Reviews written by registered user
Theo Robertson

Send an IMDb private message to this author or view their message board profile.

Page 1 of 376:[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [Next]
3753 reviews in total 
Index | Alphabetical | Chronological | Useful

9 out of 19 people found the following review useful:
Hoping Against Hope, 22 November 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Doctor and Clara get an emergency phone call from Rigsy who they met last year . Rigsy tells them he has a tattoo that appeared from nowhere and worse still this numerical tattoo seems to be a countdown to something

Being a DOCTOR WHO addict rather than a DOCTOR WHO fan I'll watch it regardless of its quality . Truth be told it's something similar to torture under Moffat , something magnified a thousand-fold when you quickly realise the potential brilliance but unfortunately this often sabotaged by having a zany overload moment like the Doctor suddenly appearing on a tank while playing a guitar . Facing The Raven is perhaps unique in that for the first time this season the good outweighs the bad though there's still some bad that you can't help noticing

First the positive . We get a great and intriguing opening hook . A returning character has a problem and it's this problem that draws the audience in . The show has always been brilliant at this type of opening hook and it's great to see the show returning to its roots and for the first 15 minutes we have some of the most intriguing DOCTOR WHO we've seen in a long time . Best of all Capaldi is shown at his very best and here we see dark and gloomy Doctor for once instead of overblown zany clown . It's almost certainly the actor's finest hour in the show

The negative. Once the episode moves to Trap Street the episode loses momentum . Once again the major bugbear of exposition comes to the fore , the audience are constantly told what is happening and why it is happening . Ashildr returns and once again Maisie Williams shows herself to be a dreadful actress giving a distractingly wooden performance which is even more painfully noticeable when the rest of the cast are on top form

This brings us to the most divisive aspect - the departure of Clara . I didn't like the character and was never too keen on Coleman either though like Smith and Capaldi she's probably constantly let down by the writing . It's a very effective build up and execution to the departure . Except for one thing - is she actually dead ? After watching ten years of NuWho I did become wise to the fact that someone dying doesn't mean they're dead in its literal sense all the way back to the original companion of Rose . This means this viewer has on eye on the present but one cynical eye on the future . Here's hoping against hope Clara is gone for good

13 out of 25 people found the following review useful:
Tradition Served Up In An Untraditional Way, 14 November 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

How do you bring something new to the table ? In the case of DOCTOR WHO is there any need to radically change things ? For me the show that I grew up with was more often than not horror-lite with scary moments and scary monsters . By the mid Tom Baker era this type of story had faded and the show was never the same . When it returned ten years ago under the auspices of RTD we had DOCTOR WHO meets soap opera . With Moffat we get something different which often feels like a parody of the show . Will NuWho be remembered in the way the classic show was with monsters coming out the sea , the one with the Mummies or the one with the man turning in to a murderous plant ? It'll be interesting to see how long Sleep No More will be remembered for

That's not to say the episode is flawless . Gatiss is a very divisive writer but he probably writes at his best when he knows the little ones love to be terrified . Here he comes up with the monsters creeping about dark corridors stalking humans plot . It's sheer sci-fi B movie stuff but one that I and I imagine others can't get enough off . The downside is that the production team try and go one further and present it in a lost footage format . The problem with that is if you've one of these type of stories you have literally seen them all and we've been getting literally tons of these stories in cinema since the turn of the Century . In other words it's been done to death and for the show to steal this concept seems to be clutching at gimmicks . I often found myself wishing the execution would have worked much better if it'd been done in a more traditional way . Tell the story through the Doctor's eyes rather than relying on spoken exposition and on screen graphics etc . Despite this there's a neat twist at the end , has great monsters in the Sandmen and is one of the better stories from a bitterly disappointing season . Might the fact that it's a one episode story non reliant on continuity have something to do with this ? Make up your own mind

14 out of 61 people found the following review useful:
Let's Talk, 7 November 2015

This television has always been good at bringing a subtext to the story telling element . The Pertwee era was good at this though was slightly obvious but when you've a production team who are professionals who treated DOCTOR WHO as "a mere job" it's not necessarily a criticism . It's probably summed up by Terry Nation's first story for the show all these decades ago - Daleks are space Nazis in metallic shells . Yeah I'll buy that and if we get an entertaining story to go with it all the better . And stories don't get much better than the 1970 Pertwee tale The Silurians an allegory on what happens when pragmatism and compromise fails with one of the most bitter ends seen in a DOCTOR WHO story

With all due respect to Malcolm Hulke his job was made easier by having the story spun out to seven 25 minute episodes which meant more room for drama , especially characterisation . Writers on NuWho don't have that luxury , everything involves around brevity and fast pace . That said there's a massive lot wrong if we're watching this as a two part story especially where structure is involved . Let me explain:

Part one of this story involved much incident and over ambitious globe trotting . One set-piece stumbled in to another slightly misjudged set-piece . On top of that we had constant exposition delivered in a clumsy manner . This second part is entirely different pace wise and the opposite problem - nothing really happens and we have 45 minutes of talking . And talking . And talking . One problem remains and that is once again plot exposition . You want to know about the Osgood box . Well here's an explanation and if you don't get it or pop out to make a cup of tea there will be another explanation again in a couple of minutes . War and racism are bad things ? We know and if you don't someone will point this out every couple of minutes . Everything is far too on the nose and if you're getting bored by this ( I know I was ) don't worry because someone will re-explain all this by putting on a fake American accent because ... well because . And if you're really bored to the point of terminal collapse (I know I was) then try and count the number of game show references and be thankful for the fact the Hughie Green was never cast as The Doctor

I really am puzzled by the decision to make this story a two parter . The first part was over paced while the second part indicates there's not enough premise to make up a satisfying episode where everything ignores the writing rule of "show don't tell" . There's only a subtext to the narrative because the audience are told there is one . It's not subtext at all just plot devices with names being used as sounding boards . I suppose if there ;s any positives it's down to the fact no matter how much an episode of NuWho disappoints me I will always tune in to it every Saturday come what may and I mean that most sincerely folks

6 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
Ambition Bites The Nails Of Success, 2 November 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Ah Halloween . A pagan festival celebrated through the centuries and best remembered nowadays for fancy dress and mild scares . And if it's mild scares you're after then nothing works better than DOCTOR WHO and the trailers gave the impression this was going to be a dark scary tale . Does it succeed ? Almost but not quite


The problem is twofold . First is the introspective navel gazing that the show has been constantly guilty of for many years and is increasingly getting worse . We're reintroduced to Osgood . Remember her ? She was killed at the end of last season or was she ? Don't worry all will be explained by her later and throughput the episode . Character exposition is one thing but if you're a casual viewer you might find your interest and patience being tried to the very limit . Likewise the Zygons , a returning monster who can take human form and apparently aren't all bad . We know this because Osgood says so . The fact that this contradicts their debut story away back in 1975 doesn't seem to matter . It also means the narrative becomes dependent on the writing rule of "show don't tell" and it quickly becomes annoying that characters have to rely on dialogue in order to explain things to the audience which is very lazy

Second much of the plotting is similarly lazy . In America a squad of UNIT soldiers come across possible humans/possible Zygons and are faced with a dilemma what to do . The scene should be pivotal and compelling but because of the lazy unintelligent writing the scene isn't any where as well thought out as it should of been instead the prime concern seems to be having a scene set in America in order to appeal to the American market . Do I find Terror Of The Zygons a great story because it was set in Scotland ? No I found it a great story because it was well written and directed with a brooding atmosphere rarely seen in the show

There is another aspect to the story I found quite offensive and that is the allusion of the rogue Zygons being metaphors for ISIS . The Doctor wants to be a peacemaker . Are we to believe that if the Doctor existed in real life he'd somehow find a peaceful solution between the forces of fascism and theocracy on one side and secular democracy on the other . Highly impossible . I know the show as done similar themes before most notably with stories by Malcolm Hulke but these stories were metaphors rather than literal statements and also relied on the concept of "show don't tell" rather than the other way round

Perhaps the most telling thing shows in the ratings . 3.87 million viewers in the overnight ratings . Of course as many as 2 million more will bump up the figure but the show will still find itself slipping out the top most shows viewed that week . The buzz isn't there anymore , the casual viewers are deserting the show and that the reasons why are obvious which as a fan I find upsetting . The budget is there . The potential is there but the show constantly shoots itself in the foot

Spectre (2015)
12 out of 32 people found the following review useful:
Irritating Mix Of Old And New . Possibly The Weakest Craig Bond Film, 29 October 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'm not much of a Bond fan but the great thing about Craig era Bond is that they're Bond films for people who don't like Bond films . None of this killing a bad guy then turning to camera making a wisecrack . None of this climatic fight sequence on a mode of transport with laughable back projection . With Craig's Bond if he says he's in Mexico the production team make sure the audience know he's in Mexico and not in a Shepperton film studio . If Bond gets hit in the genitals he'd feel it the same as 3.5 billion men . If a woman who he cares about gets killed he gets angst ridden about it . In other words we - the audience - can relate to this . It'd be a step too far to say Craig's Bond is now part of realist cinema but I for one feel this direction has saved a tired and dying franchise . With SPECTRE the series has taken a rather clumsy step backward

!!!! SPOILERS !!!!

It's not all bad . Sam Mendes keeps up the riveting work seen with the brilliant SKYFALL . The film opens with a continues shot where the camera gives the impression it's all done in one take . A female character leaves her house to stand beside a pool where two assassins follow her and again it's a great example of a tracking shot and you do get the impression the technical staff are after those Oscars next year . The film also contains gritty violence such as a Spectre agent being executed in a graphic manner . If you loved the art-house and deadpan tone of the previous three films then it's still sustained . Such a pity it's never sustained enough and we have to endure a few bits of nonsense we'd thought we'd never see again By this I mean we're back to the gadgets era of Connery , Moore and Brosnan . A car with an ejector seat and flame throwers ! Oh dear . Didn't like this much back in the day and don't like it now . In many ways it's even worse now because it jars with the serious tone of much of the film . Another annoying aspect is that Bond is able to endure much physical violence such as a fight on a train and brain drilling and yet seems to physically recover instantly . A million miles away from the Bond seen in CASINO ROYALE

This film's major failing is however contained in the title -SPECTRE . You've seen the trailers with Christoph Waltz telling Bond that he's been the cause of his pain etc but none of the motivation or continuity is ever satisfactorily explained . Spectre ties in with Quantum but why ? and how ? It does give a hint as to its philosophy when a character mentions "weakness" and decries "Democracy" which might indicate the organisation is a literally fascist cult but again this goes totally unexplored There's no reason for this organisation to be called Spectre except to reference earlier Bond films and use nostalgia as a marketing tool . It also has a plot twist of sorts where Waltz character reveals his true identity but again this seems like cynical fan servicing . He never seems like the character he is supposed to and is more in line with Elliot Carver from TNL

I found myself slightly disappointed by this film .SKY FALL had a lot to live up to and had been looking forward to this ever since the trailers came out . To be fair I didn't find myself pining for the Moore and Brosnan movies but SPECTRE feels like a retrograde step where gadgets and set pieces take precedence over plotting and character motivation . If SPECTRE breaks box office records it will be because of the previous Craig films and not because of its own merits

9 out of 27 people found the following review useful:
Lion-Oh Messy, 26 October 2015

Ah Adam and the Ants . And if you can't remember who they were ask your parents . Or your grandparents . Apparently someone liked the band so much someone in the DOCTOR WHO production team decided to do a homage to them . Either that or someone has just seen a certain episode of BLACKADDER THE THIRD . Not to be too negative the show has of course borrowed lots and lots of elements from popular culture . Any DOCTOR WHO story that is inspired by QUATERMASS comes close to instant classic status so a lack of originality to an individual story is rarely a problem . At its heart there's a good story to The Woman Who Lived but is never fully successful in its execution and wider aspects

One thing it might be congratulated on is the constant lack of self reference to other stories . It's a sequel of sorts to The Girl Who died or more accurately a continuation to that episode so strictly speaking it's not really a two part story so there's no reason for this episode to follow last weeks one . Why not broadcast it a couple of weeks down the line ? The story itself is a nice change from the fast paced noisy let's save the universe within 45 minutes bluster . Indeed the idea of living forever is a fate worse than death is an intelligent and compelling concept so what's wrong with the episode ?

Easily explained - the acting isn't strong enough to carry the story . If you've got an episode that's relatively threadbare and the characters and dialogue carry the story these aspects have to be perfect . Instead we have some of the most wooden acting the show has seen since it came back in 2005 . Maisie Williams seems well regarded by GAME OF THRONE fans but here she gives a very stilted wooden performance though it might actually be preferable to the one Michelle Gomez gave in the season opener but that's hardly great praise . Rufus Hound's character might have been vaguely interesting but the character is reduced to a stand up comedian making wise cracks and innuendo and we have a villain straight out of THE LION KING . Oh and no scene can last for longer than five seconds without intrusive mood music stealing a scene so we get another episode /story that doesn't really reach its full potential

15 out of 24 people found the following review useful:
A Very Mixed Bag, 18 October 2015

Perhaps the best way to enjoy NuWho is not to go in to an episode with any pre-conceptions as to the upcoming episode's merit ? The Girl Who Died certainly didn't look very enticing in the Next Time trailer . Some historical hokum involving camp Vikings which had "mid season filler" written all over it . Nothing special but nothing outstanding that'd be quickly forgotten before the season ends . That said it was co-written by Jamie Mathieson who wrote the two outstanding adventures from last year but this has to be weighed that his co-writer is Steven Moffat . Best not to let any prejudices enter your mind before seeing the episode

If nothing else this episode confirms my continuing frustration with the show . Peter Capaldi show the potential that he could be the greatest Doctor we've ever had and I'm including the classic series 1963-89 in to that equation so I'm not making that statement lightly . A genuinely alien presence and totally hypnotic when he discusses death . Unfortunately he's constantly undermined by behind the scenes obsession that he ahas to be "amusing" in some way as does the wider context of the programme . The story is chugging along happily enough , maybe not as seriously as we'd get in an adventure with William Hartnell but that isn't a criticism in anyway and can understand people loving the scene where the Doctor inspects his parade of Vikings and referring to them as "Lofty , Nog , ZZ Top" but this isn't enough and we then get a misjudged sequence involving the Benny Hill theme . All this "it seemed like a good idea at the time" is symptomatic of Moffat's tenure and despite all the positives of the episode - and it is enjoyable for the most part - it never reaches its full potential

13 out of 33 people found the following review useful:
Time To Whine About Time, 10 October 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

After last weeks very effective base under siege adventure one had hoped we'd be getting more of the same but I was left with a bit of apprehension that the concluding part wouldn't sustain things . This has been a constant problem under Moffat . Think back to the season five conclusion with The Pandorica Opens and The Big Bang being two different stories that don't really hang together and are merely connected via a tenuous reboot button . Wit this two part story by Toby Whitehouse we see something similar

The episode opens with the figurative wall being torn down and The Doctor addressing the audience . It might seem radical but remember we've seen this before in other media . Anyone remember the mid 70s series GANGSTERS that started off as a play For Today then ran for two series only to end with a bizarrely meta-fictional final episode ? Then there's those ROAD TO... movies with Bob Hope talking to camera And of course there those Laurel And Hardy shorts where Ollie turns to camera giving an exasperated fatalistic look . In other words it's not as modernist as it thinks it is and worse still it's being used as exposition in order to explain the plot mechanics and this can only be seen as a failure . If the title character has to step out of the show and explain the rationale and plotting of the episodes that's patronising , especially when the plot isn't that exceptionally complicated and is slightly better than the mind bending nonsense we've previously had with Moffat

This self conscious approach and execution doesn't really work . If one was to watch this and the previous episode back to back then the story as a whole won't really hang together . This is a great pity because I thoroughly enjoyed last weeks Under The Lake episode mainly because it was an old fashioned creepy story where as this week it's back to timey wimey stuff which Moffat seems obsessed with . A great pity

13 out of 19 people found the following review useful:
Old School Should Be The Main School, 4 October 2015

DOCTOR WHO has the most flexible format in television . A protagonist who can travel anywhere in time and space means you might be watching a historical drama and the next week an ambitious science fiction epic . The Hartnell years was very good at doing this . As the show progressed in to the Troughton era producers Innes Lloyd and Peter Bryant abandoned the historical stories and in their place came the base under siege / horror type stories and for about ten years this is what the show infamously becoming the show that "Sent children hiding behind the sofa. With producer Philip Hinchcliffe and script editor Robert Holmes in the mid 1970s they pushed the boundaries of the show which received great viewing figures but unfortunately so many complaints from concerned parents that Hinchcliffe was asked to move on and his replacement Graham Williams was ordered by the BBC that the horror element of the show was no longer allowed and from 1977 to the show's ultimate cancellation in 1989 any overtly scary story was conspicuous by its rarity . In short most of the masterworks from 1963-89 such as The Web Of Fear , Inferno , Pyramids Of Mars etc and its this type of genre the show has been remembered for

Under The Lake continues this noble tradition . An alien spaceship is found under a Scottish loch in the 22nd Century and as things take a bad turn the Tardis lands at this crucial moment as both the Doctor and the television audience are exposed to the plot . There's not a lot of originality but this doesn't matter in the slightest , there's no self referential continuity involving stories from 30 years ago and all the audience are asked to do is dim the lights , sit back and be enthralled by the on screen events

On its own terms there are a couple of flaws to the episode . Being a grumpy fan in early middle age I did think there was maybe a little bit too much running up and down corridors . It's a two part story therefore concentrate on atmosphere and characterisation rather than incident . It's also very noticeable that the Doctor and Clara are entirely different characters from those written and portrayed in the previous story . One constant irritant of Capaldi's Doctor is that the writing frequently shoehorns his character in to the environment of the story instead on trying to bring a consistent fundamental character to this Doctor . One also hopes that unlike Kill The Moon from last season the production team don't blow the resolution by a ridiculous plot turn . When all is said and done so far this is very much an enjoyable and tense 45 minutes of DOCTOR WHO

10 out of 31 people found the following review useful:
Good Padding Versus Bad Padding, 26 September 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

!!!!! Mild Spoilers !!!!

I recently got a PM from IMDb legend Bob The Moo saying how impressed he was with Genesis Of The Daleks a story he had no knowledge of being a casual viewer of the show . Being a die hard fan who saw the story on its initial broadcast I saw this particular story attain legendary status over the years and reading Bob's message made me want to watch the story again this time with a mindset of a casual viewer . I'm glad I did because if you think DOCTOR WHO is a children's' show the production team on the mid seventies pull the rug out from the audiences feet . That story was hard hitting intelligent drama and remains so after all these decades . Of course being a DOCTOR WHO story it has suffered a backlash from fandom with a major complaint being how heavily padded it is plotwise . Comparing Genesis with the two part opening story of season 9 perhaps the difference between good television and bad television is how to develop padding ?

What this second part of the story does is that it confirmed my fears for the story - there's not enough narrative in its premise to justify a feature length story . As with the Doctor riding a tank while playing guitar we're treated to -well "treated to" is the wrong phrase obviously - much zany comedy , info dumps , smart one liners it says here and other ridiculous nonsense until we get to the main item of the Doctor and Davros scenes . The comedy element of the production team in front of and behind the camera totally undermines what little drama there is served to the audience and the tone is so up and down you might suffer sea sickness while sitting on a sofa miles from the nearest ocean . It's not contrast , it's a clear dichotomy between the potentially good being undermined by the patently poor .

How about a scene where characters A and B have a conversation that owes a lot to Dostoevsky . Meanwhile characters C and D find themselves in a cell discussing if they'll be executed via firing squad or if they'll be strung up with piano wire . Oh hold on that's already been done in the show as far back as 1975 so obviously Moffat brings his own vision of the show where such scenes are deemed as "boring" and there's not enough one line quips in it which misses the point of what made the classic series work . How much better would this story have been with one 45 minute episode featuring a one off solemn villain instead of Missy with a serious tone throughout the episode and we'd have a great story . Instead we have 90 minutes of something that grates

Page 1 of 376:[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [Next]