Doctor Doctor Who Guide

It had its moments. An iconic spaceship crash, a traditional monster...it had the potential to be the best episode of the series so far. Unfortunately, as the unholy spawn of season 24, it turned out to be by far the worst.

The main problem is that the humour/drama balance was woefully misjudged. I like humour in the show when it's clever wit, but this was just idiotic slapstick. Hence we have Mickey's comedy pratfall, the Doctor wrestling with a baby and biped pig which may have been intended to be creepy and grotesque but was in fact just ridiculous.

Then we have Doctor Who's new worst-ever scene: the farting aliens. I'd heard about this before, and I've been dreading it. There was a time once where a script was written in iambic pentameter-now we have fart gags. Even Delta And The Bannermen, the show's worst episode, didn't have fart gags. Anyone would think they were trying to lose ratings. I can't remember when I last cringed so much.

Other humour is of the traditional RTD kind: self-conscious shots at fandom that would be postmodern if they were less smug and unsubtle (and unfunny). What we have then is a very poor episode: special effects and embarrassing jokes, and little else of substance except what was probably a good idea once.

The cliffhanger was fine...until the next episode trailer where we get to see the Doctor alive and well. A good cliffhanger should be a good cliffhanger for a whole week, not for thirty seconds.

Look back to The Unquiet Dead. It had the perfect balance of good humour and scares, was well paced, and had a core central idea that was allowed to shine through. Much like the original series then, we can have an absolute classic followed next week by an absolute dog. My only hope is now that the invasion has kicked in things will toughen up for part 2. I haven't given up on RTD just yet, but his I know best attitude is starting to grate on me. The problem with having the boss write an episode is that when they have a stupid idea there's no one to stop them.

I might be a good idea for next season (assuming ratings don't plummet now that is) for RTD to tone down his own input and give the other writers a greater slice of the pie, as I get the feeling that in terms of quality hes definitely the small fry.

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