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06 February 2015 @ 06:37 pm
NuWho Rewatch: Blink  
NLSS Child decided, eventually, that she couldn't wait until I had a weekend free to watch Blink. We sat down right after school today (to allow plenty of recovery time) and armed ourselves with popcorn and haribo ("for stabilisation" she explained). Of course, Blink isn't actually that scary - certainly not as scary as the imagination of a small child catching five minutes on YouTube had managed to make it. At the end NLSS Child agreed that it actually had been OK and that she is no longer afraid of falling statuary in the shower.

I think Blink is one of the best Doctor Who stories out there. Even though I am, to a certain extent, somewhat tired of Stephen Moffat's timey-wimey puzzle box story construction, I don't think he's ever done it so well as he did here and, in this outing at least, it is fresh and different. Carey Mulligan is excellent as Sally Sparrow, but this is very much Moffat writing under the editorial control of Davies. The interactions in Sally Sparrow's flat and, to an extent, those between Sally and Billy Shipton are much more every day than the interactions we tend to get in Moffat's vision of Doctor Who.

There has been some criticism recently that Moffat has a "type" of female character which makes them all a bit interchangeable. One thing that is fairly striking here is that it isn't just female characters he writes to a type. Larry Nightingale now looks like nothing quite so much as a prototype Rory Williams. In fact NLSS Child in discussing her vague memories of catching a fragment of Blink on youtube said she thought she had mistaken Larry for Rory.

Of course the risk with this kind of trick story construction is that it does not bear repeated viewing. Even more so here, where a number of moments rely on surprise as part of their charm - for instance the back and forth video conversations. This is my third viewing of the story and I still like it a lot, even though I know what is coming. That said I had a fair idea when I first saw it since I had read Moffat's "What I did in my Christmas Holidays by Sally Sparrow" in the 2006 Doctor Who annual. (Interestingly I recently got involved in an online conversation where one participant insisted there was an earlier version of the story, by a woman, that was a "beloved Children's story" dating from the 1970s or earlier. Sadly they had been told this by a friend and knew no more, beyond insisting that their friend definitely wasn't misremembering fan gossip about Moffat's story. It would be interesting, if this is true, to track down the original.) That said, the story in the annual, while starting in a very similar fashion, diverges pretty quickly. This is a grown up Sally Sparrow for a start, and the Weeping Angels are a new invention which, I think have rightly become recurring monsters though like all recurring monsters they suffer from the show's need to up the stakes with each appearance. In some ways one of the great things about Blink is that it isn't satisfied to have just one idea (the timey-wimey story telling) but to have two (the quantum locked Angels).

This is still a really good story, for all we've become much more familiar with Moffat's style of story construction and the types of characters he tends to write. It is clever enough and different enough to stand on its own as a genuinely excellent piece of Doctor Who.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/141384.html.
Adilo Creamon: min1the_marquis on February 7th, 2015 11:32 pm (UTC)
Am I the only one who thinks of NLSS child as meaning No Longer So Scary child a la 'are you my mummy'? ;)
louisedennislouisedennis on February 8th, 2015 09:57 am (UTC)
I suppose she could be no-longer-so all manner of things beginning with an S!!