Sunday 18 September 2011

The God Complex

Another rubbish episode, another wave of positive reviews. Why do people like these awful stories so much?

A story about fears coming to life in a surreal nightmarish setting comes across as a bit rich so soon after Night Terrrors. I suppose these kind of stories are much cheaper to make than stories about alien worlds and space ships. The big problem with these kind of surrealistic,'virtual reality' stories is that you can't really believe in them. The terrifying things in the rooms have no capacity to terrify because you know they are not real. The God Complex tries really hard to be scary by throwing in as many stock scary images as possible, but we know what they are trying to do, so it doesen't work. It's all too knowing and all the humour that is thrown in runs counter to it. I pretty much said the same thing about Night Terrors.

The God Complex features some of the worst acting we have seen in the current series. The guest performances are just so dismal. It's a good job that Rita was not intended as a new companion. She would have been even more unbearable than Amy.

This episode takes influences from many past stories- Paradise Towers (the last Yellow Kang dying at the beginning), The Mind Robber, The Horns of Nimon and The Curse of Fenric. The last one is most significant because of the contrast between the two attempts at causing a companion to lose her faith. When the Seventh Doctor sneered at Ace's faults, we really did feel for a moment that he really meant it. It was cold and brutal. It felt right. I fail to see anything in what the Eleventh Doctor said to Amy that would cause her to lose her faith in him. With that awful Murray-Gold music in the background, he might as well have been saying "I'm the Doctor, believe in me!"

I hate comedy aliens. If you are going to create an alien race, why not create one which is believable and which is treated seriously? It's so annoying when an alien wear's contemporary western clothes and talks like somebody from modern Britain. As for his people's chances of survival, Daleks, Cybermen, Nimon and Dominators don't seem terribly merciful to the races they conquer, do they?

I did like the monster. It captured the bestiality of the Destroyer in Battlefield. Finding out that it was a distant cousin of the Nimon was cool. That rather torpedos the theory that the Nimon's immobile heads were helmets or masks. The idea that the creature wanted to die was a bit banal, however.

It was great to see the departure of Amy. Good riddance. though we can be sure that she will be back. Yet again, Amy and Rory don't seem terribly bothered about finding their daughter. I suppose the story arc is so bizarre that nobody really knows how to make it work.

I really don't get what people like so much about this episode. As for all the discussion about what was in the Doctor's room, has nobody watched The Mind of Evil? Don't they know the Doctor is terrified of Koquillion?


  1. I found the red patterned carpet quite a compelling visual aspect.

  2. Anonymous, yeah some of the visual aspects of the story were good.

  3. Combom, thanks a lot for visiting and offering your opinion.

  4. I thought it was too much of a message episode--- religions are bad, believing in things is bad. I think it was Samuel Goldwyn who said 'if you want to send a message, use Western Union'.

    We all know what the belief system of the folks who make Doctor Who these days tends to be, and so when we run across this type of message it detracts from the episode's ability to be perceived as real. We don't WANT to be reminded that these episodes are written and produced, we want to believe that someone's got video cameras all over the TARDIS and following the Doctor, his friends and his enemies at all times.

    I was very sad to see Amy and Rory go and I think the reason the Doctor gives is silly. Once someone has been a companion of the Doctor they become useful as a target whether they are still companions or not. Aren't they safer with the Doctor than without him?

    I agree about the comic-relief aliens. When they did it in Star Trek (the Ferengi) they tended to let them grow into something more than a joke, though they had a lot of time to do that with the Ferengi in Deep Space 9.

    As for aliens wearing contemporary Western clothes, maybe it's because the Doctor takes contemporary Western people all over time and space with him and it's set a galactic/temporal fashion trend?

  5. Nissa, thanks for your thoughts.

    Yes, I don't see much that is positive in the message of the episode.

    Maybe I should revise what I said about comedy aliens. Ferengi were alright. Writers fleshed out their culture enough for us to believe in them. My only problem with the Ferengi is that they don't seem to realise the value of reputation. In real life, the Ferengi would develop such a reputation for dishonesty that no reasonable person would buy from them.

    Comedy aliens in modern Doctor Who don't work. There just isn't the time to make them more than a source of amusing lines.

    "As for aliens wearing contemporary Western clothes, maybe it's because the Doctor takes contemporary Western people all over time and space with him and it's set a galactic/temporal fashion trend?"

    Nothing to do with unimaginative costume design then? I have the same problem with future humans in new series Doctor Who. They always dress like people today. Bring back silver jumpsuits!

  6. I think the problem with the show at the moment is there is too much variety and yet in the whole of series 6 so far we have not seen monsters that just want to destroy anyone and are evil apart from the silence and Night Terrors wasn't very good because the monsters weren't even real.I thought this episode was about just above average it was still good but i didn't like the fact that the monster wanted to die and the lack of explanation why some races created these prisons to feed the prisoners innocent people and i'm sure they could kill them by throwing a bomb at them.The monsters should be evi land want to kill people and not die.

  7. I'm still torn on this one, I want to like it more than I do, but I felt that it didn't live up to the creepiness it could have had.

  8. Dalek1099, I agree. Thanks for visiting.

  9. Spdk1, it seems to me that the current season really, really, really wants to be scary, but it doesen't understand how.

  10. Yep. Awful. No sense of pacing... shallow feeling... I didn't care at all about any of the minor charchters. This is certainly the worst season of DW in its long history. SM screwed us.

  11. I'll never cease to be amazed that there are Doctor Who fans who are both conservative and religious... The show has continually rallied against everything you stand for, and you seem to hate every new episode, and yet you still watch. I'm willing to bet you have quite a collection of whips and handcuffs hidden in your closet, because you just have to be a masochist.

  12. Very funny. With all the stories I have written about Morgaine in prison (plus the one about Peri getting arrested) you might think I prefer the handcuffs on the other side.

    Are you the same anonymous who commented on the most recent post?