Doctor Who #848: The Vampires of Venice

"You know what's dangerous about you? It's not that you make people take risks, it's that you make them want to impress you."
TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired May 8 2010.

IN THIS ONE... Rory's bachelor party becomes a trip to the Renaissance to fight fishy vampires.

REVIEW: Rory joins the TARDIS crew in this episode, and on the surface of it, you can't help but compare him to Mickey, the OTHER idiot boyfriend. And though they may be perceived as "losers" compared to the Doctor, the episode still makes the point that Rory is infinitely superior to Mickey, and that this time, the Doctor isn't trying to steal the girlfriend. There is still some competition between Amy's two "boys", but it's not romantic per se. The banter laced with innuendo doesn't do this any favors, mind you, and I often got the feeling writer Toby Whithouse (or Moffat stomping all over him, I don't know), doesn't quite know what he's trying to accomplish in these scenes. In essence, Rory feels left out of their clique, and that does transpose as romantic frustration, but on that front, it's a misunderstanding (again, something confused by the kissing and kissing jokes). The Doctor doesn't want Amy in that way, but he does want her as a traveling companion, and those travels ARE a threat to the Amy-Rory relationship, which is why he has them share an adventure (he's right to think the danger turns Amy on), and is happy to have a couple in the TARDIS on a steady basis (Who's first, at least in the CONFIRMED column). Rory feels it's his job to protect Amy, which is why he doesn't like her traveling with the Doctor, but his mistake is thinking he wears the pants in this family. In the last scene, he has to accept that, yeah, Amy's in control of both men. It seems those emasculation jokes were a little one-sided.

There are a lot of things to like about the adventure they have - the stunning locations (actually Croatia), Helen McCrory's strong performance as the mother of the Piscaton (sorry, I meant the Saturnyne), the scientific nature of the vampire tricks, Rory getting to fence with a monster (he'll get better at it), and going to credits through the TARDIS keyhole - but it also fails in other respects. Many criticized the effects at the time, but the creatures look pretty cool, and it's not like Doctor Who is really about effects. I'm more concerned with elements that show the production didn't really understand the script. Francesco's death, for example, is complete nonsense. The lighting is often quite bright, especially on the quay where the Saturnyne males are fed, with no ill effects (after all, these guys are dark-water fish, not supernatural vamps), yet he EXPLODES because Amy shines sunlight on him with a mirror. Come on, now. I also question Rosanna removing her costume to jump in the water, when we've been shown she doesn't actually wear clothes - it's all a mental illusion - so that's stupid.

And then there's the Silence, plugged into the script without anyone knowing what this will all be about. Rosanna talks about it like it was beyond some of the cracks and scared her people into running to Venice through another. Their feeding ritual is done "in the name of children lost to the silence". And if that weren't strange enough, the final scene drops out all sound except the Doctor and Rory talking and wondering what's happening. Well, I wonder too, because this has NOTHING to do with the Silence (or Silents, or however you'd like me to spell it) as presented to us a season later. Moffat never really wrote himself out of the corner he created with some of these details. In hindsight, it's all particularly frustrating.

SECOND OPINIONS:
The original review, 10 and 1 Items About The Vampires of Venice, features a new format for 11th Doctor reviews that I kept until I stopped doing them because, y'know, I was reviewing Doctor Who plenty. 848 straight days and counting!

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Important for Rory joining the crew, and it's got some fair humor and a perfectly acceptable plot. Just not one that's watertight, and it does take in water rather fast when looked at too closely.

2 comments:

LiamKav said...

There is a moment that I think is a mischaracterisation of the Doctor... he goes to war against the vampire-fish because "they couldn't remember Isabella's name". The Doctor frequently forgets peoples names. He makes repeated comments that if he doesn't remember one person, it's because he's trying to save everyone. "A Good Man Goes To War" makes this an explicit point the girl who he coudn't remember. So to pick the badguys up on that point never sat right with me.

Siskoid said...

A lot of the dialog sounds it would have fit Doc10 better. No doubt that was the one Whithouse would have been familiar with at the script stage.

 

Blog Archive

Category

5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zine