Doctor Who in Review: Season Four, Episode #10 – Midnight

Rick Marshall

Rick Marshall was Online Managing Editor for ComicMix before joining MTV's SplashPage. Previously, he was Online Content Manager for Wizard Entertainment. He has written for several daily newspapers, alternative weekly newspapers, trade magazines and online media, and was named "Writer of the Year" by the New York Press Association in 2005.

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7 Responses

  1. Neil Ottenstein says:

    It was a cool episode. It appears that this season instead of having a single episode like Love & Monsters or Blink that give the Doctor and his companion some time off, they are having one episode (this one) which gave the companion some time off and another (next) with the Doctor having some time off. It was quite a tense episode. I haven't had a chance to listen to the commentary yet, but I am looking forward to that. It was interesting to see the Doctor so frustrated. We might as well make the obligatory mention here of David Troughton (son of Patrick) as the professor. The BBC Fact Page for the episode says "After Georgia Moffett, he's the second progeny of a past Doctor actor to appear in Series Four. David previously appeared in three Doctor Who stories: 1967's The Enemy of the World (uncredited), 1969's The War Games and 1972's The Curse of Peladon."

    • Rick Marshall says:

      You know, not having watched the next episode yet, I didn't realize that it was going to be the Doctor-lite segment. That's very, very interesting and is a great way to balance out the casting.Seeing The Doctor frustrated was one of the scariest moments of the episode for me, as I don't remember too many instances in past episodes when it felt like The Doctor was actually in danger. I know William Hartnell was always having to be carried around and such, but I rarely felt like any of the Doctors have ever been in serious danger like Tennant was in this episode.

  2. Vinnie Bartilucci says:

    Each season the DW production staff have to produce an episode with very little of the Doctor in it, so they can cram 14 episodes (including the Christmas episode) into a production schedule designed for 13. They've done something interesting with the "14th episode" this year; they've split it in two. Midnight has virtually no Donna Noble, and the next has almost none of The Doctor. A brilliant way to keep things fresh while still making sure Tennant and his companion aren't run ragged with the shooting schedule. Add to that the fact there's no monster to speak of in the episode, a good way to stretch the budget as well. Moffat's shadows were quite the cash-saver in Silence in the Library as well.Another episode with characters you wouldn't mind hearing from again. Dee Dee Blasco was a winner – considering the new team's penchant for recycling actors they like, it wouldn't shock me to see Ayesha Antoine pop up again in the future. And Sky Silvestry was a paradiddle detail in human form. Her very subtle comment about her ex-lover ("She" needed more space – mentions of non-hetero relationships in the series are such a sign of the changing times) and the way she went all paranoid, convinced the pounding noise was coming for her…she had a LOT of implied history that one gets the impression was quite tragic.RTD commented that his goal with this episode was an emotional bookend to "Voyage of the Damned". While the latter story showed people at their best, helping each other and sacrificing themselves when required, the people in this ship were more how RTD thinks most people would react; find a scapegoat, throw people off the ship if they're percieved as a threat. Very chilling in that light.Also of interest in the episode is that for the first time in quite a while…the Doctor is wrong. He tries to convince the passengers that this new lifeform can be talked with a reasoned with, and it almost costs him his life. That more than anything else was probably the most traumatic for him, considering his avowed hatred for killing. It's the first monster in who (no pun intended) knows how long that we never learn anything about. It appears, it starts its attack, it's defeated, and we never learn its name, its purpose, nothing. That really only makes the monster more interesting and chilling.With not too many CGI or prosthetic effect in the story, the real stars of the episode turn out to be the sound editors. The BBC companion series "Doctor Who confidential" dedicated the whole show to the sound team this episode. They revealed that to film all the overlapping sounds, they filmed the scenes several time, each with only one actor yelling, and the others miming. That way they were able to play with the levels all they liked. Quite a complicated episode.GUEST STAR REPORT – While returning director Alice Troughton is not related to the second Doctor Patrick Troughton, the man who plays Professor Hobbes, David Troughton, is – he's Patrick's son, and he's been on the show a couple times, including as King Peladon in the The Curse of Peladon.

    • Rick Marshall says:

      As always, Vinnie, a great analysis of the episode and a lesson in all of the things I wasn't aware of about this edition of The Doctor's adventures. To be honest, I know we spoke about having you help out with these reviews, but I actually enjoy it more when I post my thoughts on it here and then see what you, Neil, Mike and the rest of the Who viewers have to say in response.Thanks again for always chiming in! It makes me look forward to posting these reviews each week, as I know I'll learn something new about the series and its mythos.

  3. mike weber says:

    The setup for the episode reminded me rather of Arthur C. Clarke's "A Fall of Moondust"…

  4. Neil Ottenstein says:

    The commentary also featured the sound team – Sound Recordist Julian Howarth, Supervising Sound Editor Paul McFadden, and 2nd Boom Operator Bryn Thomas. At least one of them said that it was the most difficult episode of his whole career. They discussed a lot about how they put the sounds together. The "entertainment" was designed by RTD to be chaos with all the overlapping noises. Contrary to most episodes, the episode was filmed in chronological story order as much as they could.

  5. Vinnie Bartilucci says:

    Another thing that seemed interesting to me in this episode… This is the first time we've seen the Doctor without a companion since "The Deadly Assassin" in the Baker years. He's on his own, and what does he do as soon as he sits down? He starts chatting people up. It's like he can't STAND to be alone. I may well be reading too much into it, but I found it a very telling way to play the character.