Doctor Who Review: The Vampires of Venice

I apologise for the lack of a review of Flesh and Stone last week; this was due to the coinciding of my birthday and a pile of rehearsals. Suffice it to say that it was a worthy conclusion to Time of Angels. This week, we regress back to the mean a bit, but the mean does seem to be higher than last series.

Cast and Crew

Matt Smith as the Doctor
Karen Gillan as Amy Pond
Arthur Darvill as Rory
Helen McCrory as Rosanna
Lucian Msamati as Guido
Alisha Bailey as Isabella
Alex Price as Francesco

Written by Toby Whithouse

Produced by Tracie Simpson and Patrick Schweitzer

Directed by Jonny Campbell

Originally aired on the 8th of May 2010 on BBC One/BBC HD in the United Kingdom.

Premise

On the basis that the life he leads destroys relationships, particularly when only one partner has experienced it, the Doctor drops into Rory’s stag do and takes him and Amy on a date. The destination is Venice in 1680, where a school for girls appears to be full of vampires.

High Points

  • The Doctor and Rosanna’s little chat.

Low Points

  • Isabella’s exit
  • Guido’s exit.

The Scores

Originality: The last members of a dying race blah blah blah blah blah. Three out of six.

Effects: It’s not hugely convincing, partly perhaps because the aliens and weather effects are so obviously not something which could exist in the real world, but what actually lets down the effects are some of the scenes with fake canals in the background. Four out of six.

Story: Well-structured and well-written, but it’s not going to get the heart pounding or fascinate you with its twists and turns. Four out of six.

Acting: Fortunately, Arthur Darvill continued his good performance from the series opener. Helen McCrory was also impressive and brought wonderful stature and composure to her role. Karen Gillen and Matt Smith, happily, continued in their usual vein. Five out of six.

Emotional response: More amusing than scary or exciting. The best emotional connection I got was with the effect on Amy and Rory’s relationship. There was some attempt at heartstring tugging with the fate of Rosanna, but I didn’t feel it worked very well, perhaps through over-familiarity. Four out of six.

Production: It’s only when you start paying attention that you realise they avoid expansive shots of the city and generally stick to small bits of street, courtyards and interiors which can all be done in studio or in little corners on location. This is the budget making itself known (along with the fake canals), however some parts are done very well with some glorious period costume and an effective scene conducted entirely in green monochrome. Five out of six.

Overall: Entertaining, but not genius. Four out of six.

The Vampires of Venice receives a grand total of twenty-nine out of forty-two.

6 replies on “Doctor Who Review: The Vampires of Venice”

  1. TwistyHat says:

    Better than last series? Really?

    I think for me it peaked with Tennant, now its slowly going hill.

    • J_W_W says:

      Really?

      I think the writing and stories AND the big thread for this season are all better than in the previous few seasons. Sure Tennant’s acting was superb, but Matt Smith is holding his own and playing the doctor differently than Tennant which I think is important.

      I agree with the review that the average has been raised for Dr. Who episodes. I think last week’s was particularly good and was one of the rare second part of a two part episode that was better than the first.

      It appears to me that Moffat is trying to hold on to the feel pace and dialogue of his episodes into other episodes. The writing team seems much stronger this time around. They’re really building up my hopes that the finale is something big. Would it be too much to hope that the finale is so big and amazing that they’ll make it a three part story instead of just a two parter.

      Also, I get the feel that they are working on bringing the companions back into being companions and not love interests of the doctor. I think it is great writing how they had Amy throw herself at the Doctor and have him be appalled at it. This episode was a great comeback on that.

      I am really really liking season 5.

  2. JD DeLuzio says:

    I’m reminded of the Tom Baker years, which established the Doctor for me when I was a kid. We have a Doctor who comes across as almost mad, a companion who (thus far) seems only to be a companion (I never bought the Doctor/companion relationship stuff the new series kept wanting to do), and a whimsical TARDIS.

    And Baker’s Doctor experienced a few creepy adventures.

  3. Jethro says:

    I loved the costumes. The sets (and even the “sets”) worked for me, it was like watching Assassin’s Creed 2!

    I didn’t really get the ‘vampire’ guy EXPLODING.

  4. Dave says:

    I’m still chuckling over the library card. Hopefully the joke wasn’t lost on too many people (who may not be familiar with the half-dozen Doctors before Eccleston).

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