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Doctor Who: Forest of the Dead and Midnight 
26th-Jul-2008 06:10 pm
So, finally saw the season 4 episodes "Forest of the Dead" and "Midnight" last night. Loved them both, in completely different ways.

One of the things I've always liked about Moffat's Doctor Who writing, from all the way back to his early Decalog short story, "Continuity Errors", is the way he so often gives you a different perspective on the Doctor. In this episode, I really loved the idea that River Song sees our Doctor as young, unfinished, and really just a little bit rubbish. It's a charming thing to think about a character who is 950+ years old in Whoniverse continuity, and has existed in our world for 45 years - that he's not static or finished, and that he just keeps getting better.

I love River Song. Or maybe I just love Alex Kingston, the actress who plays her. I hope they bring the character back at some point. Probably not as the ongoing companion, because I don't think that work, but I hope we see her again.

Judging by the response at Legion of Rassilon, "Hey! Who turned out the lights?" is not the new "Are you my mummy?", but "Spoilers!" is the new "Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey".

"Forest of the Dead" was great, and made me very happy that Steven Moffatt is taking over Doctor Who after Russell Davies leaves. "Midnight" reminded me of all the reasons to be sorry that Davies is leaving.

I loved this episode. It's a script that does all of the things that Davies is great at (banter, people confronting uncomfortable things about their own nature, tense dramatic moments), and none of the things that irritate me in his scripts (no rubber science, Tinkerbell Timelords, or people pretending that the Doctor is God). And the actors, particularly David Tennant and Lesley Sharp, act the hell out of it.

I have to say, having expressed displeasure before at Tennant's shouty acting in "The Doctor's Daughter" and other earlier scripts this season, that he did all-around great acting in both "Forests of the Dead" and "Midnight".

But really the best thing about "Midnight" is that I don't think it's quite like anything else Doctor Who has ever done. In fact, it's pretty easy to imagine it as a non-Doctor Who story, which will no doubt get it criticized by some fans.

I'm rather tempted to nominate "Midnight" for the Hugo award.
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