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Doctor Who XXXIV(8).10: In the Forest of the Night

October 26th, 2014 (07:06 pm)

Tyger, tyger, flashing light
Set atop your TARDIS bright

Reviewed in what has been the usual place this year

Also posted at http://sir-guinglain.dreamwidth.org/2014/10/26/in-the-forest-of-the-night.html.


Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: October 26th, 2014 07:34 pm (UTC)

I liked this one a lot, although I have to say I'm not entirely sure I know what was actually going on! But weird science was handled with greater aplomb than in Kill the Moon. The theme of troubled children was handled better here too. That said, I'm not sure I feel comfortable with giving children the idea that what in real-life would be symptoms of serious mental illness should be left untreated. It's a fine line between not stigmatising and celebrating.

The Tyger is an apt source for the title, not just for literal reasons of the tiger, but because it is a common school-text, thus reinforcing the themes of education and the introduction to the wondrous it should hopefully entail. Nor is it the first time Doctor Who has used it as such (see Planet of the Spiders).

I think you are overly forgiving of the Clara/Danny arc, which I think is one of this season's real missteps. I don't find pathological lying an attractive character trait, whether in a potential partner or a audience identification character and I wonder why Danny does. (There is a strong disjunction here between what we are told and what we are shown - he tells her not to lie to him, but repeatedly forgives her.) This may be why I think I find Clara more irritating than I did last season.

I do wonder at the 'Zoological Museum' especially after we saw the Natural History Museum sign.

this series of Doctor Who has been the most consistent in quality since Matt Smith’s first if not David Tennant’s last

I completely disagree! I find this the weakest Moffat season by far and highly variable in quality, although better than Tennant's final two. We'll just have to agree to disagree, as usual...

Edited at 2014-10-26 07:34 pm (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: October 26th, 2014 09:37 pm (UTC)

Yes - I absolutely agree about the education link and I really felt the 'sense of wonder' was back this week, if a bit self-consciously.

I think Danny understands Clara as an addict who is his long-term 'project' - and he loves her because he sees the open-mindedness which has made her an addict/adept of the Doctor. Of course all this may/will be blown apart over the next two weeks.

I do think that in terms of production quality and maintaining the story arc satisfactorily this has been the most consistent Moffat season bar perhaps the first - after that characterisation was all over the place, particularly last year, or so I found.

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: October 26th, 2014 09:44 pm (UTC)

I agree that characterisation has been variable under Moffat (most notably the Ponds being unaffected by the loss of Melody/River), but I'm not convinced this year has been any better - see my comments above about Clara and Danny. But I think inconsistent characterisation has been a problem for Doctor Who almost from the word go. I think the format (by which I mean the escapist nature of the stories and the need to provide entry points for new viewers and not to put off the children) tends to undermine any long-term growth except in brief bursts (e.g. the very first three stories or the Black Guardian trilogy).

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: October 26th, 2014 11:25 pm (UTC)

I do find the way Clara has developed this year believable, even if it is sketchy; Danny is credible too because people make all sorts of allowances for their lovers, even when they perhaps shouldn't. I'm more worried by Clara's attitude to teaching, which echoes the unstable relationship Amy and Rory had to their travels with the Doctor in series 7A.

Posted by: wellinghall (wellinghall)
Posted at: October 26th, 2014 07:47 pm (UTC)

Tyger tyger burning bright
In the forest of the night
Tyger tyger my mistake
I thought that you were William Blake

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: October 26th, 2014 09:39 pm (UTC)