Doctor Who blogging: “Nightmare in Silver”

Doctor Who Nightmare in Silver Matt Smith

(all spoilers! don’t read till you’ve seen the episode… or unless you don’t care if it’s spoiled for you. this is a love fest only — all complaints and bitching must come from a place of love / previous: “The Crimson Horror”)

(get my downloadable discussion guide to “Nightmare in Silver” for teachers, librarians, and everyone else who needs to keep kids amused, engaged, and educated at DoctorWhoTeachersGuides.co.uk)

Now we know Moffat is just messing with us. Bratty Angie with her “stupid box” and “I’m bored” and “the future is stupid”… She gets to travel in the TARDIS and we don’t? WTF? (At least Artie seems to appreciate a trip in the TARDIS.) And what is this “See you next Wednesday” nonsense? How is Clara perfect for the Doctor, again? She’s not a companion — she’s more like an occasional visitor. How can she just walk away like that? I’d never let him out of my sight — I’d be afraid he wouldn’t come back.

Okay, I’m kidding here.

Though it’s totally not fair about Angie.

And Clara is just plain weird.

Anyway… I continue to be genuinely bemused by the Doctor’s inexplicable disgust with the idea of any attraction between him and Clara… which he here admits that he shares. First he likes that she’s “a mystery wrapped in an enigma squeezed into a skirt that’s just a little bit too tight”:

Doctor Who Nightmare in Silver Matt Smith

And then, as if he’s just caught himself being naughty:

Doctor Who Nightmare in Silver Matt Smith

There had better be a really good reason not only for why he feels this way but also for why he would feel this way before he solves the mystery of her. His reaction is obviously meant to be connected to the mystery, and yet we’ve gotten no hint as to how or why he would make such a connection absent that solution.

Well, we’ll know soon.

I confess to some disappointment, too, from Neil Gaiman. An amusement-park planet and the Emperor of the Universe and a squad of doofus soldiers on punishment duty… and he got nothing even a little bit funny out of that? (He got some good funny lines in, but they’re the sort that could fit into almost any Doctor Who story.) It’s just a lot of running around and a lot of blah blah blah Cybermen. (And hey: How did no one know there was a Cyber army of three million hibernating on this planet? When they’re so paranoid about eliminating even the slightest hint of a threat from the Cybermen?) Or if it wasn’t going to be funny, then it could have been more serious. Sure, it’s easy to blow up a planet that’s been abandoned by humanity. What if there had been millions or billions of people living on Hedgewick’s World — or even just millions of visitors to the amusement park — and it came down to a question of sacrificing them in order to prevent trillions of deaths in another Cyber war? I’m sure the Doctor would have figured out a way to save everybody and eliminate the Cybermen threat, but it would have made for much higher and more compelling stakes. Or maybe the Doctor wouldn’t figure it all out, and the decision to implode the planet would have been a more direct followup to Porridge’s comment about feeling sorry for the guy who blew up that galaxy in the last war. And it would have made this actually sting:

Doctor Who Nightmare in Silver

particularly if so much was actually sacrificed for what turned out to be nought.

Probably Doctor Who would never show the Doctor being directly involved in a situation where millions of people had to be sacrificed, but surely there was a way to move this story away from the mushy middle it’s mired in and toward something much more powerful… or else toward something much more goofy.

That’s what I, as an editor, would have told the writer of a story with so much unfulfilled potential. Even Neil Gaiman.

Perhaps the Doctor fighting for control of his own brain with the Cyberplanner could have been more a factor in the story. Here, for one, is a new twist on the Cybermen saga — something to differentiate it from all the many familiar Cyberman stories of the past. Here, for two, is Matt Smith so deliciously crazy-good acting out the battle raging in the Doctor’s mind.

Doctor Who Nightmare in Silver Matt Smith

Smith was having so much fun, I could have watched him do that for 45 minutes.

Random thoughts on “Nightmare in Silver”:

• The Doctor almost sang that Golden Ticket song from proper Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I would have paid to see that actually happen.

• I like how the Doctor’s disappointed he wasn’t going to get to play chess with Webley’s wondrous Cyberman. I bet he never gets a good game…

• Speaking of: Is it a good idea to keep deactivated Cybermen around? I’m asking for a friend…

• Warwick Davis on Doctor Who!

Doctor Who Nightmare in Silver Warwick Davis

Best thing ever.

• This

Doctor Who Nightmare in Silver Matt Smith

is the Doctor’s idea of a spooky-flashlight-under-the-chin, isn’t it?

Okay, that’s funny.

• Clara falls very easily into her command role, way beyond what I think could be a result of her being used to bossing around a couple of kids. Is that a clue as to who she is?

• Great quotes:

“It can’t be broken. It’s a solid-state subether ansible-class communicator.” –the Captain (Neil Gaiman knows his sci-fi history)

“Stay alive till I get back. And don’t let anyone blow up this planet.” –the Doctor, to Clara

“Little metal machine, you are beautiful.” –the Doctor, to a cybermite

“I trust the Doctor.” –Clara
“You think he knows what he’s doing?” –the Captain
“I’m not sure I’d go that far.” –Clara

“Don’t shoot! I’m nice!” –the Doctor

“You should see the state of these neurons. He’s had some cowboys in here — ten complete rejigs.” –the Cyberplanner, about the Doctor’s brain

“Nice ship. Bit big. Not blue enough.” –the Doctor, about the imperial flagship

(next: “The Name of the Doctor”)

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