back to article Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots

El Reg's resident Doctor Who fans – Brid-Aine Parnell, Gavin Clarke and Jennifer Baker – have come together to discuss the plot of tonight's episode, Flatline. Please note: THIS IS A POST-UK-BROADCAST REVIEW – THERE WILL BE SPOILERS! Brid-Aine says: Well, that didn’t last long. Rather than having the whole Danny/Doctor/Clara …

  1. Aqua Marina Silver badge
    Coat

    Thanks for all the fish!

    I spent the whole episode thinking "what will The Register be saying about this scene today" rather than sitting back and chilling in front of the telly, glass of wine in hand. I'm reminded of the nerd that attends conventions ready to point out to the auditorium that the science in a particular scene is wrong, how stupid that the producers must be, and how clever he is for pointing it out. I think I wont be following this column next week.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Thanks for all the fish!

      The NEW Doctor Who, written for women.

      All this equality has turned the storylines into mush and the Doctor into a parody of his former self.

      Pull your finger out and give me a proper Doctor story, not this feminist soap opera it has become.

      My wife hated Doctor Who and now watches it, and that says everything there is to say.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Thanks for all the fish!

      Are we going to have Dr. Who reviews every week? Why that show and no others?

      As it is sci-fi there is little real science and therefore I have to question why it's on the Reg site?

      1. Ledswinger Silver badge

        Re: Thanks for all the fish!

        "Why that show and no others?"

        Because for many of us, it was our first taste of scifi, and we grew up with it. Cardboard sets, comedy monsters and all, but of late appreciatively growing into Ecceleston and then Tennant's contributions.

        Sadly the current palava is caused by the fact that having updated the programme to acceptable graphics, good camera work and good acting, the BBC have thrown it all away by turning the whole thing into a shitty soap opera. The rot started under Matt Smith, who was always too effete for the role, but the storylines had caught a does of something nasty at the same tine. And now, well, it's Holby Fucking City in Time and Space (HoFuCTAS).

        So, HoFuCTAS? I'll tell you who, the knob ends of the BBC. And the c*nts at BBC Worldwide don't help, always badgering to have UK-focused content dumbed down for the international market.

        I can remember when the Beeb did not just good stuff, but brilliant, world class stuff. Now they've thrown away all the orgasmically beautifully filmed nature programmes, they shat on their previously fabulous costume dramas (1), and worst of all they've messed with Dr Who. Bastards, every last one of them, navel gazing from the inside, because they're up their own arse.

        (1) Not my bag, but I know a good thing when I get an hour or two to myself on Sunday evening.

      2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

        Re: Thanks for all the fish!

        Why that show and no others?

        Because it makes for the best click-bait?

  2. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Alien

    Major takeaway points

    Tiny TARDIS toy in good time for the Christmas shopping binge. Actually a tiny TARDIS that could crawl along "Thing-like" using a hand might be fun. For a while.

    Clara turned to the dark side as a villain. Hmmmm tasty.

    1. Pet Peeve

      Re: Major takeaway points

      Ha, I assumed they were using an actual tardis toy. I've seen them in stores.

      1. Slacker@work

        Re: Major takeaway points

        You can indeed get them in shops - had one for years that makes a "TARDIS landing noise" when picked up. Once found my, then 3 year old, son trying to stuff his favourite teddy into it as he explained "but daddy, its bigger on the inside"

        1. Lionel Baden

          Re: Major takeaway points

          Yup have two tardi('s)?? myself, of two different sizes made me chuckle at the episode, until almost tripped over both today in my sleep induced coma

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: Major takeaway points

            Time to drag the Hornby gear out from under the bed... it's next to the Airfix TARDIS kit... How come they made an episode of Doctor Who with the contents of my bedroom?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The end ?!

    Fear this is going to be the final series of the Doctor -- the original series ended for similar reasons -- the plot lines became thinner and thinner and the actors became either lame (McCoy) or impossible to work with (Colin Baker).

    1. Pet Peeve

      Re: The end ?!

      That's interesting, in the sense that it is wrong in every possible way it is to be wrong in a single sentence. Good job!

    2. sisk Silver badge

      Re: The end ?!

      I saw precious little of Colin Baker, but McCoy was a pretty strong Doctor in my opinion. He was no Tom Baker, but he wasn't bad.

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

        Re: The end ?!

        There I would have to agree, but then again after Colin Baker it would have been hard to go further downhill and be any worse. I envy your precious little seeing of him...

        And sadly, at least in terms of written character, Capaldi is giving me horrible flashbacks of what they tried to do with CB. A frustrating shame given quite what PC is capable of as an actor if given writing that's up to the job.

        1. sisk Silver badge

          Re: The end ?!

          I'm still wishing that the attempted backdoor pilot with McGann had worked honestly. He's a great Doctor, but there's a huge chunk of Whovian culture that barely knows he exists because he's only been on screen twice.

  4. Marcus Aurelius
    WTF?

    The Register is becoming a bit of a killjoy

    This episode wasn't half bad.

    1. graeme leggett

      Re: The Register is becoming a bit of a killjoy

      Not necessarily killjoy, comes across as more unrepresentative of the broader opinion .

      It strikes me that the three of them are similar in outlook on the series.

      To paraphrase Perkins from MotOE - "can we get another reviewer?"

    2. dz-015

      Re: The Register is becoming a bit of a killjoy

      "This episode wasn't half bad" - no, it was whole bad.

      I don't see what's wrong with analysing something shit in order to point out exactly why it's shit; or why it's actually necessary to tolerate shit when this programme could be so much better, if only it had some decent stories and scripts.

    3. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: The Register is becoming a bit of a killjoy

      It wasn't half good either....

      Last Weeks Galaxy Express 999 Ep. Was actually One of the few good Ep's to have come outta Nu-Who though IMHO...

      1. Marcus Aurelius
        WTF?

        Re: The Register is becoming a bit of a killjoy

        Oh come on - we've had "Listen", "Mummy on the Orient Express", "Flatline" and "Time Heist" in descending order of greatness, which makes nearly half of the current series which were highly memorable. I think this is higher than Matt "Fluffy Bunny Doctor" Smiths incarnation. I grant that David Tennant incarnation stands well above the rest, but the series with Capaldi is certainly not lacking.

    4. illiad

      Re: The Register is becoming a bit of a killjoy

      you heard of YMMV ???

      and the TV guide does not help...

      'an enemy that exists beyond human perception' ?? no, it was '2 dimensional' perfectly easy to 'see' by all the people in the episode...

      'doctor in the tiny tardis' - No, as any DrWho fan knows, the tardis exists outside earth's dimension, so it may look small, but inside it is normal sized... it is just the door that changes size.. the *outside* of the tardis gets so small she can put it in her handbag!! :)

  5. The_Idiot

    Speculation...

    ... of course, feel free to ignore. after all, I'm an Idiot (blush) :-).

    *******

    The last scene cuts to the enigmatic Missy watching Clara from some kind of tablet. “Clara, my Clara, I have chosen well,” Missy says wistfully.

    ********

    From 'The Doctor's Wife':

    The Doctor: How did you know about the boxes? You said they'd make me angry. How did you know?

    Idris: Ah. It's my thief.

    Also:

    Idris: Do you ever wonder why I chose you all those years ago?

    <br>

    Clara could, to some eyes, be seen as being forced to act in a way a Time Lord would. And if Idris in these quotes were replaced by Missy, and The Doctor by Clara (who has been on Gallifrey more than once, and at least once very close to a bunch of TARDISs - er, TARDIi - er, Time Lord Boxes (blush), the same relationship might make sense...

    Or, of course, not. After all, I'm an Idiot (blushes again).

    1. frank ly Silver badge

      Re: Speculation...

      Idiots often see the truth, because of their unblinkered innocence. (Only kidding; I'm sure you're not innocent.) We also had the scene (I forget which series and episode) where Clara directed an 'early' Doctor to a particular place, the implication being that she was nudging him into selecting a particular TARDIS when he ran away from Gallifrey. She certainly is well scattered through his timeline.

      Then we have the bits with Matt Smith where the TARDIS seems to react against Clara in a passive-aggressive way.....

      My personal opinion is that there may have been a long term 'arc' in someone's mind but it's all getting fragmented and too much trouble to develop and present in a coherent way. After the first two episodes of this series, I stopped watching (more in sorrow than anger) and now I just just read a few reviews on Sunday morning, none of which make me regret my decision.

    2. bpfh
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Speculation...

      You may have somthing there actually.... When Clara jumped into the time vortex on Trenzalore to counteract The Great Intelligence, at one point, she stopped the escaping Doctor and make him choose another Tardis - and in In The Doctor's wife, Idriss mentionned "You chose, me.... And I chose you!"

      So, is Clara, the impossible girl a Tardis in human form? Or a Time Lady, or just under the Influence of either the Time Vortex or the Doctor's Tardis?

      Black helicopter icon, because...

      1. The_Idiot

        Re: Speculation...

        Well, it has been said that 'Tardises are not made - they are grown'. So the idea of Clara being a 'baby' Tardis isn't impossible (and I'd love it to be true).

        On the other hand, if you were a 'rogue' Tardis (perhaps you'd 'lost' your Time Person in some suitably HAL-esque way), or a TARDIS that had recently matured ('recent' in TARDIS terms), it might not be easy to find a Time Person in the absence of Gallifrey. So you might have to, um, start 'growing' one of your own. Clara has been shunted towards the Doctor a number of times (for instance the helpful little old lady in the shop who gave her the Doctor's number). If you want to grow your own, then sending her to school with the (apparently, ignoring The Doctor's Daughter, The Master and any others the script writers want to come up with) Last Time Lord might be a start...

  6. Mr Templedene

    I enjoyed it, same with last weeks, he's stopped being so irritable.

    Good fun romp, it's just not worth being picky.

    1. Pet Peeve

      Same here, I laughed out loud at the sledgehammer and the "Addams Family" thing (er, Thing), and it's a rare tv show that does that when you're watching it alone.

      The stuff between The Doctor and Clara was loaded with fine dialogue and bits of business, Clara has had the opportunity to try on the role of The Doctor in a way that I don't think any companion in any series (leaving out Romana) has had a chance to, and besides that, it was just FUN.

      Not sure what the negativity is about - it's like some people mourn their fandom instead of enjoying it. If that's the case, watch something else. Hate watching is stupid, and hate watching just to rant about it in a 3 page register article is even stupider.

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

        Kirk?

        Is it just me, or did he start channeling Captain Kirk a bit too much when he was trapped in the TARDIS though when the life support went on the blink? The slow and emphatic delivery (and randomly placed emphasis) to tell us all about it was just pure Shatner...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    People are still watching?

    I gave up after 3 or 4 episodes, it was just dull.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: People are still watching?

      I / we (my SO and I) gave up 2 series ago - Smith-Moffat wasn't all that. Moffat, as being responsible for both writing and producing, reminds me of Rick Berman with Star Trek.

      And we all know how well that turned out...

    2. Purple-Stater

      Re: People are still watching?

      If you can't bear the mediocre parts, then you don't deserve the good parts.

  8. No! The red button Igor ...
    Flame

    You're still reading the reviews though, and commenting!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Reading the Reviews?

      Of course I'm reading the reviews, I want it to improve, I want it to return to a decent tv show that I can enjoy, but from the article and all of the comments, that looks very unlikely. If I'd voiced an opinion on something I hadn't watched then I'd say you had a point but as it is your point is moot.

      Incidentally, try using the reply button next time then I can be sure that you're talking to me and not the author of the article.

  9. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Ridiculous! Idiotic!

    "After just a few weeks of experimentation, the aliens figure out how to make themselves 3D, ridiculous, and even worse, suddenly have the power – literally at their fingertips! – to turn other things 3D; brain-mushingly idiotic."

    Well the Doctor did just rock up in a Tardis with all of its dimensional power which the aliens were sucking away, which is why it was getting smaller.

    I quite liked it, the last few episodes (and by that I mean most of the series) haven't been at all bad.

    1. Carneades

      Change is all around...

      This episode was definitely better than last week's. But Who is supposed to be Science Fiction, so one might reasonably expect it to use some science from time to time.

      The concepts were indeed interesting, although not original, and the pace this week was significantly improved. But two things occur: in the real world I sometimes believe the US approach to writing would be better. Teams, rather than individuals, frequently produce better content, and although there are always exceptions, by and large British drama has always suffered from (often rather ropey) character centred plots, which is exactly what good science fiction avoids.

      The other factor is that the show really should aim to deliver as much accurate science as possible, otherwise it becomes just another Magic show. It does a disservice to intelligent youngsters by not at least attempting to explain how and why some things happened. How did the normally invincible TARDIS lose energy to the 2Ds? And how was it very nearly destroyed?

      The teaser about Clara (monster, villain, the next Dr?) seemed almost tacked on, and makes one long for the return of Riversong, but it was a far better episode overall than last week, and that’s at least encouraging.

      Here’s an idea: the most compelling episodes of Dr Who have (to me) always centred around discovery and a sense of wonder. To that end, perhaps the show should start looking at established Sci-Fi writers as sources for ideas and move the Dr away from the current space/time position. Lots to see at the end of the Multiverse…

    2. Rogue Jedi

      Re: Ridiculous! Idiotic!

      I was under the impression that the 2d people had absorbed the diminsion increasing energies from the 2dis mk1 when it failed to make the door handle 3D and released the smoke.

      my biggest problem with that episode was that the Doctor used the Sonic Screwdriver to send the ailiens home after going on for quite a while that he needed to recharge the TARDIS to stop them, yes it appered that the Tardis had frozen them in place but could he not have just asked Clara to return the screwdriver for him to reprogram then return to stop them, and is the screwdriver powered directly from the TARDIS?

  10. Phoenix50

    I'm done with it...

    ... The Register reviews each week obviously, not Doctor Who.

    I love Doctor Who and certainly don't need to analyse the shit out of it every week.

    1. malle-herbert Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: I'm done with it...

      Me too, Why don't they pick another british tv series to overanalyze ?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'm done with it...

        "Why don't they pick another british tv series to overanalyze ?"

        Because this is DOCTOR WHO - it's a bit more special than most other programmes on the telly. It's been around for decades, it's part of British heritage! It's got a long back story, legions of fans, and it's mysterious - how many other shows can compete with that?

        And you're here reading about it - would you have clicked on a story about many other TV progs if they had written about them?

    2. ukgnome Silver badge

      Re: I'm done with it...

      I'm with you. Not only are they rubbish reviewers but I think they are possibly rubbish journalists too.

      Time for the intrepid 3 to start flipping burgers for the Golden Arches. That way they might find a few taxi drivers that care for their drivel.

  11. Wibble
    Unhappy

    Clara the teenager

    To move from the quite strong plot of "The Impossible Girl" to this mush is quite frustrating. Clara's supposed to be strong and clever (c.f. The Impossible Girl), but it's seems she's regressing to become an irrational teenager, vis the boyfriend nonsense.

    We're now mid-way through this series and it still feels like it hasn't started yet.

    It would be good to see Clara spun off to a C-Beebies sub-series and leave The Doctor to get on with it.

    1. Doctor_Wibble

      Re: Clara the teenager

      > It would be good to see Clara spun off to a C-Beebies sub-series and leave The Doctor to get on with it.

      This might be the actual cunning plan, maybe it will become standard practice though it remains to be seen if it is reward or punishment...

      [ disclaimer : no relation, above or below ]

      1. Seanie Ryan

        Re: Clara the teenager

        I have to ask what has actually happened to the idea that she was the 'impossible girl' there through all of time with all doctors? has that just been 'forgotten' and now she is just and annoying sidekick?

        how did this happen?

        Can anyone explain this leap to me? Did I miss a scene in some episode where this is explained?

        I am trying my best to stay watching DW. Girlfriend has given up. Hates this season.

        Orient express in space was just a re-hash of Titanic in Space to me. Coming soon, Route 66 (in space)

        This week was a bit more fun though. maybe because Capaldi featured less?

        also, just to annoy someone

        " watching Clara from some kind of tablet" - its clearly an iPad... it is the "Promised Land" after all !!! ;-)

        1. 2+2=5 Silver badge

          Re: Clara the teenager

          I have to ask what has actually happened to the idea that she was the 'impossible girl' there through all of time with all doctors? has that just been 'forgotten' and now she is just and annoying sidekick?

          how did this happen?

          Can anyone explain this leap to me? Did I miss a scene in some episode where this is explained?

          IMHO, the only connection between the impossible girl and the annoying sidekick is that it is the same actress. If someone else had been cast instead then the producers wouldn't have felt obliged to claim some sort of storyline link and we wouldn't be in this position.

          1. lorisarvendu

            Re: Clara the teenager

            Well to be fair she isn't some superhero called "The Impossible Girl". Her splintering through time was caused by the Doctor's sparkly left-behind-after-dying timeline thingy. It didn't give her superpowers, and all through Series 7 she was shown to be boringly human.

            Presumably all her past splintered selves still exist throughout the Doctor's timeline, but the Clara in the modern day is all she ever was, an ordinary human being.

            As someone pointed out on another forum, whenever Clara has nothing to do she's called annoying and whiny, and whenever she does anything Doctorish, the Moff is accused of having a Feminist Agenda.

            If Clara was actually a male character (Clarence, ha!) the series wouldn't get anywhere near this much stick. For all their supposed open-minded liberalism, some Doctor Who fans really are horribly sexist at times.

  12. heyrick Silver badge

    A joy and a fear

    This episode was a joy. Clara finally being able to go back to ass-kicking goodness instead of that slushy love puppy crap. I also enjoy the Reg reviews - a billion year old regenerating time lord in a sixties style police box, no problems. Weird 2D/3D aliens? Nah, we're not buying that...

    The thing is, I have a great fear that the underlying storyline with Missy is going to turn out to be a great big misfire. If this is ultimately Clara's goodbye, then we really need to have Clannad-style feels going on, instead it will be some hokey rushed alien-induced soap opera like Rory/Amy and the Angels. A brief "wah!" and it is all but forgotten. Clara deserves better.

    On the whole, obvious plot rubbish aside, this was one of the better episodes because Capaldi wasn't being gloomy and pushing the plot in the wrong way, and also because it didn't try to be anything it wasn't. [oh the epicness of a train in space that is really a lab to try to .... mummified soldier? seriously? omfg what a wasted opportunity]

  13. Rol Silver badge

    Who is the target audience?

    Well, I'll go out on a limb here and suggest it is intended to be consumed by children. My friends 8 year old son is obsessed with it. He has all the merchandise and is a walking encyclopaedia of all things Dr Who wise.

    Just like many other popular children's tv programs it isn't a bad idea to throw the parents a few bones to keep them amused and add a family dimension to it all, BUT if it focusses too much on keeping ma and pa riveted it is missing its whole raison d'etre, beginners SciFi for the next generation of dreamers.

    As Peter Capaldi did state, right at the outset, and I forget his actual wording, but in short, the stabilisers are off. At the time I didn't quite understand what he meant, but I now believe he was referring to the end of making it palatable to adults. It is for children and as such you must view it as a child to get any enjoyment out of it.

    You might as well critically review the Tellytubbies for all it matters to the real target audience.

    I for one like the new format and yes I am aged eight and three quarters for about 45 minutes a week.

    1. Lamont Cranston
      Thumb Up

      Re: Who is the target audience?

      You're spot on, here - Doctor Who is a kids' show, always has been, always will be. It's going wrong because it's trying, and failing, to appeal to adults, rendering it incomprehensible to children (quoth my youngest: "THIS IS BORING!").

      I think it might also be suffering becuase the stories are crushed into 35/40 minutes, and thus have a hurried resolution - I don't necessarily want a return to the 4 cliffhangers + 1 resolution, of my childhood, but the decent stories of the past 2 episodes have had very rushed conclusions ("it's a flag, he's a soldier, I'll salute him and he'll fall apart" / "I'll leap out of my tardis, brandish my magic wand*, and they'll fall apart"), so maybe it ought to be split over 2 nights (Fri/Sat or Sat/Sun)? It's in the wrong timeslot, anyway - it should come before Strictly!

      *about time the Sonic Screwdriver went, too - occassionally well used, mostly just a crutch for lazy writing

      1. lorisarvendu

        Re: Who is the target audience?

        Yup, Approximately 19% of the audience are below the age of 15. 16-25's only make up half of that (9%). And the over-65's make up another 11%. Since most children have 2 parents, I guess another 30-40% are the parents of the under-15s (like me). Easily a family show.

  14. ShadowDragon8685
    Flame

    Is everybody a barking madman around here?

    Is everybody a barking madman around here?

    This episode was *bloody brilliant.* Danny Pink and his subplot got shoved firmly to the back (his whole plot got what, maybe 90 seconds of screen time, and he himself got maybe 20?), Clara was forced into the position of being The Doctor, and she did so in such spectacular fashion that you'd think she actually put on Matt Smith's Bowtie. She DID use his sonic and psychic paper, for crying out loud, and we all know that entire companionships go by without the Doctor giving up his sonic for so much as five minutes, let alone a whole bloody episode.

    And she was good at it. As for the Doctor, well....

    I'm starting to think that he has more in common with Danny than he'd allow you to speculate without clobbering you. He's clearly burnt out, millennia of fighting with great evils and seeing people he couldn't save get killed have taken their toll on him. His lines were telling: "You were a spectacular Doctor, Clara. Goodness has nothing to do with it." Remember earlier? "Clara... Am I a good man?"

    A fellow who believes he's not a good man, who's lost the faith in the righteousness and the rightness of what he does is a goner. That's a wound that you can't regenerate from, that's one that'll stick with you no matter how many times your body regenerates. And the Doctor is clearly an old boy, showing his age, his weariness with it all...

    Wild and Irresponsible Speculation: I think that they may be planning to kill off The Doctor for real, only to have Clara Oswald, the Impossible Girl, take up the mantle entirely. Possibly even Regenerate her and reveal she's been a Time Lord all along, or else Capaldi-Doctor gives her any remaining regeneration juice he has to kickstart the process. Then he expires, or worse, physically survives, but is completely mentally exhausted. Upset and traumatized, but realizing that something has to be done, Clara Oswald rises from the metaphorical ashes (or knowing the sometimes hamhanded imagery this lot uses, literal,) and says "I am the Doctor." Hopefully to Danny Pink.

    Or, better yet, something like....

    "I'm the Doctor. I'm a Time Lord, the Inheritor of the Oncoming Storm, adopted daughter of Gallifrey, I'm 25 years old from the planet Earth, and I need to figure out how to fly a TARDIS before we crash!"

    Hell, if they can do it to Thor, son of Odin...

    1. David L Webb

      Re: Is everybody a barking madman around here?

      Agree it was a reasonably good episode.

      The rumours seem to be that Clara is leaving at Xmas so I can't see her as replacing the Doctor and I don't think it would be a believable transformation anyway. However it was a good way of trying out the often mooted idea of a female Doctor which might increase the chances of that happening sometime in the future.

      As to the Doctor I'm wondering if we are at the start of him descending into somekind of mental breakdown. Remember this is about when the Valeyard is supposed to orignate.

      Imagine if the Doctor has a breakdown and seeks some futuristic treatment where he is bought face to face with a physical manifestation of all his negative aspects so as be able to work through his issues and then that manifestation somehow escapes to become the Valeyard.

  15. i like crisps
    Trollface

    Assistant: "DOCTOR, DOCTOR, DOCTOR.....

    ...DOCTOR, DOCTOR, DOCTOR, DOCTOR, DOCTOR, DOCTOR!"

    Doctor: "What you want BITCH?"

    In my version the role of the 'Doctor' is played by JayZ.

  16. Anthony Hegedus Silver badge
    Alien

    Did anybody notice...

    ... that the "2dis" device that they use to "unflatten" things looked almost exactly like a Sinclair Cambridge calculator? </nerd>

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: Did anybody notice...

      Yes. Probably a Scientific but could have been a Programmable. Need to check the stills. And it still worked! The display was clearly visible at one point.

      Hope they didn't ruin it.

      1. Andy Roid McUser

        Re: Did anybody notice...

        It was a Scientific. http://www.vintagecalculators.com/html/scientific___giant_scientific.html

        To be honest, all this easter egg hiding classic tech within Dr Who episodes is ruining it for me as I now spend the entire episode looking for really old props. Last week they had an ORIC-1.

        Should get out more.

  17. Haku

    Are they killing more people in Dr Who now or am I just being more observant?

    Last week it was people getting wiped out by the Ghost Mummy and this week it was the Attack of the 2D Monsters.

    It's a very death-happy event for a Saturday evening BBC tv show.

    1. graeme leggett

      Re: Are they killing more people in Dr Who now or am I just being more observant?

      More deaths than recently perhaps, but not than in the classic period.

      Personally I'm wondering if the new series can manage a Horror of Fang Rock type body count (100% of supporting cast) or a Terror of the Vervoids (total sentient species wipe out)

    2. Pet Peeve

      Re: Are they killing more people in Dr Who now or am I just being more observant?

      You are Mary Whitehouse and I demand your big goofy glasses.

    3. kellerr13

      Re: Are they killing more people in Dr Who now or am I just being more observant?

      They should rename the show to "The Doctor Who Dalek Hour" since Daleks come back over and over and over and over.

  18. Kaltern Silver badge

    FGS

    "...watching Clara from some kind of tablet."

    It wasn't 'some sort of tablet'. It was an iPad. A Fucking iPad. In the afterlife (or whatever it is), which clearly is NOT in the present day.

    Are they implying that Apple is alive and well in whatever millennium they're in, and that the iPad hasn't changed a bit?

    God what am I saying? That would imply Apple has imagination....

    BBC and Product placement?

  19. CmdrX3

    Flatline... is that the name of the episode or a description of the series

    I love the new Doctor, but the writers are giving him nothing. They seem to be more concerned with fitting Clara into some bizarre plotline. The series isn't so much Doctor Who any more as it is "The Adventures of Clara the Impossible Girl and her Time Travelling Companion". Capaldi desperately needs a Donna, some decent writers and preferably the resignation of Stephen Moffat as well. Maybe then Capaldi and the show might stand a chance of recovery.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Finally, a Good Episode

    Fun idea, nasty monsters, interesting character development for Clara (as opposed to random mood swings), some amusing visuals, and almost no bloody I-went-to-drama-school-and-all-I-got-was-this-one-Droopy-reject-face soldier boy. What's not to like?

    The complaint about the monsters simply doesn't stand; these are classic "from another universe" Dr Who monsters and that's just fine with me. We've all seen the Moon Egg episode, and we all wish we hadn't, so perhaps the first reviewer could try to move on before anyone mentions the Zarbi.

    If the series never gets any worse than this from here on in to the inevitable "Tell me, Clara, would you say that the Doctor was a Good Man?" line in whatever trial Missy is planning to call her as a witness for the prosecution in, we'll be doing okay.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Finally, a Good Episode

      So, some 2D monsters who only know about us from the tyre tracks and footprints left on the pavement decide to let rip on the people of Bristol. Why? What could the people of Bristol have done to the pavement that so miffs off a species that it breaks the third wall and sets out on a jihad against anything 3D? Possibly all the pavement pizzas left on a Saturday night. Yeah. That'd do it.

      1. sikejsudjek

        Re: Finally, a Good Episode

        They don't like Banksy

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Finally, a Good Episode

          On the other hand, Bristol, Saturday night, up against the wall... 2D-porn.

  21. JCB

    Take off the sign saying POLICE

    and replace it with one saying TAXI. Everybody seems to ride in the Tardis these days. It used to be off limits to ordinary people, didn't it? Perhaps when the doctor finally loses his bottle, he will see out his remaining years as a taxi driver. There's an idea for a new show, "Taxi".

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Take off the sign saying POLICE

      Taxi? You'd have to have an assistant called Carla. Sorry, Clara.

  22. Purple-Stater

    Goodness

    ...has nothing to do with it.

    Seriously. If that line leaves you confused, then you simply should not be watching, nor whining about it.

    He's The Doctor. He tries to do the right thing, and he does what is necessary for the right ends, but goodness has nothing to do with it.

    1. Pet Peeve

      Re: Goodness

      Right. In the end, he ended up probably killing the lot of these monsters (he did say that Some, Might, return home alive), and this is a type of life he's never seen before - for all he knew he was genociding the only ones in existence. That he saved some lives (and not necessarily the right ones) doesn't make that unalloyed good in anyone's book.

      That's a pretty mature concept for a kid's TV show to address even tangentially. I'm proud of them.

  23. The Vociferous Time Waster

    banksy.com

    When I realised it involved graffiti and Bristol I was on the lookout for toff wall dauber and trademarked recluse Banksy dot com as a cameo amongst all the two dimensional characters.

  24. William Oakley
    Devil

    So you get iPads in the afterlife? The only question is it Heaven or is it Hell?

    1. TRT Silver badge

      We've already seem Missy relaxing in Paradise, aka The Walled Garden from the Handbot episode.

  25. William Oakley

    "suddenly have the power – literally at their fingertips! – to turn other things 3D; brain-mushingly idiotic."

    Actually this isn't quite what happened. They could turn things 2D (which was central to the plot) and also turn them back again. Crucially they could not turn 2D things into 3D things, hence how Clara saved the day.

    Having said all that the monsters were developed way too fast. They could have explored a lot more what they could do as purely 2D monsters (perhaps as a two parter) before they became pretty generic baddies.

    It's hardly strange that Missy's bit feels tacked on, after all it was probably a bit that Moffat added to Mathieson's story. Although it is strangely reminiscent of purgatory from Being Human. I like these overarching story lines, but they don't seem to be weaved in to the episodes as well as in the Amy Pond era.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Having said all that the monsters were developed way too fast."

      That's a format issue - 1hr is too short while 2x1hrs is too slow-paced for the export market.

      I don't agree that the story-arcs have worked at all well from the return onwards. The method of having stand-alone scripts which the script editor then patches just doesn't work for me, quite apart from the fact that none of the story-arcs have been interesting or even made much sense, starting with the gibberish that was "Bad Wolf".

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Bad Wolf

        Bad Wolf was introduced in a very subtle way.

        It was not rammed down our throats, as in Here's the ARC you're looking for. It was more Hang on a second, didn't we see something like that a few weeks back. And it sort of made sense, with Rose, while she controlled the power of the Tardis, touching all of her timeline with the Doctor to leave some clues as to what had to happen.

        I wonder why she didn't see any evidence of Clara though. Oh, of course, no multi-series ARC (Babylon 5, why could you not have had more influence on other series).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Bad Wolf

          "Bad Wolf was introduced in a very subtle way."

          Yes, but it didn't make any sense whatsoever once it was revealed. Subtlety ain't the issue.

  26. sisk Silver badge
    Coat

    News Flash: The premise of the show is a 2000ish year old alien tooling around time and space in a craft that violates the laws of physics as we know them in half a dozen ways. It is not and never has been a hard sci-fi. That's not what the fans watch it for.

    If you can't learn to suspend your disbelief and let go of the science long enough to enjoy a show which never made a claim to be scientifically accurate long enough to just enjoy it you really should stick to hard sci-fi and leave Doctor Who and the like to people capable of enjoying it. The reviews I've read here lately are about as credible as someone criticizing an action movie for the star getting out of situations he shouldn't have been able to survive.

    Now if you want to slam the stories, go right ahead. I happen to disagree (this week was a SUPERB story in my opinion), but at least you'll be credible doing it.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What is the point of this?

    Clickbait, thats all I can see.

    I don't read these reviews much now, because they are SO badly written it's shocking. I popped in this week to see if the quality had improved at all, but simply put, No.

    Most people watching this show are enjoying it hugely (myself included). I don't see the point of sitting these 3 cretins down each week to watch something they clearly do not enjoy and asking them to comment on it. Put them in front of Human Universe if they want science. All this weekly 'review' (and I am using the word loosely) achieves is click baiting and shows the Reg has totally no ability to deliver TV reviews. Which I must also point out (again) is not something I want from a Tech site. Perhaps, giving you a little credit, you just want rid of these 3 and this is a chance to pad out their CV's slightly before you bounce them out?

    Just give it up please Reg, it's so sad to see you putting this absolute rubbish up. You are a Tech site, not a TV review site. Stick to what you are REALLY excellent at, and give up the un-necessary crap, please. I do recall at one point you were called a 'popular Lesbian site' but I've still yet to see much Lesbian focused content. On the other hand, I don't remember reading that you were a TV review site, so why are you shoving this in?

    1. Neil B

      Re: What is the point of this?

      @Ian Bonham " I don't see the point of sitting these 3 cretins down each week to watch something they clearly do not enjoy and asking them to comment on it."

      Well said. That's definitely the impression they're leaving me with every week.

    2. lorisarvendu

      Re: What is the point of this?

      Den of Geek. Better reviews, and more respect for their readers.

      More abuse in the Comments section though. You win some, you lose some...

  28. MJI Silver badge

    The tunnel - lots of odd things

    Well that tunnel has no doors in it, and no passageways behind the walls, also no ladders nor stariways..

    Simply is a curved hole under a hill.

  29. PassingStrange

    Can't say I disagree with the reviews

    Personally, I think it was a huge mistake to start into the whole Doctor/Clara/Danny triangle without giving Capaldi and the writers a few episodes to find his character. Yes, it probably makes perfect sense when considered in the abstract - Clara struggling to come to terms with the new Doctor - but as a viewer, I find it's not easy to get interested or involved in something like that when I'm still struggling trying to buy into a new Doctor myself!. And it certainly doesn't seem to be helping that both Capaldi and the writers *also* still seem to be struggling to settle on a real character for his Doctor - to date he still seems more like a ragbag of quirks and traits than a rounded character we can empathise with. It doesn't help, either, that we've had some pretty ropey story lines and scripting along the way, and some downright embarrassingly bad ones (the schoolboy science errors in Kill the Moon were frankly appalling scripting). As for the putative "Missy" subplot... it feels utterly tacked on; it certainly hasn't hooked or intrigued me. And if anyone wants to disagree, fine - but as a simple fact this series has been weak enough to completely lose the interest of my wife, who has casually enjoyed watching DW with me since the early '70s.

    Just my opinion; YMMV. But this has NOT been, so far, a shining example of DW at its best. Nor am I convinced it stands a great chance of becoming one.

  30. Neil B

    This season has had its clunkers, but it's MILES better than Matt Smith's bloody awful final season (specials discounted, because they were on the whole excellent). This episode was fresh, lively, funny, and had genuinely disturbing villains (and deaths). More of this please.

  31. Steve I

    I though the Doctor's assistant's job was to be a plot device?

    "Doctor! I'm just going over here... Oh, I've been captured."

    <Doctor rescues assistant.>

    "Thanks Doctor!. Now I'm going..oh, I've been captured..."

    <Doctor rescues assistant>

    "Thanks!. Now I'm just ... Well what do you know,.I've been captured..."

    1. lorisarvendu

      Re: I though the Doctor's assistant's job was to be a plot device?

      That was so a 6th Doctor and Peri script. You should write for the series.

  32. Robert Ramsay

    I really enjoyed it.

    And I didn't roll my eyes once. Lots of excellent, inventive bits. Mixing humour and horror like the best stuff. And the monsters were genuinely scary and exciting. And it's taken me until last episode to realise that I didn't like Clara because she was previously (and probably will be again) written TERRIBLY. These last two episodes she actually came over as an actual person.

  33. Andrew Moore Silver badge

    What we learnt...

    The Tardis turns into the Pandorica when it goes into siege mode...

    1. Lamont Cranston

      Re: What we learnt...

      Looked like Lemarchand's box, to me!

  34. sikejsudjek

    Its been an excellent series with brilliant acting from the new Doctor. Way better than the last series, anyone remember that daft episode with the leaf ?!

  35. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Tardis materializes.

    The door opens and out falls The Doctor, who collapses to his knees then doubles over gasping for breath:

    Doctor, clawing air with one hand: Bring...in...proper...SF...authors...to...write...scriiiiiptssssssssssssssssssssssssss

    Doctor collapses as credits roll. Cut to re-run of Blake's Seven.

    1. bpfh
      Flame

      Re: Bah!

      OK, full disclosure, I have made some snarky remarks about this current series in the recent past.

      Currently it's not so much the acting, or the actors, and there have been some flashes of brilliance, but the tendancy of working in a story arc, come hell or high water, is pushing it... I do remember though that some of the episodes were reordered for some reason, and this could have totally screwed up the storyline.

      I'm currently hoping that all this confusion will come about and make a lot of sense in the future, but a lot of the big story arcs, as I have already noted, have petered out to nothing (silence controlling one tardis, a tardis (same?) sitting on the house pulling in pilots to escape, who blew up the tardis with a reasonable and clear explanation. How the silence knew that the Doctor should not go to Trenzalore, and the Great Intelligence... all sort of petered out to zilch. Also, the only really frightening enemy of recent times was the Great Intelligence, as, to the contrary of Daleks, he could not be stopped, and could not be talked out of his revenge. Maybe Paradise *is* the Great Intelligence?

      Anyway, going from the series reboot, the doctors always saved the day, always had a laugh, there was always some subtle humour, a lot of treknobabble, some science(ish) and fiction, and except the 2 parters, the end of the episode always had the doctor globally coming through.

      We now have the Clara subplot, that is an open end, the Danny subplot, that is another open end, the Doctor who has no idea what is happening, and is being a total arse about everything and he should know better as the "never cruel" part of his Doctor"s Promise has been largely ignored in the script.

      In the end, we have some very good actors, and some terribly bad story lines. If there is not a massive plot twist at some point, my current confusion will very quickly give way to apathy...

      Finally, can someone rewrite Listen? It was a cracking story until it fell apart at the very end when it revealed that there never were any monsters and we were all having a quiet, inexplicable group hallucinatory out of body experience at the end... Even by current Dr Who standards, that was in my opinion a very, very cheap shot...

  36. UnwittingAccomplice
    Coat

    Red lined coats

    It's a Crombie, http://www.crombie.co.uk/the-coat/ Start saving!

  37. kellerr13

    The Real problem

    I don't even watch it any more. It's not because I don't like it, it's because the production have dropped the ball in actually getting it produced.

    When was Series 7? Two years ago? Seems like it. And the DVD's come our one episode at a time and they try to sell them for 20 bucks each. And the Christmas special, and when they do come out with the entire series, they do it in two parts with many moons between each.

    I'm not paying for that.

    I'm not waiting for a half baked series.

    I'm done with it.

    I'm now looking at some nice indy projects online.

  38. phil dude
    Thumb Up

    laughter....

    The scene where the Doctor walks the Tardis off the train tracks with his fingers....I laughed for 5 mins straight.

    I'm the expectation for the Doctor to say "f*ckety bye!" is waning...

    P.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: laughter....

      He did say "shuttity up" in the bank robbery episode...

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019