Thursday, 19 December 2013

Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS, The Crimson Horror & Nightmare in Silver

Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS

Understandably, this was a much anticipated episode with most of it set inside the TARDIS. Audiences could finally get a real sense of the inside of the space ship – they’d had a glimpse of corridors in ‘The Doctor’s Wife’, but now they would see much more and the TARDIS had regenerated since that episode.
So, it was always going to disappoint really, wasn’t it. Corridors are corridors so what did they expect? An over lit ugly look that we had in the 80s when Bidmead decided to set half of every adventure he wrote in the TARDIS? Something like the mental hospital used to double as the TARDIS interior in ‘The Invasion of Time’? Surely this was better than those examples? I think it was. Some of it’s quite nice. Perhaps this is an example though of the reduced budget the show’s been running on since the Global Meltdown. I thought they realised it pretty well, it just didn’t blow my socks off and I’m not really sure how they would have achieved that anyway.
As for the story, ho-hum yes well. Reset switch, this time flagged as almost an in-joke, but essentially the whole resolution would not have been possible without it. Clara learns a whole lot of things including the Doctor’s name which she sees in the Doctor’s diary, and then the reset button takes her back to before it all happened. In fact none of the adventure happened and only the Doctor can remember, which to me is a bit like ‘What was the point of all that?’.
Then we have the 3 guest actors, playing brothers, who frankly, especially Javhel Hall playing the youngest brother, were very below par. Not that they had much to work on script wise, they weren’t exactly interesting characters to play. The idea that someone could be human but fooled into believing he was a robot is frankly, incredibly stupid.
I know that it disappointed a lot of people, but it’s not the TARDIS which was disappointing, it’s the whole damned story which goes right back to writer Stephen Thompson. Sorry.

The Crimson Horror

Diana Rigg as Lady Gilliflower

‘The Crimson Horror’, written by Mark Gatiss, was most welcome at this point in the season. I had been a bit underwhelmed to this point by the episodes that had gone before, but ‘The Crimson Horror’ – without a doubt Gatiss’s best contribution to the series, was wonderful. It’s light-hearted and comedic in places, but that didn’t bother me at all. I really loved it and was happy that it didn’t sag in the middle like so many of Gatiss’s scripts do.
Rachael Stirling as Ada.
We have Vastra (Neve McIntosh), Jenny (Catrin Stewart) and Strax (Dan Starkey) returning to light up the TV screens for starters. And they are in fine form indeed. We have the running joke of the man who keeps fainting throughout the story after being shocked – at Vastra first, then Strax and finally the TARDIS dematerialising.
Clara doesn’t get a lot to do which is the only negative that comes to mind in this story. Jenny is shown to be wonderfully dextrous when she fights
Being lowered...
off some men, the Doctor doesn’t appear in the first 10-15 minutes, we have a wonderful collection of odd characters such as the guy at the morgue, but best of all we have Diana Rigg with a red maggoty thing stuck to her bosom! What more could you ask for.
It’s just 45 of fun, a bit of a romp. Diana Rigg’s daughter plays… well her daughter on screen too. She’s great and gets her revenge when she squashes the maggot under foot in the end (Mr Sweet), her ultimate revenge!
Catrin Stewart gets feisty as Jenny
The director, Saul Metzstein, should also be commended. He uses a variety of techniques to tell this story including grading the flashback sequences with scratches and the like which was really a nice touch. I had a smile on my face all the way through this episode. More like this one please, Mr Gatiss!

Nightmare in Silver

We see the return of the Cybermen in this story written by Neil Gaiman. They have a lovely redesign, very nice work indeed. The design is slicker than the previous rather clunky design, and yet feels like it lends much from the Cybermen of ‘The Moonbase’ and ‘The Tomb of the Cybermen’. When will they bring back the chest unit though?
Warwick Davis
Unfortunately the story is not nearly as good as ‘The Doctor’s Wife’, although it did improve on a second viewing. One disappointing aspect is that it is set in a giant amusement park, but it doesn’t utilise this location much at all. Just really one building and a castle, which they shot on location. Well, I guess they were always going to do that.
Matt Smith gets to wrestle with the ‘Cyber-planner’ inside his head and does a rather good job. That worked nicely and the partial Cyber-isation
on the face was a good effect. I think this suffers from trying to do too much for a single episode though. If we had more money and two-parts, there could be something really epic with people fighting the Cybermen in various locations around the theme park. As it was, the Cybermen just attack the castle. Any issue they have now they can get past with a quick ‘upgrade’, which really takes the fun out of it, I reckon.
Warwick Davis, who was in Harry Potter, plays the Emperor, and he’s very good. He’s the main guest star, however we do have two kids who not only are annoying to watch but actually appear to have been written that way in the first place. These are the kids that Clara nannies and they found out about the Doctor and insisted on going on a trip, which frankly was again poor scripting but that’s probably a Moffat thing. They don’t really serve any
function in the story – the Cybermen said they needed young minds but honestly that was not an important point. The story would have been better off without them. We again see how child-like Matt Smith’s Doctor is, although it is a bit funny too which helps when he doesn’t get to play chess.
The rumour is that Moffat had much less to do with this episode than ‘The Doctor’s Wife’, but I must say I think it was odd to get Gaiman to write this episode, what with Cybermen and many characters, it’s kinda the opposite to the previous episode he wrote. It is for the most part entertaining, at times light, at times dark. It is many things, but not as good as it could have been I feel.


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