Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Who's Afraid?

So, "Fear Her" has this reputation for being the worst episode of the new Doctor Who series. I decided to give it another look recently, just to see what inspired all the hate. And really, I just don't get it. It's a fairly forgettable episode, all told, and ultimately it's trying to accomplish the same thing that "Vincent and the Doctor" did: tell a moving, down-to-Earth story about a character in emotional turmoil, and somehow involve a massive alien threat. In that regard, "Vincent and the Doctor" is clearly the better episode, even if the alien threat never feels as necessary to the story as the one in "Fear Her."

The story is...weird. The "alien who just wants to be loved" plot feels like it would fit better in "Sarah Jane Adventures," while the "little girl wishes people to the cornfield and brings her abusive father back from the dead" angle would almost fit in better with "Torchwood." All that combines to give a very schizophrenic story, which never seems to be able to decide what mood it has, and ends with the people of the world sending their love energy to power an alien spaceship.

But the worst episode of the series? Worse than "The Idiot's Lantern" or the "Daleks in Manhattan" two-parter? I've always thought that the only real value in "New Earth" or "Gridlock" was the Face of Boe stuff (but I haven't watched "Gridlock" in awhile). I don't get why the excesses and bad ideas of "Fear Her" trump basically the same bad ideas (and without the attempt at emotional grounding/fright) in "The Idiot's Lantern." Why does this episode get all the fanhate?

On the other hand, "Love and Monsters" is one of my favorite episodes, so your mileage may vary.


Erin Palette said...

"Blink" is the best episode EVER. What's amazing is how little of the Doctor it actually has in it. Ironically, that makes it extremely accessible to someone who has never seen the series before and doesn't have the patience for figuring out who is who and what is going on.

My favorite 2-parter would be "Silence in the Library/ Forest of the Dead".

Eric TF Bat said...

Wow - I consider Love & Monsters to be the worst DW episode of all time, not just of the current 9/10/11 revival. Fear Her didn't bother me at all, apart from the sheer inanity of the Doctor running with the Olympic torch, which is just Russell Davies being a pop culture fanboi again, so it's not exactly new. Whereas Elton Pointless and his girlfriend the orally-obsessed paving slab, and the idiotic villain, designed by a nine-year-old, that managed to be more stupid even than the Slitheen... that takes some beating.

Anthony Strand said...

Maybe I just have terrible taste, but I liked all of those episodes okay - Love & Monsters, Daleks in Manhattan, Fear Her. Idiot's Lantern wasn't that great, I suppose. But the worst episode of the revival? That has to be something like The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit. Just bored me to tears. At least those others have something happening, even if that something is ridiculous.

Gordon D said...

I always thought that, if you take out the obnoxious Olympic material from the episode, "Fear Her" actually contains some really great ideas...

(It didn't help that the episode was a very last-minute fill-in for a Stephen-Fry written episode, but I don't thinks it's as all-out horrible as many fans seem to believe. There are some really good ideas mixed in with some blatantly bad ones inserted via rewrite)