Another Doctor Who post coming right up!
It’s common knowledge that, when a person loses a loved one, they go through 5 stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. Let’s call this blog part of my Anger phase. In an effort to let go of my favorite Doctor, I feel it’s important to look at a few episodes that I found lacking one aspect or another. Instead of the prerequisite Top 5, I’ve selected my least liked episodes from each season and my least liked of the Christmas specials starring Matt Smith as The Doctor. Let me first make clear that, even though I feel these episodes are weak, I still find them enjoyable in one way or another. Nothing will ever be as bad as “Love and Monsters” in my eyes.
Season/Series 5: Vampires of Venice
I love a good vampire story. Vampires, while being one of the most over romanticized horror icons, are still scary and make very interesting stories. This story, however, has a twist. These vampires aren’t vampires at all: They are alien fish disguised as humans… Yeah, when you put it that way, it’s really silly. I just couldn’t buy the whole fish angle. It seemed a bit too weird for me. The plot, when it comes to the aliens, is also pretty simple and boring. They want to flood the world so that their race can take over. For this show, it’s simply too “par for the course.” With an uninteresting plot and weird aliens, I just couldn’t find myself completely liking this episode. Still, the fish-pires are still better vampires than anything Stephanie Meyer could think up.
Season/Series 6: The Curse of the Black Spot
Pirates! Just the word calls to mind the high seas, big adventures, piles of gold! You’d think Doctor Who would make a great, action packed pirate adventure, right? Wrong! Instead, we get a semi-horror themed episode where everyone gets picked off one by one. And who’s the culprit? A pseudo-ghost. (The episode has a more sci-fi-y explanation.) The fact that it was a horror episode is fine. I just find it disappointing that the Tardis ends up on a pirate ship and nothing pirate-y really happens. They tried to stick a sword fight into the episode, but it didn’t last very long. Pirates were just an incidental element of what could have been a story of high adventure.
Season/Series 7: Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS
The TARDIS is one of the biggest icons of nerd culture on the planet. Ask any nerd what they think of when you say the words “blue police box” and they will say “Doctor Who.” An episode exploring the vast complexities of this fantastic time and space device is just what The Doctor ordered. However, it’s not what we got with this. Instead, we got an extended chase sequence that happened to be inside the TARDIS. We didn’t really get to experience what the TARDIS had to offer. Plus, the ending of the episode completely negates the entirety of what happened. I DESPISE those types of stories. If your story ends either with it all being a dream or something happening that means the rest of the story didn’t really happen, then what was the point of your story? I know, I know, I’m getting too complicated and too angry for a blog. Still, this episode was massively disappointing.
Christmas Special: The Doctor, The Widow, and the Wardrobe
The Doctor is helped by a random lady on the street one day. In return, he decides to try to give her and her family the best Christmas ever. Things go awry quickly. There are two main reasons for my dislike of this episode. First, I simply did not like the kids in this story, neither by their characters nor by their acting. Child actors irk me. Unless they are handled with delicate precision, I hate it when a child is trying to act and is the driving force of a story. These kids, I’m sorry, simply could not act. The little boy was wooden and never expressed even the slightest emotion. The little girl was just not believable. Secondly, I never understood why the Doctor would go through so much trouble to pay back this random stranger. It felt too random and I just don’t get his reasoning. Maybe it’s just that he’s a much better person than I am. (Ironic, seeing as he’s an alien.)
As I said, although I didn’t enjoy these episodes as much as others, I still enjoyed parts of them. Vampires of Venice had an original take on vampires while still remaining faithful to the lore (ei, no reflections, no sunlight, biting people, etc.). Curse of the Black Spot was a decent horror story. Centre of the TARDIS had some very good scenes with the Doctor and Clara. Even the Christmas special mentioned had that fantastic Christmas feeling, preaching family, togetherness, and good will in a very nice way.
Even with these four semi-disappointing episodes, the 11th Doctor has had other fantastic episodes. I have a whole slew of episodes I like to call my favorites. Yes, you should expect that list in my next post. Until then, I believe I’m over my Angry phase of this grieving process… Hey, Matt Smith? If you’re listening, uhm… I’ll give you all the money and things I have if you stay with Doctor Who just a while longer. Please? Come on, I’m sure we can reach some sort of bargain…