The Best of Mark Gatiss So Far…
Guest contributor Jack H counts down writer Mark Gatiss’ best stories so far.
Mark Gatiss is one of the main new series writers. He was the first other than Head Writer Russell T Davies to write a script in 2005. Since then he has written four more scripts for the show and he returns this Saturday with another. In this article I will rank his previous outings and say what this can tell us about the content and quality of his next script.
5. The Idiot’s Lantern
The Idiot’s Lantern, is in my opinion, Mark’s worst episode for the show. Although it has a good creepy idea at its core, they are ruined by corny and cartoony moments. Mark also seems to make the Doctor and Rose unlikeable (well, more than usual in Rose’s case, which is hard) with their arrogance, pompousness and selfishness. However, the episode does show us good things about Mark. For example, he conveys the historical period really well, as he does in all his other historical episodes.
4. The Unquiet Dead
The Unquiet Dead was Mark Gatiss’ first script for the revived show. It showcased exactly what he does best – the macabre feel and the excellent depiction of a historical setting – all done with astounding realism. This was heightened by the fact Rose was experiencing all this anew too, which really helped Mark to realise the wonder of the past. He had obviously done his research on the period, and pulled off Charles Dickens’ character brilliantly. It remains one of the best depictions of a historical figure in the show in my opinion. But it was beaten by his next story.
3. Victory of the Daleks
This story has Daleks. Daleks! And yet Winston Churchill’s character still manages to be the highlight. The characterisation by Gatiss is brilliant as is the acting of Ian McNeice. The best interpretation of a historical figure in the entirety of Doctor Who in my opinion. Phenomenal. He also manages to capture the spirit of the Second World War marvellously, and again does a brilliant job of depicting a companion’s first trip into the past. Amy’s amazement when she sees London in the middle of World War Two being a standout scene. As for the Daleks, he uses them greatly creating a fantastic parallel of the Nazi’s within them, harking back to what inspired their original creation. The introduction of the New Paradigm is done very well and he starts on the road back to making them scary again, which Moffat completed in Asylum of the Daleks.
2. Night Terrors
Creepy. That’s the word I’d use to describe this story. The idea of dolls as monsters is incredibly unnerving there’s something very scary about things that have the basic shape of a face but aren’t. The story behind it is also handled well. It’s fun to see the Doctor in such a mundane setting and trying to do something so simple yet so inherently Doctor-like; to help a scared child.
1. Cold War
Mark Gatiss’ most recent story was a triumph. It finally brought back the Ice Warriors in spectacular fashion. They were scary again, something I felt they hadn’t been since their very first classic story. I also loved the new aspects he introduced to Martian culture and it was thrilling to see one outside of its armor. The setting of the Cold War was excellently utilised and the tension in the world at that time portrayed brilliantly. The claustrophobia of the submarine was also brilliant. All in all, simply a fantastic episode and Mark Gatiss’ best so far, but hopefully that will soon change…
What to expect from The Crimson Horror
As a Mark Gatiss episode there are things we can be fairly sure to expect from The Crimson Horror. Firstly, the historical setting will be depicted realistically and brilliantly. Secondly, it will contain elements of macabre and darkness. Thirdly, looking at his scripts so far they seem to generally be getting better and better, so let’s hope The Crimson Horror continues this trend and Mark delivers another belter of an episode.