Doctor Who – Midnight

I have mixed feelings about Midnight; there was a lot right with it and a few glaring things wrong with it in return. I suppose it’s best to begin at the beginning…

I think the chief problem is that it was slow to get started. Okay, it’s nice to see the Doctor relaxing and being in his element as a traveller and I did enjoy those early scenes, but the fact that they went on for so long meant that the meat of the story was rushed. The concept was interesting and the cramped, one-room horror sequence was genuinely terrifying, but the ending ended up feeling unsatisfying.

I commend Russell T. Davies for a brave script – this type of horror storytelling isn’t often used in Doctor Who. With this kind of traditional horror, it really is necessary to know and empathise with the characters first. Ten out of ten to Mr. Davies so far. The problem, which can be illustrated with a quick comparison to Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead from the previous two weeks, is very simple: not enough people die. Okay, so the Doctor was in very imminent danger of being tossed out of the door into certain death, but that is the only real threat to the people inside that transport once the pilots die. Furthermore, unusually for Doctor Who, the alien is just a random horror generator – nothing about it is really explained. That’s fine for generic horror movies, but it leaves a strange, empty feeling in a Doctor Who episode.

I did like the psychology of Midnight, and I did feel unsettled and frightened by it, but the story could have been told a lot better. Better pacing and more of a sense of threat were required to pull it off.

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~ by Scary Rob on 5 July, 2008.

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