Doctor Who: Vampires of Venice (Series 05, Episode 06) Review

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What’s It About?

The Doctor takes Amy and fiancée Rory on a romantic holiday to Venice in 1580. Soon after their arrival they discover some fangtastic residents of the city, but are even the Vampires all they appear? and what is their plan?…

Review It

So we arrive at episode six and only the second non-Moffat episode of the series so far. It has to be said straight off that Toby Whithouse’s script holds together somewhat better than Victory did. The adventure kicks off with the Doctor gatecrashing his companion’s fiancée’s stag do in memorable fashion. In an effort to keep the two together, the Time Lord takes them to Venice where shenanigans ensue. The script is somewhat light-hearted which I feel is welcome after the tension of the previous two episodes.

While more light-hearted, the episode manages to not feel “silly”, even comedy-sidekick Rory manages to hold his own and not feel ham in any way. It was nice to see Rory’s return and his involvement as a second companion is welcome, although it would be nice to see a competent “love interest” for a companion for once. Yes the Doctor is a marvellous chap, but you don’t need to show this by having a useless chap tagging along. Still, Rory did manage to have a couple of stand-out moments – including a nice rant at the Doctor and the effect he has on people.

The villains were well presented – both in dialogue and acting. Personally, I thought that the twist regarding the Vampires was pleasing and the effects surrounding them were nicely achieved. On the subject of effects, some of the green-screen towards the end of the episode was a little disappointing as it was very noticeable. Who in the past has pulled of some excellent green-screen scenes, so this was particularly jarring for me.

This series continues to impress me – particularly the consistency in the Doctor and Amy’s characters. Sometimes in a Doctor’s first season you can tell that the writers are trying to find the right voice, but Toby Whithouse has hit the nail on the head with the regulars in this episode. Matt Smith performed his role with a twinkle in his eye and it’s clear that this Doctor continues to enjoy his adventures, even if he does sometimes need a time-out to piece together the plot and the occasional helping hand from his friends. I’ve said before how a fallible Doctor is a breath of fresh air and I’m continuing to find it so. Matt Smith balances his performance superbly so that we never feel frustrated when it seems he’s playing by ear.

And the niggles?

This is a particularly fanboy one. I was hoping that the Vampires would harken back to old-school Who and have a link to the Great Vampires of Gallifreyan legend. Not a bad thing – I’m just saying! Oh – and I’d like a Historical without Aliens in once in a while please.

Also, I guess that given the urgency surrounding the Cracks, this digression seems a tad extravogant on the Doctor’s part. It almost feels as if he’s personally decided that he could do with a break from all the “end of time cracks in the universe” stuff very shortly after being made aware of their importance!

In summary: An interesting historical romp filled with humour and adventure. Toby Whithouse produced an enjoyable script that holds together well.

Rate It: 4 / 5.
Dry Slaps: 0.
Reviewer: WedgeDoc

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