Season 8 Pre-Finale Rankings

Here are my traditional end-of-season rankings for Season 8, excluding the two-part finale and the Christmas special. 1. The Caretaker The heart of season 8, and for my money, the episode where the characters’ conflicts are dealt with most powerfully and convincingly. There’s real peril,…

In the Forest of the Night

For about 27 minutes, I thought I had a new favorite episode of the season. The central image — a forest grows in London overnight — is so appealing to me, and such a wonderfully Doctor Who idea. I enjoyed the interplay between Danny and…

Flatline

I can’t remember the last time I had feelings this mixed about a season of Doctor Who, new or old. On the one hand, I can’t deny that the quality of the show is at a local maximum. Acting, cinematography, writing, conceptual sophistication, special effects,…

Mummy on the Orient Express: Notes

This one was a lot like “Time Heist” for me. Based on what I knew of it going in, I thought, “this is going to be fun!” but by the end I was so indifferent I couldn’t even bring myself to write about it. This…

Kill the Moon

One of the few things I’m certain about regarding “Kill the Moon” is that it makes my science objections to “Listen” seem petty by comparison. Doctor Who has never been anything like a hard science fiction show, and a casual sampling of classic series episodes…

The Caretaker: Notes

I’m finding that I have little to say about “The Caretaker” too, but this time it’s because I loved it and feel it speaks for itself eloquently. In its way I think it’s on par with “Listen” in its ability to change the way we…

Time Heist: Notes

I’m taking a break from writing full reviews of Doctor Who episodes. I’d planned to do so anyway after Time of the Doctor, but was tempted back to write a few more amid the excitement of a new Doctor. My enthusiasm for it is flagging,…

Listen

This is beautiful. Nothing I can say beyond that is really necessary. You can stop here if you like. Still here? Well, let’s see. I didn’t think this was beautiful the first time through. Even if we grant, as some fan theories have conjectured, that…

Robot of Sherwood

Once again it’s easy to see the antecedents for this episode. There are a few intentional shout-outs to the Third Doctor’s era — the “Hai!” karate-chop (“Venusian aikido,” he used to call it), the Miniscope theory. You might also think fleetingly of classic season 11’s…

Into the Dalek

Well, let’s get these out of the way: “Planet of Giants” (1964): miniaturization “Carnival of Monsters” (1973): miniaturization, crawling around inside a machine “The Invisible Enemy” (1977): miniaturization, crawling around inside a person trying to cure him “Resurrection of the Daleks” (1984): human soldiers vs….