Doctor Who: The Power of the Doctor by Chris Chibnall; dir. Jamie Magnus Stone (BBC, 2022) Grandiloquent, saccharine, but something of a wet dream for longstanding Who fans. The plot is bonkers (not in such a bad way) and trades nostalgia for closure. Amidst the series-spanning Easter egg hunt, Sacha Dhawan gives the one performance of independent merit.
Doctor Who: Legend of the Sea Devils by Ella Road & Chris Chibnall; dir. Haolu Wang (BBC, 2022) At once laborious and rushed, committing neither to swashbuckling adventure nor to Yas and the Doctor (nor indeed to presaging the upcoming finale). The Sea Devils could have done with more of a revamp, as per the Ice Warriors in Series Seven.
Doctor Who: Eve of the Daleks by Chris Chibnall; dir. Annetta Laufer (BBC, 2022) Third try lucky for Chris Chibnall and Dalek specials. The time loop is a winner (explainy bits aside), while the enclosed environment and localised stakes allow the pepper pots to rise above their usual pointlessness. The guest characters have personality beyond function.
Doctor Who—Flux, Chapter 6: The Vanquishers by Chris Chibnall (BBC, 2021) The Grand Serpent turned out to be superfluous. Passenger served no purpose except to prove unexpectedly convenient. And the Flux itself was downgraded from universe devourer to infinitesimal matter-snacker. An enjoyable enough finale but something of a disappointment given the intricate build-up.
Doctor Who—Flux, Chapter 5: Survivors of the Flux by Chris Chibnall (BBC, 2021) Flux survives its first information dump and reaches the cliffhanger with everything to play for. This instalment sees some powerful performances (notwithstanding a comedy hermit in dubious taste) and portends either an epic final showdown or a damp squib riddled with subplot.
Doctor Who—Flux, Chapter 4: Village of the Angels by Chris Chibnall & Maxine Alderton (BBC, 2021) Chibnall has shown himself a past master of raising the stakes. Flux is on such a trajectory, ‘Village of the Angels’ proving creepy and superb. Hopefully it won’t suffer the sort of anticlimactic let-down as befell ‘Spyfall’ and ‘Can You Hear Me?’
Doctor Who—Flux, Chapter 3: Once, Upon Time by Chris Chibnall (2021) Not entirely satisfying as a self-contained episode, yet engaging enough and sufficiently comprehensible as to reveal some of the bigger picture (within which lies the Doctor’s Timeless Child origin story). The fractured mosaic / relived memories narrative allows for some out-of-character acting.
Doctor Who—Flux, Chapter 2: War of the Sontarans by Chris Chibnall (2021) Flux evinces lessons learnt from the Key to Time season arc, embedding the big picture more cohesively within its component parts. Chapter 2 sees Dan go from strength to strength, and rehabilitates the Sontarans somewhat (though still playing them mainly for laughs).
Doctor Who: The Halloween Apocalypse (Flux #1) by Chris Chibnall (2021) Swarm shapes as an adversary worth spending a series on—not merely taunting the Doctor (as Missy might do) but actually setting in motion a most horrifying end of days. John Bishop balances the high stakes as down-to-earth new companion Dan Lewis.
Doctor Who: Revolution of the Daleks by Chris Chibnall (BBC, 2021) Despite impressive credits elsewhere, Chris Chibnall has always seemed a little at sea when scripting Doctor Who. His writing here is clunky, the emotional moments forced (and overscored). It doesn’t help that the Daleks have outstayed their welcome by half a century.