Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Doctor Who-"Night Terrors" and "The Girl who Waited"

As promised on The Unicellular Blog, in my Dragon Con recap, I am giving a review of the Doctor Who episode Night Terrors. Of course, I am a week late, but what else is new. Since a full week has passed, I will also comment on this weeks episode, The Girl Who Waited.

I had the pleasure of seeing the US premier of Night Terrors at Dragon Con in Atlanta alongside a room of over a thousand Doctor Who fans. Since Stephen Moffat has taken over the reigns from Russell T. Davies, Doctor Who has gone through some major changes. Visually the show has changed in format and adopted a more muted and dark color pallet, alla shows like Battlestar Galactica, however it is the stark difference between Moffat and Davies storytelling that has altered the shows over all feeling the most. It would be silly to complain that a show coming up on its 50th year has changed and been altered (there are still people who refuse to watch something that doesn't have Tom Baker), but I have truly missed one thing that Davies Doctor Who regularly utilized: The "Monster of the Week" episode. Moffat seems fixed on telling an epic, over-arching storyline centering on the “inevitable” demise of the Doctor at Lake Silencio(quotes around inevitable since The Doctor will surly find some loophole around this conundrum). I am not criticizing the story arch per se, but I am expressing my disappointment for the lack of some of the Doctor’s more self contained story lines. Night Terrors has satisfied that itch, at least for now, with a creepy and excellent story. What stands out most about this episode of Doctor Who is its strikingly different Cinematography. The entire episode carries the look and feel of a creepy horror/suspense film; not like a typical slasher, but something closer to The Shining. Not to be ignored, was the creepy industrial noise soundtrack that accompanied the episode as The Doctor, Amy, and Rory explore the defunct apartment complex. Overall this was a fantastic “Monster of the Week” episode.

This weeks, The Girl Who Waited, was actually more disappointing
than I excepted it to be. Early reviews set an expectation that this would be an emotional roller coaster that would leave me weeping. While the episode was definitely dramatically heavy handed, it was not nearly as emotional as I felt the writers wanted. While this was also a nice departure form the Doctor’s Death arch, it just lacked the zing that I felt the episode could have had. FOr one the action felt rushed through much of the episode. Granted this was an Amy-centric episode, I definitely feel that more time could have been spent exploring the world of the Two Streams facility. Most of what the viewer gets about the facility and the predicament that leads to its creation was picked up on some quick passing dialogue. Personally, I felt that this would have been a great two part episode, that really could have evolved into a much more rich story. I realize I will probably find myself in the minority in criticizing this one, but I really can’t give high marks for The Girl Who Waited when I feel that the story could have executed more perfectly. On a more positive note, Karen Gillian really showed off her acting chops by playing the older version of herself by altering her way of talking, characters attitude, and even body language. Also major props to the hair and make up department for making her transformation even more believable.

Next weeks The God Complex looks to be a trippy and creep good time.

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