3 September 2011
|Written by||Mark Gattis|
|Directed by||Richard Clark|
|Produced by||Sanne Wohlenberg|
‘You see these eyes? They’re old eyes. And one thing I can tell you. monsters are real!’
The TARDIS takes the Doctor, Amy and Rory to the scariest place in the universe where the Time Lord must help a little boy called George and his desperate father.
- Reception to the episode has been generally positive to mixed. Dan Martin of the Guardian commented that the episode was an improvement on Gatiss’s previous three episodes – The Unquiet Dead, The Idiot’s Lantern and Victory of the Daleks. He complimented it overall as a classy, creepy episode of retro Doctor Who in comparison to Let’s Kill Hitler, though he saw its plot as over-similar to The Empty Child and other episodes written by Steven Moffat. Martin later rated it the tenth best episode of the series, though the finale was not included in the list.
- Gavin Fuller of The Daily Telegraph praised the dolls for stealing the show, as well as the concept of the doll’s house.
- IGN’s Matt Risley rated the episode 8 out of 10, praising Gatiss’s script which moved the drama and horror straight into the miniaturised heart of a rickety creepy dolls house, with a set of villains that — while never as memorable or scary as their look may suggest — used sound design to its most effective. He said that the main story soared, though the sidelined Amy and Rory left little impact in relation to the Doctor, George, and Alex.
- Russell Lewin of SFX gave Night Terrors three and a half out of five stars, saying that it had many great things going for it but perhaps hasn’t quite got that little extra something that would have turned it into a classic and that nothing seemed especially unexpected. However, he praised the shots of the doll house and apartment buildings, the sound, dolls, the acting of Matt Smith and
- Daniel Mays, and the idea of George being alien who created the reality.
Blair Marnell of Crave Online noted that Night Terrors was reminiscent of the second series episode Fear Her, but said that this episode fared a little bit better because it didn’t rely on Jamie Oram’s George to be anything more than a scared little boy. She also praised Matt Smith’s performance and Arthur Darvill’s Rory, who was quickly becoming one of the funniest companions of the new Doctor Who, though she commented that Amy’s transformation into a doll was kind of glossed over within the story itself and there was never any doubt that it would be reversed. Overall, the episode was given a 7 out of 10 rating.
- Sam McPherson, writing for Zap2it, called Night Terrors the worst episode of series 6 so far that was an incoherent mess of an episode that was utterly unenjoyable and gave it an overall grade of a C+. He criticised the idea to follow up a story arc-heavy episode with a standalone one, as he felt it served as a speed bump for the forward momentum started in A Good Man Goes to War and continued through Night Terrors. He thought that its biggest flaw was that George was sidelined in favour of Alex, which missed an opportunity to make it a story about little boys overcoming fear and fighting off the monsters in their closets. However, he did praise dialogue delivered by Smith and Darvill
- Because the episode was originally planned to be in the first half of the series, many of the reviewers mentioned that it was strange that Amy and Rory did not comment upon what had happened previously, such as what had happened to their child
- McPherson noted the tacked-on nursery rhyme foreshadowing the Doctor’s death was included, though he thought it was unintelligible and did not count