More Style Over Substance (on new Doctor Who)
We were out of town this past week, so we didn't get a chance to catch Mark Gatiss' episode Sleep No More until now, so this will be a very short review. One word of caution: if you are looking for images or information about the episode on Google, you'll come across an apparently adult off-Broadway play by the same name. It's definitely not something you'll want your kids to come across.
The Blair Witch or "found footage" set-up and the Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians story line aren't anything new, but the nasty "Sandmen" monsters are pretty cool and the creepy space station is a fun "video game-like" set. Gatiss knows his monsters, and these are the new rivals in scariness for the Weeping Angels, in my opinion. Peter Capaldi plays the Doctor heroically and mugs it straight to the camera with Colin Baker's intensity along with the mania of Tom Baker's Doctor. Plus, there are lots of nice camera shots for those of us who really enjoy gazing upon Peter's handsome visage. (Sigh!)
With a nasty monster and with such great footage of Peter Capaldi, one would hope to find this episode a bit more memorable, but it seems to play it by the book and doesn't really venture into any realm of science fiction that hasn't been done before and done well. Probably its saving grace is that Gatiss didn't try to expand the little actual material he had and make it into two episodes. Short and sweet and simplistic, lacking in sophistication or subtlety, the story comes across a bit disjointed at times without any apparent reason behind the logic gaps other than poor script editing. It's a style of writing which seems to be commonplace in the Moffat era and what my author husband has named "The A.D.D. School of New Doctor Who Writing" and why he no longer cares to watch it recently.
Thank heavens Retro-TV is still showing the classic series so he can get his fix. The Jon Pertwee series wound up this past week and Tom Baker's mostly well-written series are awaiting us over the holiday season. A very nice Christmas gift indeed.