Doctor Who - Are We Wrong?

Doctor Who

Never ones afraid to be taken to task, we invited Marc Nash to share his opinions on Doctor Who's latest series and why he thinks we might be wrong in our views...

Okay so I've now read the reviews on series 8 (the first time round - Steve). I am not learned like the reviewers. I've watched every episode since Pertwee and even read a few Terry Nation novelisations back in the day, but I could never quote you chapter & verse comparing episodes across the different doctors for comparisons. But I find myself as a humble punter diametrically opposed to /G-f prevailing opinion on 8/6 and pretty much all of series 8 so far.

What are the main elements for a good episode?

Seems to me it's got to have either 1) a good monster 2) an interesting theme or dilemma and 3) psychological depth & exploration

Let's face it, interesting monsters are few and far between these days. I still haven't forgiven them for the lame human-based cyberman reboot (to the extent I have hatched a script in my mind where the original planetary cyberman come to earth from Telos to ethnically purge their human-based simulacra, it's highly political with echoes of what's going down with ISIS right now - any takers?)
Anyway, no decent monsters so far this series, although The Teller was okay if a little choosy as to which type of guilt syndromes it locked on to.

Interesting themes - well Time Heist was great, so that gets a gold star. Into The Dalek was a great idea but horribly botched I thought. Dalek gets high on radioactive leak and turns hippy. Listen was the emperor's new clothes, peel away the onion layers and there's nothing at the core of it. NOT a great concept. Robot of Sherwood was risible and I hate when they resort to real life characters, even if Robin's actual status in history is a subject for debate. Deep Breath had elements of interest but certainly didn't justify its length other than it was the first of a new series & had to establish some markers.

So yeah the Caretaker wasn't a brilliant theme or concept. The monster was a bit rubbish, the most destructive assassin in the universe armed with a Gatling Gun welded on to its armature of an arm. But the psychological exploration was top notch. When you've got two proper actors of the calibre of Capaldi & Coleman, why not play to their strengths? Yeah you wouldn't want a whole series of it, and despite the lump that is the actor who plays Danny, the two lead performances totally made this episode work and entertained me more than any of the others in the series save Time Heist. All the references and manipulations of back & forward stories on Listen couldn't elevate it above The Caretaker to my mind.

But then I guess we're all looking for different things from our Who.

Marc Nash is a fantastic writer who you can find peddling his wares and some hashtaggery on Twitter as @21stCscribe.

Image - BBC.
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