News Categories
Archives

Best of Matt Smith: Cold War

best-of-matt-smith-cold-war

Across the next couple of months Doctor Who TV is running a series of polls to celebrate Matt Smith’s era. We want you to cast your votes on every story and at the end we’ll be comprising a list to find the top scoring.

We continue Series 7 with Cold War. All you have to do is rate the story with your score out of 10, so get voting and join us again tomorrow for the next episode.

Step back in time...

COMMENT GUIDELINES

Please be civil and keep article comments relevant and on topic. Flag and report any offensive/trolling behavior, or contact us with details.
Please do not post SPOILERS including anything from leaked episodes! Your account could be banned. For complete details on our comment policy please read.
155 comments
ericbfg
ericbfg

Like it, but spoiled by of all things, some clunky writing for Warner. Vienna? No one was that into it?

OzzyDenman
OzzyDenman

i thought i would be disappointed, but i wasn't at all!!! 10/10 what a way to bring the ice warriors back!

hybries
hybries

4/10. The low point of series 7. It's just Doctor Who 101, it adds absolutely nothing to the show and is filled with bad dialogues and characters.

DW_girl
DW_girl

6/10. Full of potential, what with the fear generated from the idea of the Ice Warrior hunting the crew down, away from it's armour suit, in a claustrophia-provoking submarine. However, it wasn't executed properly. There were some definite tense scenes, but the plot seemed unclear sometimes, and as usual Clara was not even necessary to the plot. I liked the old Professor- he was a fun and caring character, and the captain was quite dark, but loyal and commited. No real depth in any of the characters though, and even The Doctor was not explored properly. It was entertaining though, but it also lacked a sufficient solution too.

ClaraOswald
ClaraOswald

7/10

I have yet to see the classic Ice Warriors, apart from a clip on YouTube, so I had no expectations. I really enjoyed this monster. The parts that were filmed from "his perspective" worked really well in creating tension and he creeped me out.

Another thing I like about this episode is that we see a more vulnerable side to Clara's character. She's obviously terrified in this episode, so terrified that she is unable to maintain her tough shell that she donned for the past two episodes. It was like she finally realised that her adventures aren't just fun little trips; things get real and very dangerous very fast when you're with the Doctor. I appreciated that character development.

So yeah, I enjoyed this episode, but I keep "forgetting" it when thinking back on series 7B. It doesn't stand out among other episodes like The Name of the Doctor, Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS and Nightmare in Silver for me.

Oh, and the ending was hilarious. I'm still wondering how they managed to get to the other pole. ;)

DawnTime
DawnTime

This one has grown on me, not sure when I first watched, but a very good one great atmosphere.  Could not have been very pleasant to film what with being constantly wet when acting.  I love the way Matt's Doctor is very protective of Clara in this one and love the character of the professor (would like to see him again) was that not the wonderful David Warner?  I was never a fan of the Ice W of old.  But I must say great adaption in this and at last I am liking Mark Gatiss Writing.  A very good 8

Huknar
Huknar

It's good. That's all there is to say about it. It's not fantastic but it's not an average episode, and yet it barely does anything spectacular.


Galactic Yo Yo
Galactic Yo Yo

I've never been a huge fan of Mark Gatiss's work on Who, but I think having specific goals for his episodes in series 7 (reintroducing the Ice Warriors, doing a Paternoster Gang episode) gave him a greater sense of focus. While this will never be my favorite episode, it's probably my favorite Gatiss episode by a mile. Mostly because it's one of the few very good episodes for Clara. I've always thought that the interesting thing about Clara (that never got explored enough) was how different her original meeting with the Doctor was from any other companion. Normally the would-be companion stumbles into adventure and, by the end, the Doctor asks them to come along with him. However, the Doctor showed up on Clara’s doorstep and all but begged her to come with him. So it’s not surprising to find that she’s not as adventurous or bold as other companions. She clearly likes the idea of travel more than the practice of it. (She had that book of places to visit yet never left. The Doctor asks her to come with her and she says “Come back tomorrow.”) For an “impossible girl”, she’s arguably the most “normal” companion of the new series. And this episode is at its best when it’s examining what happens when you put a person like that in a situation like this. She sees a man eviscerated by the Ice Warrior and it really shakes her. The most telling moment in the episode is where the Doctor tells her to stay in one place and she doesn’t protest. She doesn’t go after him like Amy Pond would. She stays put. It’s what any of us would probably do. And it makes anything she does in the episode seem all the braver because she’s so scared. This characterization of her got muddled as the series wore on and the Fiftieth Anniversary celebrations meant that developing her character got backburnered. But here it works masterfully, and hopefully we’ll get it back in series 8.


charlylad1
charlylad1

6/10, an okay episode. However, I hope we never see special effects like the ones used on Skaldak again. We've seen better in series 1. 

Special Weapons Dalek
Special Weapons Dalek

This story felt very boring except for the return of the Great Ice Warriorssss! there redesign is perfect for Modern Who as it show of the Classic series but more up to date!   Shamefully Mark did something unforgivable to the Ice Warriors... He showed people what they looked like under there 'Armour'.. and made them Cyborgs... I will give it a 5/10 =/

Polyphase
Polyphase

I really liked this episode, Well after the previous 2 episodes I was really hanging out waiting for a decent episode. I think the Ice Warrior was pretty well done, Much better than the new Cyberman anyway 8/10

grumpyoldcow
grumpyoldcow

"Cold War" by Mark Gatiss, left me, well cold. Not by any fault of the episode itself just not my kind of Doctor Who. I prefer the arcs, the timey wimey stuff, the character episodes. This one is very tightly crafted. A straightforward, adventure story - the Doctor arrives somewhere and he's trapped, there's a monster lurking, or rather, running amuck, the Doctor saves the day or in this case, Earth, again, for about the millionth time, nobody really cares and Bob's Your Uncle.

Oh, and Clara is along for the adventure.

I did enjoy the production values. All that water and no one got electrocuted is a marvel. The soaked cast left me chucking more than once, unintentionally, I should add because I surely wouldn't make fun of them. And I've never seen so much as a drop of water on any of the lenses. So well done

Loved all the funny bits, from the Doctor's bigger on the inside pockets and his little yelp when being searched, to Clara not knowing the TARDIS was translating, to the cattle prod presumably used on polar bears, LOL. Um, think not, though about the cattle prod. Sorry, but to get that close to a polar bear to use a prod, you'd probably be dead already.

Wasn't too impressed with the Professor and his appetite for 80's music. Since I 've never seen the original Ice Warrior episode I have nothing to draw comparison to.

Although Clara had some nice parts, I dislike the ending with the "Saved the world. That's what we do." Um, what? And, sorry, but this director had her standing on something in that scene, and that's a pet peeve of mine. Find another way to minimize that height difference, if you mustat all!

Did we ever find out why the sonic was red this time?

Judge Claude Frollo
Judge Claude Frollo

Oh, dear, I'm not sure what to rate this one...I did like it,but after seeing the Ice Warriors (what was left of it, anyway) it seemed like a dissapointment.

The Mind Probe
The Mind Probe

Wow, surprised to see so much hate for this one! I thought it was a classic base-under-siege plot, and the development of the Ice Warriors was fantastic!

The Living Angel
The Living Angel

6/10, I absolutely hated! The IceWarriors reveal, the CGI was so poorly done. I really don't understand why they didn't just use make up and prosthetics, like vastra. 

Series 7b is for me the best Who we have ever had, except for 2 slight niggles, which are the Ice Warrior reveal and the lack of Tardis in Journey to the center of the Tardis.

sontaran17
sontaran17

Ah, here we are: Cold War! Now I have mixed feelings about this episode. It's not a bad episode, far from - but it's far from 'exceptional' like pretty much every other Season 7 Episode. To me, Cold War is the weakest in a phenomenal series, mainly because it's sandwiched in between absolute greatness, but as ever the optimist, I'm going to try and find a totally honest rating for Cold War that tries to focus on the best bits!


Now with Cold War, its difficult because its probably the one episode of Season 7 I've watched the least, and so my rating's not that updated as the others. 

Cold War for fills its primary purpose by introducing the Ice Warriors into the Revived series, and it does so with great class. The re-design is truthful to the original concept, and really is a great intimidating image. Skaldek as a character is brilliantly written: strong, authoritative, with a personality that is blunt and, well... issssssssssse Cold! Jenna continues to secure her place as a companion, and I think acts in a way that many of us can resonate with. In Bells: Clara was whisked away into this magical dangerous life of the Doctor, in Rings: she was shown how amazing life with the Doctor can be- Now, rightfully she has this feeling that she needs to impress this wonderful man, and she does so brilliantly! Her character is very innocent in this episode - its a really refreshing watching New Companions find their feet, and at the conclusion of Cold War, Clara is standing firm! Matt is on top form (surprise surprise) and plays the Doctor, ever the strategist- as his military side comes out to play! The supporting cast is brilliant, with Liam Cunningham and David Warner both a joy to watch! The Dialog is well written as well- with some stunning one liners! "I'm speaking Russian!" "If you were Pinocchio" "If you insist" and "Ultravox.. do they split up!" hilarious highlights!!

Ok, where this adventure didnt really work. For one, Im not usually one to judge an episode on effects, but the arms of the naked anorexic albino Warrior..... They just looked so fake! It honestly looked like a poor rubber rendition of my Aunt Sally's skelator fingers and long gypsy nails that had been glued to broom sticks someone held on to from the railing of the set. I mean honestly! Also- the whole idea of "THE WARRIOR OUT OF THE ARMOUR" and "SEE WHATS INSIDE", while intriguing at the beginning - really didnt drive the episode as it aimed to, and with such a lack laster reveal, it just felt unnecessary honestly. And while some aspects of the setting worked, Submarine - stroke of genius, Mutually Assured Destruction - relevant to the plot and historical context.... For some reason the whole Cold War setting didnt really glue together-and I think this was due to the isolated set of the episode, and so the fact the History of the CW wasn't too much relevant. In this sense I think a few scenes set outside the submarine would of helped the pace and break up the standard image of the wet dark corridor we constantly had with maybe a light dry control room, an interior look at the Ice Warrior's spaceship (for which its exterior looked brilliant!) - anything else really would of benefited.

All in All - A good episode, that succeeds in its mission, but fails short in making the adventure overly memorable! Some Great Character development, but some lousy environments.... 8/10 Hopefully a rewatch soon could drive it up to a 9... I keep ya posted ;)

Season 7 So far: Widow 10, Asylum 10, Dinosaurs 9.5 (10), Mercy 9.5 (9), Power 10, Angels 10, Snowmen 10, Bells 10, Rings 10, War 8

Chronos the Fannibal
Chronos the Fannibal

5/10 can't say I love it but I don't hate it either, the only thing that sticks out to me is the cgi used for Skaldaks face 

PrisonerZero
PrisonerZero

1/10 least favorite episode in the history of the show.  Dull plot, no character development, and an all red shirt cast

Nightmarish
Nightmarish

9/10. Not as good as anticipated with the Ice Warriors, but still, the setting was amazing.

Pockydon
Pockydon

When details started coming in about Series 7 Part 2, this was definitely my most anticipated story. The Ice Warriors have always intrigued me, and I thought the idea of a Russain sub with an Ice Warrior on board was one of the most simplistic, yet one of the best that I'd heard in a while. I absolutely couldn't wait for what would surely be a tense, claustrophobic experience, where death waits around every corner, in a vessel that could rip apart at any moment, and a tank-like creature of utter doom slowly chasing our heroes throughout the cramped corridors. His image in the background of everyone's mind, and a constant sense of unease as we know his loud, mechanical footsteps could sound at any minute. It was sure to be an utterly terrifying episode, and a brilliant way of introducing a slow, yet utterly deadly, classic monster. 

But nope, instead we got a very cheap Alien knockoff which made absolutely no sense for multiple reasons, was completely un-scary and quite frankly, a bit boring. It was also a massive wasted opportunity, and a total letdown. This was one of the things that taught me never to get excited for anything, as the most likely outcome for hyping something up is disappointment. And that's exactly what happened here. The expectations doomed this episode for me, and made what was just a very mediocre and boring episode feel like a massive slap to the face. This would normally get a 5/10 from me, but because of the huge wasted opportunity, I have no choice but to dock off some points. 

3/10

Deus_Ex_Machina
Deus_Ex_Machina

I can see why people might not like this episode, but personally I thought it was great. My expectations were pretty low coming into this one because I've never been overly fond of "base under seige" type stories or Mark Gatiss's writing, but to my surprise it turned out to be brilliant. Great to finally see David Warner in an episode and I only just realised the other day that it also has Brutus from Rome in it as well. The Ice Warrior looked brilliant, both in and out of its armour, and the fact that they looked so similar to the unmasked ones from the comics proves that Gatiss has really done his research. True, the ending was a little rushed, but aside from that it was a perfect return for the invaders from Mars. 9/10

TheDarkDaysReborn
TheDarkDaysReborn

So this is the most infuriating episode of season 7.5 imo, The reason is because it just ended  just  pop a space ship and end 

Baker Street is excited for Series 8!
Baker Street is excited for Series 8!

I don't understand this episode. I like it. That's definitely a fact. I like the characters in it. That's also a fact. I like the fact that there's an Ice Warrior in it. Again, that's a fact. I like the submarine. Another fact. I like the directing and the dialogue. Two more facts. But what I don't get about this episode is… well, the fact is that I don't really know. I can't decide whether it's the pacing, whether it's that it lacked a solid plot, or whether it's that not everything is as good as it could have been. I'll explain what I mean.

This episode is great. It sees the return of the Ice Warriors, it is set on a sinking Russian submarine during the Cold War, it's a tense base-under-siege story, the dialogue is great, and the main two characters and the supporting cast are great. But with all of those things comes a little problem, which stops this episode from being the masterpiece that it could have been. First up is the Ice Warrior, Skaldak. It was great to see them return, and the scene where the Doctor first encounters Skaldak is one of my favourite Series 7 scenes. But I don't know if this was the ideal story in which to bring them back, as Skaldak didn't feel like that much of a threat. I'd much rather have had a whole army of Ice Warriors in a different story, or Skaldak staying in his "shell suit" for the whole thing and nearly destroying the sub, the world, and killing pretty much everyone on the sub (*cough* 42 *cough*). The problem with him was that he didn't get much to do apart from run around the sub and hold people's heads, and I don't think he should have come out of his armour. Sorry, but I don't. Maybe if he had actually released a missile which the Doctor found a way to stop it might have been more interesting (okay, that's a pretty stupid idea), as the episode felt like an unfamiliar Ice Warrior randomly scuttling around a sub so that half an hour into the episode it could nearly destroy the world and then cancel the launch. I don't really get it. On the other hand, the Ice Warriors returned. So that's good. The other problem, in my opinion, is the general feel of the episode. It basically felt like it didn't really know what it was doing with itself. I think Mark Gatiss got so excited that he forgot to have a proper plot other than "an Ice Warrior gets loose on a Russian submarine". I get that Skaldak is avenging the supposed death of his race and that he is angry with the submarine crew (and that he had a longer nap than expected), but it's like I said earlier. An Ice Warrior starts running around and holding people's heads, which all culminates in him deciding to be nice and not launching the nuclear missile (bearing in mind he is the fiercest warrior the race ever produced). This episode is the shortest episode of New Who yet, and I think that if it was 45 - 50 minutes long it could have felt a little more solid.

But now onto the good bits. And I'm going to sound weird here after moaning about Skaldak, but I'm so glad the Ice Warriors returned. Think of it this way: my favourite type of cake is a chocolate brownie. I've had amazing chocolate brownies and not-so-good chocolate brownies, but ultimately the not-so-good ones are still chocolate brownies, which means that they're still good. The Ice Warriors are great, and while Skaldak wasn't great and he left his armour, the Ice Warriors still returned. Wow, I'm comparing Ice Warriors to chocolate brownies now. I must also praise the cast in this episode. Matt is superb (as ever); the Doctor knows the threat the lone Ice Warrior poses and Matt really brings out the Doctor's eccentric, alien side. Jenna is great too, which is surprising seeing as she has very little to do apart from her scene with Skaldak. But Clara's witty, feisty and brave, and I love the scene between her and Professor Grisenko after they've found the bodies, Professor Grisenko being someone else I love. David Warner is a legend, and I was pleasantly surprised to see him in Doctor Who after seeing him in Mad Dogs (my second favourite show). Professor Grisenko is the gentle, courageous father figure who just accepts the situation and listens to Duran Duran to calm himself down on a sinking submarine under attack from a Martian. The other things I must praise are the directing from Douglas Mackinnon and Gatiss' script. Mackinnon does wonders with the claustrophobic setting of the submarine, and the scene with Clara and Skaldak is great. It's tense and gives the impression that's something's wrong. Skaldak's helmet is out of focus for a lot of the time and it's not the centre of attention, but I did get the impression that something was about to happen. And then Mark Gatiss' script is amazing, with the return of the HADS, some confusion concerning the TARDIS translation matrix ("You speak excellent Russian, my dear, but sometimes I don't understand a word you're talking about"), some intriguing Martian references such as "the Tharsisian caste" and "the Phobos Heresy", and some great dialogue.

So in short, this episode is a mixed bag. It's not as good as it could have been and there are some pretty annoying issues with it. But it's a great episode that sees the return of the Ice Warriors. And that, combined with the other points I mentioned, make this worthy of an 8/10 in my opinion. And that's a fact.



The Finn
The Finn

An 8/10 from me. As someone who hasn't seen the classic Ice Warriors I thought this was a good reintroduction. The only downsides are that the sonic screwdriver conveniently reappeared to help solve the plot even after it had been lost earlier, and that the plot seemed rather too similar to Dalek.

Ninjauthor
Ninjauthor

to me this episode is wonderful 10/10

Master Michael Moon
Master Michael Moon

7/10. Such a perfect setting for a deadly ice cold resurrection. I mean Ice Warriors on a Submarine, that's current writing at it's best- the brilliant Mark Gatiss showcasing his talents. The odd bad story from him was certainly redeemed with Cold War and even more so with The Crimson Horror. In terms of the story, Cold War could have had a better ending and the controversial CGI rendering of the monster on board has got me split over whether I like it or not. Really want to see them return in Series 8 in a two parter set on Mars. No disagreements. 

Maryanne123
Maryanne123

For me the slightly lesser of the two Gatiss episodes this season but still a humdinger. It looks fantastic! Atmospheric, tense and that scene with Clara and the ice warrior is superb. The wet, breathless, claustrophobic feel of this episode is what makes it so successful for me. Needless to say Matt is on top form, switching from his wonderful zaniness to tense and serious. Gosh, does he ever turn in less than an 11/10 performance?

Clara is also great in this one and more star cameos. I wish we could have seen more from David Warner ( Moffat gets such remarkable guest stars). The creature is genuinely scary and well realised.

Photography and direction among the best ever. This looks like a film, not a TV Show.

My only quibble is the ending felt a bit rushed, so half a point off, but a triumphant return of the Ice Warriors. 9.5/10. Another cracker episode coming up.

Stott
Stott

Really nice and tense on first watch, really enjoyed it. It is a bit straightforward, a bit of a Dalek retread in some ways, and the terrible CGI head we finally see is just awful. Seriously, why the CGI cartoon head? What's wrong with a mask? Even a bad mask/prosthetics beats the insubstantiality‎ of a cartoon head!  But anyway, those niggles aside, it's a solid and atmospheric story.




thehlrviper
thehlrviper

I've been confused for the entirety of these poll's. Are we rating the episode or Matt's performance? I've just been giving 9 and 10s?

Amy is Hannibal
Amy is Hannibal

@grumpyoldcow  "Did we ever find out why the sonic was red this time?"


- Subtly referencing/foreshadowing the red settings that will be on River's screwdriver, I would assume.





Maryanne123
Maryanne123

Great review. Although I think it gets much closer to the masterpiece that is just under the surface than you do . Wish you hadn't mentioned 42 because it might start me on a rant which incldes words like ridiculous plot, dreadful acting from guest star, stupid resolution, dreary domestic scenes thrown in, poor pacing and hideous teeth grindingly bad acting and gurning from the doctor. Whew got that out of my system and yes, Cold War is kind of the polar oppsite of 42 - like a really bad reflection!

Maryanne123
Maryanne123

If it were just to rate Matt it would be 11 each time! Rewatching his run of episodes again, you realise there is simply no false notes, no falling back on earlier performances, just fresh and astonishing each time. How did he do that for three years? A masterclass in the art of acting.

Now his run on TV is over I hope Big Finish sign him up so we can have more audiobooks from him The couple he did show he is just as talented as a voice artist as he is on TV and film. I love the ones he did. Colin Bakers are great as welll. I am sure he would love to do these if his schedule allows. Something tells me he is going to be very busy in the future!

The stories in his run are pretty damn good too. Only three for me fall into the merely good, rather than great - Beast Below, Rings and Black Spot. Only Tom Baker"s middle era comes close to such consistent quality!

youshallnotpass
youshallnotpass

@thehlrviper''We continue Series 7 with Cold War. All you have to do is rate the story with your score out of 10...''

Antee991166
Antee991166

@thehlrviper Its rating the stories, otherwise it would be pretty dull I'd be giving out 10s all the time as well : )

TheDreamer
TheDreamer

@HisNameIsTheDoctor @The Living Angel  I love series 7b too. Actually, I love all of series 7. And series 6 too... and series 5. In fact, if you ask me which one is my favourite of the lot, my answer will change from week to week, lol. I love them all and really can't choose... :/ But that's me all over... ever indecisive, lol. :D

The Living Angel
The Living Angel

@BeyondThePolice @The Living Angel  no no, I didn't hate the episode, just the crappy CGI Ice Warrior. I have issues with CGI, I wish TV and film wouldn't use it where its not necessary.  The episode itself was just ok for me, but I gave it a 6 because its Doctor Who and I don't think any episode deserves less than a 5 :-) 

DW_girl
DW_girl

@Maryanne123 I loved 42! One of the best episodes of Series 3, and much better than Cold War.

Baker Street is excited for Series 8!
Baker Street is excited for Series 8!

I must admit that I wasn't keen on 42 at first but I have grown to like it a bit more. I should have used The Waters of Mars as an example, as everyone dies in that too.

grumpyoldcow
grumpyoldcow

I seldom mention Matt Smith in his episodes, because for me he is the "masterclass"of acting, so for me to rate an episode it's for everything else that' s being presented. It's a given by now that he is always the best of any episode.

:)

The Living Angel
The Living Angel

  I retract that last comment, there are a few episodes that i would and have rated less than a 5. I would rate, love and monsters 2/10 and Daleks in Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks 3/10 I did rate, Vincent and the Doctor 4/10 and A Town Called Mercy 4/10......so I'm a liar :(