Neil Gaiman’a long-awaited Doctor Who episode hit the screens with an annoyingly glib title to give us a set-up that Who fans have long imaged or written bad fanfic about.
Lawrence Miles might be raising an eyebrow, with the first example of a sentient TARDIS I can think of occurring in Alien Bodies. Either that or he’s writing 10,000 words on The Power of Kroll.
Anyway, was The Doctor’s Wife Neverwhere or was it…. well, I like all Gaiman’s stuff.
The Doctor and the TARDIS – Although some of it went into kooky/wacky mode many of these scenes were touching and peculiar. The scenes at the end were almost heart-breaking. Lovely Doctor Who.
House and the planet – Seemingly another echo from a New Adventure. House seemed rather like God in The Also People, unquestionably the best in the range to my mind. An intriguing idea.
Everything else on the planet was fascinating. The set-up and characters and dialogue and actors all fell into place wonderfully – and it looked startling. For all Doctor Who’s ‘anywhere, anytime’ shtick it rarely looks so alien and odd as it did in The Doctor’s Wife.
Scary shit – The scenes of Rory and Amy in the TARDIS were genuinely unsettling and disturbing. Well written, well shot and well played.
The regulars – Smith seemed back to his brilliant bonkers best this week after a couple of weeks where he seemed a bit lost. Some quieter stuff from the Doc was more interesting, while Darvill and Gillen were strong too.
That title. A tiresome facet of the new series is the urge to fling out controversial, eye-catching titles. It seems to me to be the equivalent of writing stories about celebrities in order to attract search-engine traffic to your literary website. The result is always the same – the user ‘bounces’ back off the site the second they realise they’ve been conned.
Kooky TARDIS – While I generally loved this episode and the thing with the TARDIS I did feel, with a somewhat weary sense of inevitability that the embodiment of the TARDIS was one part haughty Time Lady and one part wacky Doctor-like cypher. Occasionally irritating.
TARDIS corridors – All of time, all of space, all those adventures and the TARDIS is still a collection of featureless corridors? Crikey.
Rory’s old make-up – A little whinge, but such a bad hooter. Arthur Darvill looked like Clouseau in one of his disguises.
Any complaints this week can be shrugged off as I felt the episode was an almost unmitigated triumph. It was scary and funny and weird and witty and touching – everything good Doctor Who should be.