Every Doctor Who Revival Episode Rated (Series Seven)

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21 August 2021

By Fraser

Doctor Who’s seventh series was pretty significant. Not only was it the third and last full season to feature Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor but it fell in line with the 50th anniversary of the show. To say that Steven Moffat’s hands were full is an understatement.

The focus on the anniversary special meant that the latter half of Series Seven dipped severely in quality. Would it be worth it in the end? Let’s have a look.

Asylum of the Daleks – 4/10

A Dalek prison is a super cool concept in theory but is punctuated by the assassination of the Ponds, who have no business returning to the story. Not only did their journeys essentially end in The Wedding of River Song, but they end up being divorced off-screen only to reunite in a rushed conclusion.

Jenna Coleman shows up as nobody’s favourite incarnation of Clara Oswald and the whole episode is nowhere near as exciting as it should be.

Dinosaurs on a Spaceship – 4/10

I have been incredibly harsh on this episode before and on rewatch, it’s not as awful as I remember. Still bad though.

Chibnall evidently knows how to make a fast-paced and silly romp yet here he seems to restrain himself rather than go full cheese. Childish humour and a premise that never seems to deliver.

A Town Called Mercy – 9/10

Massively underrated Doctor morality test. How did it take this long for a flat-out Western on Who? Smith, Gillan and Darvill all excel but the star of the show is Adrian Scarborough’s nuanced and layered performance as Kahler-Jex.

The way a non-Dalek entity pushed Eleven’s buttons by merely existing is something we haven’t seen before.

The Power of Three – 6/10

A delightfully scaled-down approach to not only an alien invasion, but life with the Doctor in general. The pacing is excellent with so much brilliantly laid out in the first fifteen minutes alone. I give Chibnall serious credit for that.

However, this proves to end up being the episodes undoing as we are left with possibly the most rushed, unsatisfying final conflict in the Smith run, featuring our first Palpatine rip-off of the series. Yes, our first.

The Angels Take Manhattan – 7/10

This episode is a bizarre paradox. Highly flawed, questionable dialogue and that Statue of Liberty moment. At the same time though, it is exciting, energetic, creepy and heartbreaking.

It’s a truly mixed bag but the stuff that is good is just so good that I often forget about the many problems and barmy decisions here. I feel like I need the world’s longest nap after sitting through it, even for the 100th time.

The Snowmen – 6/10

The consistency of this Christmas special fluctuates so rapidly. First half: really tight, very funny, and Jenna Coleman showing off how great an actress she is.

Then the second half. Apart from some nice tender moments, we find an episode dominated by lazy innuendo, weak dialogue and Richard E Grant becoming Palpatine 2.0. The whole ending makes me think my score is a little generous.

The Bells of Saint John – 2/10

This whole script feels like a child wrote an episode of Black Mirror. Such an uneventful and dull premise should surely lead to a stripped-down and scaled-back story but no.

Moffat can’t help himself but inject motorbikes up buildings, plane chases and time-hopping mystery boxes. I think there’s a chance he lost his mind on this one.

Also, as a side note, can we discuss Eleven’s costume change? It’s overlong, making Smith look shorter and restricting his physical acting which is one of his strengths. I get why it’s there for a change in his mood but with him bizarrely getting more annoyingly goofy rather than moody, it makes matters a whole lot worse and nonsensical.

The Rings of Akhaten – 4/10

The poor man’s End of the World. A companion debut adventure featuring strange aliens and a large sun-like antagonist.

However, this episode has none of the wit or excitement the former has. Smith’s speech at the end is powerful but really comes out of nowhere. And it doesn’t even end up working. Lame.

Cold War – 4/10

Series 7B’s emphasis on one-episode stories really sticks out here like a sore thumb. Cold War could have not just been a cool introduction for the Ice Warriors but a really tense and gripping base-under-siege story.

Instead, we get a bland and forgettable runaround with very little tension despite its best efforts. Also, that Ice Warrior really needed to keep his helmet on. That effect was appalling.

Hide – 5/10

A mish-mash of ideas that would work better if they were spread along a series of episodes rather than jammed into just one. I enjoy the twist of genres that wind their way constantly through the script but it is nowhere near as heart-warming or even as scary as it could have been.

Things actually look better if you view this as a spiritual prequel to 2014’s episode Listen. Just give it a watch back to back, you might see something for yourself.

Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS – 5/10

This piece becomes a whole lot funnier when you realise its origin. It was conceived because Moffat was frustrated at the BBC for not lending a budget to an episode from 1978 that explored the TARDIS interior with underwhelming results.

Improves as the episode goes along, particularly with the more abstract material and location hopping. Good luck getting me to care about the disposable supporting characters though.

The Crimson Horror – 3/10

The Crimson Horror needed to go one of two ways. Flat-out horror or complete comedy. It does neither and ends up failing at everything else. The majority of the episode is given to the Paternoster Gang with mixed results, but is totally collapsed by the end due to a nonsensical plot and laughable villain.

Nightmare in Silver – 7/10

Much like The Angels Take Manhattan, the flaws in this episode do not stop me from having a good time. Most of this is due to Smith’s completely insane, go-for-broke dual performance. It’s here that I realised that Smith would make a very good villain in a movie.

The plot from Neil Gaiman is likeable and I enjoy Clara’s take-charge mission, but did she really have to bring along those kids? Ugh.

The Name of the Doctor – 5/10

I’ve warmed to this one over the years but for the majority of the runtime, it feels like a massive tease. Especially for a series finale. Clara’s reveal is unsatisfying and forgotten about immediately but then again, you can’t blame yourself with that ending.

I mean, seriously. If that did not get you pumped back in the day, I don’t know what will.

The Night of the Doctor – 8/10

Paul McGann must be the unluckiest actor working today. He was born to play the Doctor, he wants to play the Doctor yet his screentime is minuscule. Oh well. Better let him condense all his frustration into six minutes and unleash a powerhouse performance, anchored by a fantastic script.

It may be short but it packs a punch and leaves you wondering what could have been if McGann was given a full series.

The Day of the Doctor – 10/10

The 50th anniversary of this show lived up to the hype. Three world-class actors bolstered by some of Moffat’s best-ever work and fan-service galore. This had the potential to be disastrous but it not only excels as a love letter to the show and its history but is a monumental, silly, exciting and joyous adventure that will stand the test of time.

The only problem with it? I did not see it at the cinema.

The Time of the Doctor – 9/10

Matt Smith’s farewell as the Doctor is largely punctuated by the cleaning up of many arcs throughout his run. That being said, Moffat certainly finds a way to wrap them up with triumphant flair. As sad and remorseful as it is manic and mad, The Time of the Doctor is a worthy finale that wraps up Eleven’s story nicely.

Matt Smith has expressed repeatedly his eagerness to return to the show. He’s certainly young enough to bolster another few series’ in him. Wishful thinking? Perhaps but with what we’ve been left with, The Eleventh Doctor won’t need anything else added to go down as one of the great Doctors.

Recommended Reading: Doctor Who: Every Revival Episode Rated (Series Six) 

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