Tube Watch: Doctor Who – Night Terrors

by Cap'n Carrot on September 7, 2011 · 3 comments

in Television


A message travels across time and space to reach The Doctor (Matt Smith). Something terrible has “amplified the fears of a ordinary little boy across all the barriers of time and space through crimson stars and silent stars and tumbling nebulas like oceans set on fire through empires of glass and civilizations of pure thought and a whole terrible, wonderful universe of impossibilities” to beg someone, anyone, for help to “save me from the monsters.”

The TARDIS takes the Doctor, Amy (Karen Gillan) and Rory (Arthur Darvill) to an average apartment building, and into the average bedroom of anything but a average young boy (Jamie Oram) who is scared of everything he sees and locks everything he fears inside his cupboard.

Before the episode ends the Doctor, Amy, Rory, and the boy’s father (Daniel Mays) will all find themselves trapped in the cupboard inside a wooden dollhouse. Their escape and survival depends on two things: 1. The bravery of a scared little boy, and 2. The unconditional love of a parent for a child.

Although the message of the story is actually kind of sweet, and the script allows Matt Smith plenty of zany moments, “Night Terrors” is one of the weaker episodes of the season playing on themes done better in previous episodes (including “The Girl in the Fireplace” last year’s “The Eleventh Hour” and “The Beast Below“). It has its moments, but its mostly forgettable.

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  • CoosCoos

    While the plot was “most forgettable”, this episode gave Matt Smith plenty to work with – from the speech you paraphrased above in your first paragraph, to the explanation that pantophobia was not a fear of pants (but actually would include fear of pants), to his going back and forth about whether or not to open the cupboard, then to his startling change when he realized just how powerful a creature they were dealing with. Well acted, for sure.

  • Big Al

    The problem I had with this episode, and frankly the whole show since Tennant and Davies left is that it’s all kids oriented now. It used to have characters and plots that were sophisticated enough that as an adult you weren’t bored, or constantly thinking “Wow is this hoakey”, and still kept the show light and goofy enough for kids. I think it’s lost that sophistication and it’s pure kids show now. I’m finding it harder and harder to watch as it seems to be less and less interesting to someone who doesn’t poop his pants or shove cherios up his nose. Just my opinion.

    • alphamonkey

      To be fair…Doctor Who has *always* been a family/kids show, and I’m happy that Moffat dialed down the “Look how convoluted and clever this is” to deliver a satisfying Monster of the Week episode. Was it a great episode? No, but it was a welcome relief from the the unrelenting “How is Moffat lying to us this week” that the first half of the season delivered.

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