupid “soldiers” who wandered into that special room and got taken over by the Sontaran. Or how the Doctor didn’t stop fake Martha. Or the fact that Martha even needed to be involved in this. Actually… scratch that, i liked that Martha was around. She has finally gotten some character developement past “I lovez ze Doctor, omg!” Which was refreshing to see.

She’s actually getting married, again, something that’s progression for an empty vessel of a character. Having her pretty much be compared to Donna, was somewhat entertaining, even if that’s just because Donna is such a vastly superior character. I watched Martha in season three and was like “she’s good!” But now watching her with all these positive changes? She’s still “just good!” instead of something more, and that’s because of Donna, who pretty much boosted any preconceived notions i have of an assistant…

To be frank, i was never a huge fan of the “Assistant” thing… ever. Even if Rose was good, and Martha was good, i was never quite the fan. But this episode, which focused less on Donna for a little, was noticeably worse for it. Which is funny, and which made me understand that Donna is the first assistant in this show that I feel is necessary!

But enough gushing… lets talk about the episode. It was generally a sillier episode played straight, and the hilarious-looking Sontaran were a decent enough threat that i actually found myself enjoying the episode much more than i thought I would. I find that there is a sub-twenty year old billionare training people to move planets to be silly… but the lesson behind it is actually poignant and solid. The lesson revolving around loneliness and exclusion, which is something lots of shows never quite touch on, so I liked how Dr.Who handled it.

Tennant didn’t have any noticeable  acting “WOW” moments, but of course, he was extremely solid throughout, as was everyone in the episode. The general structure was well-paced and interesting, and the whole idea of Atmos is sort of… I don’t know… social satire?

I will say that watching Wilf almost die in the car was sort of heartbraking… I really like him, yet he didn’t have THAT much screentime yet. Maybe because he’s paired up with such a bitch character (the mother), but he’s such a heartwarming guy, and as I mentioned in my Voyage of the Damned review, I have a soft-spot in my heart of elderly people whom are also really nice.

In the end, the episode was just solid, but that’s a good thing for this show, since consistency is something it almost never has… so having it develope some sort of continues material that’s solid (Even if it’s just in the ‘B” range, which is still very good), is great to see. So this episode was definately a success, it goes smack dab in the center of all two parters, right behind Human nature I think.

Grades: 

Part 1: B

Part 2: B+

Overall: B+

s4_e03

 

What an odd… Ood… did anyone else misread the title? 

Man, these episodes are just getting better and better huh? I mean, this season had a pretty solid start, but it has been going on a steady incline, because this episode was simply fantastic! Apart from a few pacing errors, there wasn’t much wrong with this episode. Especially the downright engrossing theme of slavery, and the poignancy it bares. Perhaps this was the most serious Dr.Who episode to date?

Plus… we got an amazing performance by Catherine Tate, who plays Donna. She is truly a companion i’m starting to really love. Especially her sympathy towards these aliens, the Ood. I say sympathy with a passion, because for some reason when the previous companions showed this, it’s almost as if they were trying to impress the Doctor… while Donna, well… she’s just a badass!

The story itself was structurally solid, apart from some strange pacing and camera angles in the middle, it’s generally quite amazing! The whole theme of slavery was actually really well written, as well as setting up a theme for the entire season itself. The Ood are very sympathetic characters, especially once you see their true form. The only gripe involving this was the transformation of “main badguy” into an actual Ood… how was this done? How is this even possible?!

Needless to say, it wasn’t explained too well. However, i will say that the execution and acting behind the massive brain of the Ood being tortured, in a sense, was also impressive. The parallel between the Ood slaves and the modern day slavery we see today was quite subtle… until it was mentioned directly. A line that i don’t find particularly necessary.

But i won’t criticize too much, it was a great episode, and lets not pretend that it didn’t set up a plot for the rest of the season… this IS Tennant’s final season, and wow, is he delivering the big guns acting wise. I’m really thinking this will be the best season of Dr.Who to date!

Grade: A-

s4_e02

Yep…Donna is pretty awesome. I’ll just say that right away, it’s been two episodes and I already like her more than Martha… but then again, Martha had a fantastic start and then ended up deteriorating into two dimensional bullcrap. So with this episode, we got one thing hammered in. Donna.Is.Freken.Awesome!

The entire concept is pretty cool as well, visiting a city like Pompei. I’m not sure if I totally buy the “we arrived here on its day of destruction” cliché… but that’s something this show does so often, I can hardly get mad at that. I liked the way CGI was implemented within the show, and once again, the set-pieces were quite marvelous when you think about it.

Last episode we saw some weird schlocky “Fat” CGI, here we see big badass fire monsters breaking out of the ground. This is a step in the right direction! Although the show has proved, time and time again, that it’s at its best without overly exhuberant CGI effects, and more down-to-earth stories such as Blink, I still couldn’t help but enjoy this aspect in this episode.

We also got to see a creepy rock-infestation disease thingy that infected you if you breath in the dust that came out of the vulcano. Was I the only one who was thoroughly creeped out by that? It just had that odd image to it that stuck with me. Apart from that, the main human villian in this episode was not given much room to actually be explored, so he ended up falling pretty flat. As well as the plot with the aliens.

However, what i found fantastic was the emotional context of the episode. Especially with the Doctor saving those people, whether it was right or wrong of him to do so, it was still a significant change within him. This change, of course, brought into this world by Donna.

In a way, this is the introductory episode for Donna, truly showing her character, and what a fantastic character that is!

Grade: B+