Sometimes the Honchos of the Tour wonder, perhaps aloud, to themselves that they’re not very ‘good’ fans, and here we’ll attempt to tie this back to the echoes of ‘classic’ Season 26 which we can’t help bumping up against of late. Occasionally in the life of a fan you come across something which you know isn’t really all that good–probably an attachment from childhood is in play here–but eventually you come to like, perhaps even love that ‘thing’ because you have put so much work into working your way up to ‘like’ that you will even defend it based on the sunk-cost up to that point. Here at the Tour we contend that, for us, Ghost Light is such a story.
We’ve opined on this before so if we’re being repetitive you have to forgive us at least a little. Lots of fans love Ghost Light, heck it made the semifinals of this year’s T3T over at Outpost Gallifrey, so we know we hold something of a minority opinion on this, but for us Ghost Light is a story to be respected but not admired or loved. At three episodes it was so clearly in need of a 4th episode to allow for more character and plot development and just a chance to breathe a little that it seems like ‘Advanced Doctor Who’ to us. Something so much more for the faithful than the great-unwashed that it might even seem a little off-putting. Anything which would greatly benefit from a second viewing to be fully understood is always a ding for its reputation going forward.
Once, Upon Time has the unenviable task of being squarely in the mushy-middle of this six-part epic comprising Series 13. Unlike Ghost Light it does not suffer for a lack of running time, but we are left to wonder that like its 32-year-old predicate, it sits so squarely in the flex of the Flux theme that casual viewers will have no idea what is going on here. The Tour Honchos found a second pass made clear almost all of the dangling threads which whizzed by in flurries of exposition, but we still can’t shake the feeling this is ‘Advanced Doctor Who.’
Chris Chibnall clearly trusts his audience to follow everything without needless hand-holding. We wish the Tour shared that trust.