If I learned anything from my initial viewing of The Ghost Monument on Sunday night it’s that I’m now too old to watch a TV show after 9pm.
Having been out for a meal, that’s as early as I was able to see it, and while I definitely caught the first half of the episode in full, I realised having watched it again today that I completely missed any of the stuff with what appeared to be angry brown rags or toilet roll menacing the Doctor and chums in the latter stages.
I guess it’s a good thing that I watched it again then…
Doctor Who – The Ghost Monument Review: What’s This One About?
It’s the standard ‘Second Episode After The Relaunch’ plot where an alien planet is visited for the first time.
Thoughts – The Slow Lane
Regular readers of this blog will know that I have long been a proponent for a Doctor Who episode without the need for an alien monster. Why can’t it just be about the Doctor and his/her companions fighting
‘normal’ villain on Earth, or visiting a regular alien civilisation?
The Ghost Monument almost manages it, and instead focuses more upon characterisation – some of which was missing last week – and cinematography.
The result is a pleasant, good looking and yet uneventful episode, the likes of which are difficult to write too much about.
But that’s not unusual for where we are.
Every time the show relaunches, it sticks to a pattern. You’ve got the first episode on contemporary Earth where the Doctor is the unusual one, and then the second episode is about putting the new companions in a fish-out-of-water situation on a new planet.
By design, I suppose it has to be like that for both the characters and the new viewers.
And it’s fair enough.
But I just felt this plodded along a bit and for a longer term fan like me, it won’t be all that memorable down the line.
As for the characters, Graham and Ryan’s relationship was explored more and unlike last week it was good to see the latter’s character get fleshed out some. Yasmine though has yet to do anything of note.
It does make you think back to the problems the show faced in the early Peter Davison era when it was considered that Tegan, Nyssa and Adric were one companion too many. If anything it’ll be harder in the faster paced modern style of the show for them to make three companions work, and I’ll be keen to see if Chris Chibnall proves me wrong.
And Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor? Definitely more settled this week but I remain concerned that in the eyes of the general public and those running the show, the only way for an actor to be a good ‘Doctor Who’ is to play it like David Tennant.
- The new TARDIS set is alright. A little dark for me on first impressions but maybe I’m fussy. What I did like though was the way her entrance to the ship was shot by the director. It made more sense of its
- The custard cream dispenser smacks of the writers believing that part of what makes the character of the Doctor is to have an affinity to some form of confection.
- The other characters in this episode were far from memorable, but to be fair at least an attempt was made to give them both a back story and a reason for being where they were.
- The Call of Duty homage suggests that Ryan may become a bit of a comedy character.
- As with last week, I’m confused as to why Ryan should want to call Graham “Granddad”. Is Graham a weirdly needy bloke?
- I thought there wasn’t meant to be any series long story arcs this time around? And yet there were references to the aliens from the last episode and ‘The Timeless Child’.
- Also, while one of the main criticisms of the Moffat era towards the end was its continued references to the show’s past, and while it was also thought that this season would be different, I notice that once again, there was a play on the “You’ve redecorated; I don’t like it” line. I hope Terrance Dicks gets royalties.
- Now that the Doctor and her companions have got back to the TARDIS, having travelled long distances on foot on a hot alien planet, I hope they get a change of clothes in time for next week’s episode…
- And speaking of next week’s episode, it looks like a plot ripped straight out of the US show Timeless. That’s not a bad thing.
- The incidental music suited the tone and setting of the episode, so there’s nothing to complain about on that score.
- The coincidence of her accent relative to the setting of her first episode is yet to be explored.
- Though the episode was well shot, the CGI for the rags was pretty poor.
Doctor Who – The Ghost Monument Review: Final Thoughts
I’m surprised I managed just under 1000 words on this review, as I felt like I was at a bit of a loss to say anything of note.
If an episode is superb, terrible or at least eventful then there’s plenty to discuss, but when the main thing to take from it is that nothing much happens – even if it’s watchable and inoffensive – it can be a bit of a chore to write about.
The main thing I’m going to take from The Ghost Monument is that it serves to set up stuff in future episodes. The pieces are on the board now, and everything is ready to go.
Next week, I expect to have more to discuss.
More Doctor Who Reviews
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