This review has taken a while.
This review has taken a while because I’ve had to question the original intention of Doctor Who – what it is there to do. I’ve had to think on the purpose of the show and not the purpose of, say, the subtle use of a shot or prop to hint at further in-show workings.
“Will you follow him?” “Of course.”
Some things just don’t truck with me well. One of them is over-sentimentality.
It used to wash – in fact, if I’m entirely honest, I think that it used to affect me quite easily – but it no longer does as the years have crafted me into something leaner, smarter and stronger.
This episode was full of huggy, teary, feely moments soundtracked by Athlete (was it? God I hope not. Sorry Athlete but you’re not very good.)
This put me off the episode and, I have to be honest, retrospectively tainted the whole thing for me.
“Could you breathe quieter, please?”
However two things saved this episode from ruin: a fine performance from Tony Curran and the gadgets.
Oh the gadgets – them first: that identifying species thingy from his smelly two-headed godmother? Loved it. Don’t care that it didn’t have a name. Loved it. It was everything I like about the new series – a little bit nerdy, a little bit fanboy, good-looking in a very weird way and just damned fun with its printy goodness. The further explanation of the ketchup/mustard buttons in the TARDIS? More please.
My my, Mr Curran – you’re rather a bit good, aren’t you? A fine turn, a very convincing similar visage and combined with an excellent beard, I couldn’t fault you.
Unlike my good Mr Smith and Ms Gillan in this episode: Smith wasn’t hardly as quick or energy filled as on previous occasions, I can’t tell if this is him mellowing into the role or just an off day – I hope the latter; Gillan wasn’t terrible but not stand out either. Bill Nighy was an enjoyable touch but a sidenote for the parents nonetheless.
“There there. It’s alright.”
The episode itself was directed well, edited well and the art direction was obviously beautifully done – the moment when the night sky unfolds into a brilliantine swirl of colour was slightly intoxicating.
It was this that made me think so long on this review.
What was the original intended purpose of Doctor Who?
It was to inform the audience about historical events while entertaining them. This episode was a guided tour around a Van Gogh exhibition with all the historical details brought to life [admittedly played with by inserting a monster] but this really was affective. Watch kids the country over take a new interest in Van Gogh this week. See them ask/answer Van Gogh questions in the class/playing field.
This made me rethink my negative view on the episode and so I watched it again.
It’s not half bad and certainly does the trick.
[I just wish the Athlete(?) music wasn’t in there.