Tag Archives: Sleep No More

Doctor Who Series Nine Review

Another series has come to an end, but what a great series it was. Seeing a more settled Peter Capaldi lead this series, he gets to show a superbly fun streak while keeping the deeply moving moments when needs to. From busting out guitar solos to heart-wrenching speeches, it was a fantastic series which built upon the 2014 run and came out high. Jenna Coleman may now have left, but we got some great episodes featuring Clara to show how much we shall all miss her. Plus, who can forget appearances from Reece Shearsmith, Maisie Williams, and even Ingrid Oliver coming back as Osgood.

  1. The Zygon Inversion by Peter Harness and Steven Moffat

Not by any means a bad episode (compared to series 8 which had a few weak episodes), but arguably I felt this conclusion to the Zygon two-parter lacked much substance to me. I felt at this point Clara was very much just being sidelined to make Osgood appear to be a replacement. The threat from the rogue Zygons never feels as grand as it should, there isn’t that worldwide ramification which is teased in the first part and to see Kate Stewart minimalised is a crime. But, the speech from Peter Capaldi does really stand out as one of the best acting movements from the Scottish actor.

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  1. Under The Lake by Toby Whithouse

Following on from one of the most thrilling two-parters ever, Toby Whithouse had to give a story which could keep the same attention as Steven Moffat had done for the previous two weeks. Though it seemed some of the cast was wasted to short parts, the characters of Cass and Lunn really make a good mark as the double act. But Morven Christie is superb as O’Donnell, it is just a shame that her great presence is then minimalised in part two. The tension builds nicely and makes for a great conclusion, which I will discuss later…

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  1. The Woman Who Lived by Catherine Tregenna

When we see Ashildr after so many years, we find that she is almost nothing like the Viking girl we met in ‘The Girl Who Died’. Maisie Williams proves to be the best guest star of series 9 with her appearances in the show. This one sees her very much become traitor as she looks to trick The Doctor to get away from earth and explore the world, but the alien Leandro looks set to make his own plans (I have to admit, he was a weak villain in an otherwise strong story). Also, it was nice having a companion-lite story and who would have thought Rufus Hound was cast so well? It may not be a classic, but Catherine Tregenna should come back!

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  1. Sleep No More by Mark Gatiss

This episode took me by surprise, making a twist to the found-footage genre and giving it a Doctor Who episode was definitely out of the ordinary. On first viewing, I was greatly impressed. But, the second time really was a killer. I still get a great chill from that last scene, as it really does infuse a horror element to the show with an effortless performance from Reece Shearsmith. The creatures themselves were a great invention, though I would think this story could be expanded upon and a follow-up could be better.

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  1. Hell Bent by Steven Moffat

The finale came and wow! First off, The Doctor is back on Gallifrey and is finally free from billions of years stuck in his confession dial. Though the Time Lords ask for his help, he merely despises for their actions and eventually dethrones Rassilon. The humour is great and to see many story strands conclude here is all well and good. But, as much as I loved Jenna Coleman, bringing Clara back really seemed to destroy the outstanding exit scene she was given just two weeks prior. On the plus side, we do get to see a second TARDIS and Ashildr returns.

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  1. The Zygon Invasion by Peter Harness

The Zygons exploded back onto the screen this year, and they brought Osgood back with them too. With the fear of a fracture in the treaty between human and Zygon, The Doctor is called upon by UNIT to help stop everything going to hell. The choice to have a mostly female led cast was genius and highlighted the best in Doctor Who with Osgood, Kate and Clara. The cliffhanger may not be the most stunning in its history, but the Clara reveal was well played and really made the stakes high.

INVASION OF THE ZYGONS (By Peter Harness)

  1. Before The Flood by Toby Whithouse

A two-parter unlike any other, this second part saw The Doctor travel over 100 years to the past to see what happened to cause these ghosts to appear. As well as meeting the mole-like Prentis, we also get to see The Fisher King, one of the most haunting and creepy monster’s to appear in the show. The combination of three separate actors bringing The Fisher King to life was indeed impressive and how long will you be questioning if Beethoven really made his own music?

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  1. The Witch’s Familiar by Steven Moffat

Fighting the Daleks, stealing chairs and drinking a cup of tea from an unknown source was just the starters of this episode. Seeing two hero/villain double acts fill the majority of the episode was impressive. While Clara and Missy teamed up to save The Doctor, The Doctor and Davros were getting chatty and some serious and fun moments evolved from that. The joke about the only other chair on Skaro will be a long lasting one. Also, kudos to the special effects team, Skaro looked really cool.

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  1. The Girl Who Died by Jamie Mathieson and Steven Moffat

Jamie Mathieson wrote the superb ‘Flatline’ last year, and it was not an easy task to follow on from that. But, he did so and more. A Viking village is attacked by alien race The Mire and young Viking Ashildr declares war against the warrior race. The Doctor and Clara then have just 24 hours to train the village to become warriors like those they have lost. Putting in many great jokes, some stunning action sequences and seeing The Doctor talk baby again. A winning episode which finally tells what helped the Time Lord get the familiar looking face he currently holds.

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  1. Heaven Sent by Steven Moffat

Imagine being stuck in a loop for billions of years, being chased by a creature that can’t die and won’t stop. Imagine being all alone with no companions and no exit. The Doctor literally punches his way out of this nightmare trap over the years and slowly wears a wall away until he is free. Seeing a vulnerable and frightened Doctor, it was a great in-depth look into the mind of our hero and a story which could never be replicated. A grieving Time Lord after losing his friend is a dangerous thing.

HEAVEN SENT (By Steven Moffat)

  1. Face The Raven by Sarah Dollard

We knew it was coming, but who would have thought the death of Clara Oswald would have been so moving? Jenna Coleman provides one of her greatest performances as she does her best to save friend Rigsy and tries to be like The Doctor. Learning the hard way she can’t be like the Time Lord, the ultimate price is paid for trying to be more than human. The Doctor physically and mentally is shaken by the series of events, and even looks to destroy former ally Ashildr after she sets up the trap which puts all these events into motion. Seeing Clara fall to the ground will haunt Doctor Who fans for many years to come…

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  1. The Magician’s Apprentice by Steven Moffat

To start off on such a massive high is a huge gamble, but started what was to be a fantastic series can’t be denied. With The Doctor missing, Missy and Clara working together and the best axe battle of all time, there was a lot to enjoy. The biggest surprise comes in the opening minutes when The Doctor meets a young Davros on a battlefield and leaves him to die. He then goes to hide, knowing that Davros survives the events and is looking to get him. With the pace being hectic, yet grounded, we have such a strong opener which floods the screen with references and characters. All perfectly placed, all pieces move towards what becomes the biggest ever cliffhanger in the history of the show!

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Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

 

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Doctor Who – Sleep No More. “Sleep is vital. Sleep is wonderful. Even I sleep.”

The following article will contain spoilers.

A found-footage episode is finally provided by Doctor Who, and it works rather well. Obviously, it is given that twist of sci-fi and when you find out the truth behind the capturing of the footage, it really doe’s add a bit of creepiness to it when you think of surveillance today. When a ship is found to be practically deserted, The Doctor and Clara find themselves in the middle of a rescue mission. The crew in the mission is made up of leader Nagata (I just want to say I really liked Elaine Tan in this episode, she was a strong and confident character who you cheer for all the way), the suspicious Chopra (Neet Mohan, another fine cast member but I think could have done more), Deep-Ando (who was in deep doo-doo) and cloned grunt 474 (portrayed by Bethany Black, apparently the first transsexual actress ever on the show) as they head up the mission. As they find The Doctor and Clara, they too begin to explore and learn about what is happening in the 38th century on the Le Verrier space station (named after the French mathematician). The Morpheus pods fill one room of the station, supposedly able to stop the need for sleep. Clara gets dragged into one of them, and is then freed by The Doctor. But has this left a mark on her? We also find in another pod the man known as Rassmussen; the inventor of the Morpheus pods. Then, the story really kicks off.

From the beginning, the story is narrated to us in the found-footage style and is narrated by Rassmussen throughout. Suspicions arise that he is narrating this story after experiencing its climax, and yet events come up which would show this to be not possible. The creatures or “sandmen” are created through the dust that is made in your eyes from the sleep. As the Morpheus machines can make a month of sleep happen in five minutes, all the dust collects to create something horrific and sentient. All the talk of electronic signals in operation in the pods and creating the monsters is just the start, as we see something much deeper is happening and it isn’t just a pleasant surprise the monsters are here. One by one, the crew are picked off. After Rassmussen shows the survival rating for all the soldiers, I did begin to wonder about his true intentions, and the fall in the gravity shields also was not caused by the creatures. Hearing the song ‘Mr Sandman’ by The Chordettes is indeed now very creepy, it will be another one of them simple yet effective fear methods that will last for a long time to come. I know a few people may get lost on the whole surveillance idea, but I think it played out pretty well and answers how Rassmussen had all the footage for his film. The chilling truth being revealed in the climax speaks on many levels of horror, and the final shot is just terrifying.

My praise for this episode is high, the highlight performance was Reece Shearsmith, he just brings a great edge and to see he was not just a villain, but the central force behind all of the happenings of the episode was indeed a great turn. Seeing his face crumble into sand while he laughs was chilling and exceptional. I am glad Elaine Tan’s Nagata survives till the end, she was a strong character and I think she deserves another episode to really expand her role. While the rest of the supporting cast was a bit lacking, you can’t help but praise Bethany Black for her part as the cloned soldier, even though I think she could have done more. Jenna Coleman was great, and the foreshadowing of her impending departure once again looms over the show, but were there any clues with the whole effect of Morpheus on her? Peter Capaldi continues his run of being a great Doctor, though not as impressive as delivering THAT speech last week, he continues to elude his own Doctorisms (yes, I just made a new word. Or have I?) for the audience and impress many. Mark Gatiss always has a good eye for the darker Doctor Who elements and each story he writes always seems more like a nightmare than a traditional alien story which is always a benefit for the show. The idea that the sandmen could return at a later time is indeed an interesting one and it would be great to see these creatures get a life outside of a space station and really prove to be a menace to the universe.

Final points, the change in opening titles were a brave choice, but keeps with the episode theme throughout so that was great to see. Also is it fair to say I may see this as possibly my favourite Mark Gatiss episode? He really does tackle a new angle of fear well and I am sure there was more in this episode which will feature into the future than we tend to believe at this time. An absolute cracker and I would give it full marks for the wonderful execution alone in its format. If not for the underuse of some cast members, you’d be looking at a perfect 10. Next week, we face The Raven and apparently a whole host of aliens…and Ashildr! And Rigsy, I can’t forget Rigsy!!

Final rating: 9.5/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

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