Suspension of Disbelief

Suspension of Disbelief: The Doctor’s Wife

Suspension of Disbelief is a weekly feature, in which we review movies, books, TV shows, and other popular culture for the skeptical teen.

TV Show Title: Doctor Who
Episode Name: The Doctor’s Wife
Genre: British Sci-Fi
Writer: Neil Gaiman

4.5 out of 5 TARDISes 

Review: First off, if you’re not familiar with Doctor Who, a bit of background. It’s the longest running sci-fi TV show ever, starting in 1963 and running more or less continuously ever since. Now, this means there’s 48 years of backlog, right? Well, according to the writer of last Saturday’s episode:

There’s a blue box. It’s bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. It can go anywhere in time and space and sometimes even where it’s meant to go. And when it turns up, there’s a bloke in it called The Doctor and there will be stuff wrong and he will do his best to sort it out and he will probably succeed ’cause he’s awesome. Now sit down, shut up, and watch ‘Blink’.

This really is the basic premise of the show. All of time and space, traversed by a mad man who changes his face and body instead of dying, his little blue box called a TARDIS, and the people he brings along for the ride. If you’ve never watched the show before, I recommend starting with either Rose, the first episode in 2005 when the show was revived, or Blink, an episode midway through the second season, or The Eleventh Hour, the first episode of Season 5.

Now, as there is no possible way to do a review on Doctor Who as a whole show, I’d like to review the latest episode, The Doctor’s Wife. I’ll try to avoid spoilers as much as possible, but if you’re not at all familiar with the show, I make no promises. This is the fourth episode of season 6, and takes place in a bubble universe outside of our own. In this tiny universe, there’s a planet made up of the junk of our universe, that’s alive and seemingly welcoming, supporting the four lost souls on it’s surface and welcoming the Doctor and his companions. But all’s not as it seems, as one of the inhabitants of the House turns in to a “mad bitey lady” and the TARDIS starts acting strange…

This is about all I can give you without going into too much detail and spoiling the whole episode, which is well worth the watch. Suffice it to say, Gaiman has put a fascinating spin on the idea of The Doctor’s Wife. It’s a simple story, focusing mainly on the TARDIS, for once. In an hour, it manages to be funny, sad, creepy, uplifting, scary, and absolutely brilliant. While it’s not my favorite episode, it’s certainly in the top 10, and has some of the best acting I’ve seen. It answers some questions raised over the long arc of the show, and raises some new ones. I recommend this episode as a highlight of Doctor Who.

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Ali Marie

Ali Marie

Ali Marie is a recent Master's of Education graduate, and is now venturing back into the world of non-traditional education, as an outreach program leader at a children's museum. Her interests vary widely, but include board games, music, dinosaurs, and science as a whole.

You can find Ali on Twitter, @ascientifica.


  1. May 17, 2011 at 4:06 pm —

    Squee! I’m so glad you wrote this. I think this is – so far – the best episode of the season. I’ve not been in love with the writing/plot development this season. I know I’m basically alone in thinking this. But anyhoo…Neil Gaiman FTW!

    • May 17, 2011 at 6:38 pm —

      I really enjoyed this one, though I probably liked the first two-parter better… For whatever reason, the episodes that have me clinging to the seat or the person next to me in terror quickly become my absolute favorites. Blink and Midnight are two of my other favorites for the same reason. This one was not as scary as the Silents, but it had the same “We don’t know what this monster that almost beat the Doctor is…” feel that I enjoyed in Midnight.
      Also, this episode has inspired me to actually read some of Neil Gaiman’s work. Somehow, prior to this year, I had only generally hear of him and Terry Prachett, which is quite unacceptable. Just as soon as I actually write my term papers…

      • May 18, 2011 at 9:24 am —

        YES! You should read Neil Gaiman! Right now!

        Midnight and Blink are my favorite episodes, too! You clearly have good taste in DW episodes.

  2. May 18, 2011 at 5:15 pm —

    This was a seriously awesome episode… Neil Gaiman keeps getting more cool.

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