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Review: Doctor Who, In the Forest of the Night - The Annals of Young Geoffrey: Hope brings a turtle [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Young Geoffrey

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Review: Doctor Who, In the Forest of the Night [Oct. 27th, 2014|04:00 pm]
Young Geoffrey
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In the Forest of the Blight

Image: The Doctor and Clara look out from the Tardis as it floats in space. Screenshot from 'In the Forest of the Night'.

Here we go again: interrupted for a couple of weeks by an influx of competence, Steven Moffat's Doctor Who is once more circling the black hole of creative bankruptcy. Moffat's name isn't on "In the Forest of the Night" — the official blame goes to one Frank Cottrell-Boyce — but his fingerprints are all over it.

Child in peril? Yup. Magic child in peril? Yes and yes.

Lots of expository dialogue? Oh, yes.

Completely implausible reactions to extraordinary events? You know it.

Magic Reverso-Babble TM to ensure story has no lasting consequences? Why not? We're in Moffat-land!

Truth is, there is so much wrong with "In the Forest of the Night" it's hard to know where to start — or where to stop. I made every effort to be parsimonious in my critique, to prune away the dying limbs the better to reach the rotten heart of the tale, but did I succeed?

You can judge for yourself by reading In the Forest of the Blight. Snark, spoilers and baffled vitriol behind the link, as usual.

This entry was originally posted at http://ed-rex.dreamwidth.org/267074.html. Comment there using OpenID, or here as per normal.

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Comments:
[User Picture]From: beable
2014-10-28 04:45 am (UTC)

It wasnt just you



Trees will save them because tres wuv humanity seemed bloody obvious as soon as we saw magical girl's solar flare drawing with the really emo sun that doesnt mean to hurt all it's friends
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2014-10-28 02:02 pm (UTC)

Re: It wasnt just you

That's about the size of it, all right. Also, it now occurs to me to wonder: is this the first time that Who has featured Magic without some kind of science-y hand-waving?
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[User Picture]From: talekyn
2014-10-28 06:21 pm (UTC)
I haven't been good about posting my own episode reviews this season, but for my money, this was the worst episode of the lot. I'm willing to forgive a lot of "sciency-sounding-but-not-realistic" stuff in an SF show -- willing suspension of disbelief and all -- but the reveal of what was going on threw me completely out of a story I was already struggling with. I disliked the way the kids were developed (or undeveloped/stereotyped, as it is), really didn't like the way no-one seemed to communicate worldwide (despite news reports), didn't like the way mental illness was presented ("It's a super-power! You're a WIZARD, Maebh!")

And when the best lines in the episode are delivered by two of the Child Stereotypes, you know the script has problems. ("I thought you said they were in love. Why are they arguing?" "Because that's what people in love do. DON'T YOU KNOW ANYTHING?" and "I'm getting anxious! And when I get anxious I forget my anger management!" both made me laugh.)
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2014-10-29 03:02 am (UTC)

Worst? Probably, yes

Tell you the truth, most of the episodes have already (mercifully) faded on me. I remember being pretty unhappy with a number of them but I think it's a fair bet this is the worst — so far. I'm not expecting much (good) from the two-part finale coming up.

My favourite bit was Capaldi bouncing around the console, shooing the kids away from it. But that's a pretty poor return for 42 minutes of my life.
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[User Picture]From: talekyn
2014-10-29 01:07 pm (UTC)

Re: Worst? Probably, yes

I really actually like Capaldi's gruffer, crankier Doctor (not that I didn't like Tennant and Smith, mind you), but the scripts feel like they've been all over the place and contradictory, especially in terms of Clara's reactions to the Doctor. I thought "Robots of Sherwood" was goofy fun, and really liked the creepiness of the "Flat Intruders" or whatever they were called (episode before "Forest") but overall, this new series hasn't really found itself yet, and here we are at the end.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2014-10-30 05:23 am (UTC)

Re: Worst? Probably, yes

Me too. In my full reviews, I've often praised Capaldi; he's got an awesome sense of humour and is able to bring it to bear without breaking chracter (when the script gives him an actual character to put at risk).

I enjoyed hell out of "Robots of Sherwood", but thought "Flatline" lost a dimension on second viewing. (Yes please: shoot me now.)
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