‘Spyfall Part One’ – Setting the Tone for Another Underwhelming TV Series

We have been disappointed by many TV series over the past couple of years. The market is now so saturated with streaming services that it’s like a sponge and, if you squeeze it, there’ll be floods of “exclusive content” leaking out of every orifice.

The BBC have also joined the war against themselves, partnering with ITV to launch Britbox. It’s had a rocky receival by the public, but so did Netflix and Spotify. I can see Britbox being a small success. BBC Sounds turned out well, so they’ve obviously got a very good “Stream Team”.

Unfortunately, arguably the BBC’s biggest and neediest baby, Doctor Who, just doesn’t live up to what’s on offer elsewhere. I had a hint of optimism going into Series 12, thinking that Chibbers would learn from his many, many mistakes of the last series. Some things have improved, but it is still, unmistakably, the uncreative and potential-wasting Chibnall show we’ve all been grieving.


The Good

There has finally been an improvement in the dialogue. Some of the characters (including the companions) have actual, meaningful lines that are engaging and make sense. The Doctor is doing less of the “look at me, I’m so quirky” and feels a bit more like an established character.

There were some really good performances. Stephen Fry as ‘C’ was very well cast and he delivered his lines brilliantly. I’m glad that he, at least, was done justice in this show and killed off before he could be ruined. It’s just a shame that he’s not been in it before.

Another performance, Lenny Henry’s ‘Daniel Barton’, actually surprised me. I’ve always seen him as the funny man, but he pulled off the mysterious, untrustworthy CEO role really well.

I am actually impressed with the cinematography. It’s a personal preference of mine, but I love when directors get creative with the camera and the lighting. It’s such a great way to create atmospheres and moods and just show off your creativity. The camera was a lot more dynamic in this episode. Less standard, boring camera moves and framing. It was interesting to look at at all times.


The Bad

*exhales deeply* Oh boy. Aside from the exceptions above, the dialogue was still severely lacking. There was still too much commentary on what’s happening. It’s almost as if Chris Chibnall is writing the audio description for blind viewers and handed the wrong script to the actors. We don’t need to be told “I’m not in control of the car” because WE CAN SEE THAT ALREADY. We don’t need Graham to shout “we’re going over the edge!” because WE KNOW THAT ALREADY. Nobody benefits from explaining what is happening right in front of our eyes. Not the characters, not the viewers, so just stop.

The performances from Jodie Whittaker and Tosin Cole were still really, really bad. Tosin Cole simply isn’t a good actor. I don’t know how he got cast. I’ve never been convinced by any of his dialogue delivery. He just seems so rigid and like he wasn’t meant to be in the show.

Again, Jodie Whittaker is not the Doctor. She is passive, comes across as dim and doesn’t seem heroic in any way. If Thirteen died in the next episode, I would happily watch the rest of the series knowing I wouldn’t have to put up with listening to her dumb herself down and yammer on about random, inconsequential nonsense. Also, why is the Doctor using a laptop for things that she was using the TARDIS for just minutes beforehand? The TARDIS is there! Use it! I really don’t feel like the TARDIS is alive any more. The Doctor used to talk to the TARDIS – they had a connection. Now, it’s just a room with big, piss-coloured crystals looming over the cast of no chemistry.


The Master

I’m torn on this one. I’ve always hated whoever became the new Master. Every time it’s revealed that this person happens to be the Master, I’m like “oh no, this is NOT the Master. I can’t believed they’ve made THIS the Master,” but look at Michelle Gomez. I loved her by the end of her tenure in the role. John Simm was iconic and brought the character into the 21st Century. The way Sacha Dhawan’s Master acts throughout the episode is very similar to how Missy was in ‘Dark Water’. I think Dhawan has the potential to be a great Master. That said, only Chris Chibnall could make the Master blow his cover by forgetting that his fake identity was a champion sprinter. *smashes computer* This is giving me bubble wrap flashbacks.

What Next?

Well, I’m a die-hard fan so I’m probably going to watch every new episode that comes out until I die. If you’re not, though, just forget that anything was made after Series 8.

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