Sunday, June 01, 2008

Be Quiet, Count the Shadows, and Run For Your Miserable Life

Like Mark Goodacre, I'm going to take a few moments to single out last night's Doctor Who story, Silence in the Library, as the best story of season four so far (even with part two yet to come). Writer Steven Moffat has proven himself again, and I'm delighted that he managed to craft this piece of horror around a planet-sized library.

Mark mentions the review from SFX which sums it up all right:
"After giving an entire generation of kids a phobia of statues with last-year’s Hugo-nominated Blink, Who showrunner elect Steven Moffat has now guaranteed they’ll also be sleeping with the lights on. The 'count the shadows' theme has the same elegant simplicity as Blink’s 'don’t look away', and Moffat once again shows he’s a master at mining maximum chill power from an unseen enemy. The Vashta Nerada may be faceless 'piranhas of the air' (aside from when they possess a spacesuit-clad skeleton), but no monster created courtesy of special effects could ever be as creepy as those which Moffat implants in your mind. To say they live in shadows all over the galaxy, even on Earth, might seem a little cruel to this planet’s more impressionable kids, but isn’t that what Doctor Who’s supposed to be about? The intriguing parallel plotline about the nameless little girl telling her psychiatrist Dr Moon (Colin Salmon) about the library in her head - or perhaps, as is hinted in the closing scenes, her world is fiction and the library reality - only serves to emphasise the episode’s claims to being the best of the series so far."
My official verdict will have to wait for the second half of the story next week, but it's a fair bet that Moffat has outdone himself with this one. Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead will definitely surpass The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances (season one), probably beat The Girl in the Fireplace (season two), and may even oust Blink (season three) as my all-time favorite. Moffat just keeps getting better.


Blogger Mark Goodacre said...

Spot on, Loren. I feel like I want to reduce all my ratings for previous episodes in the series now just to express how much I enjoyed this one. I agree too that I expect it to turn out even better than The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances and Girl in the Fireplace. It may equal Blink; surely it couldn't oust it?!

My new favourite review is
(but read it all!)

Blogger Loren Rosson III said...

Hi Mark,

At the very least, you should reduce your 4 1/2 for Partners in Crime -- a criminally high rating for the season opener, even allowing for your fluffy tastes. :)

But here's how the fans at Outpost Gallifrey feel to date about the season. Between 3000-4000 fans assigned each story a rating between 1-5. The first number is the percentage of voters who gave a perfect 5, the second a close 4, and the third is the total pecentage of 4 or 5 star votes.

No suprise, Moffat's masterpiece perches at the top (where I'm sure it will remain after the second part next week), while Davies' appalling season opener sits right at the bottom where it belongs (only 15% said 5 stars).

Silence in the Library 69%/25% = 94%
Fires of Pompeii 42%/44% = 86%
The Sontaran Stratagem/Poison Sky 28%/50% = 78%
Planet of the Ood 23%/52% = 75%
The Unicorn and the Wasp = 25%/44% = 69%
The Doctor's Daughter 20%/42% = 62%
Partners in Crime 15%/47% = 62%

Anonymous Andrew P Bourne said...

Stephen Moffet I think should give credit to Alan Garner who`s Children books are the most scary I ever read as a child. In one he has dark shadows I can`t remember which one it is, but it is similar to the monsters in this episode

Anonymous said...

The book was Elidor


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