Blake’s 7, we thought upon seeing the trailer for The Rebel Flesh. No bad thing, but quite a shift in tone to previous weeks.
Would we see a further improvement over the excellent The Doctor’s Wife or would be we be back to the shaky start we saw in the first three episodes? Plus that bloke from Life On Mars was back, so was it as bad as Fear Her or was it, well, better than Fear Her?
Gangers – good make-up and quite frightening when they were normal, scared people who might just do something horrible to you.
Location – It’s great to see Doctor Who actually venture into the ‘anytime, anywhere’ format from time to time and show a castle on an island with pink sky and Dusty Springfield.
Doc 11/Smith – Given some rather more interesting stuff to do this week; the emerging Ganger Doctor was really quite creepy. Let’s hope something interesting develops here. I really do rate Smith but he’s seemed a little lost in the equation of late; I hope the second part puts the Doctor right at the centre of things. And do you really have to go back Arc of Infinity (hello Patrick!) before you find a creepy Doctor doppelganger?
TARDIS scene – These were inevitably awful back n the day, in fact you probably have to go back to something like Robots of Death for a TARDIS scene that stands up on its own and is worth including in the classic series. This was hardly essential, but quite nice. Having said that, I don’t know how many times we can watch the Doctor staring at the scanner and frowning in coming weeks.
Cast – I thought most of the guest cast were actually quite poor, from the by-the-numbers no-nonsense female boss to the whiney one to the Northern bloke.
CGI – Doctor Who rarely does CGI well, and we had one of the worst CGI monster examples ever in this one. Is there anything more boring than a CGI monster?
Pacing – Up until the credits rolled I thought it was a one-parter. I’ve rarely felt the new series has got to grips that well with two-parters, this was another example. Which leads me to…
Two-parters – Do they work that well? The Silurian one last year was a total wash-out; the Silence two-parter this year just didn’t make any impact one me at all; those awful Helen Raynor stories; the RTD-gasms arguably just about get away with it, in terms of the form, because there’s so much going on but apart from Mofatt’s own from Series one, three and – perhaps – four I can’t think of too many that are highly regarded.
All told I found this enjoyable enough, but it was only the cliffhanger that brought me back into it. Moffatt’s series last year gave a very good impression of understanding what and Who, ahem, it was. This year it feels all over the shop in terms of tone and style and I can’t really work out what’s going wrong.
Wrong may not be the right word to use here, but I’ve mainly watched this series with an air of mild bemusement. Difficult second album? Too much time spread between two show? Who knows, but I’m hoping for a more even tone and quality from the second part of the season.
• Caves and Twins? What are you dribbling on about?
Go here: Caves and Twins