Smallscreen Reviews

Review: 'Doctor Who' - Night Terrors

By Ian Cullen Sep 5, 2011, 1:31 GMT

Review: 'Doctor Who' - Night Terrors

Synopsis: The Doctor and his companions came to the aid of a terrified child, whose monsters appear to be real.

Synopsis: The Doctor and his companions came to the aid of a terrified child, whose monsters appear to be real.

I can sum up this episode with one word: "Ambiguous."

The storyline is pretty straightforward and a had a lot of potential, but sadly this time round the episode falls well short of that potential with the adult side of the family audience that the series is aimed at.

Though given the pacing, I would have to say that it would have to be a very patient child that would have stuck with this one.

The start of the episode sees the Doctor and friends pick up a distress call from a child. However, there isn’t really a satisfactory explanation for how the kid was able to reach out across time and space in order to reach the doctor.

Even later on, when the child is revealed to be some sort of alien.

No explanation is forthcoming, which for me is probably the lynch pin where this episode rises and falls because it depends to much on the science fiction audience to assume the explanation as being some sort of psychic phenomenon.

Matt Smith and Arthur Darvill as The Doctor and Rory do their best with the script, but poor Karen Gillan in her role of Amy Pond seems to have been relegated to second fiddle.

The theme of items in a child’s bedroom being frightening is a good tried and tested one. Hell, even I was scared of certain things as a child that were in my bedroom and I used to share a room with my older brother and under his bunk bed was a piece of rolled up carpet which terrified me, as I thought it was a nasty giant snake monster.

The idea of the child in the story consigning all his fears to the wardrobe was a good one, but when it came to the whole notion of the Doctor investigating the cupboard and the drama that ensued with that, it seemed to be a bit of a drag.

Come on, this is the Doctor. He’s been around the block a few billion times. Of course he’s going to investigate the wardrobe. Why make such a big thing of it?

That said, the notion of everything that frightened the kid winding up in the dolls' house was a pretty good idea, and that element seemed to work.

But the lack of an explanation by the end of the episode - being that the kid was imagining all these monsters because he was frightened of rejection by his adoptive parents - was kind of flimsy.

The giant dolls in the dollhouse were particularly scary and for some reason put me in mind of the Classic Jon Pertwee story ‘Terror Of The Autons’ by the way they simply moved about.

Classic Doctor Who reference aside, this was not a strong outing for Matt Smith's Doctor Who, and fell well short of last week’s ‘Lets Kill Hitler’ episode.

At the end of the day, there were some good ideas in this episode, but overall when it came to stringing the ideas together into a fun story that could entertain both adults and children alike, it didn’t hang together all that well.



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Doctor Who

Doctor Who is a long-running British science fiction television programme (and a 1996 television film) produced by the BBC. The programme shows the adventures of a mysterious time-traveller known as ...more

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