My relationship with Doctor Who has been taut of late, stretched out all thin and fragile, and upon viewing “Into the Dalek” a couple of weeks ago, it reached a breaking point. Shattering fantastically. I claimed the episode ‘an embarrassment to British science fiction’ and deleted the timer recording from my generic telly-recording-apparatus.
I had been so looking forward to seeing what Peter Capaldi could do, but Doctor Who had been dwindling in my eyes for a couple of series now and this was the final straw. Series 8 of ‘new who’ was, to all intents and purposes, dead to me.
With this said and done I failed to see Robot of Sherwood, and ‘Who’ only came back into my mind a couple of weeks on when a friend asked if I’d seen “Listen”.
"No" I said "I’m boycotting it".
"Oh you mustn’t" they replied.
So, because I trust them, I watched a repeat showing of Listen.
THIS IS WHY I LOVE DOCTOR WHO!
These standalone episodes that exist to just explore concepts, not to try and draw out an overly long and convoluted canon. They live outside of that and become interesting and innovative “what if” pieces?
These episodes which aren’t overly Doctor Who-esque but are still somehow all the more Who for being so.
I’m thinking of episodes like “the girl who waited” and “the doctors wife”
and of course… Blink!
Blink is the classic example of this and Listen was a perfect counterpart. It also has to be the most chilling episode I’ve seen since The Empty Child. The central concept was wonderful, akin to Silents in under-the-skin post-viewing creepiness and the cinematography during the orphanage scene was Spielberg-level brilliance.
So my question is, why aren’t there more episodes like this rather than averaging one every two series.
Or maybe Doctor Who isn’t the place for this sci-fi, maybe we need a new show, a sort of Twilight Zone series of one off stories written by the best in dark science fiction. Oh gosh can we have this please, I want this now.