Doctor Who S06E09: Night Terrors #SpoilersSweetie

06 Sep

There’s something I’ve said about Doctor Who a few times, but which bears repeating every so often: it’s not science fiction. It’s just not. If you go into Doctor Who expecting science of any kind of hardness then you’re going to be disappointed, and I think this is where a lot of (well, some of) the animosity towards the show comes from, people wanting/expecting it to be something that it simply isn’t.

Doctor Who isn’t about science.

Doctor Who is about magic.

It’s about being a scared little boy squeezing your eyes shut and whispering ‘please save me from the monsters please save me from the monsters please save me from the monsters’ …

… and of someone hearing. Someone who can help you. Someone who will fight as hard as they can to save you from ANY monsters.

The Doctor.

And then the episode turns out to be not quite as good as the premise suggested it might be and you end up feeling vaguely unsatisfied and in mild (if temporary) agreement with those who say that Doctor Who ain’t all that.

I mean, when Doctor Who is good it’s fantastic, but there are a lot of mediocre episodes too. With that said …


Goodness but there were some lovely shots in this. Special mention to the Tardis’s materialisation reflected in a puddle, just a beautifully constructed image.

I enjoyed how normal everything was, apart from the stuff that wasn’t.

“‘allo Alex!” Matt Smith’s delivery made me cackle.

“He hates clowns–” “Understandable.”

I’m usually not a fan of the ‘shove the companions into a subplot’ style of Doctor Who episode construction, but I actually enjoyed Rory and Amy bumbling around trying to figure out just where/when the heck they were.

I do like it when The Doctor gets petulant.

“Come on Alex Alex come on!”

Not So Yay

Some of the gimmicky little directorial things didn’t work for me–took me out of the story too much, reminded me that I was, in fact, watching a TV program.

Music. AGAIN. This episode would have been considerably improved by its removal. Ditto with the doll puppet things, they would’ve been far creepier if they’d been silent.

Perception Filters are getting a tad bit overused as a device.

Mawkish, cop-out ending. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of The Power Of Love and an even bigger fan of the Cooldown Hug, but there are some tropes you’ve got to earn.

And So

“In the flesh” seemed a tad tasteless considering what Amy’s been through, but oh well. Less forgiveable is that both Amy AND Rory seem to have completely forgotten that their baby is missing and, in fact, grows up to be a psychopath. What up with THAT?

Enough grumbling, I thought it was an okay episode but nowhere near as good as I hoped it’d be and pretty much totally forgettable (I must stop expecting so much of Mark Gatiss-written ‘sodes, they’re never as good as they look). As for next week’s, it looks like it could go either way, so … yes.


Posted by on September 6, 2011 in Talking About Television


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3 responses to “Doctor Who S06E09: Night Terrors #SpoilersSweetie

  1. Mo

    September 7, 2011 at 01:46

    I quite enjoyed this episode, it seemed to encapsulate a lot of what a good Doctor Who episode should be about. It managed to be pretty creepy, as well as funny at times, and they threw a nice message in there for good measure.

    A few lines I particularly liked:

    “You could be anybody!”
    “I could be, but I’m not.”


    “You’re not from Social Services are you?”

    I like it when The Doctor gets scared in an episode.

    Overall it was some good fun, I thought.

    • Ben White

      September 7, 2011 at 11:10

      I think with this one my expectations were just way too high, I went in expecting to utterly love it to pieces but it just didn’t live up to the excellent premise. Still, it was okay. Some good lines, as you said, and some good delivery from Matt Smith (as ever), and I agree, I like it when The Doctor gets scared too. I think part of my problem, and this is a problem I have with most Matt Smith/Moffat episodes, is that the Ponds are just too passive–if it’s not about their own story arcs they just bumble around in the background doing nothing much at all. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I really miss Donna Noble!

      Anyway, I did enjoy it, but I can’t think of any DW episode I didn’t enjoy on some level, even when it’s terrible there’s always something in there to justify its existence. Sometimes I feel like a addict, even when it’s not that great I still need my fix 🙂

      • Mo

        September 7, 2011 at 19:22

        Yeah, I agree that they could be doing a much better job with the Ponds, as you say.

        Also, yes, I definitely know how you feel with the whole ‘addict’ thing. 🙂


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