Doctor Who Showrunners reviewed #6 Russell T. Davies #6 Season twenty-seven Episode eleven Boom Town
Doctor Who Showrunners Reviewed (formerly Doctor Who Head Writers Reviewed) is a series I am running on a weekly basis here, in-which I review each episode written by the three Showrunners (executive producers who write episodes): Russell T. Davies, Steven Moffat and Chris Chibnall. After viewing each episode, I give the episode a verdict of either success or failure, and explain how I came to that decision. A running score will be included at the end of each entry, showing how each Showrunner is doing in terms of episodes written to episode I have considered a success. And I do not use information from anywhere other than the episode itself (unless it is fact-checking).
I have also recently decided not to review episodes written by Showrunners when those Showrunners were staff writers; staff writing is a different principle to Showrunning. Moffat and Chibnall wrote episodes before becoming Showrunner – those episodes will not be included in Doctor Who Showrunners Reviewed, because Moffat and Chibnall wrote those episodes before they actually became Showrunner; in that sense, they are only “Showrunner episodes” retrospectively, and therefore originally were not during the writing process. Which is why I will not be including them here. We continue with season twenty-seven’s eleventh episode: Russell T. Davies’ Boom Town.
After attempting to process Boom Town for a while now, I have come to the conclusion that it simply cannot be described in any meaningful way other than by describing exactly what you will already know if you have seen it, which I suspect you have (why else are you reading this?) So instead of justifying Boom Town with any meaningful attempt at dissection or analysis, I am going to do it in bullet points. Because that certainly seems to be how Boom Town was written:
- This episode only exists as filler. The Bad Wolf allusions are recapped in the next episode – appropriately titled Bad Wolf – anyway, and with the flashbacks necessary for it to make sense. Rose’s anecdote in The Parting of the Ways as to the Heart of the TARDIS was recapped through another flashback, making Boom Town pointless from the premise.
- The Slitheen are in it. In my review of Aliens of London, I described them as pantomime villains. I am sure Davies has his reasons, but that does not make him right.
- The chase scene makes little sense, is not so much played for laughs as played for stupid and takes up time that could have been used for something relevant.
- Not only is the plot mind-numbingly simplistic, but is also too slowly-placed at the same time.
- The Bad Wolf allusions are telegraphed to the point of being on-the-nose, especially because no Welsh-speaker seems to have questioned the decision to give a major population centre’s nuclear power station a name like “Bad Wolf”.
- The main scene of the episode is the Doctor and Blon discussing the Doctor’s morality, despite Blon’s fate being a result of her own actions. Neither the Doctor nor Rose contribute anything to the paper-thin plot.
- In the grand scheme of the season, Boom Town does not need to exist. Season twenty-seven could have been cut-down to twelve episodes and been all the better for it.
Now let us never speak of Boom Town again.
Russell T. Davies: 3 – 6
Next episode: Bad Wolf, by Russell T. Davies