The Seven Faces of Doctor Who: The Dalek Invasion of Earth

January 24, 2015 in Dr Who, Guest Blogs by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Hevy782


While we sit back and wait for the highly anticipated series nine I thought it best to turn to the classic series to pass the time. So over the coming weeks I’ll be looking at one story from each of the original seven Doctor’s. The first port of call is The Dalek Invasion of Earth which of course features William Hartnell as the First Doctor, Carole Ann Ford as Susan Foreman, William Russel as Ian Chesterton and Jacqueline Hill as Barbara Wright. I decided to settle upon this story to represent the First Doctor’s era because it represents a change in direction for his character. Before he mainly trying to get himself and his companions out of dangerous situations but here he is trying to make a difference and leave the world he visits in a better state than it was when he arrived on it. It is also one of the most iconic Dalek stories to date with shots of them roaming about London that became embedded in the memories of an entire generation. The story itself is written by Terry Nation and directed by Richard Martin so without further adieu let’s get on to the synopsis.

The story itself begins with the TARDIS landing in a Dalek occupied London and the travellers soon become separated with Susan and Barbara getting caught up with the resistance while the Doctor and Ian become prisoners of the Daleks. The resistance then launches an attack on the Dalek saucer where the Doctor and Ian are held and while the Doctor manages to escape Ian is still inside and the resistance is torn to pieces by the retaliating Daleks. The saucer then takes off for the mines in Bedfordshire and the Doctor, Susan, Barbara and what remains of the resistance heads there too. After having a quick look at the mines the Doctor reveals that he believes it to be the heart of the Dalek’s operations on Earth and that putting a stop to he work here would cripple the Daleks plans. The Daleks themselves plan to dig to the centre of the Earth and replace the core with a device which will allow them to pilot the Earth. They send an explosive down to penetrate the crust of the Earth but Ian intercepts it and the Doctor is able to break into Dalek command and turn the Dalek’s robotic servants, the Robomen, against their masters. The Daleks device is unable to destroy the crust of the Earth but still causes a massive explosion which destroys the remaining Dalek saucers above. The Doctor and his companions then head back to London where a tough choice has to be made. Susan has fallen in love with one of the resistance members and rather than have his granddaughter choose between him and the man she loves he makes the decision for her and dematerialises without her, leaving her to settle down and aid in the rebuilding of the Earth.

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I’m not sure what it is exactly but I just absolutely love this story. I just get such a great feeling while watching early serials like this and I guess that feeling would best be described as nostalgia, which is odd considering that my parents weren’t even in double figures when this went out. So why do I get this feeling of nostalgia while watching old stuff like this? Probably because I watched things like it when I was younger but it’s interesting nevertheless. There’s also something just so appealing about a story where the invasion has already been and gone and the characters are now living in a rather well realised post-apocalyptic world. Obviously it’s the sixties so you can’t expect too much but it did have certain advantages with streets of an empty London being achieved in a way that couldn’t be replicated now because of people’s lifestyles today leading to the streets being filled at all hours. The musical score is also great for this. There isn’t much of it but what there is gives a feeling of emptiness and hopelessness. The first episode sets it all up particularly nicely with some great camera work as well as a tight script which builds up a great sense of mystery and eeriness.

Then there are the Daleks themselves who are very much of a bygone era here but I honestly don’t mind that and in some ways I actually prefer it this way. They’re still threatening and arguably more so because when you make an enemy so powerful like the new series did with them and then have then defeated fairly quickly then they’re just not threatening. Here they are threatening in numbers but when they are defeated it takes time to get to that point and therefor it doesn’t make them seem much less threatening. I honestly like the Daleks from the seventies the best as the weren’t too powerful for their own good like they would later become but aren’t as easily defeated on their own as they were here. We also have the appearance of the Robomen here who are humans conditioned to obey the Daleks and they are used as far more than just foot soldiers for the Daleks, they are used for emotional value too with interactions between them and people they used to know before they were converted. It’s things like that which make the Daleks much more evil and much more effective as villains, the idea that they’re not just killing people but taking their humanity away from them too. In fact the Robomen are a bit like Cybermen in that sense. There are also a great array of believable characters created here by Terry Nation but I’m instead going to focus on the four regulars to finish off. They all get to play a fairly equal share in the story with each of them carrying a separate strand of the story and leading said strand to it’s end point. Arguably the Doctor and Susan get slightly less to do than Ian and Barbara for the majority of the story but that’s more than made up for by the final scene in which the Doctor says goodbye. It’s a very heart-wrenching scene and it gets me every time. In fact I would probably say it’s the most emotional scene in all of the Doctor Who because it’s not overacted but done just right and it’s very probably William Hartnell’s best performance as the Doctor and the music afterwards signs the story off perfectly, simply perfection.

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In conclusion, The Dalek Invasion of Earth is a magnificent story and one which I would recommend all Doctor Who fans watch if they haven’t already. However, it isn’t flawless so it is one mark off with a nine-out-of-ten from me unfortunately. Still that’s a very good score and I hope you’ll join me next week when we take a look at The Seeds of Death, an action-packed Second Doctor story featuring the Ice Warriors but until then be sure to sound off your thoughts on the story in the comments below.

Doctor Who: Initial Reactions to Last Christmas

December 28, 2014 in Dr Who, Guest Blogs by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Hevy782


Over the past nine years Doctor Who has done two types of Christmas specials, the weird ones and the serious ones. This year, Steven Moffat has given us a Christmas Special that is both. Now then, when Russell T Davies was in charge of the show we got Christmas special which were basically the same as normal episodes only set at Christmas. These were good as they helped keep the episode credible but also festive. Steven Moffat seemed to take this one step further with fairytale stories and parodies of festive classics. These fitted with Moffat’s more fairy tale take on Doctor Who during Matt Smith’s era but we’ve moved on from there and are now in Peter Capaldi’s much more darker era so how does Last Christmas reflect this?

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Doctor Who: Dalek War – Planet of the Daleks

December 13, 2014 in Dr Who, Guest Blogs by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Hevy782


At the end of Frontier in Space we had the Daleks revealed as the true masterminds behind the plot to start a war between Earth and Draconia. While their plan was stopped, their army is still intent on invading the galaxy and this is where Planet of the Daleks comes in. The second part of the Dalek War story-line was written by Dalek creator Terry Nation, the first he penned since The Daleks’ Master Plan in 1965 with William Hartnell as the Doctor. He had taken the rights to use the Daleks away from Doctor Who back in the late sixties and attempted to launch them in their own series in America. However, nothing ever came to fruition and the Daleks were, in effect, gone forever. But an agreement was eventually reached to bring the Daleks back and after their first colour appearance in Day of the Daleks the previous year their creator was finally ready to return to them with new ideas, such as invisible Daleks and ice volcanoes, as well as old ones, such as Thals in a jungle setting and a Dalek base on the edge of said jungle, to add to the celebratory feel.

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Doctor Who: Dalek War – Frontier in Space

November 30, 2014 in Dr Who, Guest Blogs by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Hevy782


In 1973, Doctor Who was celebrating it’s tenth anniversary. Jon Pertwee was entering his fourth year in the role and celebrations has already begun with a special story uniting the first three incarnations of the Doctor. This story, appropriately titled The Three Doctors, also saw the end of the Doctor’s exile on Earth and he was at last able to travel freely in time and space once again. But the celebrations were not over yet and the production team had big plans for Doctor Who’s tenth anniversary. Two interconnected six-part stories were commissioned, thus forming a loose twelve-part epic which has since come to be known as the Dalek War.

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Doctor Who: Initial Reactions to Death in Heaven

November 9, 2014 in Dr Who, Guest Blogs by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Hevy782


Picking up where Dark Water left off, the finale continues with Death in Heaven. And it was all going so well up to this point. It ends on one of the most downbeat notes I have ever seen in Doctor Who and when people asked for it to get darker (myself included) I don’t thing we expected it to get this dark. Personally, I found Into the Dalek to be the best tone and while it wasn’t the best episode it certainly had the right balance or seriousness, humour and adventure. Death in Heaven, on the other hand, is just downright depressing to the point where it’s almost unwatchable.

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Doctor Who: Initial Reactions to Dark Water

November 2, 2014 in Dr Who, Guest Blogs by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Hevy782


Finally, a cliff-hanger! It’s been too long. Personally, I feel Doctor Who stories are told better over a longer period of time and while series eight has been better in terms of pacing I still feel that it’s nice to have a cliff-hanger for once. I like to have a break in the middle so that you can take in what’s happened so far and prepare for the next one, rather than having it all in one go. It also means we have build up, and this episode really is dedicated to that. So let’s go from the beginning which is, of course, Danny’s death. Not only was this a good example to the children watching as to why you should pay attention while crossing the road and not be talking on your mobile phone but it was also rather forced and simple. Almost to simple to be believable. Personally, I think it would’ve been nicer for him to have died at the end of the previous episode (a bit difficult given the nature of that episode but I’m sure something could’ve been sorted out) rather than have it disjointedly plonked on the start of this one. This would’ve given the story a bit more to go on with the following ten-to-fifteen minutes as rather than jumping strait into this with little to no emotional investment we would’ve had a week to process it all. But other than that the whole dream state thing with the Doctor and Clara was rather good, even if it was a little bit too long but I guess there’s got to be a little padding.

We then move on from this to the 3W scenes which act as a call-back to The Tomb of the Cybermen, a classic Patrick Troughton story and favourite for many people including the Eleventh Doctor himself, Matt Smith. While these scenes fail to evoke the same scares that the original story had, they are never the less quite interesting and provide a nice bit of build-up. It’s also nice that the title of the story actually has a lot of relevance to the plot for once and once you find out what the dark water actually is it becomes pretty clear what’s really sitting (or in some cases standing) inside those tombs. Meanwhile, these scenes are inter-cut with others inside the Nethersphere, a place that we finally learn the true nature of. It’s an interesting idea although one that seems far too familiar from Steven Moffat. It’s even Seb as the new Doctor Moon. Nevertheless, Seb was quite an entertaining character and had some good stuff with Danny Pink. His Steve Jobs line was hilarious, even if it was quite callous, and Chris Addison plays him surprisingly straight given the circumstances. It also leaves me wondering where the version of heaven we saw in the first two episodes has gone. Was that an earlier version of the Nethersphere with this vast city being the later in the time stream or is that just another part of this artificial reality. Another answer we get in this episode is the answer to who Danny killed while he was a soldier, and in that moment where Danny meets the boy he killed, Samuel Anderson gives his best performance up to that point. And it only gets better from there with a rather shocking call to Clara where the writing unfortunately falls a bit short compared to the performance. Danny’s a very smart character and surely he wouldn’t be too hard for him to convince Clara that it is really him, even with all the emotional turmoil taking place. But even with this flaw I still maintain that this is the best performance Samuel Anderson’s ever given us in the role of Danny.

Now before we get onto the big reveal as to who Missy is I would first like to talk about a line which is sure to cause a lot of controversy. There was a lot of build up as to what the three words were and all the time I was sitting there thinking that surely it can’t be as bad as they’re making it out to be. Before I heard it I’d of even gone so far as to say it seems like they’re making a big deal out of nothing, similar to the Doctor’s name at the end of the last series. But then we actually hear the three words and they are the most chilling thing I have ever heard in Doctor Who for a long time. I’m sure there’s going to be some angry letters coming through Steven Moffat’s door because of those three words but I found myself quite liking their inclusion. It’s the first time in a long time that Doctor Who really has taken me out of my comfort zone. We then move onto the big reveal as the Cybermen march down the step of St Paul’s Cathedral, a call back to another classic Patrick Troughton story The Invasion, and we learn that Missy is a new incarnation of the Master. It’s been a popular theory for a long time now and one that I and many others had passed of as being too obvious. But nevertheless, that’s what they ended up going with and I’m not quite sure what to think of it at this point. I’ll go into more detail as to what I think of her portrayal of the iconic role next week.

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Overall, a good episode to set up for the final part next week. It does, however, have it’s fair share of problems such as forced kiss scene as well as those already mentioned. It’s a seven-out-of-ten for the penultimate episode of what has so far been an okay series. And next week it comes to an end with Death in Heaven which features more Cybermen, more Missy and the return of UNIT. So then, until next week be sure to sound off your thoughts on the episode in the comments below.

Doctor Who: Initial Reactions to In the Forest of the Night

October 26, 2014 in Dr Who, Guest Blogs by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Hevy782


Tiger, tiger, burning bright; in the forest of the night. The first lines of a poem that provided inspiration for this story. A story which left me in the same mood as I was in after watching Listen (in fact this story has more than that in common with Listen), confused and unsure what to think. But before I go any further let’s cover a bit of background information for this story first. It is written by writer new to the series Frank Cottrell Boyce who is well known for his children’s novels and this very much has the feel of something from children’s fiction, helped along by the array of kids making up the guest cast. There are four main kids to note and they are Abigail Eames who plays Maebh, Jayden Harris-Wallace who plays Samson, Ashley Foster who plays Bradley and Harley Bird who plays Ruby. Joint with all the adult characters we have we are left with a pretty large guest cast in comparison to most other episodes of this series. Now then, in recent years that seems to of been a bit of a stigma towards child actors when it comes to Doctor Who. For me, they’ve been hit and miss but in series eight they’ve all been very good. We’ve of course had Ellis George as Courtney Woods and now we’ve got these four kids who all did a good job portraying their characters. In writing terms they’re all fairly well defined characters and having them all pour inside the TARDIS let’s us see a different side to this still relatively new Doctor. The only thing I will say is that they don’t necessarily act like year eight students (which is more the fault of the script) and if we weren’t told how old they were I would’ve guessed way younger. But that’s only a minor flaw and not worth deducting marks for.

What isn’t a minor flaw, however, is the plot of this story. Or to be more accurate, the lack of an actual plot. It seemed more like the characters were just heading from point A to point B with no actual reason behind it all. Add to this the fact that there’s no decent scientific explanation whatsoever for the sudden appearance of the forest and the simple statement that humanity will forget this ever happened is blatantly absurd. It’s almost an insult to the intelligence of the viewer. Also, the idea that the forest grew over night all around the world is even less believable than that of the cubes appearing everywhere in The Power of Three. And the realisation, unfortunately, isn’t much better and I feel that it’s an idea that would probably of been better achieved on audio. Now while it probably seemed like a good idea at first when you get into the nitty-gritty of actually writing about it and realising it it rather quickly begins to fall apart. At that point it should’ve probably been scraped but unfortunately they just kept going with it regardless of this. To round of the big negatives let’s talk about the similarities with Listen and that is that there is no monster and no real threat in the story whatsoever. This leaves the only real value in the episode to be the mystery which drastically reduces the value of re-watching the episode afterwards.

Now while this does lack a plot it does have a very nice scene between the Doctor and Clara when they think the world is going to end and Clara tells him to leave and that she doesn’t want to be the last of her kind like the Doctor is the last of his. This ties together a lot of the stuff that’s been going between the Doctor and Clara this series and we also have it nicely looped back to Kill the Moon where the Doctor says how he walks their planet and breaths their air, much like Clara told him then. However, the scene that didn’t work was one between Clara and Danny where he finally finds out that she’s been lying to him and he doesn’t really care, he’s almost too nice that it removes the believability of their relationship. It’s a real shame as they were setting it up to be something big but, like the argument at the end Kill the Moon, was left rather poorly resolved for my taste. Finally, we have the Missy scene at the end of the episode which was ultimately the same as last week’s and served no purpose other than to remind the audience that there is an overarching plot.

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Overall, it’s a beautiful episode but it has so many flaws that really do drag it down. Despite there being more bad than good I’m going to settle on a six-out-of-ten for the time being, making it my second least favourite episode of series eight and beaten only by Time Heist. It’s a shame that after my two favourite episodes of the series we drop so far in quality. We’re now nearing the end of series eight with only two episodes to go and Dark Water, the first of the two part finale, looks intriguing to say the least but until next week, be sure to sound off your thoughts on the episode in the comments below.

Doctor Who: Initial Reactions to Flatline

October 19, 2014 in Dr Who, Guest Blogs by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Hevy782


Clara Who? The fans ongoing joke this series that the show’s focusing more on Clara than it is on the Doctor. It seems this was anticipated by the writers as we have been given an episode in which Clara become the Doctor, in a manner of speaking. The episode in question is Flatline, written by Jamie Mathieson who also wrote last weeks episode, Mummy on the Orient Express, which I praised as the best episode we’d had in a long time. Do I still stand by that opinion? Yes. Is Flatline just as good? No, but it doesn’t miss that mark by much. I think it’s safe for me to say that I think Jamie Mathieson is one of the most exceptional writers the show’s had in a long time and I hope he comes back for series nine because the show needs talented writers like him. Also, apologies in advance for comparing this one to Mummy on the Orient Express but given the circumstances it’s hard not to. So then, the ideas in this story, like in the previous one, are rather unique and intriguing. To me the ideas in this one are even stronger but the execution of them was better in Mummy on the Orient Express, which is ultimately what made that one better.

The Boneless are the monsters for this story and they are incredibly creepy. The effects used to create them are good and the idea behind them, creatures from a two-dimensional dimension breaking into our three-dimensional one, is great also. It reminded me of a recent Big Finish release titled Iterations of I which used mathematics instead of dimensions but nevertheless the idea of them breaking through from one dimension to another is the same. I think this is a coincidence in the writing given the timing and not Jamie Mathieson stealing ideas from Big Finish. But I think the idea works better in Flatline and here’s why. Part of the way through both stories there’s the idea that the aliens are peaceful and don’t know that they’re killing people. Thankfully, this idea is not gone through with in Flatline and we’re given a set of monsters who are out there to kill with no clear motive. This makes them all the more scary. To be honest there are loads more aspects of the Boneless which I could talk about but I suspect most of you will fall asleep if I keep going on about them so let’s move onto the Doctor’s role in this story. On the face of it this is a Doctor-lite story but when you look at it more closely the Doctor does actually play a fairly substantial role in this story, just not necessarily and active one. Peter Capaldi is given some nice lines to say, some funny and some serious, but the speech at the end is ultimately his moment of glory for the episode and is probably the best speech he’s done so far.

But there’s one thing that really didn’t work for me about this episode and that is the resolution. While I still like the Doctor’s speech I just don’t like what he’s doing while he’s saying said speech. It was basically a big green light coming out of the TARDIS and then a wave of the sonic and the Boneless were gone. It was too easy and far too rushed. And it was going so well up to that point. It felt like a cheap resolution straight out of Matt Smith’s era and it was just as poorly handled. The idea of tricking the Boneless into charging the TARDIS on the other hand was a good one and while it’s not something I’m going to be praising for the next five minutes it’s still good enough and far better than what follows. Moving on from that let’s get onto something slightly more positive, the supporting characters. Now while these are not as good as those from Mummy on the Orient Express that were some of the most well rounded supporting characters we’d had in a long time these are still fairly good. There are only two that are really worthy of note and those are Rigsy and Fenton. Rigsy was basically Clara’s companion in this episode and was enjoyable for that. While he wasn’t the most (if you’ll excuse the pun) three-dimensional character I’d put that more down to the time limit than the writer. Then there’s Fenton who is basically Rigsy’s opposite in a lot of ways. His comment on the end about the ”right” people making it out alive lead to quite a dark line from the Doctor and one that you’d never imagine Matt Smith’s or David Tenant’s incarnations getting away with. What it all boils down to is the idea that the Doctor is changing Clara and making her more like him, which may keep her alive longer but isn’t necessary good for her. We then get a rather creepy final scene with Missy watching Clara and it seems to confirm that she’s the woman in the shop, but only time will tell and we’re now very close to the end.

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Overall, a great episode focusing on Clara but in a different way to which the other episodes have done. It’s only because of the poor resolution that it misses out on being my favourite episode of the series so far and instead sits comfortably in second place with a score of nine-out-of-ten. Next week we have In the Forest of the Night written by another writer new to the show, Frank Cottrell Boyce. It’s the last episode before the two-part finale and looks quite interesting to me as well as very engaging visually. But why on Earth is there a Doctor Who poster on the side of that bus in the trailer? But anyway, be sure to sound off your thoughts on the episode in the comments below.

Doctor Who: Initial Reactions to Mummy on the Orient Express

October 12, 2014 in Dr Who, Guest Blogs by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Hevy782


Doctor Who stories that go down as classics are often remembered as the one with the… well whatever type of monster it is. The one with the giant maggots. The one with the little boy who wanted his mummy. The one with the statues that move when you blink. I firmly believe that this one will go down in history as the one with the mummy… potentially followed by: on the train in space. So if you haven’t worked it out yet, I absolutely loved this episode. First off, I was quite shocked to see Clara casually stroll out of the TARDIS at the start off this after the events of last week and all the promotional material suggesting this would be a companion-lite episode. This then got me a bit worried as it initially appeared that they wouldn’t be picking up the events of last week but it didn’t take long to find out what was going on and that whole sub-plot ended up being resolved quite nicely. However, while it definitely wasn’t companion-lite it did feature Clara quite a bit less than previous episodes has and instead shifted most of the focus onto the Doctor which was a nice change from most of the other stories we’ve had so far in series eight. I do like that they split Clara and the Doctor up this time as it’s something that’s not happened recently because of the episode-length but here it’s done well and so allows the story to feel more fleshed out. I think one of the problems we’ve had this series is that they’ve been stuck together too much so one is always in the shadow of the other which is unfortunate.

Now let’s talk about the main threat of this story which is, of course, the mummy. It looks extremely creepy and the way it walks is very nicely done. The idea behind the way it kills people is also very nice and the science behind it doesn’t seem like a cop-out, it still feels like a genuine threat even after it’s revealed what it is, and that’s the way to do a reveal. When it kills people there’s this odd sound which is almost like a balloon deflating. It could’ve been a bit too comical but oddly enough it works very well. However, the most creepy part of the episode would probably have to be when it walked through the Doctor, but the scene with the sarcophagus opening was quite intense too. One thing I wasn’t quite sure about with the mummy was the on-screen clock counting down. On the one hand it made it more intense but at the same time it felt like it was breaking the fourth wall a bit in some way. Then we have Gus who was also quite effective in the story and the fact that we didn’t know who programmed it was nice too and I assume that’s going to tie in with the overarching plot of series eight at some point due to that whole business of whoever it was having the Doctor’s phone number.

This story also had a celebrity cameo in it by Foxes (I’d never heard of her before either) and it was odd how big a deal they made of her appearance given how small it was. As for the song, well oddly enough it fitted in quite well, even if it was only there for a minute a best. Doing a jazz version of it fitted quite well with the juxtaposition of having a nineteen-thirties train in space. Speaking of that, at first I was quite unsure about the idea of having it in space as it felt too much like the Titanic in Voyage of the Damned but unlike that story it didn’t use this idea as a gimmick and instead made everything even more frightening as there’s no way out, nowhere to escape to and even more than that, you actually see a few people jettisoned into space to ensure that the Doctor will obey. Then we have the supporting characters who are, in my opinion, the most well realised of the series. There’s a fair number of them as well but oddly enough most of them get a good amount of development (probably helped but the splitting up of the Doctor and Clara) which is the sign of a good writer in Jamie Mathieson. First off we have Perkins played by Frank Skinner who is quite a funny character but nevertheless he’s one you can take seriously and it’s nice to see a character who the Doctor almost instantly gets along with for once, he even gets an offer to travel in the TARDIS at the end. While he gets to spend most of the episode interacting with the Doctor we have another character interacting with Clara called Massie who is played by Daisy Beaumont. She gets some good characterisation too in this story which once again shows how promising a writer Jamie Mathison is and she also shows us a different side to Clara. There are some other good characters but those are the most well-rounded ones.

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Overall, this episode was breath taking and the best of series eight so far, probably the best since Steven Moffat took over as show runner. Was there ever any doubt that I would be giving it a ten-out-of-ten? And hopefully it won’t be my last of the series. Next week we’ve got another episode written by Jamie Mathieson called Flatline and it looks great so I’ve got high expectations for it. Also, it’s hard to believe that we’re now two thirds of the way through series eight already. On the one hand it feels like Capaldi only debuted as the Doctor a couple of days ago but on the other it feels like he’s been the Doctor for as long as anyone can remember. But anyway, until next week be sure to sound off your thoughts on the episode in the comments below.

Doctor Who: Initial Reactions to Kill the Moon

October 5, 2014 in Dr Who, Guest Blogs by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Hevy782


We are now seven episodes in, more than half-way through Peter Capaldi’s first series as the Doctor. It’s been a rather bumpy ride so far but are we at long last getting back on track? Well I had high hopes for Kill the Moon and, admittedly, that may have been my first mistake. I got so hyped for this one that when I reached the end of it I felt disappointed. Now this is by no means a bad episode, far from it as a matter of fact but I still can’t help but feel that it didn’t live up to its full potential. This story is written by our first new writer of series eight, Peter Harness, and was originally written for the Eleventh Doctor. This is where I think we have our first problem as despite the spider-scares of the first act it still ends up feeling like an Eleventh Doctor story which makes this promise of a raw new direction feel more and more hollow. There’s a general feeling that the plot borrows to much from The Beast Bellow as well as other stories from Matt Smith’s run which is a great shame, especially since we’re this far through the series and still aren’t pushing the boundaries enough.

Now let’s stop being negative for a bit and go on to what I did like about the episode, after all I did say I didn’t find it that bad. There is of course Peter Capaldi (was there ever any doubt) who played that final scene opposite Jenna Coleman perfectly. They were both great in it and what is great about that from a writing stand point is that they both have valid points, it’s not clear to the audience who’s right and who’s wrong and instead leaves them to decide which is what makes quality television, the maturity to let the audience make their own decisions rather than forcing them to think one way or another. Then there’s Courtney Woods who is once again played well by Ellis George. She gets a bit more to do in this one but unfortunately isn’t as well written for as she was in The Caretaker. It almost feels like she was a slightly late addition to the script and Harness didn’t exactly know what to do with her. Then we Lundvik, the only notable supporting character as the others are killed off all to quickly. She is played brilliantly by Hermione Norris and I’m just glad she got one of the more well written supporting roles this series, given that we’ve had some great actors let down by some unfortunate scripting so far, I’m looking at you Mrs Delphox. Now while Lundvik is nothing exceptional she’s certainly a good start when it comes to supporting characters.

We have Paul Wilmshurst directing this time around and he does a good job with this one, I only wish he’d let the shots of the dead bodies linger a bit more as a millisecond glance isn’t enough to scare. This may have been an issue caused by timing though, as there are a few pacing issues with this story too. It feels like some scenes jumped about too quickly as if there had been sections cut from them and there are moments which don’t get the impact they deserve because it’s straight onto the next scene unfortunately. This is also another story which has no real sense of menace in it. You have the spiders in act one but once you get beyond that they don’t really pose much of threat. Then when you get to the third act all plausible science is thrown out of the window and your left with a rather dull climax. I think this part could’ve been more effective with more of a supporting cast so that we could have a proper debate over what they should do. You could also have the spider-creatures trying to break in and go with a base-under-siege approach to add even more pressure. Unfortunately we don’t get any of this and are instead left with something that’s executed well enough but could’ve been so much more. There’s also one musical cue in this (I’m assuming it’s going to be the Twelfth Doctor’s theme) that was so overused it this. It’s slowly becoming as obnoxious as the Eleventh Doctor’s theme which is never a good thing. Finally we have the overall story arc of series eight which, funnily enough, isn’t bought up at all in this episode. I’m quite happy with this as it’s nice to have something completely stand alone and, let’s be honest, there’s only so many variations of the heaven scene.

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Overall, I did enjoy this story a lot but I feel it could’ve easily been so much better. I do feel that I’ve been talking about the negatives more than the positives but nevertheless I will give it another seven-out-of-ten. Hopefully next weeks episode, Mummy on the Orient Express, will not let down like this one did as it looks like it’s going to be incredible, even if the Orient Express being in space feels a bit too much like a cheap gimmick. But anyway, until next week, be sure to sound off your thoughts on the episode in the comments below. Start the clock!

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