This is a given by now, but this review contains spoilers.
As you may know, the title of this week’s Doctor Who is Vampires Of Venice. Not really a subtle title there, but mercifully they don’t run into Cullen and the Gang (not least because it’d be incredibly anachronistic)1. Or so you’d think…turns out they’re not actually vampires at all. They are space vampire fish (ye gods, I never thought I’d say that). That’s Doctor Who for you though, always going beyond the mundane2 and subverting your expectations.
This episode introduces Amy’s beloved (no, not the Doctor) as a companion, where he turns out to have a few moral speeches to serve the Doctor with. Reminds me a bit of Season Two, where they were foreshadowing that someone would have to pay for the Doctor’s actions sooner or later. Got two words for you, Rory: Time. Machine.
It was refreshing to have a male companion in the TARDIS again, because as a perverted individual, I’m always anticipating that the Doctor and Hot Totty #2 will traumatise millions of children by getting it on within the TARDIS. Having a male companion dissipates the sexual tension. Or increases it, I’m not sure with.
I found the bit at the beginning highly amusing, because of all the ways for Rory to find that his fiancée tried to kiss a Time Lord, said Time Lord telling him was certainly not expected. The tension between the Doctor and Rory was done very well and it was certainly believable. Same again with Amy and Rory.
The action scenes were fairly exciting, even if it was quite obviously set up what was coming and the best bits were spoiled by last week’s trailer. There were some funny moments in the action as well, which is always worth seeing.
Now, onto the Cullen-lites themselves…they’re space vampire fish. That’s all you need to know really.
No, seriously. Doctor Who has difficulty doing monsters of myth and I have no idea why.
In the 44 years of televised Doctor Who, we have had six ‘vampire stories’ and maybe one or two legitimate vampires. A brief rundown of encounters follows: (legitimacy means honest-to-God Hammer Horror3, Bram Stoker style vampires)
1) Dracula kills some Daleks in the First Doctor serial, The Chase…he’s a funfair robot. Non-legitimate.
2) Space Vampire called Axos tries to pull a Galactus during the Third Doctor’s tenure. Non-legitimate.
3) Giant Vampires from Space try and kill the Doctor (or something). King Vampire receives the Ming the Merciless treatment. Space dweller indicates non-legitimacy.
4) Sea dwelling vampiric creatures which can be killed by a stake to the heart and are averse to symbols of belief. So, in effect, they are space fish (like this week’s episode). Similar enough to warrant legitimacy due to the stakes and belief things.
5) A space vampire, called a Plasmavore, which sucks blood to survive. Similar in that respect, no other. Non legitimate.
6) This week’s creations were set up to be a lot more menacing than they actually were. Rather bizarrely, they are less legitimate than number four, which is almost the same concept. Non legitimate
In summary, this episode has a lot in common with previous Who tales, and it’s quite weird that they still haven’t done a confrontation with a Hammer Horror style vampire or something. Good episode though, certainly one to watch.
1I’m worried about the anachronistic possibilities should the Cullens appear in Doctor Who? Good lord, I need to sort out my priorities.
2Because vampires are so mundane.
31930’s production house which churned out horror movies such as Dracula and The Mummy.