Like Mark Goodacre, I’m going to take a few moments to single out last night’s Doctor Who story, Silence in the Library, as the best story of season four so far (even with part two yet to come). Writer Steven Moffat has proven himself again, and I’m delighted that he managed to craft this piece of horror around a planet-sized library.
Mark mentions the review from SFX which sums it up all right:
“After giving an entire generation of kids a phobia of statues with last-year’s Hugo-nominated Blink, Who showrunner elect Steven Moffat has now guaranteed they’ll also be sleeping with the lights on. The ‘count the shadows’ theme has the same elegant simplicity as Blink’s ‘don’t look away’, and Moffat once again shows he’s a master at mining maximum chill power from an unseen enemy. The Vashta Nerada may be faceless ‘piranhas of the air’ (aside from when they possess a spacesuit-clad skeleton), but no monster created courtesy of special effects could ever be as creepy as those which Moffat implants in your mind. To say they live in shadows all over the galaxy, even on Earth, might seem a little cruel to this planet’s more impressionable kids, but isn’t that what Doctor Who’s supposed to be about? The intriguing parallel plotline about the nameless little girl telling her psychiatrist Dr Moon (Colin Salmon) about the library in her head – or perhaps, as is hinted in the closing scenes, her world is fiction and the library reality – only serves to emphasise the episode’s claims to being the best of the series so far.”
My official verdict will have to wait for the second half of the story next week, but it’s a fair bet that Moffat has outdone himself with this one. Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead will definitely surpass The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances (season one), probably beat The Girl in the Fireplace (season two), and may even oust Blink (season three) as my all-time favorite. Moffat just keeps getting better.