Most Doctor Who stories can be divided into one of two categories: ones where The Doctor is basically forced to confront an old adversary and ones where he chooses to confront or investigate something unknown out of curiosity. “Under The Lake” is a fine example of the latter category and one of the better installments thereof in some time in terms of quality.
I’ve come to almost fear two-episode story arcs on television for the simple reason that the concluding episode is almost always disappointing. Having compared “The Magician’s Apprentice” to the Season 6 premiere “The Impossible Astronaut”, I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that the last time a concluding episode delivered relative to the first on Doctor Who, in my opinion was “The Impossible Astronaut”/”Day of the Moon,” the latter episode being every bit as engaging and satisfying as the first installment, if not even more so. While I wouldn’t go that far in describing “The Witch’s Familiar” (or “The Magician’s Apprentice,” for that matter), I was certainly pleasantly surprised by how no momentum was lost between the first two episodes of this season. Indeed, “Familiar” possessed several qualities and raised several questions that the previous episode did.
“The Magician’s Apprentice” relates to “Deep Breath,” Peter Capaldi’s introductory episode as the Twelth Doctor in a simalar way to how the Eleveth Doctor’s second season premiere “The Impossible Astronaut” relates to Matt Smith’s debut episode “The End of Time.” In both cases, Steven Moffat uses the episode introducing the new Doctors is a classic Doctor Who one-off episode establishing the new Doctor and his relationship to his companions while using the following season’s premiere episode to tell a sprawling, complicated, and complex narrative that will theoretically make more sense by the time the entire season unfolds. I don’t mean this derisively at all; I trust Steven Moffat as a storyteller and as a showrunner, and I’m encouraged by the connection between “The Magician’s Apprentice” and ‘The Impossible Astronaut’ because Season 6, the season that ‘Astronaut’ kicked off, is my favorite season of the series so far. Continue reading
If the two-part finale is a sandwich, I feel like all the meat was in the first installment and in the second we were left with some bread and a little bit of cheese. While “Dark Water” was interesting, funny, and a bit moody, “Death In Heaven” was basically just wrapping things up with some action interspersed throughout. It wasn’t horrible by any means, it just didn’t live up to the promise of the first part of the finale. Continue reading
Let me start out by saying that I think the idea behind this story is really interesting-I just wish we got there in a more interesting way. I’m not sure why they chose to kill Danny in such a dramatically un-impactful way. It was one of those deaths you can see coming from a mile away yet doesn’t make any logical sense within the narrative. I simply don’t understand why he chose to stop in the middle of the road. I don’t understand what Clara was doing on her end either, but I’m going to hold off on that point in the hopes that it’s addressed in the concluding episode. If I give the show the benefit of the doubt, I’m assuming that there’s a reason that Clara was acting all panicky over the phone with the post-it notes at that exact moment that for some reason causes Danny to stop in the middle of a crosswalk. Continue reading
Let’s start out by acknowledging that good child actors are hard to find and good performances from children are hard to get. This is not as an excuse for anyone but simply an acknowledgement that for every Haley Joel Osment or Maisie Williams there’s a thousand of everybody else. Having said this, I don’t think the problems with this episode really had anything to do with child acting, nor do I think this episode had any really massive problems anyway. I just think there were a lot of little problems that all added up to an unspectacular episode. Continue reading
In a previous post I discussed a method of casting I believe to have been employed on Season 3 of HBO’s Girls whereby there was a conscious effort to cast actors of color in peripheral roles in the wake of backlash against the show for its lack of minority representation. It appears to me that Doctor Who, a series which faced a similar backlash for its representation of people of color, is employing the same method. Continue reading
For me, this was the weakest installment of the season thus far. The concept was clever enough (you had me at “train in space”) but I’m not sure about the execution.
While there are no genres I completely dislike, there are two genres in particular that I enjoy less than others. One is romantic comedy, the other is the heist genre. As I mentioned, there are exceptions (the Ocean’s films, Kubrick’s The Killing, Inception), but I’m usually bored out of my mind with heist scenarios. Continue reading
Episodes like this are why I watch Doctor Who. Episodes like this are why I watch television. This was vintage Moffat in the style of “Blink” and “Silence In The Library”, and he hasn’t done one of these in awhile. Psychologically taut, atmospheric, so fun, and so very clever. Continue reading