Sunday, 15 November 2015

Dr Who Series 9: Episode 9 — Sleep No More

You know, I’ve seen good TV, in my time.

And bad TV.

Thankfully … ?   I’ve seen more of the former, than I have of the latter.

Although, frankly, that could well be a product of experience.

The experience, over the years, of learning about what sort of TV I like … 

Well, that experience is useful: if for no other reason than to have a shrewd guess at whether a given box set — House of Cards, say, or Penny Dreadful — will appeal.

I’m thinking last night’s episode of Dr Who — episode nine of the ninth series of the re-booted version of the show — may not be good TV.

But certainly isn’t bad.


Opening with no opening credits or pre-title teaser, Sleep No More shows what is apparently found footage of Dr Gagen Rassmussen* of Le Verrier Station — played by Reece Sheersmith — detailing the rescues of survivors of events on the station.

Seemingly … ?

The station’s crew — with the exception of Rassmussen, himself — have been killed … 

By … 


As Rassmussen tells us … ?   The troops who’ve some to rescue the station’s personnel have having just as many issues: even with help supplied by the Doctor and Clara.

There’s only a few things Professor Rasmussen isn’t telling us.

That the Morpheus machines he designed and built, to help humanity survive on some five minutes of sleep have unwanted side effects.

And that he’s oh, so much MORE than he seems … !


Now … ?

Good or Bad … ?

Now, I think I can say, here and now, that Sleep No More certainly isn’t bad.

Although that — and my initial introduction — may have sounded as though I was damning The episode with faint praise.

I’m really not.

I’m start to think that the The Zygon Invasion/Inversion was and is the weakest story of series nine.   That IS gaming something with faint praise: in any other sea on, those two episodes are formidably strong.


I think writer Mark Gatiss has produced a very strong script for tonight’s episode.

One that goes for a nicely thought out overall story: and an ending that — hopefully — will get Mary Whitehouse spinning in her grave.

The episode itself … ?   Is ALSO a nicely done piece of science fiction: in that the set design and dressing — faux Chinoiserie and vague nods at India — and the cast — mostly ethnically Near and far Asian backgrounds — to tell us humanity’s gotten to colonise the solar system.

The Asian bits of it have, at any rate.

Gatiss is effectively building a bit of the future where today’s BRICS nations do very well for themselves.

Long may that continue.

I personally think Dr Who, at its best, can do damn good story-telling.

It’s done that, so far.

But it doesn’t do subtle prediction.

Sleep No More?

Could be one of the episodes attempting to.

*        Why, oh why, oh WHY … does the name Dastari spring to mind … ?

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