So, Gatiss’ fourth effort at writing a Doctor Who following two decidedly poor efforts and the very enjoyable The Unquiet Dead.
So, would we have another installment in this tiresome story arc, or would we have a lovely little self-contained frightener? Would it be the Gatiss of Nightshade or the Gatiss of, well, virtually anything he’s acted in?
I really liked the dolls and the way they made people into dolls – and the dolls house conceit, although none were particularly well used.
I don’t know where to start with this – I’m not sure I’ve seen one Doctor Who episode in the current run that I’d actually describe as ‘inept’. As a plot this felt like a rerun of Fear Her. The script was leaden and crashingly unfunny. The pacing was terrible; virtually nothing happened in the first half, then a deluge of action and plot points. The direction and editing seemed very off; especially notable during the climactic stairway scene that just looked amateurish. We also had the worst emotional manipulation courtesy of another saccharine Murray Gold score and Gatiss lines that were almost shameful.
And while Arthur Darvill does the self-aware acting really well, I found it vaguely insulting that the fact that a character basically dies every week with no ramifications was basically referred to and laughed off.
There’s been a kitchen sink element to a couple of Gatiss scripts now that just seem out-of-place and heavy-handed. What’s more, what is it with dysfunctional relationships between boys and their fathers? Is Doctor Who therapy for him?
I take no pleasure from saying it, but Gatiss’ last three attempts to write a Doctor Who episode have been a complete mess, with Night Terrors as the worst of the lot.
His work on the League of Gentlemen was frequently brilliant; some of his NAs among the best; his work on Sherlock appears to be bearing fruit but Mark Gatiss just doesn’t seem able to write Doctor Who any more.
That’s a worrying track record for a man generally assumed to be the show-runner in waiting, assuming a new show-runner will ever be required.
• Caves and Twins? What are you dribbling on about?
Go here: Caves and Twins