2 out of 2 found this review helpful.
City of Spires does get a lot of praise, and on the surface, it's not hard to assume why. After all, the story does see the return of Jamie Macrimmmon, one of the most (rightfully) popular companions in the show's history. And I will admit that the interaction between the Doctor and Jamie was nailed in this story, from their reunion to the bond that they have to regrow throughout the events of the story. But that is probably about as far as my praise goes for City of Spires. The problem with this story is pacing. It starts off well enough, but within less than 15 minutes, the Doctor and Jamie are already on their way to confront Red Cap, which means that the story becomes desperate to invent a few incidents along the way that will prolong the story. I honestly wish that the reunion had taken a bit longer, rather than Jamie trusting the Doctor within the first 5 minutes of meeting him and setting off, BY THEMSELVES, to fight a being that is superhumanly strong and fast. Along the way, there's some strange mist, a piper's tune and some other pointless filler that I just didn't care for and barely took notice of becuase it was just so unimportant to the plot.
From then on, it doesn't make the same mistake of rushing then padding itself out too much, but it still feels very flawed. It seems that the characters just journey around, get captured, then escape or get rescued and repeat the cycle again and again. Admittedly, the story becomes a lot more exciting and interesting in the second half as it becomes less basic/formulaic and starts to reveal its subtle differences from other stories, but I still can't excuse the poor pacing that fills this story. Another huge issue is the host of bland, forgettable characters. Will Guthrie made no significant impact to the story and was killed before he'd had any quality content, Rob Roy McGregor was introduced far too late, and Victor Ciprion's motivations and personality were very weakly explored, with only some very shoddy explanations actually given.
Overall, City of Spires is a very poor script, and overrated as it can possibly get. I'm not actually saying it's the worst story in the world, but if you go in expecting 9s or 10s/10, you'll be sorely disappointed.