The Queen Lived
Because speaking of the pitfalls of cleverness, both within and outwith the story: "Midnight," I do not like, so I will not tell you the story. There are moments, I suppose, but really it's just one moment repeated ad infinitum by a very talented actress, followed by amateur sociology hour and a heavy-handed yet strangely light-on-depth seminar on group dynamics. Yes, the fear of what's unseen is the fear that controls us, and yes, people act like dickholes when they get in groups, and yes, lesbians are scary when they get dumped. Yes, old people suck and are hateful, and young people are awesome but easily manipulated. I agree with these things because they are self-evident. But I don't need forty-five minutes of that when I can just look outside. I think I would have been more excited by it if I were A) claustrophobic, B) afraid of crowds or public speaking, or C) capable of being scared by things on TV. I like how it took apart every crutch the Doctor has, his arrogance and reliance on his cleverness and blarney skills -- but did not so much enjoy being told that was exactly what was happening, over and over.
I get that it's a tonal piece, and the dialogue stuff really adds to the atmosphere. But I'm not able to go there. Maybe it's from doing this job. Show me Lesley Sharp repeating dialogue for a half hour and I will marvel at her technical efficiency and I will be amazed as always by the amazing angles of her face, but I won't get scared. So I don't have a lot to say about it. It's like "Blink" last year (or "Dalek," or the Cybermen two-parter): I get why it's awesome, I just don't have the thing that gives me entry and makes me freak out about it. Or maybe I just missed you. God knows if you'd told me what "Fires Of Pompeii" or "Partners In Crime" were about, I would have laughed in your face. You made those live. (Sadly, not even you could save the final act of "Planet Of The Ood," which had me rolling regardless.) This one just left me feeling like I was at a workshop for actors and playwrights, which I hate. Too many ideas, not enough art.
I am trying to think of things to say about "Midnight," if it's not obvious, because I don't want to keep going. We're almost done. One more story, and I will say goodnight. And maybe you'll read this, maybe you'll see the words but they won't help, maybe you never read it at all. Maybe you're somewhere these words can't go. Maybe that's better; it's certainly safe. But Donna, if you could see yourself. If you could see Donna the way we do, it would be like an infinite library: every stall: such comedy, and such humanity. Such depth of feeling. Such beauty, in every movement and every word. And you just walk away.