"Doctor Who" Midnight (TV Episode 2008) Poster

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This episode is utterly dazzling!
Sleepin_Dragon26 August 2015
Leaving Donna behind to relax, The Doctor takes off on a trip across the mysterious planet Midnight, he's joined by fellow travellers including Professor Hobbs and his assistant Dee Dee, sultry Mrs Sylvestry, Mr and Mrs Kane, and their son Jethro. The staff are made of 2 drivers and a hostess. All is going calmly and humorously, until the craft stops dead, and something starts tapping outside, and it wants to get in.....

The concept of the planet Midnight is such a good one, a planet nobody can step on, brilliant, the visions of it too are stunning.

This episode is all about fear, terror and tension. It works on so many levels, everyone is scared, and that's when human nature is at its worst, it's never really been done before, or since on Doctor Who, it's a very unique episode. There is no let up, literally after 12 minutes until the end, it will have you on edge of your seat. What people do when they're scared.

It's insane how well written this is, this episode rivals Blink for brilliance. Is this possibly Russell T Davies's best piece of writing? I can see arguments for (it's the next episode which is my personal favourite.)

Tennant is utterly magical, he's such an incredible actor, had Lesley Sharp not been cast i'm not so sure it would have been so special, she is utterly spellbinding, when she turns around after the break in, she is so bleak (and the music is terrifying, like a 70s Hammer horror film,) her timing is astounding.

I applaud Davies for leaving the episode unanswered, who knows, maybe one day we could take another trip around Midnight, and have answers to some of the unanswered questions.

Do I hear Nicola Redmond's voice at the end? 'prepare for boarding.'

Finally how good does Colin Morgan look!! 10/10
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Forget 'Blink', Forget 'The Empty Child', THIS is the creepiest of Doctor Who. And it is absolutely fantastic!
zacpetch10 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This episode is by far one of the finest of the RTD/Tennant era. It is one of those episodes for which the concept of "hiding behind the sofa" is recommended for the more easily frightened viewers as this is so creepy it makes 'Blink' look like 'Love & Monsters'. In tone only, I should add. How dare anyone compare the two! 'Blink' is a masterpiece but 'Love & Monsters' is a sin against nature. As it turns out, 'Midnight' is another masterpiece.

The episode highlights the necessity of a companion as The 10th Doctor goes through his ordeal (there's no other way to describe it really) without having Donna around to act as a connection between him and his human passengers on the bus. The end result sees them threaten to kill him -- and they almost succeed too!

The monster is the scariest creation of NuWho since it started as it is unseen for the whole of the 45~odd minutes. It's an entity that can somehow survive without physical form, under Xtonic sunlight which should kill it in seconds, and is able to possess people on whim. Its victim is The Doctor's fellow passenger Sky and it starts to steal her voice. The entity begins by copying what everyone says before settling upon only doing this to The Doctor and then it catches up instead of copying. What's next? Stealing his voice entirely!

The monster is extremely unnerving and unsettling and the end result is one of the most memorable creatures to be introduced by NuWho even though we know literally NOTHING about it. This is one of those times that the limitations in the budget benefit the resulting production as the creepy factor is upped to maximum by not seeing or hearing what it is that's going to try to kill you.

An incredible episode that I cannot fault. This is every bit as essential to The 10th Doctor as 'Blink' or 'The Waters Of Mars' and it is not acceptable to miss out on seeing this episode. 10/10
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Nice shift of focus onto ACTING
votegvalsorim24 June 2008
The usual Doctor Who episode contains tons of monsters, special effects and a lot of action. This one is a pleasant change of pace. The focus has shifted from all the scary costumes and onto the actors themselves. While some may find this episode boring, others may treasure how well all the actors were handling their parts - the strange lonely lady, the common family with a rebellious son, the professor who thinks he knows it all and his bright, but overlooked assistant - these are all characters acted out with the utmost conviction. I am happy that the suspense in this episode does not come from another blatant alien attack on Earth and from the weird-looking aliens themselves, but from the build-up of strange occurrences, which leave room for the viewer's own imagination. As for Catherine Tate missing, well, that made the episode just more cohesive, because she would have ruined the atmosfear ;)
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No spoilers, just an observation
puddytat57546 January 2015
MIDNIGHT is quite a change of pace for the fourth series of the new DOCTOR WHO, and, once again, Russell T. Davies and company are unafraid to step into new territory. One of the hallmarks of the new series is its willingness to be inspired by specific films and television: a good first example is VOYAGE OF THE DAMNED, the WHO version of a Seventies disaster film, in particular, THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE. Using POSEIDON as a jumping off point, it became an outstanding adventure on its own terms. And now we have the WHO version of Alfred Hitchcock's LIFEBOAT: a story which takes place on one set, and places a small group of characters in an intense pressure-cooker. All the usual WHO trappings are stripped from David Tennant's Doctor, and he is reduced to being the lone voice of sanity which is roundly ignored by the rest of the cast. Even his Sonic Screwdriver is used sparingly. No spoilers, just one of the best-written and intense character pieces ever. If you haven't seen it, watch MIDNIGHT after the sun has gone down, when shadows and sounds become dangerous. It's that good.
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Oh. My. Word.
lemmingology15 June 2008
To put it short, this episode is astounding. It's a classic tense horror story with a Doctor Who spin squeezed into 45 minutes. As far as scariness goes, Midnight ranks right up there with Blink and The Impossible Planet, but at the same time it's stunningly well written, brilliantly acted, and flawlessly produced.

The best thing about it is that it plays on everyone's fear of the unknown - there's SOMETHING knocking on the wall, but no-one's got any idea what, not even the Doctor. The tension starts about 10 minutes in and doesn't let up until 2 or 3 minutes from the end. While it might not have the flawless intricate detail of a Steven Moffat story, Midnight is so simple and so effective that it doesn't really matter, because it's so superb as it is that you're just transported to a world of fear where details don't matter.

A special mention must go, of course, to Lesley Sharp, for a truly unbelievable performance. This episode wouldn't have been half as scary without her acting the way that she does - you'll understand why once you've seen it. It's by far the best and the scariest "human villain" perfformance since Harry Lloyd in The Family of Blood last year.

It's episodes like this that make you a little sad that Russell T Davies is standing down, because this, along with Doomsday, is probably the best episode he's written. But at least he's being taken over by Steven Moffat. If the Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead double header hadn't been as good as it was, this would easily be the best episode of the series.
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A definite change of pace, but very effective
LaFeeChartreuse29 July 2008
It would be hard to top the Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead duology with anything remotely similar, so it's probably a good thing that this episode went in an entirely different direction.

As opposed to vast, unearthly (CGI-generated) settings, almost the entire episode takes place in one small confined place, a tourist shuttle craft. This gives it almost the feeling of a stage play, and also a sense of claustrophobia that's very effective in enhancing the feeling of being trapped.

And as with a stage play, when you don't have elaborate sets and props to depend on for effect, it all comes down to acting, and the human factor - both of which are truly excellent in this episode. It's a very strongly character-driven story, and while the basic premise of small group of people trapped in a dangerous situation gradually turning against each other may have been done before (from Lord of the Flies on down through the movie Cube and many others), that doesn't lessen its impact, or change the fact that this is an extremely well-done rendition of that theme.

No, it's not standard Doctor Who fare - technology and aliens are decidedly second to human psychology here, and the Doctor for a change does not come across as all-knowing and able to handle anything. But that just makes it all the more effective.

All in all, a strong if atypical episode, and a nice break between Silence/Forest and the concluding three-episode story arc of the season.
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Psychological Thriller Masterpiece
georgesepiclife8 October 2015
Warning: Spoilers
"Midnight" is one of my favourite episodes of NuWho, and I was very surprised that it became a favourite of mine.

First of all, it was just after the memorable Moffat two-parter, and not a lot of information had been released about "Midnight". It was also just two episodes before the much anticipated finale so other people also didn't have high expectations. However, "Midnight" turned out to be a masterfully written psychological thriller that will be remembered for a long time.

The small budget and filming (mostly) in just one location really worked and added a real claustrophobic feeling to the episode. This also added extra suspense and made everything more tense. Tennant gives one of his best performances because The Doctor is genuinely frightened, especially when he is under the "monster's" control. However the best performance came from Lesley Sharp who played Sky Silvestry who was also under the control of the "monster". Her performance filled me unease and terror which is something that rarely happens to me. The other characters are also interesting and all serve a purpose.

This is Doctor Who at it's best. "Midnight" takes itself seriously and the plot moves forward at a quick pace, which builds to an exciting climax. The fact that the true identity of the "moster" is not revealed makes the whole thing more terrifying - because the scariest fear is the fear of the unknown.

Donna is hardly featured, but this works well as it gives a lot of screen-time to The Doctor and we see how he would act on his own.

It just goes to show that Davies can write clever stories which have actual plot development as well character development. He has often struggled with this in past episodes, but here he has succeeded enormously. Perhaps Doctor Who should always work on a small budget because that's when the stories are the most simple, and the most effective.
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Midnight; Technically,The Most Perfect Episode Of Doctor Who?
borgter15 June 2011
Warning: Spoilers
The Doctor's 200th story is brilliant. Absoltely brilliant.

Midnight, whilst not in my top 5 episodes of the show, is still, for me, the most perfect singular episode of the series, of NuWho at least.

First off,

The Writing:

Russell T. Davis wrote this episode in a weekend, after deciding Stephen Greenhorn's episode was too similar to a previous ep. And so began an awesome adventure.

Humanity was the real monster in this story. An enemy that rocks The Doctor to the core. For (possibly) the first time, The Doctor's main weapon, his own defence is stolen from and used against him; his speech. It's the most powerless I've seen the character. Here, all of the character's true nature is revealed through an impossible situation, and the Doctor's own arrogance is displayed and deployed against him, almost killing himself in the process. His natural dominance over "thick humans" has been evident throughout the show, and this is one of the best examples of the dangers of this. Once the Doctor is pitted against true humanity, those he self-proposed to always protect, he's powerless and in serious danger. It examines various themes of humanity, arrogance, nature, fear, paranoia and power.

Midnight was also an episode that worked on a limited budget. The fear that leads to paranoia, writhes in the atmosphere and ploughs it's way into the minds of the "thick humans". This is evident, that even those that stood with him, ultimately could not fight their nature and the extreme paranoia that infested them, as seen with Jethro and DeeDee, until ultimately he was on his own.

As best of an example of the paranoia, is the Hostess. "Throw her out" she whispers at Skye, as The Doctor cries "insanity!" This invades the minds of the paranoid humans, seen mostly with the mother who is at the most vulnerable and fearful. And soon, before they know it, they've decided to kill. As the Doctor takes leadership and screams "no-one is getting thrown out" his own presence becomes an enemy as the humans act against him too. As the entity infects the Doctor, it's apparent to the humans that he was the enemy all too well, and the act of murder had never seemed easier. Notice how neither Jethro or DeeDee attempt to stop them, other than cry to themselves.

This whole exploration of our own species, told in a meagre 42 minutes, was quite restrained in it's execution. Never in th script did it feel out of place or random, just a story well told.

At the conclusion, the Doctor's voice saves him once more, as the Hostess regains clarity and sacrifices herself and Skye Silvestri in a brief moment of redemption.

And no-one knew her name.

The Acting:

The cast in this episode were phenomenal.


Lesley Sharp as Skye, after invasion, was as creepy and as subtle as the writing. Her transition from a stuffy, hostile human, into an animalistic, hostile entity was terrific. Creepy and alien throughout.

David Troughton as the Sceptic, was equally brilliant, never admitting truth and always practising humanity. When you don't understand something, you kill it.

Lindsey Coulson as Val Cane; one of the most frightening performances on the show - to channel real human darkness. Her antagonistic personification of humanity was handled expertly and never felt comical or OTT, just perfect.

And of course, David Tennant. I have never seen a more beautiful performance, other then the Rage Against The Dying Of The Light moment from End Of Time P2. His enthusiastic and lovable Doctor at the beginning, off on another exploration of the Universe, exactly what the Doctor always set out to do all those years ago, was lovely. His turn into the most vulnerable The Doctor has ever been was chilling, and every time I see that episode, I'm on the edge of my seat. His struggle against humanity within the middle portion of the ep was also brilliant. His frustration at the his favourite species in the Universe really hit it home to the Doctor that actually, these species are still in their infancy, prone to superior acts of violence and fear.

His face when he becomes infected, that unbelievability, that surprise, that shock, that fear....was perfection. He knew he was at the mercy of frightened humans and boy was the Doctor scared. He hadn't been that scared since he was dying in 42 I think.

The Direction:

Alice Troughton excelled herself in this installment.

The staging, the lighting, the editing, the acting, the delivery etc it worked completely. The tension with the knocks was so menacing and chilling that it could not have played any better.


The Visual Effects:

For me, I have no issue with the Vis FX and think they were beautiful.

The Overall Tone:

Fear, paranoia, vulnerability, shock, menace, claustrophobia, surprise, tension etc. It just all works and is expertly employed from Alice Troughton.


The Success:

Overall, David Tennant and RTD's best episode together.

I cannot find a fault in this episode, it works on every level. For me, a complete success. Whilst it's only 7th in my favourite episodes list, technically I think it's THE most perfect episode (and it was written in a weekend!)

Thus, I don't understand the dislike of this episode at all.

It's all Greek to me.
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One of the best!
Meimi13215 December 2009
Seriously, ignore carrotjuicer3000's review. This is one of the best episodes of season 4, maybe of the whole series. It's suspenseful, its well written, its just....eerie. Just because its a standalone episode doesn't mean its not just as good as others. And not every episode needs comic relief, specially not one like this. So Tate is not missed. She gets the next few episodes focused on her anyways.

Lesley Sharp is fantastic in her role, marvellously creepy... Tennant is brilliant as always. The supporting cast is fantastic too, which includes Colin Morgan(Merlin).

Once you start watching this episode, you literally can't stop. Every time I've seen it repeated on BBC3, and skipped over the channel, at any point during the episode, I'd have to continue watching. Who'd a thunk an episode set in one room would be so brilliant? It's simply....molto bene.
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Minimalistically brilliant
biscuit_buscemi19 June 2008
With minimal set and a small group of actors, this is a fantastically claustrophobic and effective episode. Unusually for one penned by Russell T. Davies, this episode is removed from the story arc of the series, and as Blink, would stand alone as a short sci-fi horror.

A strange choice to follow the atmospheric Forest of the Dead, as three such strong episodes in a row could make the overall arc of the series uneven - but it's an episode worth watching purely for itself, regardless of the rest of the series. Interesting and frightening, with a marvellous performance from Lesley Sharpe, and an unusually restrained turn from David Tennant. Magic.
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One of the best of the new Dr. Who
bernlin20008 October 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Most certainly under-rated on IMDb: I'd put it on par with the previous episode "Forest of the Dead", a fun (and fascinating) psychological horror episode that explores beautifully the dangers of an echo chamber, mixed with a whole lotta fear. My eyes were popping out trying to imagine wtf was wrong with the people on this ship: constantly turning on whoever didn't agree with the consensus, but then again, fear has a way of overloading one's senses and the behavior of these passengers is certainly plausible. I can't help but think that Donna might have been very helpful in this scenario, somehow...damn her sun-bathing! Top 10 for the Tenth Doctor.
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gallifreyan_girl11 July 2008
This episode had me switching between fear and laughter the whole time. It steadily built up the suspense, taking you from "Wait. There's something wrong, here" to the edge of your seat, gnawing on your pillow in terror.

Or maybe that was just me...

David Tennant's performance was one of the best so far this season. It left me in great empathy.

And I don't believe the "Don't...don't do that..." will ever get old for me, ha ha.

A great episode all in all, but I suppose it left some things to be desired (like Donna--her absence for the majority of the episode rather upset me!).
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One of my favorite Doctor Whos
OneSimpleIdea21 June 2011
I don't usually review stuff, but I have to say this was one of my favorite episodes of Doctor Who of all time. Right up there with Satan Pit, Blink, Human Nature+The Family of Blood, and other truly fantastic episodes.

In this episode there are no big special effects, and really not that many set pieces.

The episode takes place on a train, with a group of people, and (of course) something mysterious and evil. Believe it or not, it creates one of the creepiest atmospheres we've ever seen with Tennant's Doctor. It is slower than a typical Doctor Who episode, especially near the beginning, but is fantastic nonetheless from the mildly creepy beginning to the truly chilling end. I found this episode more frightening than the previous two 'library episodes'.

Tennant brings his very best to the role, and everyone else plays convincing.....people! They act how you would in a situation, getting angry and panicking! I didn't see these people as actors, I saw them as human beings, and that's brilliant! In the end though, this episode's purpose is a discomforting look at the human psychology. Without giving anything away, it makes you nervous because you wonder "would I do the same thing?"

10 stars, and one of my favorites
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Back to Basics
hellogoodbye71130 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I'm new to Doctor Who, and Midnight was one of the first episodes I ever watched. You might say that this was the one that got me hooked! Almost every other episode I've seen is full of CG and funny alien costumes and loads of visual effects. But not Midnight. Midnight goes back to basics, with nothing but a tight, claustrophobic set, a small group of very talented actors, and a premise that chills the audience to the bone.

Midnight was the scariest episode of Doctor Who I've ever seen, and that's including Blink. I find I'm never scared watching the show unless the Doctor is scared (probably because if he's fine, you know he's got a plan and everything will turn out okay in the end. But if he's scared, well, you know you're in trouble then), so episodes like 42 and Midnight really freak me out the most.

Like Silence/Forest, Midnight also examines some of mankind's greatest fears. While the preceding episodes examined our fear of the dark, Midnight goes into our fear of the unknown. Sometimes on television, what is implied is more frightening than what is seen. For instance, the Daleks vs. the Midnight monster. The Daleks are tangible, loud, and rather obnoxious. You may find them frightening, but not more so than an invisible monster that creeps into your body and renders you helpless. In imagining what the Midnight monster truly is, the viewer scares themselves more than the writer could by actually explaining what it really is.

The group dynamics and cramped setting really gave the episode a frantic, claustrophobic feeling, and the actors did a splendid job of portraying exactly what people are capable of when their own lives are at stake. The actors portray this wonderfully. Also deserving special mentions are Lesley Sharp, who did a wonderful job of repeating every line with identical tone and inflections to the other actors (Molto bene, Lesley!) And of course, David Tennant, who always gives it 100%. This episode wouldn't have scared me nearly as much if not for his performance. I mentioned the episode "42" earlier, and I believe that Midnight is the antithesis of 42 in a way, because of the way David portrayed fear. In 42, his performance was almost entirely vocal. He had to show how scared the Doctor was through voice and body movements, because he couldn't open his eyes. In Midnight, however, the Doctor was immobilized and rendered mute by the creature, so he was basically using only his eyes to convey petrifying fear. And he did a marvellous job, as per usual. I think that Midnight was one of his best performances yet! The only thing that could have made this episode better for me would have been more Donna, but seeing as they shot this at the same time was "Turn Left," I know that wouldn't have been possible. Still, Catherine's scenes were marvellous, as Donna really stepped up in this episode to help the Doctor, instead of the other way around.

Amazing episode. In the words of the Doctor; "Molto bene!"
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ridingjunky3 November 2012
Seriously. Just. Wow.

"Midnight", I can safely say, is a Doctor Who experience unlike any other. In a series that had previously left me quite underwhelmed, this completely blew my mind.

This is bar none Russell T. Davies' greatest work. He tosses aside all of the DW typicality: the companion, the hideous monsters, the running... Even the Tardis takes a leave of absence. In their places, he gives us a claustrophobic,motionless, and tense 45 minutes of sheer paranoia - and boy is it amazing!

Here we find The Doctor leaving Donna behind at a spa while he boards a tour bus on its way around Midnight, or 'the diamond planet'. He gets acquainted and rather chummy with the other passengers to pass the time, until suddenly the bus stops unexpectedly in a place where no person has ever gone, and they realize that they are no longer the only passenger on board . . .

As we all know, Steven Moffat is the master in creating a disturbing, chilling, and very cerebral atmosphere. Remember "Blink"? He created a monster that was genuinely terrifying without being aggressive or loaded with prosthetic. Well, Davies does him one better here. This time, we don't even know what the monster is, or what it looks like. It's more of an essence, like a demon possession. It grabs hold of its victim and corrupts it. How? We don't know. Why? Don't know. And that's what makes it so horrific.

This seems to be The Doctor's strongest adversary to date. He can't use words to talk sense into it, or use his screwdriver to find out more about it, and as paranoia strikes everyone on bored, he can't even win their trust. There's nothing for him to fight, and he is left in the mercy of scared innocents that think of him as a risk to their own safety. In fact, this is the only time we've seen the 10th rendered completely helpless - and David Tennant plays to that beautifully! In fact, everyone in this episode did a magnificent job! It's just a gripping study in character and emotion from start to finish.

All in all, this was my favorite episode to date, and by the end of it, my heart was racing so fast, I just had to watch it again.
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This is pure WHO at its best (SPOILERS)
neilstorton29 July 2008
Warning: Spoilers
its great that everyone has a different opinion and whilst watching this I knew people would hate it...but i was firmly in the loved it camp.

Now i love Donna in this series - but it was a nice rest bite as i feel she got her episode in Turn Left.

Lesley sharp was brilliant (as always) - and David Tennant underplayed this perfectly. The fact that the repeating lines went on and on was brilliant - its supposed to drive you mad -it all adds to the creepiness.

Yes its been done before - but as just 45 minutes long this manages to build up the tension perfectly - and reiterate the way things get out of hand in such intense situations.

I liked how the stewardess saved the day - i don't think it was a cop out. I even loved the brief sight of rose.

In fact it was brilliant and pure Who in my opinion. I ve loved it from the beginning...and i have loved this latest era of Doctor Who
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A genuinely chilling tale from Russell T. Davies
DVD_Connoisseur15 June 2008
"Midnight" is a tale where Russell T. Davies trumps the wonderful Steven Moffat in the scares department. This is a wonderfully creepy story set aboard the claustrophobic Crusader vessel. Reminiscent of Robert Wise's classic "The Haunting", the viewer is forced to the edge of their seat with the sheer tension of events as "something" starts to bang on the doors....

For me, the best episode of the season so far, "Midnight" is a real change of pace and style for Davies. Rather than celebrating mankind's spirit of adventure, Davies shows the more unpleasant side of human nature. This is genuinely unsettling material in many ways.

Lesley ("Afterlife") Sharp is terrifying as the possessed Alison Mundy. This is a top drawer performance and it's interesting that "monster of the year" may well be the one that remains hidden and, on the surface, human.

10 out of 10. A truly effective, mysterious episode that will remain in many viewers' minds for some time to come.
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Mysterious and a good watch.
emma-cox1224 December 2012
This episode is by far one of my favourites in NuWho. It's very different to the rest of the episodes in the series but it doesn't make it any less amazing. In actuality it probably makes it one of the stronger episodes.

It's mysterious and down right chilling. We know nothing of this creature, for once the watcher doesn't get any more knowledge than the characters and we have to sit and go through the experience with them which I think is brilliant. The best part is no matter how many times you watch it, it never looses that feel it has about it.

However, I can see how some people wouldn't like it. The episode isn't fast paced so the action seekers wont have much to go on in this episode, but to those who love a good story this is excellent. I would definitely recommend people watch this one.
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Incredibly Tense
dolphins-159 September 2008
A simple elevator story ( have we had any of those in Dr Who since 'Edge of Destruction'? ) and a staggeringly simple premise. And it still had us both on the edge of our seats. Literally.

Two points tho - I'm sure I've heard 'exotonic radiation' before, somewhere. And whilst diamonds do indeed have a cubic crystal structure, in diamonds that structure produces octahedral crystals - so those diamond mountains were more than a tad unlikely.

or to quote a friend - "Midnight's one of those rare episodes that works as a non-DW episode, too. If you cut out the Donna bits on either end, you could just see Rod Serling walking into frame as the Doctor lies on the floor, gasping 'itsgoneitsgoneitsgone', and intoning 'It's gone, and we're safe. But what was it? Perhaps it was really just us, all along. And we're our own worst nightmare, on Midnight.. and in the Twilight Zone." :)" Purrdence's mum, regarding the making-of, after-wards - "I don't like watching the Doctor Who Confidentials - I want the Doctor to be real." Purrdence agreed :D
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Solid. Excellent buildup, tense even
schuchert7 July 2008
Warning: Spoilers
As I watched this episode I noticed myself waiting/no wanting a break in the tension. VERY simple set, very simple setup and a bit of ambiguity.

This episode is more about what is not resolved rather than was is resolved. I got it, it built well, it showed "human nature" under stress and how group-think can lead to Very Bad Decisions.

It also showed how having a descending and unpopular vote can elicit wrath - which, while it does not I think reference the last 7.5 years of the US presidency - can certainly be seen as a general commentary of what can happen when we give in to fear.

An excellent episode where the resolution was satisfying to me in the lack of explanation; that wasn't the point, I think.
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Well Made Psycho Drama
Theo Robertson30 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I didn't have very high hopes for this . Much of this was down to being very unimpressed by much of season four of Nu-Who . The great Christopher Eccleston managed to carry the somewhat uneven first series on his shoulders . In terms of contrast and stories season two was an improvement but the mockney geezer false acting of Tennant let the brilliance down somewhat while with the exception of Paul Cornell's two parter season three was very disappointing . Season four was worse but finally started to pick up again with this story

Strangely I thought I was going to be enduring a pile of frivolous camp nonsense . The Doctor takes a bus on a tourist trip and right away we're introduced to these annoying Brit tourist types who all talk to too much . On top of that we're told no one can see the location because the light will vapourise everything it touches . At this point you're expecting the story to suddenly revolve around a tour company pretending to visit locations in a intergalactic space bus ripping off customers . From saving the universe to becoming a time lord version of Nicky Campbell how far has the Doctor fallen ?

But the story turns in to a very well structured psycho drama featuring alien possession . It's certainly one of RTD's better scripts which while not as radical as Steven Moffat's contributions is far more accessible and traditional and shows what the programme is best remembered for - camp comedy meets horror all done on a shoe string budget
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Fear itself
owlaurence17 March 2013
Warning: Spoilers
After the doom and gloom of the past few episodes, we could really do with a light, comedic episode....

Or not.

This has to be one of the most scary episodes of Doctor Who to date, even more so than Blink, because in Blink, fear was thrilling ; here, it is simply chilling. I only regret that it should be set so close after the Doctor's encounter with the Vashta Nerada, which had already cranked up the tension quite a few notches, making Midnight a bit less noticeable.

The friendly, fun atmosphere at the beginning only makes it more scary when the stranded shuttle is attacked by an invisible, "impossible" monster. It soon turns out that the monster has broken in and possessed one of the tourists on board, using a disturbing MO: it "learns" its victim by repeating what they say, then steals their voice and uses the connection to feed on them, leaving them completely powerless. The great thing here is that there are almost no SFX involved; the horrific atmosphere relies mostly on Leslie Sharp's really stunning performance (as Mrs Silvestri).

But in Midnight, the real monsters are the humans. This is what makes it outstanding and appalling at the same time: true to the title, the Doctor is faced with the darkest hour of humanity. Right under his eyes, his travelling companions (ordinary people with ordinary flaws) gradually turn into vicious, murderous creatures. While it is suggested that the monster has a hand in their growing fear and anger, and while some of the characters manage to remain coherent and humane (even unexpectedly heroic, at the end), the appalling truth is that fear CAN indeed bring out the worst out of us.

So this is one of the very few times when we see the Doctor lose control. With Donna only making a cameo appearance, he is quite alone, in a situation that he can neither run away from nor talk himself out of. Once again, David Tennant does a great job of conveying the Doctor's dismay and incredulity; and he becomes just magnificent when, powerless and deprived of any means of expression but the look in his eyes, he manages to freeze our blood with the absolute terror in them. In many ways, this is one of the Doctor's worst ordeals, and for once he does not even try to claim that "he is alright".

So while this standalone episode is not crucial to the season as a whole, it is brilliant and really different -though, pessimistic as it is, it feels more like a Torchwood episode. The worst thing is, things aren't about to look up.
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Not bad but...
liam-johnson17 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I had to watch "Doctor Who Confidential" to get an idea what they were trying to do with this episode. There was quite a bit of potential, with the mind robbing (speech stealing) entity, but ultimately, it did not really satisfy. After a reasonable build up, it just fizzles out.

There were far too many unanswered questions at the end. What was the entity, and since it lives on this uninhabitable world, how can anybody be sure that it will be bothered by being kicked out the door? Since it is so obviously dangerous and aggressive, how come the doctor is happy to assume it is alone?

Yes, it was an interesting study in human nature, but was it Doctor Who? Not for me.
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Quality script from Davies
ametaphysicalshark14 June 2008
I'm definitely not a fan of Russell T. Davies or for that matter his take on Doctor Who in general, but he has written two or three very good scripts in the past- "Tooth and Claw" and "Gridlock" being especially impressive, and he's given us another rare burst of quality in "Midnight", an inventive and exciting little episode that falls a bit short on what could have been greatness by being a bit poorly-realized.

Director Alice Troughton really hasn't impressed with her work on Who and this is no exception. Although I enjoyed the story mostly thanks to the script, it could have been about ten times tenser if Troughton's direction wasn't so poor, workmanlike, and lacking in flair. If she was responsible for Lesley Sharp's performance she is also responsible for the episode's most glaring and obvious flaw, although the casting department might be to blame for that.

Anyway, back to the script and other aspects- Davies' work here is really impressive and not knowing anything about the story beforehand helped me appreciate this one- it really is brilliantly paced and set up leading into the dark, scary, and memorable latter part of the story. Honestly, about 15 minutes in and I really did think this was going to be a light-hearted story. Very good writing in general, and especially for David Tennant's Doctor.

Murray Gold of course never bothers composing original music and once again blatantly rips off popular film and TV scores, but it's hard to completely mess up the obvious scary music cues and he doesn't here, so his score is serviceable.

Good acting (including David Troughton, Pat Troughton's son, and excluding Lesley Sharpe), a quality script, and a well-realized planet make this offering of Who very enjoyable despite very poor direction.

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One of the best episodes of any series
TheFlamePrince24 May 2018
Warning: Spoilers
The suspense throughout this episode makes it, in my opinion, one of the best episodes period (possibly second best after 'Blink'). The premise is simple in that one character (Sky) seemingly possessed by an unknown creature copies the speech of the Doctor and the other passengers aboard the craft. Each time the speech evolves it is intriguing and satisfying to see the reactions of the tourists. This episode introduces a variety of new characters, but gives us just the right amount of information on each of them. The beginning of the episode is very calm and is simply friendly dialogue between the Doctor and passengers, which is in itself refreshing as this rarely happens in the Doctor's chaotic adventures. The rest of the episode showcases the natural instincts of the human race. Fear and pac-mentality play large roles throughout the episode. The majority of the characters don't really have the intelligence to reason with the Doctor, while arguably the only character who does (Jethro) is belittled by his parents and has his ideas cast aside without any analysis. The 'monster' in this episode is unseen. This could be viewed as a cheap tactic, as no new physical ideas have to be made. Having said that, the fact the creature is never seen works extremely well with the theme of the episode.
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