Doctor Who, Eleven For Eleven: Closing Time

“What the hell are you doing here?”

“Oh, I’m the Doctor, I work in a shop now, here to help. Look, they gave me a badge with my name on it in case I forget who I am. Very thoughtful, as that does happen.”

There are times to get all bent out of shape over problems with plot, and logic, and diminishing returns, and other niggling concerns, and then there are times where it makes a lot more sense to focus on the positives of a story, the things that do work, the things that make the story enjoyable despite all those nagging flaws. The time to get all bent out of shape over the problems is when those are the chief elements on display, such as in a story like “Let’s Kill Hitler,” one of the big continuity episodes. “Closing Time,” Gareth Roberts’s sequel of sorts to last year’s “The Lodger,” is no such beast; the plot is a secondary concern to watching Matt Smith’s extra-alien Doctor once again invading the life of James Corden’s Craig Owens, this time during an all-important weekend where Craig is supposed to prove to his family and friends that he can take care of his baby Alfie on his own. Unfortunately, this also coincides with a Cyberman invasion from beneath a department store — not their finest hour, but it’s pretty much just an excuse to keep the Doctor around and give him something to do when he’s not tormenting Craig with his ability to speak baby, quiet less developed life forms with a mere “shush,” and the fact that everyone still seems to really, really like him. Again, you’ve probably already seen it, but if you haven’t, spoilers do follow. Continue reading

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Doctor Who, Eleven For Eleven: The God Complex

“The rooms have … THINGS in them.”

“Things? Hello! What kind of things? Interesting things? I like things. Ask anyone.”

“Bad dreams.”

“Well, that killed the mood.”

If modern DOCTOR WHO episodes were judged solely on the basis of how much they felt like classic DOCTOR WHO episodes, “The God Complex” would the king of the Eleventh Doctor stories. Certainly there are thoroughly modern elements to the story, most of all the deconstructionist climax and the heartstring-tugging ending, but the mystery, the setting, the use of a mythological story as a backbone, and the endless corridors are all very much in keeping with the formula of classic WHO. However, what puts it in the running for best of the season, to my mind, is the way the classic elements of the formula are executed, not just in a more modern way, but with such panache. And yes, while I’m coming to this a few weeks late, I will warn you on the off chance that you missed it, spoilers do follow. Continue reading