Steven Moffatt had some very strong words about people who spoil episodes. It's a challenge for me - although I don't mind seeking out spoilers for my own entertainment, I do try to not spoil when I'm blogging about or writing about a movie/book/episode.
I say this as an introduction because with "The Doctor's Wife", I don't want to spoil it. Although there's much to enjoy, I think much of that enjoyment is in the way writer Neil Gaiman tells this story.
Admittedly, I'm a little Gaiman-ed out at the moment: the Chicago Public Library recently featured Neverwhere as part of its "One Book, One Chicago" program, so I've seen much more Gaiman love on Twitter than perhaps others have. I was prepared to see a nice, well told story at the very least....but what I received was, well, nothing short of spectacular.
Gaiman provides a very intriguing premise - several, in fact - that I'm surprised have never been used either in classic or newer Who. Much of the joy of this episode comes in the fact that it's a much broader, deeper emotional spectrum than we have seen in new Wbo. Just when you think that this was going to turn into fanwank, it actually plays up to one of Gaiman's strengths - taking pieces of familiar tales (like his work in Sandman, 1602 for Marvel), pulling some familiar nuances, and placing them in a slightly different, more intriguing context.
In many ways (at least, for me) this episode is reminiscent of Rob Shearman's Dalek in 2005 - not in terms of tone and content, but in the way that it takes a familiar Doctor Who concept and not only slightly reinvents it, but gives it much greater emotional resonance.
This is definitely classic Who, and hopefully, Mr. Gaiman will write another script for Moffatt-era Who. But if he doesn't.....he's left his mark.
Now as for me, off to the library to check out American Gods