Film & TV 3

On Doctor Who


I watched the finale of this season (7.5?) of Doctor Who over the weekend and found it to be highly dramatic, very interesting in parts, full of excellent adventure and clever (but not too clever) ideas.

And it was almost completely at odds in terms of quality with the rest of the season, save for the majesty of Neil Gaiman’s ‘Nightmare in Silver’, which actually gave Matt Smith some meaningful acting to do.

Cue season 8!

Ok, so we’re getting a new series, no surprises there. But this time, can we please have a full, unbroken 13-episode run and a season story arc that doesn’t get ditched beyond episode 2 and then magically resurrected in the finale please?

Matt Smith and JLC actually work rather nicely together and are both very talented. Just imagine what they could do if they weren’t given horrible scripts.

I don’t mind one-off episodes, but if you’re going to commit to doing a season-long story arc, make it a good one. Time-travel does mean that you can go anywhere and have fantastical mysteries play out in the far reaches of time and space. There’s nothing stopping completely separate adventures happening each and every week. But the fact of the matter is that if you’re going to wave something in front of us that basically says BIG IMPORTANT STORY ARC PLOT POINT like The Impossible Girl, don’t throw it away at the earliest convenience and then drag it back up in the final episode and expect it to have much of an impact.

As much as I enjoyed the finale, it could have been so much better. As far as I can tell, and I realise that my friends and peers  are an incredibly small sample from which to draw any conclusion, but the general reaction has been one of confused consternation.

Surely the Doctor deserves more than that?

Russell T Davies always at least managed to make it seem as if there was a bigger picture, even in the many episodes he hadn’t actually written himself. As the showrunner, Moffat needs to exert more control over the larger narrative. Or scrap it, and give us thirteen ‘specials’.

I liked this finale, far more than any other episode in this most patchy of seasons. It was a breathtaking rollercoaster of an episode that left me wanting more. And that’s the first time I’ve been able to say that since before the mid-season break.