Doctor Who S05E06 — Vampires of Venice, Review

Right from the begin­ning of this episode Vampires of Venice felt like a very tradi­tional Doctor Who histor­i­cal episode. I consider this a good thing. Rather than start with the Doctor, we were given a little teaser of what the TARDIS was going to land in. 

And then it was back to where we left off last week. I loved the Doctor’s entrance in the cake at Rory’s bach­e­lor party. Rory is an inter­est­ing char­ac­ter. The obvi­ous compar­ison is with Mickey, but Rory is much clev­erer and more percep­tive than Mickey was. Putting aside the comedic aspects of the char­ac­ter, there are several times during this episode where Rory chal­lenges the Doctor.

And the eleventh Doctor reacts very differ­ently to Rory when compared to the 9th’s reac­tion to Mickey. Not least in the way that he actively encour­ages Rory to travel with them.

Vampires of Venice was writ­ten by Toby Whit­house, who had previ­ously writ­ten School Reunion, an episode I loved. He clearly has a handle on the char­ac­ters and feel of a Doctor Who episode. He also has Being Human to his credit. A show that I haven’t seen but which receives very posi­tive reviews.

This partic­u­lar episode is not nearly as heavy with story arc rele­vance as the last couple. In essence it’s a fun stand-alone adven­ture. But there are a few refer­ences to the silence. It’s not perfect but it is fun from begin­ning to end. There’s some gorgeous imagery through­out the episode and some snappy dialogue:

Blimey! Fish from space have never been so… buxom”

I loved the little fanboy moment where William Hartnell’s picture appeared on the psychic paper. 

Story wise there were a few things that didn’t work though. Once again the episode seemed a little rushed and some scenes jumped about rather abruptly. Isabella’s dialogue in her death scene was kind of unnec­ces­sary and uncon­vinc­ing.

I also have a few nitpicks. Why do people not react when the TARDIS lands right in front of them? Once upon a time the sonic screw­driver didn’t work on phys­i­cal locks. Now it can even heal people. It’s an easy crutch for writ­ers. Does every­one know about the Time Lords now? Special effects were a mixed bag. The alien itself looked great, but the elec­tro­cu­tion and the shots of the Doctor climb­ing were cheesy.

On the acting front I’m loving Matt Smith’s manner­isms more and more with every episodes. Partic­u­larly the scene where he is figur­ing out what the alien’s plan actu­ally is. This Doctor has poor social skills. Which fits his obvi­ous intel­lect.

Karen Gillan hit all the right notes this week too. Partic­u­larly the expres­sion on her face when the Doctor sends Amy back to the TARDIS.

So all in all this isn’t the knock it out the park success of Time of Angels or Flesh and Stone, but it’s fun from begin­ning to end.

About Eoghann Irving

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