The Idiot’s Lantern Reaction

The Idiot’s Lantern drew mixed reviews from all areas of Doctor Who fandom, but was naturally popular enough to beat ITV’s “Soccer Aid” charity-celeb-footy-match.

With an average of 6.3 million viewers (source: The Mirror), Doctor Who beat the Robbie Williams vs Maradona celebrity soccer show by 200,000 viewers. The long weekend is likely resposible for the overall drop in viewers across the board, along with promotion for the episode not starting until Saturday morning (during Anthony Worrall-Thompson’s “Saturday Kitchen”, which this week featured an Italian chef cooking a Mexican meatball dish…)

SFX magazine’s website previewed The Idiot’s Lantern, observing that:

If the A-plot is a little transparent for the cognoscenti, the B-plot more than compensates. Like Life on Mars, “The Idiot’s Lantern” may be set in the recent past but it doesn’t romanticise or simplify that past, reminding us that the ‘50s wasn’t all hula hoops and Elvis Presley. This story has more than one “baddie”, with the Doctor and Rose also righteously trouncing a more banal brand of evil.

Matthew Milam’s review on adopts the angle of comparing The Idiot’s Lantern to The Unquiet Dead, which sees the Tenth Doctor adventure shaping up unfavourably. Sadly the argument isn’t a good one, however, with aspects such as the point of the police’s presence in the story and the diction of the young actor playing Eddie. Not good arguments, Mr Milam…

Now Playing Magazine meanwhile features the words of Arnold T Blumberg who says of the episode:

“The Idiot’s Lantern” is… much like the typical fare one might expect from the titular device — mildly diverting, occasionally surprising, but ultimately disposable fare that’s as soon forgotten as enjoyed…. the whole episode feels like mindless filler that doesn’t bear close scrutiny. It’s airy fluff, not substantial drama…

And that pretty much sums the story up. Given what we know about RTD and the production team’s ideas about pacing, I think we can expect The Idiot’s Lantern to be the calm before the storm that is The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit


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