Dr Who Review: Before the Flood



Ben: What did you think?

Lewis: Well, I’ll start off by saying that I really enjoyed it. However, there were some bits that I wish they’d focussed on more.

Ben: Yeah I thought it was pretty good; a well-rounded episode.

Lewis: The one thing I wasn’t happy with was the lack of screen time they gave The Fisher King… he was one of the best villains they’ve had for a long time.


Ben: I think the suspense of not seeing him worked better than just throwing him on the screen repeatedly.

Lewis: Yeah I liked the suspense, it’s just that once they revealed him he could’ve had a bit more of a chance to show off, you know? He was a genuinely interesting character.

Ben: But then you didn’t really see him until later in the episode. I agree, he was a solid Villain and could have done with a bit background, but I thought it was written pretty well.

Lewis: I loved the interaction between him and the Doctor, it was very tense.
Peter Serafowizzzeesticss… has an awesome voice, and the fact that they had the singer from Slipnot doing it too made it sound very creepy.

Ben: I would agree with that.
I also like the scene with the deaf character and the ghost with the axe, but I thought she was as good as dead.


Lewis: That was an awesome scene, but I knew she’d get out of it, they really couldn’t kill off many more of the crew; there wouldn’t be any left.

Ben: I do appreciate how people died and stay dead though; can’t save everyone…

Lewis: Well, sort of. I was interested in the point they brought up about how the Dr is willing to change the future for himself or Clara, but not for anyone else. He really is kind of a piece of shit, which is a nice reminder of the fact that he isn’t as compassionate as people think he is.

Ben: That is true, he’s a bit of an arse.
I think it’s one of the best thought out and well executed episodes we have seen for a while.

Lewis: For sure. I liked the little piece at the beginning about the “Bootstrap paradox”, it was a nice quirk, and it helped explain some of the odder time travel stuff in the episode.


Ben: It was a bit unusual for them to do it just out of the blue right at the start.

Lewis: Well yeah, but I liked it. I also really loved the rock version of the theme (which I assume the lead singer of Slipnot was involved in?), we need that every week.

Ben: Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t mind it, it was just a bit odd. I did like the new music though, maybe they will stick with that; there’s only been four episodes but we’ve already had two “Doctor and his Guitar” moments. I still don’t like the sonic sunglasses though…

Lewis: I really hope so, it was awesome.
Oh god, I sincerely hope he loses those. Moffat’s already admitted that he only wrote them in because he could, which really isn’t a good enough reason to write anything. One other thing I’d like to mention is the collective performance by the cast. They were all spot on, every one of them was great in their role.

Ben: They are just so stupid, but I bet they will be there for the rest of the series, they can’t change anything now. Yeah, I agree, good performance from the whole cast. Good job, guys.

Lewis: Maybe he could drop them and Maisie Williams could step on them next episode?
Oh boy, that wasn’t patronising at all, I’m sure they appreciate it though, Ben.
I almost wish that they’ll bring back the Fisher King at some point, but I’d be satisfied if they just put that kind of effort into the creature design in the future.


Ben: I would rather they leave him there, or only bring him back of the story is right. Urgh, it does look pretty crap next week. I am fearing a Robots of Sherwood type thing.


Lewis: I wouldn’t want them to bring him back in a stupid way
Hmmmm, I’m not sure about it either, but then again, look what we said about this double-parter?
We’ll have to see.


Dr Who Review: Under the Lake



Lewis: Dr Who?

Ben: Well, I don’t think it was a bad as episodes one and two; not great, but not the worst.

Lewis: Yeah, you know what? I actually really enjoyed this one.

Ben: I thought it was ok, I won’t lie and say I really enjoyed it though. Looks like the Sonic Sunglasses are sticking around though.


Lewis: I wasn’t happy about that… I groaned when he slapped those stupid things on. But as for the rest of the episode, I just thought it was quite a nice, interesting story that didn’t try to be or do too much, it didn’t try and be some kind of 45 minute blockbuster. We haven’t had a story where the Dr and Clara just turn up somewhere and help some people for a long time.


Ben: Yeah, I thought it was a nice idea too, and I agree it is about time we just had an adventure. I do feel it was a bit over-stretched though with it being two 45 minute episodes. One hour-long or two half-hour ones would do it justice without dragging it out too much.

Lewis: Ah you see this was definitely more like my kind of pace; it wasn’t jumping about, rushing through certain moments or just being generally uncontrolled. It did feel a little slow at points, but I think it was definitely one of the more well-crafted episodes we’ve seen for a long time. And it really was quite tense at times.

Ben: I take your point, I also liked that they weren’t afraid to kill people off, but I did groan at the cliff-hanger ending. I just feel that the story would be better served by being written as an hour long episode… but I guess you can’t change the agreed running time, so I suppose I’d rather it be done over two episodes than rushed over one.

Lewis: Yeah exactly, and so much of Dr Who is rushed these days. Speaking of killing people off, what did you think about the crew?


Ben: Well back before the reboot a story would run over four half-hour episodes which definitely allows for development without it feeling rushed or dragged out.
As for the crew, I thought they were ok, just a bunch of relatable, normal people.

Lewis: Yeah, and surprisingly enough they seemed far more intelligent than the UNIT members shown in episode one…
Speaking of that, the writing was a hell of lot better this episode too; it was actually witty this time instead of just trying to be. I especially liked the que cards.

Ben: Urgh, how did UNIT become so stupid? Toby Whitehouse was the writer for this episode, and the script/story was much better than the Moffat disaster.

Lewis: Well, it wasn’t so much a disaster as it was a disappointment…
Didn’t Toby Whitehouse write Being Human?

Ben: He did indeed, which is another cracking series. He has written a few other good Dr Who episodes like ‘School reunion’, which was brilliant.

Lewis: Which one was that?

Ben: The one where Sarah Jane came back.

Lewis: Ahhhh, yeah, that was a good one. He’s certainly got a history of quality. I also like the way he’s structuring this story; the cliff-hanger was fairly obvious, but it means that what we see next will be a prequel, which is definitely a slightly more interesting way of doing things.

Ben: It was definitely interesting, and I do want to see what happens next (or before, since it’s a sort of prequel). Would it not set up a paradox with the Doctor going back to change the future which would mean Clara would never get there to see ghost doctor?


Lewis: Well… It depends on what theory of time/travel this story is following.
He’s not actually altered anything in the past outside of himself, he is still following his own timeline, so what they know as the world’s past (the story’s past) is (when he goes back in time) his present. He’s still brought Clara to the base, and he’s still gone back in time leaving her there, it’s just he’s then gone on to become a ghost, and the two events have ended up coinciding…

I can’t really explain it in text… so here’s a fun little graphic to explain-


Ben: Ok I believe you.

Lewis: That wasn’t exactly a coherent explanation, was it?

Ben: No it made sense, I think.

Lewis: Anything to do with time travel is usually complicated, especially when you have an idiot like me explaining it. Anyway, all in all I’m pretty happy with this episode. It was a little slow-paced at points, and it’s not exactly a fresh idea, but it was fun to watch and a lot better than the previous episodes.

Ben: I agree.

Lewis: Excellent, great input Ben

Ben: I agree

Lewis: You forgot the full-stop

Ben: I realised as soon as I sent it. I am ashamed. We can put it back in when we edit.

Lewis: It’s ok, I might edit one in.


Ben: Please and thanks.

(Ha, didn’t do it. Someone looks a little foolish now, don’t they, Ben?)

Dr Who Review: The Magician’s Apprentice/The Witch’s Familiar



Lewis: So, Dr Who?

Ben: Yeah, I suppose we’d better do it.

Lewis: As much as we’ve been avoiding it…

Ben: So what did you think?

Lewis: Well, I don’t want to be this pessimistic about the season’s opening episodes, but they were just subpar on almost every level.

Ben: I agree. Everything just seemed so stupid; don’t even get me started on the “sonic sunglasses”. They had better not a permanent thing.


Lewis: If they are I might just have to swear off the whole thing. To be fair though, at least the second one had some redeeming features, the first one really was just a mish-mash of poor dialogue and stupid attempts at being witty. It feels like Moffat’s trying to be Douglas Adams and not doing a very good imitation.

Ben: I feel a similar way. Yeah I would agree, the second was better than the first, but even the one section that had some emotional gravity was just thrown away as just a plot point.

Lewis: I assume you’re talking about the Davros-Doctor discussion?

Ben: Yeah, that was one of the best bits of Doctor Who we’ve seen in ages, right until the climax which completely ruined it.


Lewis: I didn’t really like that though, because Davros just isn’t that kind of character. All that emotion and shared respect for each other just felt really forced… I really liked it up to a point, but when Davros cracked that joke and started talking about the sunrise, I was sincerely hoping it would be a trap, and it turned out it was, even if it was a pretty shitty one.

Ben: I didn’t think it was forced at all. I can kind of get why it was done, but I just feel that if they did actually kill Davros off that discussion would have been the way to do it. In the moments before his death he considers his work and wonders was it all worthwhile. I felt it was one of the better scripted and better acted part of the series that we’ve seen for a while.

Lewis: No I get that, and the whole time I was really impressed with the Davros actor’s performance. I didn’t really have a problem with any of the writing for that discussion, but I just feel like some parts of it didn’t really suit the character of Davros. But yeah, that discussion was definitely the highlight of the two episodes.

Ben: Moving away from the discussion, I think the way in which the Doctor beat the Daleks was a bit stupid.

Lewis: Yeah it was pretty naff, a very big dose of convenient plot point there… funny how those deceased Daleks were never mentioned before, huh?


Ben: But then we have never been to Skaro before, I would have liked to have seen a bit more of the planet as well.

Lewis: What do you mean? We’ve been to Skaro at least twice before. Once in the first Dr Who episode ever, and I’m pretty sure Tom Baker went once.

Ben: I meant that we haven’t been there in the new series.

Lewis: Well yeah, but I’d expect them to consider the fact that we’ve been there before in previous series’.

Ben: Well now it is back (did they explain how they brought it back? I can’t remember) I expect we will be going back fairly regularly.

Lewis: I don’t think they actually explained it… which is incredibly lazy if that’s the case (I could be, and probably am, wrong). I did quite like the censorship thing that the Daleks now have, it’s quite interesting, even if it does make them a little too emotional for my liking.

Ben: #stopmoffat
Where exterminate means reload? That bit? I wasn’t a big fan. That just seemed shoe-horned in for the last scene. Another thing I appreciated were the old Daleks and the lack of the Teletubbie ones.


Lewis: Not specifically that bit, because that bit’s just stupid. The part where if she says anything non-Dalek like it just changes it to something more suitable; that seemed like something that the Daleks could feasibly have. And yeah, the old Daleks were a very nice touch, but in the end it feels like they were just shoved in there in order to get people to appreciate these episodes more. They really played up the nostalgia…

Ben: That is true. I presume they took inspiration for the sets from the first Skaro episode.


Lewis: Oh yeah, and I admit, it was really cool to see the old sets/models/Daleks, but it felt like they were just saying “oooh look at all this shiny stuff that you remember, isn’t it cool?? Don’t worry about the poor writing, just look over here”.

Ben: Essentially they were just trying to distract us for 45 minutes.

Lewis: Yeah, and while there were some very good moments (which may or may not have been immediately ruined), it was just a very poor opener to the season.

Ben: Well hopefully things can only get better, but those ghosts don’t look promising…

Lewis: Well… no… no it doesn’t. Looks like a shitty live-action episode of Scooby Doo. It’ll end up being some old guy who was wronged by the scientific team and is using a projector to simulate ghosts and then when they catch him he’ll say “I would’ve gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling dicks”.
Or something along those lines anyway.

Ben: #stopmoffat
But I suppose we shall have to wait and see.

Lewis: Yeah, fingers crossed the other writers will have something more impressive to offer later on in this season.

Dark Water


Hello, and welcome to our review of the first part of the Doctor Who finale. It’s actually not late this time, and we’re bringing it out just before the second half airs. So please give it a read and leave a comment about your predictions or opinions if you can be bothered. See you soon.


Ben: Have you watched Doctor Who yet?

Lewis: Yes, I watched it on Saturday, what did you think of it?

Ben: I wasn’t keen on the ending to be honest; I thought it was a bit of a copout making her a female Regeneration of the Master.

Lewis: I wasn’t a huge fan of that revelation either, but I’m hopeful about it, because since John Simm’s incredible portrayal of the Master I’ve really liked the character. I just hope she lives up to it. Until she made the Doctor feel her heartbeats I had no idea she was gonna turn out to be him/her.

Ben: I don’t think she will be able to live up to Simm, I thought he was brilliant in that role. To be honest I thought that she would be the Doctor’s daughter from that episode with David Tennant, and I think it could have made a better episode if they had managed to make that daughter thing believable.

Lewis: Oh yeah! That was years ago, I’d completely forgotten about her… where the hell did she go off to?
I do see your point, but I can guarantee that a lot of people have completely forgotten about her (like I had), so it’d be a strange one to bring back. I’m very happy the Master/Mistress is back though, even if he/she is now a crazy, horny lady.

Ben: I just feel it would have made a better story, and my feelings about this new incarnation all depend on how they explain the way he came back. The first part seemed ok, if a bit predictable.

Lewis: I hope Moffat actually bothers to explain it rather than doing his usual “it doesn’t matter hand flapping thing”. I’m also a bit disappointed about the Cybermen, they’re always a good baddie, but on this one they’re just being glazed over, as if they’re just there to provide an extra threat.

Ben: In the old episodes the Master would use the Cybermen for his plans, so it’s going down that route again. But yeah, they just appear from the x-ray water (nice idea) and not much is done from there. The next episode is 75 minutes long so hopefully there will be a fair amount of good explanation


Lewis: I really like how they revealed them with the water, that was a cool concept, but then it’s just not really a big deal afterwards… then again it only happened right at the end, so I’ll forgive Moffat. For now…
Oh wow, I didn’t know it was 75 minutes; there’d better be some good explanations since they have the time for them. Also, do you think Danny will die for real?

Ben: I used Wikipedia (that ever reliable source) for that little fact about the Master and Cybermen. As for Danny, I’m not sure. They can’t kill him otherwise Space Commander Pink will never happen.

Lewis: Oh yeah, I forgot about him… I’m really not on form for this conversation.
As for Wikipedia, if you don’t know something it’s always better to research it than to run your mouth about it, so I think you’re in the clear. My tentative prediction is that Clara will be killed by the Cyberman in the room and end up in the Sphere with Danny. Then it’s up to the Dr to get them out.

Ben: I thought that too, but I think it is more likely that she gets away and they manage to get him out. I can’t see them killing her…

Lewis: It would be a fairly dark turn in the story, but I do like it when a companion is killed off. It livens things up a bit. Like when Adric dies in ‘Earthshock’, it’s a pretty sad scene, but it makes that story-arc that much better. Besides, since they already killed Danny I don’t think another death would be out of the question. (But maybe I’m just a bit sadistic in my tastes of storylines)
All in all, I think it was a fairly strong start to the finale, but there are points that definitely need explaining in the next one.

Ben: I agree, and I don’t really think we can properly review it until we see part 2.

Lewis: No, it’s tough to get a full impression from a multiple-part episode, so we’ll withhold our complete judgement until the finale is completely finished.

In the Forest of the Night


CombinedpicSo this is our second Doctor Who episode review within a week, you lucky people. Sorry the last one was a bit later than normal, but attempting to juggle coursework, lectures, writing, sport and boozing is a lot harder than it sounds. I suppose you sort of know what to expect now. If you disagree with us feel free to comment and tell us what you think. Cheers, Ben

Ben: Shall we move onto to the forest one?

Lewis: “Tiger, tiger, burning bright, in the forest of the night”… I really liked the Blake reference.

Ben: I probably disliked this one more than the last one. Yet again I think it’s a priorities issue coupled with a tiger being scared by a torch… seriously… a torch?

Lewis: I definitely understand your point of view about the torch. It was one of the more light-hearted ones, which really didn’t work when they tried to make it look like it was the end of the world. All the gravity of the situation was taken away by the jokes and style of writing.

Ben: I think I might have to watch it again (I didn’t, but can you blame me?), but I really struggled to get to grips with this one. I thought it was trying to shove an environmental ideal on me with all that crap about trees protecting the Earth. I also thought they tried too hard to make Danny a hero at points… That bloody tiger again.

Lewis: Yeah, I’m willing to accept that he’s a stand-up guy, but if I was a tiger and some dickhead was shining a torch in my eyes, I’d maul him in a heartbeat. I definitely agree about the environmental message, it was done so clumsily it was painful… One positive thing I’d like to bring to the table is that the girl who played Maebh was a surprisingly good actress for her age.


Ben: Yeah I’d agree with you about her. Not sure about the rest of the kids though, they got on my nerves more than anything else. And the “gifted and talented” lie was a little too much for me. What teacher lies to kids? This wasn’t exactly a ringing endorsement for this fictional school. If Clara was a real teacher she would be banned for sure.

Lewis: This episode, for some reason, seemed dead set on making Clara look like the worst teacher who ever passed their training. I now honestly believe she’s a terrible person to give responsibility to.

Ben: Yeah, she blamed Danny for losing the kid but she was in charge too. Disgraceful behavior.

Lewis: Truly awful… Even the kids know that she’s a crap teacher. Anyway, I assume you saw the preview for the first part of the finale?

Ben: Yeah… I’m not too sure about it. To be fair it was just a preview, but I don’t think it looks great. The Russell T. Davies ones were soooo good; Daleks vs Cybermen, The Master, The return of Davros. When you compare them to the finales under Moffat (TARDIS blowing up to reform the universe and the business on Trenzalore) there is no competition. Davies wins hands down.

Lewis: They definitely used to have a lot more impact, and weren’t over-complicated to the extent where you can barely grasp what’s going on.

Ben: I feel we are edging towards a conversation we should really save for after the next couple of episodes.

Lewis: Probably, but it’s a little teaser for the readers of the Moffat-bashing to come.

So that is what we thought. It wasn’t as bad a Lewis said it would be, was it? Thanks for reading.



So here we are, once again the piece is more than a week late. To be honest, I don’t know whether it’s worth apologising anymore, I think we’ve done more damage than we can fix. Please find it in your heart to forgive us, regular reader no.1.


Lewis: Soooooo, the ‘Flatline’ episode! What did you think?

Ben: I wasn’t too sure about it to be honest; I can’t quite put my finger on why though. What did you think of it?

Lewis: I didn’t mind it, it wasn’t a really bad episode, but I get what you mean about not being able to put your finger on it. There was something about it that just wasn’t as good as it could be.

Ben: I think it might be because they are trying to empower Clara more and more, and as they do she just seems to get more unlikable as she swings from hating the Doctor to lying to Danny. It is just getting a bit irritating.

Lewis: She’s definitely in over her head at the moment, and if I were Danny I’d be getting pretty pissed off.
What did you think of the monsters in this one though?

Ben: I concur, and I thought the monsters were pretty solid. I initially thought they were ripping off the 2012 episode, but when they started dissecting the humans it was clear that it was pretty original. But, like the Robin Hood episode, I thought they were a bit underused. I think that it could have been a really good two-parter if the doctor was properly involved, which would’ve given the creatures more screen-time.

Lewis: Yeah, we didn’t really get a lot of explanation about them, we just got told that they were the bad guys and a brief explanation why, and then the Dr got rid of them within a minute of being out of the TARDIS.
I honestly thought the concept of 2D creatures was pretty cool.

Ben: There could have been a perfect cliff hanger ending when the doctor was talking to them. He finds out they’re bad guys rather than lost creatures from another dimension, and then roll end credits. That way we could’ve seen more of them, had more character development, give them a bit of a back story and all that stuff.

Lewis: Yeah, it did feel very rushed towards the end, but not very tense. I also thought it was very convenient that the TARDIS now has a siege mode…

Ben: Oh yeah, I forgot about that… as with a lot of episodes this series, this one had potential but, again, I don’t think it had its priorities right. I think it suffered again at the hands of the season-arcing story line.


Lewis: It definitely had the potential to be a good episode; it just didn’t quite reach it. Also, was it just me, or did Capaldi have a major haircut halfway through??

Ben: I can’t remember that to be honest, I’ll have to have another look.

Lewis: I’m pretty sure that for one scene in the TARDIS it was a lot shorter than the previous one, and then when they cut back to it, his hair was back to normal. It’s probably a weird camera angle or different styling of hair.

The review/slating of last weeks episode, ‘In the Forest of the Night’, will be out tomorrow. So be warned, you’ll be getting a double dose of our pessimism in rapid succession. To arm yourselves against this, I advise watching videos of old people being given puppies and kittens as presents. It’s sickeningly heart-warming.

Mummy on the Orient Express


We at ‘The Minimum Effort’ would like to apologise for this late posting of last weeks article about Dr Who. Some stuff happened and we were busy and it wasn’t our fault. Mostly…


Ben: We still haven’t spoken about Dr Who yet, it’s Friday! (And it’s now Monday evening… oops) What are we doing?

Lewis: Oh shit, I can barely remember it now… The one thing I do remember is that I really enjoyed it.

Ben: Yeah I remember really liking it too; I especially liked the ‘Are you my mummy?’ quote.

Lewis: Yeah that was a cool reference; it took me a moment to register that quote.
It was a pretty original idea too as far as I know! That ticking clock really made the whole episode tense, it gave it a sense of inevitability.

Ben: I think something fairly similar has been done a few series back but I can’t put my finger on it right now…


Lewis: I can’t really remember if it has, but it was a cool idea nonetheless. All the characters were pretty strong; there really weren’t any that I didn’t like.

Ben:  Yeah, strong script, strong story line. To be honest, the only thing I didn’t like was the snap-of-the-fingers change of heart right at the end. It kinda seemed the whole episode was a build up for that moment. Also, at the start I thought I had missed a week’s episode. They flew straight into that heated argument (I am beginning to remember bits now), but I suppose they did explain it as the episode continued so that made up for it.

Lewis: Yeah, they did dive straight into it, and I totally agree about the change of heart, it was pretty poor. Although I think they did intend it to be a spur of the moment, irrational decision due to her spending most of the episode thinking about it.

Ben: Now there is spur of the moment and then there is the whole lying thing, which I think everyone can see is going to come back and bit her on the arse…

Lewis: Oh yes, she’s definitely going to get into trouble about that. I reckon Danny will give her an ultimatum, the Doctor or him.

Ben: And she will choose him and that will be the end of that.

Lewis: Maybe, although I think she said that she’ll stay in it for longer than this season, or was that a clever ruse to make us forget the rumours about her leaving?

Ben: To be honest I didn’t know about the rumours that she was leaving until someone told me about them.

Lewis: I read them online, but then I saw an interview with her denying it so I don’t really know what to think. As Hans Landa in ‘Inglourious Basterds’ says, “Facts can be so misleading, where rumours, true or false, are often revealing”. Do you think we’ll be seeing “Gus” again?

Ben: Fair enough. He may potentially turn up again, but I wouldn’t expect to see him again this series.

Lewis: Yeah, they’ll probably keep him for use in the future. Also, there was no mention of the Promised Land this episode, which makes me suspicious…