September 1, 2011 - September 29, 2011
September 12, 2011, OTTAWA — One of the most shockingly bad television series in recent memory crawled to a bloody close on Friday night.
The end of Torchwood: Miracle Day was not quite as obscenely amusing as some had predicted, but its climax prompted laughter in this reviewer, not tears.
No dangling plot-lines were tied up, no extraneous characters rescued from irrelevancy. The program is over — and so too, probably, is the franchise — but not even the most generous critic could with a straight face say that it was concluded.
Snark? Oh yes. For snark and bullet points and a reviewer's exhausted post-mortem, visit, Where have you gone, Russell T, Russell T?
September 11, 2011, OTTAWA — I know, I know, it's an awful cliche, but true nonetheless: I laughed and I cried.
There's more to say, but the short version (tl;dr) is that The Girl Who Waited is the stand-alone episode of Doctor Who that last week's Night Terrors threatened to be, and that The Doctor's Wife very nearly delivered: exciting, original and emotionally intense, with some hard-to-answer questions about the implications of time-travel thrown if for those who might want to ponder them, yet never once hitting the viewer who isn't interested in such thins over the head with them.
In other words, the The Girl Who Waited is the best episode of Doctor Who to appear since Steven Moffat took over as show-runner.
It is a story rigorous in its internal logic, emotionally gripping and intellectually satisfying, one that never cheats and one which offers no easy outs.
Add to that a remarkable performance from Karen Gillan and strong ones from both Arthur Darvill and Matt Smith, and we have been given an episode that, despite a heavy does of pathos, contains at its heart, like a glowing ember of the Tardis itself, a strange sort of joy that serves to remind this too-often disappointed fan just why it is he has stayed with the program.
Instant classic? Only time (or Time) will tell. But for my immediate thoughts, along with the standard spoilers, on the best episode of Doctor Who in a very long time, click here.
September 4, 2011, OTTAWA — Before I say anything else, I'd like to make it known that, for a wonder, this reviewer liked Mark Gatiss' latest Doctor Who adventure, Night Terrors.
Cheesy? A little.
Funny? Quite a lot, at times.
And scary? Oh yes, indeed.
Whatever carps one might have about Night Terrors' similarities of plot to episodes like Fear Her, or its monsters' resemblance to those in The Beast Below, The Girl In the Fireplace or the gas-mask kids from The Empty Child, there can be — at least, there should be — no denying that Night Terrors is a well-crafted story, amusing and frightening by turn, that moves briskly along from beginning to end.
After The Doctor's Wife, Night Terrors is easily this reviewer's favourite episode of the 2011.
Not too many spoilers and fewer a lot less than a thousand words for once at Old story for old eyes (and new).
September 4, 2011, OTTAWA — The sex columnist Dan Savage has recently been fronting a campaign to reassure isolated and often depressed queer kids that "it gets better."
I'm very sad to say that there's no getting better in Torchwood: Miracle Day.
Not for the people living in that world, not for the viewers in this one and certainly not for any attempt to offer us even a semblance of respectful story-telling.
As the saying goes, Fool me once, shame on you; fool me nine times, shame on me.
More fool, I.
Clearly determined to never give the suckers an even break, the penultimate entry in the Torchwood: Miracle Day demolition derby thumbs its nose at even the most modest expectations of its viewers.
It mocks the fundamentals of episodic drama and, in a final "mighty leap" before episode's end, at pretty much all of the 20th century's geo-physical science as well.
Or maybe I should just say, at basic physics.
Snark, sighs and spoilers galore but, I hope, not too much of a synopsis, all at Torchwood: 62 Days Later.