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Doctor Who Season 6: 5 Questions About “Night Terrors”

With Melody’s fate less of a secret – Well, slightly less, at least – Doctor Who got back to what it does best this week: Making everyday objects really rather disturbingly creepy. But even spooky ooky “Night Terrors” can’t keep us from having five questions…

Haven’t We Seen This All Before?
Not only was last night’s episode familiar in lots of Doctor Who ways – At this point, children singing and the mundane suddenly becoming very, very scary should both be officially labeled as Who cliches, I think – it also had callbacks to a lot of different things: The closet sucking the Doctor, Alex and the room in? Time Bandits. The scary wooden-headed dolls? Very Dave McKean, don’t you think? Oh, and Purcell sinking into the floor… Haven’t we seen that before in Nightmare on Elm Street? Despite the familiarity, this was still a pretty enjoyable episode – maybe because the show has gotten really good at being just scary enough when it needs to be.

Is This Series Really About Age?
I loved the line about a child’s bedroom being the scariest place in the universe; it seemed to be very appropriate for this generation of Who, which is really all about children. Not just George, of course, but little Amelia, Melody, the kids in “The Beast Below” and Kazran in “A Christmas Carol,” amongst many others. It’s telling that the Doctor, the one who sorts everything out eventually, acts like a kid most of the time, but when he has to convince Alex that he’s serious, talks about his “old eyes.” How much of this particular incarnation of Doctor Who isn’t just about taking the show back to its roots as a kids’ show, but is also making a statement about the need to maintain a childlike approach to the world no matter how old you are, I wonder? And also…

Remember When Estates Were Friendlier?
Am I the only person who thought that this episode marked a noticeble difference to how the series used to portray estate living from when Russell T Davies was in charge? Neighbors were friendlier, the grime was somehow cleaner…? Maybe it’s just me, but there was an odd level of this episode being more suspicious/scared of urban life than it used to be.

Is Rory Now The Greatest Companion?
Rory has grown on me considerably since his first appearance, to the point where he now seems to be getting the best lines every episode, and has a refreshingly tired attitude about adventures at times – His “I bet this is the Tardis” grumbling last night was a great alternative to the all-or-nothing excitement normally seen on the show. It helps that he’s also someone who’s punched Hitler and apparently able to ride a motorbike successfully despite having never done it before, when the situation calls for it. I’m not quite sure where it’s come from, but Rory may have become my favorite companion… which probably means we’re about due for him to die again soon, really.

Should We Be Thinking More About Perception Filters?
A second appearance of an alien hiding in plain sight by using a perception filter in as many years… Should that be considered important? I don’t know why that stuck out at me when it was being explained last night, but between this and “The Eleventh Hour,” I can’t help but feel as if we’re being told something that we should really be paying attention to about things that might be right there in front of us that we’re not seeing…


  • Shawn

    Rory is a legend. Him thinking they were dead again, his frustration over not finding a doorknob, him thinking it was probably the 1700s and the TARDIS was doing some wibbly wobbly thing…..he had some pretty funny moments. Best part=next week we get more Rory and Amy.

  • Catsmeow

    How can you guys watch a show where the Doctor travels with a married couple? I want the Doctor and Amy together as a couple.

  • Mark Walley

    Perception filters are massively big on this show. Not just the 11th Hour and this one, but also the Pirate one (wasn’t the ship a perception filter or vis-a-versa?) the Lodger (his whole upstairs was cloaked in a perception filter). The vampires of venice (I think the Doctor used the word perception filter in that one). The doctor also frequently goes on about things staring him straight in the face (Roman Rory in the Pandorica opens, and I’m sure a bunch of other ones.) So yes, I think it’s leading us all somewhere. We’ll kick ourselves for sure when it’s revealed to us.

  • Michaelbrown8999

    Why would you want the Dr and Amy together? The current dynamic works so well and any relationship between them would just be a horrible Rose/Tennant repeat. Oh and on things being hidden, The Silence are looking for the answer hiding in plain site…

  • pat

    What got me was the doctors line towards the end, “here we all are, in the flesh”

    Or something along those lines… Hmmm…

  • Adam P. Knave

    The Perception filter has been a huge thing under Moffet. The Silence ship in season 5, before we knew what they were, the Silence themselves… We keep being told “What we see isn’t what’s there” and wasn’t that the big thing this episode – she can’t have kids. All of it leading right back to the Doctor’s death. Nothing is what it first seems to be.

    Also, before we knew George wasn’t just a normal kid – and we get the paper grabbing his chant and brigning in the Doctor, I mentioned to a friend “The Doctor is being shifted more and more into being the Patron Saint for frightened children, and isn’t that a wonderful bit, really?”

  • Shawn

    Wow I hadn’t thought that. I was gonna say the Silence stares them in the face and we don’t see them, or rather, we don’t remember them. But you’re so right about the oldest question hidden in plain sight. Better lead up to something good.

  • Shawn


  • Jacob

    What? Why? The Doctor already has his significant other.

  • Jacob

    The vampires in Venice used perception filters so no one noticed they were fish.

  • Jacob

    1: Yes. A lot of this episode was visually referencing famous movies.
    2: Why not? It works.
    3: Not really…
    4: Yes. Rory is amazing.
    5: Perception filters have been used heavily since RTD’s era. There’s one on the TARDIS, for crying out loud.

  • Matt Dalton

    don’t be daft!! he’s already married to their daughter (who has regenerated at least twice that we know of!

  • Matt Dalton

    don’t be daft!! he’s already married to their daughter (who has regenerated at least twice that we know of!

  • Shiromi Arserio

    I guess I didn’t get the same impression you guys did about the whole perception filters thing. It seems like it’s come up from time to time in both Who and Torchwood. It would be interesting to see if there’s anything to it though, but I doubt it. As for making a housing estate scary again… why not? I actually liked the way they made the mundane scary. It’s easy to make an old house look scary, but a housing estate, less so. Well, aside from the less supernatural types of scary usually associated with housing estates.

  • Catsmeow

    The Doctor hasn’t been with Rose in a long time. P.S. I hate River with a passion, she’s absolutely the worst character ever created in the 48-year history of Doctor Who. “Sweetie” this, bitch!

  • Catsmeow

    …which is sickening and disgusting. The Doctor should be with Amy. I like the romance between the Doctor and his companions (like Rose and Martha), and I liked the burgeoning romance between the Doctor and Amy last season.

  • Catsmeow


  • Jacob

    The Doctor is with River right now. Just because you don’t like the character doesn’t invalidate their relationship.

  • Jacob

    How is it “…which is sickening and disgusting.”?

  • Jase

    No thanks. Would ruin the dynamic of the show IMO.

  • Jase

    Well, the episode was rumored to have supposed to have been placed in the first half of series 6.

  • Jacob

    Not a rumor. This one was swapped with the pirate one to provide variety in the separate halves.

  • Joey

    “I liked the burgeoning romance between the Doctor and Amy last season.”
    That wasn’t a burgeoning romance, Amy had a crush on the Doctor, there was no reciprocation.

    Doctor Who’s been going for nearly 50 years.  Doctor/companion romances are a Russell T Davies thing, and frankly, I could never stick RTD.

  • Modiplop

    Housing estate looking scary = I liked it
    perception filters = easy storytelling?
    doctors companions/romance = its the tension we like catsmeow, if they got together it would probably be boring
    river song = aye not too chuffed with her character but can live with it

  • Amibami

    I’m liking the change in Rory, in the beginning he since was weak walk all over type; now I’d really think twice before messing with Rory.

    I agree RTD doctor who was a lot cleaner and brighter also well, but I like the change. I actually liked the estates, they’re called estates right because where I’m from they’re called apartments, they kinda homey to me. Well, without the creepy dolls. 

  • jephd

    The doctor shouldnt fall for his companions, even when they fall for him.  That was the biggest thing wrong with RTD!

  • jephd

    Exactly. Plus The Doctor has always had a wife and she ain’t called River.

  • Lastnamecumbie

    I think that the doctor doesn’t need a love companion because it always ends bad second he is married third there has to be more to Amy I think her daughter being born in the tardis is not what gave her the powers and third what ever happened to the doctors daughter you know the one that was cloned from him? What if somehow she is Amy and the doctor can’t see that but maybe its also why he never had those type of feelings for a love relationship with her but instead treats her like a daughter and than that would mean River is his grand daughter ok never mind on that last one lol

  • Talon Jennings

    I would wager pretty heavily that the oldest question they refer to is something along the lines of “Where did the Time Lords go?”

    This also may be years and years off, but I also see this plot thread ending in a multiple doctors story that redeems and removes the Time Lords from the Time War. Eccleston would take some coasting, but if set up like this, it would be a story primed for the inclusion of the ever elusive eighth doctor. 

  • Michael Pullmann

    As far as “things that are right in front of your face,” go, I can’t help but think about the reveal last week about Amy realizing Rory was in love with her.

  • Jhawkins1047

    There was also a perception filter possibly in the mosselium that that the Byzantium crashed into when they didn’t notice the statues had only one head when they needed to have 2. It was either that or they were “thick”.

  • Jhawkins1047

    No. It has to be what the Doctor’s real name is. And I think we are going to find out in The Wedding Of River Song that his marriage is the only time he could tell someone his name. Just a hunch.

  • Dpcoltx

    Back together again. In the flesh.

    Really? No comments on that closing line? It’s like it was right before our eyes….

    So where is the doctor?

  • Dpcoltx

    As soon as I post, I find someone mentioned it. I skim too much,

  • Jacob

    Why does it have to be what his name is? Especially since you say it’s just a hunch.

  • DDS

    This article is a disgrace — it’s largely been taken from two articles found here, at You Hacks.

  • pat

    so obviously they changed some stuff up to account for the pirates being in the first half finale. so…. my comment still stands in my mind.

  • Generalgrievous365

    Let’s put it this way….when the Doctor is romantic with a companion, people tend to latch on…to the point where had to CREATE A SECOND DOCTOR just so that fans would be happy with How Rose’s story ended. With River, we already know how she dies, and so does the Doctor. And in season 5, Amy was a girl who believed in fairy tales, but believed they would let you down. Her trying to jump the Doctor’s bones was because she was terrified marrying Rory wouldn’t be a happy ever after. So the Doctor makes it his mission to show her that happy endings CAN come true, and because he succeeds, she is able to bring him back into existence. The end of season 5 can best be summed up by Sam in Return of the King: “Mr Gandalf, is everything sad going to come untrue?”

  • johnnyprozac johnnyprozac

    I hated when the entire thing with Rose became a romance novel. I like this dynamic right now with Rory and Amy.

    I also love River. The actress was awesome on ER and she is a breath of fresh sly air in this show

  • Jase

    To be fair, even though the subtext was clear that he fell for her too, he still kept Rose at arms length and didn’t actually return her feelings.

  • Rshenk11

    Did you actually read both articles?

    The only thing they really have in common is the number Five. Some of the points may be slightly similar, but overall, just the judgments of two different fans.

  • Brian from Canada

    2012 will have no Doctor Who.

    2013 will be its fiftieth anniversary. Given that the 10th had the three Doctors, 20th had the five, and thirtieth had a quick skit with as many people as they could get, you’ve got a VERY strong chance that the Doctors will reunite against a crisis involving time itself in 2013.

    Eccleston isn’t necessary either; Tom Baker didn’t participate in The Five Doctors and they found a way around it. 

    But I would like to see Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, David Tennant and Matt Smith together in something — preferably something to do with U.N.I.T., since Sarah Jane is no longer with us and (based on his one appearance on the SJAs) the Brigadier isn’t showing any youth either.

  • D4_m1m3

    I think the perception filter’s just a common (read: overused) mcguffin to explain why the Doctor doesn’t notice something.

  • Grady tripp

    I guess it’s more in the terms of “why didn’t the doctor help in this particular catastrophe (insert here any catastrophe the doctor didn’t involve himself)?” like mels’/river’s explanation why the titanic sunk and hitler could rise to power in “let’s kill hitler”

  • graeme is dumb

    You are right. Graeme is such a hack- he sucks on this site. I love that usually when he posts more people comment bitching about him then actually talking about the topic. I hope he gives Rich Johnston his pay for this ‘article’ since he stole it from Rich’s Bleeding Cool site.

  • Dphilpott

    Nice one.

  • Seb Patrick

    Nicholas Courtney passed away earlier this year as well.

  • Jjgerding

    Well, I, for one, enjoyed the return of the Doctor to the “good old days”. Independent storyline, no cliffhanging ending, kind of funny, kind of scary, no story-within-a-story, etc. Just the way Doctor Who used to be. Refreshing, I think.
    That being said, one thing that I have noticed in this most recent run is that the content of the BBC version of each episode has been cut down to match the US broadcast. I watch on the BBC I-Player, and just last season the shows ran around 58 minutes. Now, they only run about 48 minutes.  Torchwood episodes, for example also run about 58 minutes. I think it is a shame that the powers behind the good Doctor have caved to the demands of US broadcasting. Just my opinion.