Monday, 22 September 2014

Time Heist - Review

I was a big fan of Hustle. It did rather overstay its welcome and maybe should have ended sooner than it did, but I enjoyed it. One thing you could always bet on was that there would be the big rewind near the end to show you what you had missed and so explain what you had just witnessed - usually a "how on earth did they manage that?" bit. Time Heist used just such a device.
One minute Clara is about to go on a date with Danny, next we're suddenly half way through the goings-on at the Bank of Karabraxos. 10 minutes to go, rewind, and we get the missing piece of the jigsaw.
Thing about Hustle, though, was that despite being a post watershed series revolving around criminals (good Robin Hood type ones and thoroughly bad ones) it rarely had any strong violence, and the death toll over 9 years would have kept even Mary Whitehouse happy.
Thing about Time Heist, on the other hand, was the tone. That's why I came away from watching it not sure if I'd actually enjoyed it. I think I would have preferred it as a lighter-hearted romp.
As it was, there were some quite nasty moments - not least the "death" of the unfortunate bank customer at the eye-stalks of the Teller. Personally I thought it went too far for what is supposed to be  a programme for a wide family audience - including youngsters. It was enough for me to see the victim's obvious agony and hear the Doctor's description, but the image of the collapsed cranium was really disturbing. I am far from being a prude. I enjoy a good 18 rated film or TV show - but I'm an adult capable of making choices. One of the things that has sustained the new Who over the last 9 years is the family following, and the fresh infusion of new, younger fans, and I do worry at times that the series is moving too far into purely adult territory.
Lose the younger half of your audience and you lose your future.
Any whos.
Not the most original of stories. Was reminded straight away of The God Complex - the Minotaur-like being feeding on faith in that, guilt in this. A bit of Hide in the resolution - with the creature's mate. I guessed almost immediately on seeing that the Teller was a captive that its release would form part of the conclusion.
Clara was in much more of a straightforward companion role this week. The Doctor's (un)intended criticisms of her I am enjoying each week. Even more than the Seventh, and to an extent the Second, this Doctor is an arch manipulator.
I liked Keeley Hawes as Karabraxos, but found the Miss Delphox version a bit OTT.
It looked as if Jonathan Bailey's Psi and Pippa Bennett-Warner's Saibra were going to be quite wasted characters - getting bumped off so early on - but this proved to be one of the story's twists. Maybe one day the Doctor will employ them again - though, of course, they have both opted for the "cures" which mean they will never be like this again.
The trouble with Moffat attaching his name to every story this series means that you don't always know where to attach the blame - or give the praise. I suspect Steve Thompson's was the whole bank job / Hustle element - and Moffat the more disturbing aspects and the timey-wimey resolution.
Role on next week and more of Danny Pink, Coal Hill School, and the return of that pupil from Hell, Courtney...

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