Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Night Terrors

Let's talk about what worked with this about. And really, there wasn't much that didn't work. So let's just talk about Night Terrors. This is not only classic sci-fi writing at its best, it's a wonderful piece of televised cinematography.

On the Mohs Scale of Science Fiction, which ranks believability on a scale from 1 to 6 (with 6 being the most believable science fiction,) this episode ranks a 4. Most good Doctor Who episodes fall in this category. A 4 on the scale means that there are only a few minor changes in reality that do not affect normal human life (or otherwise.) This ensures that the story won't be marred by wacky "facts", technobabble, or other elements that may confuse the viewers.

In Night Terrors, the story centers around a young child's fears and closet which he locks them away in. His plea of "Save me from the monsters" reaches the Doctor, Amy, and Rory, and the Doctor decides to make a "house call." But once they reach the child's flat, they realize that these fears are spiraling out of control, and that -- in true TARDIS fashion -- nothing is as it seems. The story is not too bizarre and not too boring; the resulting happy medium is just as exciting as it is creepy.

The cinematography really adds to this episode. The lighting is spot on, matching the scene of a child scared of the dark. Shots are blocked beautifully. The first shot after the intro of the TARDIS materializing in the puddle is perfect; CGI, color, and the atmosphere of the shot all work together. This theme continues throughout the episode. It keeps you on the edge of your seat; or, rather, behind your seat, as you might be cowering in fear of the dolls that turn you into one of them. As far as non-CGI makeup goes, the doll costumes were certainly effective at causing viewers to pee their pants.

This is a classic Who episode, hands down. Next week looks like a Doctor-lite episode set in a futuristic world. All I know from the preview is that Rory smashes the Mona Lisa over a robot. Nice.

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