I was asked the other day if I was going to be as hard on The Doctor’s Wife as I was The Doctor’s Daughter.
The answer to that is no.
If you recall, The Doctor’s Daughter was sold on the strength of a trailer where Jenny says “Hello Dad” and The Doctor actually says “She’s my daughter”.
That was bullshit; bait and switch at its worst.
The Doctor’s Wife, while not about his wife, did not have a trailer with the Doctor saying “She’s my wife”.
As such, it’s not a problem for me.
Doctor Who – The Doctor’s Wife Review: What’s This One About?
The heart of the TARDIS is put inside Suranne Jones, and Amy & Rory run around killing time.
Thoughts – Well It’s An Interesting Idea, But…
As a concept, The Doctor’s Wife is interesting.
After all these years, for the TARDIS to have a voice and to be able to communicate with the Doctor verbally for once is pretty cool.
And that leads to some fun exchanges between Matt Smith and Suranne Jones where the notion that The Doctor stole the TARDIS is turned on its head.
What it does is make the TARDIS seem like more than just the Doctor’s mode of transport.
But…and there’s always a but…that doesn’t necessarily make it a good episode.
I would say beyond those scenes, The Doctor’s Wife does nothing for me, and that’s a shame. And it’s also surprising to me because I remember enjoying it when it was first on.
Here’s my theory for my change of mind…
Exploring The TARDIS: It At Always Seems Like A Good Idea On Paper
When I watched this for the first time, my brother – who seems to really like this story, for reasons I can’t fathom – told me he’d read that it would involve exploring the TARDIS and even going into the old console room.
“Cool.” I thought “I’ve been waiting to see them go back into the old console room since the show came back”
And when Amy & Rory went deeper into the TARDIS and I saw a modern take on the old 1970s and 80s design, I thought “This’ll be a nice moment for a long-term viewer like me”.
But then it hit me. “Old Console Room” means the David Tennant one.
Oh whoopdy-fucking-doo. I can just feel the sense of nostalgia filling up in all the 12-year-old boys who remembered that from when “David Tennant and the other one used to live there”.
So the enthusiasm with which I watched it the first time just wasn’t there the second time knowing that nothing interesting was going to happen.
And so what are we left with? Amy & Rory wandering around dimly lit corridors and a plot that – beyond some banter between the Doctor and the TARDIS – isn’t particularly interesting.
Hence my reason for not thinking too highly of this story.
But it’s not just that. I’m not sure if I’ve made it too clear in my Doctor Who reviews, but I know I have in some of my other articles on this site…
I love colour.
To me, visual appeal is massive. If it’s bright and colourful it’ll attract my attention, but if it’s all grim and dystopian then I just can’t be enthused by it.
And this is the latter.
40 minutes of dimly lit rooms and dystopian environments. Bleurgh.
I just can’t into that.
Similarly, I wasn’t interested by the costume design or the accents of Auntie, Uncle or Idris. On the face of it, it seems like an imaginative and unique idea, but it’s one that’s been done so many times before in video games, TV and even within Doctor Who.
Accent wise and in name, those characters are a bit of a rip-off of the Family of Blood.
Get your own ideas Neil Gaiman; these are just derivative.
- My will is being broken by the relentless repetition of “The Eleventh Doctor Theme”. Please stop. Please.
- Beyond wasting time and giving them something to do, I just didn’t get the point of the scenes with Amy & Rory lost in the TARDIS. What’s the point of engineering a scenario where Rory has been waiting there for Amy again when they don’t even give it 30 seconds to sink in before revealing it’s a lie?
- The makeshift TARDIS The Doctor uses reminds me of the one from that Walls Sky Ray Iced Lolly advert.
- Since I gave The Curse of the Black Spot credit for not focussing too much on crappy story arcs, I suppose I’d best do the same here.
- The Ood apparently is in this because they couldn’t afford to make a new alien. Nice.
- I did get a chuckle out of the way Auntie & Uncle both died so suddenly (which, out of context, makes me seem like a horrendous human being)
- And to give more credit to this story, Matt Smith is very good throughout, and especially when he says goodbye to Idris/The TARDIS.
- It’s not just his performance though; he was given some top quality lines to deliver.
- The villain of the piece did nothing for me in the slightest though
- DWM Mighty 200 Ranking: N/A
Doctor Who – The Doctor’s Wife Review: Final Thoughts
I think that’s what sums this up.
Well, underwhelming and designed in a way that simply didn’t appeal to me.
While no doubt a good idea in principle, in practice there just wasn’t enough about The Doctor’s Wife to deliver an interesting and exciting story that would last for 40 minutes.
But that’s ok; each of the seasons since the show came back has had at least one like that.
Let’s just hope there aren’t many more.