Monday, 17 October 2011

Let's hope we don't have to run! [Reviews: Let's Kill Hitler and Night Terrors]

Some thoughts about Doctor Who: the second half of the season opened with two episodes written by past masters: Steven Moffat's "Let's Kill Hitler" and Mark Gatiss' "Night Terrors." The tones of the episodes are poles apart: comic sci-fi and psychological horror, but there are some interesting common themes: both feature eyeballs, and both are about miniaturization.

LKH features a humanoid robot time-ship, the Tesselator, crewed by tiny time-policemen and jellyfish robots. The concept reminded me of Woody Allen's "Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex" where a similar miniature crew pilot a man through a dinner date in what might be the most original Star Trek spoof ever. I'm told Eddie Murphy also based a film around this idea, to which I believe the correct response is "Eddie who?"

Night Terrors also involves miniaturization but it's a clever twist - to say more would be [breathy Alex Kingston voice] "Thpoilerth...." There's no sci-fi here although the backstory is borrowed from John Wyndham, instead everything is explained in terms of an unusually powerful mind, which is not really any explanation at all. This episode may also be the prequel to one of the Silence encounters earlier this year.

The original concept for Doctor Who included scope for the TARDIS to bring the Doctor and his companions into macroscopic or microscopic environments as well as travelling in space and time, allowing potential for some great sci-fi and educational storylines. This capacity was almost never used - a rare exception is the excellent William Hartnell story Planet Of Giants - so it's great to see the series having some more fun with miniaturization.


Maurice Mitchell said...

"Meet Dave" was awful. The polar opposite of "Joy of sex." Yet, they shared so many themes. Go figure. I agree about Doctor Who.

Sci-Fi Gene said...

That's what I heard too Maurice - and as a fan of much of Mr. Murphy's work it pains me to have to erase him from my memory Lacuna-style... erase who?