Friday, February 19, 2010

Doctor Who - The Steven Moffat Episodes

So I don't really watch Doctor Who. I've caught an episode here and there of course and I usually like what I see but that's about it. However, back when Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg's film version of Tintin was announced I looked up Tintin screenwriter Steven Moffat and found that he had recently written what were generally considered to be the best of the recent Doctor Who episodes. So I started checking them out--he's only written six episodes so far for a total of four storylines. Each one was excellent and I am now officially very excited for the Tintin movies (not that I wasn't before).

Here are the Moffat episodes, in chronological order. I recommend all of them.

"The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances" (2005)
You know what's creepier than a creepy kid? One with a gasmask for a face. One of the great things about Steven Moffat episodes is that in each one he goes for the jugular, trying to come up with the scariest creatures, ones that will guarantee no sleep for kids. This great two-parter is set during the Blitz.

"The Girl in the Fireplace" (2006)
This is a time-travel episode in which real historical French figure Madame De Pompadour (played by Sophia Myles, reason enough to watch this episode) is hunted by clockwork androids. Creepy and romantic.

"Blink" (2007)
My favorite of the Moffat episodes, by far. There is very little Doctor in this at all. It focuses on Sally Sparrow (played by pre-Oscar nomination Carey Mulligan) as a young woman investigating some terrifying statues, the Weeping Angels. It's a great premise and the character of Sally is completely charming.

"Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead" (2008)
Really good but a little melodramatic. Not to give too much away but there are several drawn-out death scenes in these two episodes, but that's my only complaint. It's another brilliant idea, another terrifying villain (The Vashta Nerada, carnivorous creatures that disguise themselves as shadows and usually live in forests), and the secondary characters, as in all these episodes, are completely compelling.

Having watched all of these I feel like I might have spoiled myself for the rest of Doctor Who, which can't be as good as these. I'll probably quit now, while I'm ahead.

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