Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Which Witch Is Who?


Originally titled The Hider in the House, the Doctor Who story Hide now shares with Rose the distinction of having the shortest title in the franchise's history at a mere four letters long (42 is technically speaking a shorter title, but it consists of numbers).  What was billed as a ghost story really is a mishmash of genres where screenwriter Neil Cross (in his second Who story after the disappointing Rings of Akhaten) appears to have run out of ideas about halfway through, then decided to give it a new setting, and then kept throwing things at the screen to stretch it out.  In a strange turn of events, Hide is different from other Series/Season Seven Doctor Who stories: rather than the story being too short for its running time, Hide is simply too LONG for its running time.  It also has a few plot points that don't make sense when given enough thought, but it is strong on atmosphere (sometimes ridiculously so, but there it is).

Professor Alec Palmer (Dougray Scott) and psychic Emma Grayling (Jessica Rayne) are investigating (or ghost hunting, whichever you prefer) the Witch of the Well, a legendary ghost at Caliburn House in 1974.  Into their investigation pops in The Doctor (Matt Smith) and his Companion, Clara (Jenna-Louise Coleman).  The Doctor, convincing Palmer that he too is with the Ministry, plops himself down to be part of the investigation. This strange figure haunting the place has been been in the area for thousands of years, yet in all the photos she has the same position.  Something spooky is afoot.

There are also things going on within the hunters.  Emma carries a torch for Palmer (which is obvious), but Palmer is reluctant to pick up the sparks.  He feels guilt about his secret work during the War, which he keeps hidden.  The Doctor gently encourages Palmer to reach out to Emma, but unbeknown to him, Emma warns Clara to not trust the Doctor.  "There's a sliver of ice in his heart," she tells Clara.

Not that the TARDIS cares, given how it and Clara just can't seem to get along.  The Doctor quickly sees that the Witch of the Well is really Hila Tukorian (Kemi-Bo Jenkins), a space explorer (something about being a pioneer in time travel...I forget), trapped in a pocket universe which Caliburn House is a gateway to.  The Doctor learns all this while travelling through time on the TARDIS, taking snapshots of the same location, which disheartens Clara, who now sees that to the Doctor, all his Companions are ghosts, disappearing without so much as a how'do.

In any case, the Doctor manages to rescue Hila by travelling through the gateway with Emma's psychic powers enhanced by crystals from Metallis III (last mentioned in the Third Doctor story Planet of the Spiders), but while Hila escapes, the Doctor is trapped.  Clara demands Emma use her powers to rescue the Doctor, but Emma is too exhausted physically and emotionally to do so.  However, there is the TARDIS.  Despite the danger the TARDIS faces in entering the pocket universe and its dislike for Clara Oswald, it goes, and with Emma's psychic powers, brings them back.

Finally, we learn that Hila is Emma's descendant...hers and Palmer's.  We also learn the real reason the Doctor came to Caliburn House: not for the Witch of the Well, but to consult Emma about Clara.  The psychic tells him she's just a girl, nothing more or less.  The Doctor also realizes that the strange figure within the pocket universe was really just searching for its mate (The Monster Demands A Mate!), which is trapped in Caliburn House.  Another sweep by the TARDIS to collect the other monster for a little love fest...

In terms of plot so much of Hide either doesn't make sense or is never explained.  Exactly HOW does the Doctor know so much about Professor Palmer's past?  If Hila has been trapped inside that 'pocket universe' for a few seconds or minutes in her time but thousands of years to us, when does she stop to write "Help Me" on the walls of Caliburn House?  As the Doctor travels through time to collect pictures to figure out how long the Witch of the Well has been there, how did he come to the conclusion that she was this space traveler none of us had ever heard of?  If the TARDIS would be trapped within the pocket universe if it landed there, was it cheating by having it merely fly-in...twice?  Given the TARDIS is harboring a dislike for Clara (for reasons to be revealed later), did the TARDIS basically fly itself since Clara would not have had time to master its controls? Why would the Doctor turn to a psychic (even if she was an empathic one) to solve the mystery of Clara Oswald?  Couldn't he just call Miss Cleo?

One thing that I didn't care in Hide is that we're constantly told about Palmer's past (again, exactly how the Doctor knows all this information we're never told or at least I don't remember being told), but it proves irrelevant to the story overall save for his reluctance to romance Emma.  Palmer is suppose to be a 'haunted' man (pun perhaps intended) but it isn't a major part of the story.

To its credit, Hide gives us all those traditional 'haunted house' motifs (the thunder and lightning outside this massive home) only to pull them away for a quasi-parallel universe.  In those moments when we're given the atmospheric elements of a horror story Hide really gets them all right.  We have the thunder and lighting, the flickering lights, the eerie stillness, even the 'you get the feeling you're being watched' line (which might have come from a Bugs Bunny cartoon). I don't even begrudge them the twist to give the 'ghost' a more scientific explanation (or at least an explanation not grounded in the supernatural).  However, just like Cold War was highly reminiscent of the film Alien, Hide was highly reminiscent of the film Poltergeist.  You have the 'ghost' who is on the other side of bright light, a female trapped on the other side, a rescue to get her which means going into the light, a psychic who is vital to bringing the female to the living side.

Given that the female is their (great-great-great-great-grand) daughter, the Poltergeist comparisons all but tumble out of themselves.

I'm surprised the Doctor didn't say, "This house is clean."

Speaking of, when I saw the Doctor running away from the 'ghost' at the top of the stairs, I was waiting for him to say, "I ain't 'fraid of no ghost," sense he and Clara are in her words, "ghostbusters".  Smith is just a dimwit as the Doctor, and I should just resign myself to his interpretation of the character.  Coleman had a good scene when she finds that Companions come and go for the Doctor, so that's another plus. 

Hide seems so familiar to me...

Hide does have some good things in it. Scott and Raine work well together as the thwarted lovers, doing so much with so little.  Sadly, Jenkins is nothing more than a plot device: once she's rescued she is basically irrelevant, especially since we were given this faux-happy ending of 'having the monster lovers reunite'.  Again, the touches of what is a traditional horror story are there, and it's those little nods to Gothic horror that push Hide a little higher in terms of score.

On the whole, Hide for me seemed like it was throwing a lot without having much to back it up.  Once we got the pocket universe story all the 'horror' elements to what looked like a nice homage to spooky tales of things that go bump in the night shifted and we get a cross between Poltergeist and a rom-com.  I didn't hate Hide, but I didn't love it either. 

Oh, the horror...the horror...   

The TARDIS doesn't like you,
and frankly neither do I...


Next Story: Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS

Thursday, April 18, 2013

That Sinking Feeling


I certainly wouldn't have guessed it, not judging from Cold War

I'm told by the most reliable source out there (Wikipedia) that Mark Gatiss is a big Doctor Who fan.  There are even suggestions that he's some sort of genius: he acts (it's Mycroft Holmes in Sherlock everyone!) AND writes (I still hold that The Idiot's Lantern is a good story, Night Terrors is also good, and The Unquiet Dead is in my Doctor Who Top Ten Reviewed So Far).  Gatiss, like myself, may be a big fan of the Ice Warriors, and he may have thought he was doing the Giant Spaghetti Monster's work (I figure he's an atheist) by bringing one of the best Doctor Who monsters back.  However, while The Seeds of Death is also among my Top Ten Reviewed Who stories (sorry, Marky Gat...it's higher than yours), that Ice Warrior story is at least to me, an actual Ice Warrior story.  Cold War on the other hand is an absolute disaster and an insult to what has come before.  After watching Cold War, I got the distinct sense that no one on Doctor Who trusted the traditional Ice Warrior look would be accepted by NuWhovians to whom the show now caters. Therefore, they decided to 'improve' on things and thus made Cold War a case of fixing something that was not broken.

It is the North Pole, 1983.  A Soviet submarine is having mock nuclear launches, and while Lieutenant Stepashin (Tobias Menzies) is more eager to drop the bomb on the capitalist pigs, Captain Zhukov (Liam Cunningham) insists he will not heat up the Cold War.  Meanwhile, aboard the ship is a fossilized figure in ice being brought back to Moscow by slightly dotty Professor Grisenko (David Warner).  One sailor, not willing to wait, starts to defrost the figure, and we know what happens when you defrost a mysterious figure while trapped on a ship...

The sub quickly sinks into chaos (pun intended) and into the maelstrom enter The Doctor (Matt Smith) and his Companion Clara (Jenna-Louise Coleman).  In his typically goofy way, wearing large sunglasses he shouts, "Viva Las Vegas!" before being thrown around and finding themselves in a sinking submarine.  Zhukov and Stepashin are suspicious of the two figures who just appeared.  The latter believes they are American spies (despite their flawless Russian) but the former is not too convinced.  Just when it is needed, the TARDIS vanishes off the ship.

As the Doctor continues to convince the Soviets he is no spy, only he does not realize that there is someone behind him.  FINALLY he finds himself confronted with an old advisory...an Ice Warrior.  He is Grand Marshall Skaldak (voiced by Nicholas Briggs, performed by Spenser Wilding).  He is looking for more of his race, in particular his daughter who was with him before he was frozen in his block of ice.  Despite his best efforts, the Ice Warrior is attacked with a cattle prod.

Now captured, Skaldak telepathically calls for his brothers in arms to come to his aid.  Determined to keep things peaceful, the Doctor sends Clara as an emissary,  but he will not be placated.  Since he has been attacked, Skaldak now can destroy the whole human race.  Given he's on a nuclear sub, he certainly can.  The chains that hold him are a mere nuisance, for Skaldak leaves the safety of his armor to run amok.

Soon Skaldak is on a killing spree, with Stepashin figuratively bonding...until the Soviet is killed off but not before Skaldak decides to kill all humanity with the nuclear weapons aboard.  Skaldak almost kills Clara, then Grishenko but when cornered by the Soviets, he calls his armor to come to him, slips in and is about to push the button.  The Doctor pleads, pleads, for him to show mercy, and oddly, Skaldak does hesitate.  Just then, we find that an Ice Warrior ship suddenly appears...almost as if a God emerged from a Machine to save the day.  The spaceship pulls the sub to the surface, takes Skaldak up and the TARDIS returns as well, having left as a result of the activation of the Hostile Action Displacement System, or HADS.

Doctor Who is an IDIOT!

The disappointment I felt over Cold War is massive.  My first big issue with Cold War is that it plays too close to Alien, in particular with the Ice Warrior outside the armor.  At certain times with Skaldak skulking around quickly (so quickly one couldn't see him) one might almost imagine seeing the Ice Warrior with a tail. 

Putting aside the fact that Cold War in terms of plot and imagery comes close to Alien (the sailors being knocked down one by one by a monster aboard a ship stranded and unable to get any help) we have the actual Ice Warrior himself.  First, Gatiss could not resist the temptation to temper evil by giving him a sentimental motive.  In short, Skaldak misses his daughter.  The Ice Warrior is no longer evil or bent on domination and conquest.  No, he has to a be a wounded soul of sorts.  Even worse, he is a wimp to boot.  For almost all of Cold War, Skaldak is ruthless, dangerous, murderous, not shrinking from going on a rampage.  However, just when he's going to drop the bomb, he hesitates.  Nothing in Cold War or in the Ice Warrior mythos (apart from the Peladon tales where we're told they've renounced violence but which was not addressed here) indicates that some sort of plea would placate his vengeance.

That also bothered me to no end.  To resolve the crisis, the Doctor resorts to all but saying, "Please, Please, Pretty Please".  We have several problems with that.  First, it is far too reminiscent of how he attempted to deal with the Silurians in Cold Blood Parts 1 & 2.  Second, it takes his pacifism to an extreme.  Allow me a digression.

Matt Smith's interpretation of the Doctor has been compared to that of Patrick Troughton: the slightly bumbling but brilliant figure with the bow tie.  While they may dress similarly, that's really where all similarity ends between the two.  For all his clowning exterior the Second Doctor was always brilliant.  That bumbling persona was just for show to put off his enemies.  While never resorting to out-and-out violence the Second Doctor would attempt to defeat his enemies with some kind of weapon.  As far as I remember, he never just went up to a Dalek or a Cyberman or even a Quark and asked them to stop what they're doing.

Troughton would also never rely so heavily on the sonic screwdriver nor would he not realize there is danger behind him.  In short, he appeared to be a bumbler but never an outright idiot as Smith makes him out to be.   Smith and the NuWho staff want to emphasize the Doctor's aversion to violence, which is commendable.  However, it is muddle-headed to think that violence can be resolved merely by asking a murderous antagonist to merely play nice. 

As far as I was concerned, they might as well change the name of the monster from Ice Warrior to Ice Wimperers. 

Again and again I never got the sense I was watching actual Ice Warriors (despite Gatiss' protests to the contrary).  When we saw little glimpses of him outside the armor the animation looked cheap (although they did get a Satanic quality to the red glowing eyes along with Nicholas Briggs' voice work).

Just a side note, but is there ANYONE ELSE whom they could hire to do Doctor Who voices?  Briggs has voiced the Daleks.  Briggs has voiced the Cybermen.  Briggs now has voiced the Ice Warrior.  Is it me or are they cutting corners by getting the same guy over and over again or does Briggs have an exclusive contract to voice every non-human monster from the Classic Era?  Should they ever bring back the Sea Devils, wonder if Nicholas Briggs will be their voice too...

Cold War also did two things with the Ice Warriors that breaks away from what has come before.  First, they never fired their weapon on their arm (which always made a beautiful-looking, even scary, death).  They also de-emphasized the way they would extend the "s" whenever they would speak.  My own theory is that should they have tried to stay close to the original, NuWhovians might have found the end result more laughable than menacing.  All that breathy speaking, Gatiss, Moffat, and director Douglas Mackinnon probably thought.  They wouldn't buy it.  We have to tone down what made the Ice Warriors so unique.  Therefore, at least to me, they weren't REAL Ice Warriors, just aliens in Ice Warrior costumes.

In terms of the acting, it is nice to see Coleman have SOMETHING to do, but nothing in Cold War tells me she is anything special.  For five episodes now she still has not left any impression on me as a great Companion.  Warner didn't do much apart from looking appropriately dotty, obsessing over 80s pop groups.  Even when menaced by the unmasked Ice Warrior I was pulling more for the alien than for the human.  I will say that Menzies did impress me as Stepashin, and that is because he had an actual personality.  He WANTED to attack, he WANTED to take action.  If only Skaldak and Stepashin would have joined forces to take over the ship and launch the weapons, we could have had such a great story.

Finally, I hated the resolution to Cold War.  Again it was nothing the Doctor actually did.  Like the rain/tears in The Snowmen, like the leaf in The Rings of Akhaten, Smith's Doctor appears nearly incapable of coming up with a solution to the problem he faces.  Instead, something outside will come in, in this case the Ice Warrior ship suddenly appearing to whisk Skaldak away.  It was a cheap and easy way to get out of things, and I'm at a loss to understand why so many loved it.

I was amused by one part of Cold War.  When Clara is failing in her efforts to communicate with Skaldak, Grishenko says, "I think he wants to speak to the organ grinder, not the monkey."  Given that in The Spoonheads I thought of the Doctor AS an organ grinder's monkey with him putting out his fez to collect coins, it was a strange thing to see someone 'commenting' on something I'd seen prior.

Now, about the only good things in Cold War was the cinematography (which was appropriately atmospheric) and the sets (which looked completely like a sub).  The costumes of the Soviet Navy were also impressive. 

If it were not for these factors, Cold War would have earned an even lower score than I'm giving it.
Ultimately, one only needs to look at the difference between The Seeds of Death and Cold War to see the difference between a good Ice Warrior story and a ghastly Ice Warrior story. 

Gatisss mussst anssswer for hisss blasssphemy.
He'sss no geniusss....


Next Story: Hide

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Leaf It To Clara...


Somehow, the Eleventh Doctor story The Rings of Akhaten managed to actually be...not bad.  The fact that it wasn't a disaster as have so many Doctor Who stories of the Matt Smith Era is indeed something to be celebrated (in my current group of reviews, a shocking SEVEN of the Ten Worst Stories have been Eleventh Doctor stories, with only ten more stories to go before I formalize my First 100 Doctor Who Reviewed Stories So Far Lists--Top and Bottom Ten*).  However, that isn't to say The Rings of Akhaten will ever join the ranks of say something like a similarly vaguely Egyptian-esque titled story: Pyramids of Mars.   Instead, The Rings of Akhaten is something to enjoy for aspects outside the general story (the score, the costumes, the make-up), with the story itself having great potential only to sink into bad form.

The Doctor (Matt Smith) whisks his newest Companion, Clara (Jenna-Louise Coleman) on her first intergalactic adventure.  Unbeknown to Clara, however, the Doctor has basically been stalking her all her short life, determined to find the mystery of The Girl Twice Dead (a little refresher: Clara aka Oswin turned out to be a Dalek in Asylum of the Daleks...and hence, dead, then a Clara Oswin Oswald, Victorian barmaid-cum-governess, died at the end of The Snowmen, and for the moment no real explanation has been put forth as to how she could be three versions...so far...of the same person).  As such, the Doctor has been able to observe how Clara's parents came to meet (a leaf brought them together), their marriage, Mrs. Oswald's early death in 2005, and now to the present.

In any case the Doctor takes Clara to the titled Rings of Akhaten.  These are from what I saw asteroids circling a large sun-like planet.  On these asteroids we find all sorts of aliens waiting for a sacred ceremony.  Here, in a marketplace eerily similar to Tattoine, the Doctor and Clara get separated.  Clara runs into a little girl who herself is running away, a little girl named Merry (Emilia Jones).  The Doctor Who version of Queen Amidala is indeed a Queen, the Queen of Years.  Merry has to sing a song, a lullaby, to placate Grandfather, whom the various aliens hold to be an angry god.  She is worried that she'll get the song wrong and thus be sacrificed.  Clara first tries to get into the TARDIS for the Doctor's help, but curiously the TARDIS won't let her in (wonder why...), but she gives Merry confidence to sing her song.

The concert at first goes well (and it's a lovely lullaby).  Of course, something went wrong, and Merry gets swept away to the Temple to await devouring.  The Doctor and Clara race to rescue her, while all the other aliens just pretty much stare at it all.  There, the Doctor and Clara find a being locked within a glass case who first attempts to take Merry's soul.  The Doctor manages to stop both the monster and the Vigil (a group of masked henchmen) with his sonic screwdriver (more on that later), but in a 'twist' the monster in the glass case ISN'T Grandfather/Angry God.  It is Akhaten itself...a giant ball of light that feeds off memories.  The Doctor at first attempts to save the worlds by presenting his vast memories of pain and loss, but even that is not enough. 

Enter Clara, who presents a leaf.  That's right: A Leaf.  It's not just any leaf; it's the leaf that brought her parents together, the one that is filled all the dreams, hopes, and futures of Mrs. Oswald that will not be because of her early death.  Galactus....I mean, Akhaten, so overwhelmed with the possibilities, implodes.  Back on Earth, Clara lets the Doctor know she will not serve as a substitute for a ghost after realizing he was at her mother's burial, and she goes home, observed by the mysterious Doctor.

Oh, Canada...I mean, Clara...
The Rings of Akhaten is a very pretty episode, but that's really about it.  Neil Cross' debut Doctor Who story comes from the same person praised for the BBC police drama Luther (whose star, Idris Elba, would make a damn-sight better James Bond than the crabby, morose, grumpy Daniel Crab...I mean, Craig).  Not having seen Luther, I have no real way of saying how good a writer Cross is.  However, if Rings of Akhaten is presented as Cross' abilities with science-fiction, he is best suited for crime stories instead. 

I think we should start by focusing on the good things in it.  Murray Gold's score for once is lovely.  The Lullaby Sans Fin is quite a pretty little number, and Jones has a pretty voice (think Charlotte Church before she lost her cuteness).  The make-up work on all the various aliens (as well as the Vigil) is strong and the episode certainly is a beautiful-looking one (the imagery of the Doctor and Clara in silhouette against the burning light of Akhaten is striking).

If it were not for these external aspects, The Rings of Akhaten would be a total disaster as a story.  Let's go over all the issues I found with it. 

First, the threat was never real.  I know Cross wanted to make a shocking twist by not having the monster in the glass case be "Grandfather" but when you're facing down a giant ball of light you have two problems.  One: you can't have a menacing threat emerge from something that doesn't speak and doesn't take much action.  Two: for those of us who have seen Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer or know a little bit about it (I'm the former), one just can't get away from thinking Akhaten is a knock-off of Galactus, the menacing world-destroyer shaped like a giant planet.  I simply cannot believe anyone on Doctor Who could have seen that and not have at least suspected a similarity between Akhaten and Galactus.   However, because the actual 'threat' kept shifting AND because one couldn't take the 'threat' seriously, one couldn't worry about whether or not little Merry sang her song or was eaten.

Don't make me use this...again...
Second, we have Matt Smith.  While he can still handle 'grand monologues' well (his little speech in The Lodger was about the only good thing in that story, and I thought well of his monologue in The Big Bang Part I), I finally am forced to concede something I have resisted for the longest time.  The sonic screwdriver for all intents and purposes is now the Citizen Kane of Deus Ex Machinas: the way to end any problem the Doctor faces; rather than think his way out of something, he just whips out his handy-dandy 'magic wand' and presto: problem solved.  It slices, it dices, it opens doors and holds monsters at bay.  At a certain point in Rings of Akhaten, when the Vigil unleash a power source and the Doctor figuratively returns fire, I at least could not help thinking, "my God, it's Harry Potter vs. Voldemort in Deathly Hallows Part II!"  He might just as well have shouted, "Expecto Patronum!" when facing off against the Vigil.

In the Fifth Doctor story The Visitation (if I remember correctly), then-Doctor Who producer John Nathan-Turner ordered the sonic screwdriver destroyed, believing it was being overused to get the Doctor out of any and all situations. JNT got many things wrong during his tenure, but in this case he was absolutely right.  Would that Steven Moffat follow suit, because here the sonic screwdriver did things it really shouldn't have.  Granted, when one has less than an hour to present problem and solve it, the sonic screwdriver is a fast and easy way to get in and out of things, but it just looked so awful and worse, diminished the Doctor's formidable mental abilities.

Third, we have Coleman.  Again, after so many stories with variations on Clara, I am finding her shockingly boring...almost on the same level as Dodo Chaplet or Katarina.  These two First Doctor Companions are usually ranked near the bottom (with the latter not even surviving to two stories), and so far Clara just looks like a dumb girl with no personality.  Another First Doctor Companion, Sara Kingdom, left a stronger impression because she had both a personality and evolved in her only story (The Daleks' Master Plan).  It's already sad to see a Companion be so underused, and even worse to think a whole SERIES/SEASON is being built around HER!

Cause I'm a Rocket Man...

Fourth, we have strange plot points that don't make any sense.  Putting aside the fact that Rings of Akhaten bears unfortunate similarities to Star Wars: A New Hope and The Phantom Menace (even Merry's wardrobe looks like it came from the Amidala Children's Collection), one has to wonder what will happen to those creatures on the various asteroids now that their gravitational hold has evaporated.  One can wonder how the Doctor and Clara can fly so quickly from one asteroid to another without having any difficulty breathing.  One can wonder how no one in the past has apparently failed to figure out the monster inside the glass case was not the actual Grandfather (I wondered about the monks within the Temple...wouldn't they have some idea of what that thing was).

As corollary to this, given that the Doctor has all but been stalking Clara (making him almost a pervert following a little girl), it is amazing, downright shocking to think Clara as an adult has no memories of meeting the Doctor in his long brown coat and bow tie when it's clear she was introduced to him by her mother when a soccer ball went his way.  If we include The Bells of Saint John's prequel, Clara has clearly seen his face before...twice, in fact, and yet his visage rings no bells?  Talk about dumb girl.

Fifth, does it really matter if the little girl doesn't sing her song?  Frankly, I don't think that it's that much of a threat, and because we never get to know Merry we can't muster all that much sympathy for her in her predicament.   At times, Merry came off as a bit whiny (No, you MUST let me die.  You Must, You MUST!), to where I was rooting for Galactus. 

Sixth and finally, here we have another case where the Doctor didn't solve the problem.  I don't think he even really did anything.  Instead, it was the Companion who jumped in to save the day.  That plot device (something that has plagued the Smith Era Doctor Who...imagine Jo Grant coming in to defeat the monster that Jon Pertwee's Third Doctor couldn't!) is already old hat.  However, how to defeat this giant soul-sucking monster?  A LEAF! 

Somehow, I can imagine the ghosts of William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, and Pertwee rolling their eyes at the nonsense that a LEAF saved the galaxy.

The Rings of Akhaten has some good ideas knocking around (the appeasing of an angry God, a giant monster, a far-out world), but it just isn't interesting.   I would recommend watching The Rings of Akhaten with the mute on, enjoying its visual splendor while ignoring the plot or dialogue.    

I'm ACTUALLY beginning to HATE you...


Next Story: Cold War

* As of today the Doctor Who reviewed stories are: from the Classic Era, every available story from An Unearthly Child to The Ambassadors of Death as well as The Sun Makers, and from NuWho starting with Rose up to The Girl in the Fireplace, followed by The Eleventh Hour onwards.  Therefore, it is not and should not be taken as the definitive list of ALL Doctor Who.  So there's hope that the Smith Era will not be the nadir of the series (Classic and Revived) and that other Doctor Who stories will take the place of the Eleventh Doctor's dominance of the Bottom Ten.  Also, the list is preliminary, so I expect some shifting of stories before I make it official.  However, I don't hold out much hope that the Smith Era will be overrepresented in the Worst and underrepresented in the Best.