Doctor Who Review: Sleep No More

The Doctor and Clara stumble across a research station in orbit of Neptune. Naturally, something’s gone horribly wrong.

Cast and Crew

Peter Capaldi as the Doctor
Jenna Coleman as Clara
Reece Shearsmith as Rassmussen
Elaine Tan as Nagata
Neet Mohan as Chopra
Bethany Black as 474
Paul Courtenay Hyu as Deep-Ando
Paul Davis as King Sandman
Tom Wilton and Matthew Doman as Sandmen
Zina Badran as the Morpheus Presenter
Natasha Sona Patel, Elizabeth Chong, Nikkita Chadha and Gracie Lai as the hologram singers

Written by Mark Gatiss
Produced by Nikki Wilson
Directed by Justin Molotnikov

Premise

A survival horror episode made from ‘found’ footage of a rescue team coming to investigate a research station which has gone silent, just as the Doctor and Clara also arrive in that fortuitous way they have.

High Points

I really wish there was one.

Low Points

Okay so there’s a reason, but… the entire episode.

The Scores

Originality: The story twist is something I’ve not actually seen before. It’s got familiar elements, but it combines them in a new way. 5/6.

Effects: Disappointing. Some good things, mostly helped out by the generally low lighting throughout the episode, but a very cheap-looking climactic scene and a sad mixture of good and utterly terrible computer UIs. 3/6.

The story twists and turns and attempts to deliver surprises and be scary, but completely failed for me. The weird stuff doesn’t build up with any sense of tension, there are inconsistencies all over the place that the characters don’t catch on to until it’s time for the big reveal, and when that comes it’s pretty disappointing. I really do expect better from Mark Gatiss. 2/6.

The acting is so-so. Having come from Capaldi’s passionate performance in the previous episode, this one really feels like an episode where everyone’s coasting a bit. We know at least two of these actors are better than that though, and given the story’s limitations there’s really only so much anybody could do. 3/6.

The emotional response just wasn’t. 1/6.

Production: dark corridors with odd cross-sections. Very strange camera angles, with an in-story reason of course – this is meant to be ‘found’ footage – but it doesn’t actually feel like that. And there’s an in-story reason for that too, but it doesn’t erase my underlying sense of dissatisfaction. 2/6.

Overall: I’ve been told some people thought this was really good. I disagree. I watched it, I thought it was mildly interesting, but this is definitely the weakest episode of this series so far. 2/6.

In total, Sleep No More receives a hugely disappointing 18/42.

7 replies on “Doctor Who Review: Sleep No More”

  1. Jethro says:

    This episode wasn’t so much Doctor Who as much as it was Doctor What The Hell Was That.

    I’m waiting for the next episode where The Doctor goes back/forward in time to get the skin-flake monsters and the bellybutton-lint monsters to fight the oh nevermind.

    Honestly I’m just glad to hear it wasn’t just me.

  2. Foeclan says:

    So, snot monsters vs. space marines that don’t know how to fire their weapons. Yeaaaaah. Not their best work.

  3. Fez says:

    I can’t think of any redeeming quality of this one. Yow it was painful.

  4. Jethro says:

    Also… I’ll admit I was REALLY not paying attention by the end, but… wasn’t this a cliffhanger ending?… I’m honestly not sure.

    • Fez says:

      I think it was more of an open-ended style, leaving it up to the viewer’s imagination, though I also wasn’t paying close attention by then. I think the plot- I mean transmission- got cut off and there was no lasting effect.

  5. Kiersten says:

    The main thing I remember? The Doctor actually lost!!!

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