What better way to start than putting it all into context with some comments from NJ.com about the Sontaran story that neatly describe how I feel about the show, especially the last sentence…
We still have quite a lot of season four to go, but I’m hopeful that when it’s over I’ll be able to look back on this Sontaran storyline as the low point. Because other than a few isolated moments with Donna and Martha, these episodes left me very cold. I know that "Doctor Who" is a show that’s designed for children, but it’s only when the farting aliens or these guys show up that it feels like it’s only for children.
Anyway, on to more positive stuff, and what an absolute corker Silence In The Library turned out to be? And that was only part one of this two-parter from the Grand Moff, the future head honcho of the show. David J Howe rather liked this episode
That’s more like it! Steven Moffat to the rescue with another of his complex tales of horror and relationships. It’s interesting is that almost every commentator is saying the same thing: that Moffat’s stories are the best, and it’s not hard to see why. With ‘The Empty Child’/’The Doctor Dances’ (WW2 horrors, gasmasked children and zombies, and, of course, ‘Are you my mummy?’), ‘The Girl in the Fireplace’ (creepy clockwork men from a spaceship in the future stalking 18th Century France, and white horses jumping out of mirrors) and ‘Blink’ (statues that will come and get you if you look away or so much as blink) Moffat has made the art of great television his own, drawing on various primal fears and delivering scripts which make you think as well as adding a laugh or two alongside some well judged shocks and scares.
He goes on to echo what the chap from NJ.com said
What is strange is that although almost everyone who offers an opinion would claim that Doctor Who is at its best when it’s being scary, Russell T Davies seems to believe the opposite and likes to present more lighthearted runarounds…
..And when your entire audience is waiting for Steven Moffat’s story, and that everything before it is just some sort of prelude, well the balance can’t be right can it?
Overnight viewing figures, though, are extremely disappointing at a paltry 5.4m with a 25.4% grab of the audience. This ranks as 5th for the day’s most watched. I blame the Eurovision gap week for this drop off along with such tawdry cr@p as "Britains’ Got Talent(less Muppets)". In Kopic’s humble opinion we should have had Silence In The Library in place of The Unicorn and The Wasp, followed that with Forest of the Dead (part two, previously known as River’s Run) instead of Eurovision last week and had Unicorn this week. Unicorn grabbed 8.41m in its slot and if Library had had those figures then we wouldn’t have seen this fall off… But what do I know, a humble scribe and Doctor Who fan? As noted by OG
For the first time since the series returned in 2005, the programme did not win its timeslot.
Which is a crime of scheduling, especially as it’s probably going to be the best story of this year.
Anyway… the reviewer at Digital Spy liked the story, and noted the style of Moffat’s stories
…the story’s elements are over-familiar from previous Moffat scripts. There’s the ‘ghosting’ remains of Proper Dave stalking the library calmly repeating ‘who turned out the lights?’, in a similar vein to the infected gas mask wearers from ‘The Empty Child’, complete with their ‘are you my mummy?’ question. The treatment of time in a non-linear manner, with events seemingly taking place concurrently in different temporal periods harks back to both ‘The Girl In The Fireplace’ and ‘Blink’.
…prime evidence that Moffat is a true auteur whose work is truly individual and easy to identify. Frankly, when a family show is so deliciously dark and involving, without ever losing its sense of fun and adventure, any moments of deja-Who can be easily overlooked.
I’m not really sure if this guy on the Behind the Sofa blog really liked it or not.
‘C’mon, give me the remote. There’s a dancing dog on the other side and it’s got to be better than this s*** set in a library.’ One would be forgiven to think that this might well be the reaction in quite a number of households up and down the land tonight during the transmission of Silence In The Library. It’s a terribly brave thing to face off against Cowell’s vacuous freak show any night of the week but trust Doctor Who to decide to be at its most atypical when most people aren’t looking.
He finishes with a neat summary, though
Overall then, it isn’t as immediately striking or likeable as ‘Blink’ or ‘The Girl In The Fireplace’ and it’s the sum of the glorious parts that just about make it work. It is too slow to begin with and some of the expedition crew are slightly lazy caricatures that flatten out the drama when it cries out to be allowed to hitch up its skirts and get running but then it seems a bit churlish when this is so leftfield compared to the majority of the episodes this season by virtue of the ideas Moffat is toying with. Difficult to grasp how all this fits together just by the first part alone, which is another thing in its favour, and I eagerly await the conclusion and hopefully Moffat’s cleverness at arranging the layers of the narrative to provide a satisfying pay-off.
No doubt about how much the reviewer at TV Scoop liked this story, though!
Expectations were high for Steven Moffat’s first outing of the 2008 series. The man whose spine-tingling episode Blink won a BAFTA last year and who is standing in the wings ready to take over when Russell T Davies steps down as head writer, has delivered some of the very best episodes of the modern series. Could he pull it off again?
Quite simply: yes.
…Way to go Mr Moffat! Last year you had all the viewers casting nervous glances at stone statues in their local churchyards and civic places. That was bad enough, but now every shadow in all of our houses will be under suspicion of scoffing the Sunday roast. What will your next story make us scared of? The cracks in the pavement?
I like that last idea! My daughter is always playing the "don’t walk on the cracks in the pavement" game. That’s another phobia The Grand Moff could instil in our children.
Is it 2010 yet?