Demon’s Run is a mess of connect-the-dots story telling, bombastic exposition, fireworks and lots of actors posing for their action figures. It feels like a performance from Disney World rather than a television drama. Throughout the painful ordeal of the story, I wondered where this could all be leading as the music swelled and poetic verse was recited over slow motion combat. The Doctor, a goofy British guy in a jacket, was built up to be the most dangerous man to have ever lived. A massive army complete with deep-space support was assembled to hold him off while an evil woman with an eye patch attempted to steal a defenseless baby from a loving couple.
Demon’s Run attempts to be far too many things at once and in the end fails at many of them. With so many characters prancing about and jumps throughout different points in time and space to visit characters that are either new with made-up back stories or references to actual adventures, it’s an over-ambitious mess. As a story about the undoing of the Doctor, I found it impressive if more than a little annoying.
From the trailer it was apparent that Demon’s Run was not going to be an episode heavy in plot or character, but even so I was annoyed at the over-reliance on special effects and aliens. Doctor Who is better than this and so is Steven Moffat.
Once Doctor Who was the most imaginative and far-reaching science fiction drama, capable of depicting gripping suspense, high adventure or brilliant comedy. Now it seems that Doctor Who has become little more than a tool to wrap up several plot threads from series to series. The program is an extension of the plot rather than the plot an extension of the program. It’s no longer about where/when the Doctor is headed next, it’s about how it will tie into the over-arching plot involving the time baby or River Song’s identity, or any number of other concept that Moffat finds necessary.
In the end I had a nasty taste in my mouth, and just like the conclusion of many a fairground ride, the sensation that I was going to be sick.