Film & TV

TV Review – Doctor Who, Series 8

Warning: Season spoilers follow!

Another series has come to a thrilling end. A new Doctor has well and truly landed, with the fantastic Peter Capaldi portraying a darker, less sympathetic Doctor than Matt Smith’s childish incarnation. It’s been a great series, with huge surprises and twists that have kept audiences around the globe on the edge of their seats.

We’ve been treated to some fantastic episodes. Among them, ‘Mummy on the Orient Express’, ‘Listen’ and of course the epic two part finale have stood firmly above the rest. ‘Mummy’ gave a fantastic sci-fi twist to a murder mystery plucked straight from the pages of Agatha Christie with Foxes’ cameo covering Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ complementing Murray Gold’s fantastic musical score.


‘Listen’ was heralded by critics as the new ‘Blink’ and, though it may not have quite lived up to the hype, it was perhaps one of the most intense and scary episodes, as well as using time travel in one of the most effective ways seen on the show in a while. And then we have ‘Dark Water’ and ‘Death in Heaven’, the two part action packed finale. The Missy/Master reveal was perfect, the tone was fantastically dark for what is normally a family show and Osgood’s demise still brings a tear to my eye.


The acting has, especially for the main cast, been superb. Peter Capaldi has stepped into Matt Smith’s shoes brilliantly, with some fantastic speeches and moments. Though not a Doctor you can always trust, there is no doubting the talent of Mr Capaldi. Jenna Coleman has also stepped up her game as Clara. Perhaps more due to the much improved writing for her character, Coleman has actually stolen many of the scenes, if not episodes, with ‘Flatline’ really allowing her to shine as she steps to the fore. Newcomer Samuel Anderson (as Danny Pink) is the new Rory Williams, only after he grew some backbone. Though his and Clara’s relationship was not by any means my favourite part of the series, Danny made some real impact and his final sacrifice was heartbreaking to watch.

This series has, in the most part, been a huge triumph, with Steven Moffat and his team of writers correcting many of the pacing and story writing mistakes encountered during Series 7. However, it’s not been perfect. ‘Robots of Sherwood’, the ‘fun’ episode of the series made the ‘dark’ Doctor feel uncomfortably out of place and the ending was… well, atrocious. Talking of discomfort, I can’t have been the only one who watched ‘The Caretaker’ and didn’t feel mild hatred for The Doctor, with his prejudiced rants against soldiers and Danny.


Moffat loves his plot arcs. In Matt Smith’s regenerative story, ‘Time of The Doctor’, we saw the closure of plot lines that had been set up three series previously. Though on a smaller scale, the Missy and The Nethersphere plot line was intriguing throughout the series, never overplayed but almost always present, niggling away in the background. The big reveal in ‘Dark Water’ that Missy was the latest incarnation of The Doctor’s greatest adversary The Master was shocking, rendering me genuinely speechless… Her actions thereafter in the finale (in particular the brutal killing of Osgood) were dramatic and engaging, keeping audiences hooked right to the epic conclusion.

Series 8 has been, overall, a fantastic series. Though the occasional episode did slip up and come in under par, the acting and story writing has vastly improved from last series and has recovered the show from the lows of Series 7. Peter Capaldi has well and truly become The Doctor and the show has not seen this consistency of strength since Donna Noble’s time on the TARDIS back in 2008.


Henry Stanley

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