A futuristic utopian colony world run by robots who speak emoji became a living hell for The Doctor and Bill in episode two of Doctor Who series 10 and viewers couldn’t help but think of another sci-fi series while watching the adventure unfold.
As the Vardy robots turned on the humans who’d entrusted them with the task of establishing a glorious new colony, some wondered if Smile was, in fact, a lost episode of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror.
This Doctor Who feels very Black Mirror so far
— Jennifer Williams (@JenWilliamsMEN) April 22, 2017
This Black Mirror episode is good #DoctorWho
— Leigh Crawford (@BlankTheMage) April 22, 2017
Smile is Black Mirror's Hated in the Nation meets The Girl Who Waited "This is a kindness." #DoctorWho
— Sara Lambert (@saralambert04) April 23, 2017
I don't remember this episode of Black Mirror. #DoctorWho
— Ray (@LordMortis315) April 23, 2017
It’s not a thought beyond the realms of possibility, though. Brooker did tell us he’d love to write a really horrible Doctor Who Christmas special.
Smile wasn’t his creation, though. It was the work of Frank Cottrell-Boyce, who previously penned series 8 episode In The Forest of The Night.
Cottrell-Boyce’s inspiration for the tale extended back to a time long before Black Mirror. If you look closely you’ll notice the colony ship in the episode is called Erehwon. That’s ‘nowhere’ spelled backwards, and a direct reference to Samuel Butler’s 1872 novel about a dystopian society where people live in fear of machines rising up to overtake them.
Erewhon by Samuel Butler is the first attempt to imagine a tech Utopia #DoctorWho
— Frank Cottrell-Boyce (@frankcottrell_b) April 22, 2017
The Vardy (those killer micro robots who are almost reminiscent of the nanogenes in The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances) were named for a friend and Doctor Who robotics advisor.
— Frank Cottrell-Boyce (@frankcottrell_b) April 21, 2017
Speaking of robots, the jury is still out on those emojibots, but fans did seem to agree on one thing: The Doctor’s personal emoji badge had fantastic eyebrows.
— Old Lady Bluehair (@OldLadyBluehair) April 23, 2017
— Michelle (@CONtessa_966) April 23, 2017
TWELVE AND HIS EYEBROW EMOJI BADGE ???????????????? #DoctorWho
— nazzz???????????? (@nazzlepops) April 22, 2017
Oh, and one a side note, remember that Fleischmann cold fusion engine on the ship? It was named for scientist Martin Fleischmann, who together with Stanley Pons attempted to make cold fusion a reality in the 1980s.
No wonder the Doctor was so eager to march for the noble pursuit in London.
Doctor Who continues on BBC1 on Saturday at 7.20pm