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.