The Cosmic Hobo

Thoughts & reviews about the science fiction series Doctor Who.

Archive for the tag “mark gatiss”

Episode Review: Robot of Sherwood

DW Robot of Sherwood

All of the early information about “Robot of Sherwood” left me hoping for some relief after the try-hard seriousness of “Into the Dalek.” It had the look of a good ol’ Doctor Who romp, with hopefully lots of fun to be had. Unfortunately, where there could have been amusement there is instead of a constant stream of banality, with humor that is more idiotic than amusing. It occasionally veers towards dramatic, but comes across as half-baked when it does. It’s really unfortunate, because I think “Robot of Sherwood” is a clear step back for a new Doctor who frankly REALLY didn’t need one.

Once again, there are a small handful of moments where Capaldi is an entertaining Doctor, but he mostly comes across as clumsy and awkward. He is still completely devoid of that signature whimsy that makes the Doctor such an interesting character. He comes across as more of a socially inept hermit rather than the alien he is, which may be the writing but also might just be that Capaldi isn’t good at being the Doctor. There’s still time to get better, but we’re already a quarter of the way through the series, so it’s not exactly boding well.

Jenna Coleman once again gets to be the focus, which is nice, but even she can’t save this episode. The plot is mostly boring and the guest stars are all in a perpetual state of chewing all of the scenery. It was foolish of me to expect better from Mark Gatiss, frankly, as he usually writes pretty weak episodes, with a few minor exceptions. This isn’t even as good as the middling “Night Terrors.” Hell, it’s not even as good as “Victory of the Daleks,” which would be the worst Dalek story of New Who if it wasn’t for “Daleks in Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks”.

If I hadn’t already been a Doctor Who fan before this year, it’s pretty likely that this is the episode that would have had me saying “This show just isn’t for me. Sorry, I tried.” I’ve loved it so much in the past that I will stick with it, but “Robot of Sherwood” is among the worst episodes of new Who. Definitely deserving of consideration alongside “Fear Her” and “The Curse of the Black Spot” as the absolute nadir of the new series. Here’s to hoping things get better REALLY quickly.

Final Grade: D-

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Audio Review: Invaders From Mars

“Invaders From Mars” (Big Finish #28)
Written & Directed by Mark Gatiss
Featuring the Doctor, Charley, and bad American accents

Rating: F

“Invaders from Mars” is the perfect example of why I should never get my hopes up about anything when it comes to Doctor Who. I tend to like stuff a lot of people don’t, and when I expect to like something, I am quite disappointed. This was the case with “Invaders from Mars,” which may very well be my least favorite of the Big Finish audios so far.

The idea is great: The Doctor and Charley arrive in New York just in time for Orson Welles’ famous radio adaptation of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds. As the story goes, there was mass panic as people tuned in to the radio in the middle of the story and thought the events being described were real. In typical Doctor Who fashion, aliens actually WERE invading, and the Doctor showed up to sort things out.

I’m not a huge fan of Paul McGann as the Doctor but I do like him, and he has a strong chemistry with India Fisher (Charley Pollard), which makes most of their work together listenable on that level alone. Unfortunately, this is pretty much pure shit.

I tend to like stuff set in the 1930s, as I love the “noir” feel of most of the stuff set in that era, but in this case, it fails pretty miserably. The voice acting is here pretty much the worst thing I’ve ever heard; almost all of the American accents are so unbelievable that I think the casting director behind this story should be fired, and then taken out back to be drawn & quartered. How do people who can’t do American accents keep getting roles like this in Doctor Who?

On top of the subpar voicing, the story is just slow. It takes ages to get rolling, and once it reaches its peak, it still isn’t good. I have trouble saying anything nice at all about his story. It fails for me on every possible level. It’s the “The Monster of Peladon” of audios. I even preferred “Minuet in Hell.” It’s a shame Simon Pegg is one of the voices in this… Nobody could have saved this garbage.

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