In the UK we are spoiled. Every Sunday, the BBC brings us a new episode of a much-loved, long-running drama. We have a varied cast, social messaging, weekly storylines, series arcs and some character development. Enough of Call the Midwife; we first have to deal with the lottery which is Doctor Who. Sometimes rather good, sometimes not and sometimes (as with Can You Hear Me?) inhibited by the format. I’ll explain what I mean…
Can You Hear Me?
For my money, the episodes of Doctor Who, unlike Call the Midwife, are too independent. Where the latter can drip-feed information on characters week by week, Doctor Who chooses to ignore the companions for weeks then suddenly pour out the personal content. With three companions this means a lot of time spent on family / history / friends. It squeezes the single episode story rather badly.
With the time available, Can You Hear Me? was squeezed too far. We had an interesting set up, exploration of mental health through nightmare and some aliens. It was all squeezed.
Aleppo looked really well thought out but why bother if it’s just for a red herring? I think it was wasted. In the old days (when it was all fields round here…), a four part story would have spent at least one episode just exploring Aleppo. We could have split the team, left one behind, done some Sheffield and slowly built to the space station / prison.
The nightmare stealing was all good, the aliens had potential (did we need mention of the Guardians and Celestial Toymaker? What was the point of making then Eternals?) We could have had a big chunk of space station exploration in parallel to Aleppo.
The Doctor blunders in and lets out the big bad alien. I thought resolution then was poor. We had big exposition drop via graphics then a Jedi summoning of the sonic, wave it as a magic wand over everything thin trick the bad gods. The end. Rushed and frankly poor.
It’s a big shame. There’s a very good story not far below the surface and I think writer Charlene James was let down by the format.
Can You Hear Me? was far from rubbish but also a long way from very good.
Do you agree? Let me know!