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Reviews for Suburban Hell

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Amusing, Nothing More

By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Monday 13 March 2017
Rating:   6

Suburban Hell has many of the features of a typical Alan Barnes script. One is placing Doctor Who into a non science-fictional environment and having the audience relish the "fish out of water" consequences. Another is to turn that non science-fictional environment into a science-fictional one. In this case, a 1970s themed dinner party provides the occasion for the Doctor and Leela to be in one of those dinner party plays so common to the 1960s and 1970s. Thus, Leela is utterly perplexed by the language and customs of such events, and describes her cocktail as "poison." There is much amusement as people mistake what the other is saying by trying to place it into their own context. Again, this is quite amusing. Another commonality of Barnes' writing is to be fairly loose on the science, so loose that it is more or less just magic with some science-y words flung at it. One of the most annoying aspects of Barnes's writing is his constant turning to "it's all the Doctor's fault" as if each time this were a new discovery. Couple this cliché with a reset button ending that often goes with the timey-wimey stories, and Suburban Hell simply fails to hold all its parts together.

Very very funny and very very nasty too

By:Matthew David Rabjohns, Bridgend, United Kingdom
Date:Sunday 3 March 2019
Rating:   10

The story opens with about the most real piece of normal everyday couple talk Ive ever heard from any Doctor Who story ever. A typical couple taking chunks out of each other in a very normal and real way that makes one think for the moment is this a Doctor Who episode or an episode of some old corny soap, thankfully it is clearly Doctor Who with some superb and very funny writing from Alan Barnes. I love how Alan constantly places the Doctor in areas we'd not normally think of for his Doctor. And as he lands on a normal everyday London suburb this just feels strangely fresh and diverting. That he gets to be in this place too with Leela is all the cooler as well. I always love hearing Tom and Louise acting together. Its always a recipe for success.

The villains of this piece do come across as nasty and vicious though. And soon all trace of the corny old soap is gone. Its also another stroke of genius to have Annette Badland grace the story too. Shes a marvellous actress who always delivers with her performances. Maybe the main villain caught in the picture is just a bit cliched, but who the hell cares when the story is as fun and entertaining as this surely is. And as ever the soundscape and production are top notch and the score is memorable and distinctive, as is the polished acting from all involved. This is yet another delightful story in the Fourth Doctor adventures. And the knife sharp wit with which Alan Barnes embues his stories for me is always welcome..

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