A quick review of tonight's "Doctor Who" coming up just as soon as I need some kind of phrase book...

After the dynamite, head-spinning, expensive, American two-parter that opened this season, "Doctor Who" was back on somewhat calmer, cheaper and, unfortunately, less interesting waters with "The Curse of the Black Spot."

It's not a terrible episode - Hugh Bonneville is quite good as the pirate captain and Amy's early swashbuckling outburst was a lot of fun - but a pretty flat, lifeless one, as if writer Steve Thompson's inspiration ran out not long after the phrase "'Doctor Who' on a pirate ship." There were lots of borrowed pieces from previous stories (everyone really being alive but changed in some way was a staple of Moffat's episodes in the Davies era, the Siren being a medical program was especially reminiscent of "The Doctor Dances," and Davies did plenty of those "Ten Little Indians"-style stories where we follow a small group of people, one getting picked off at a time), another almost-death for Rory and seemingly more technobabble than usual in the scene where the TARDIS flies off on its own.

Meh. Other than Amy swinging on a rope and wielding a cutlass, the only thing that seemed particularly exciting was the brief appearance of the mysterious lady with the cyborg eyepiece from last week's episode.

Oh well. They're not all riveting, and I can see kids on the younger end of the show's core audience being excited to see Amy and the Doctor wearing tri-corner hats and whatnot.

Next week, though: Neil Gaiman! That, I'm pumped for.

What did everybody else think?

Alan Sepinwall has been reviewing television since the mid-'90s, first for Tony Soprano's hometown paper, The Star-Ledger, and now for HitFix. His new book, "The Revolution Was Televised," about the last 15 years of TV drama, is for sale at Amazon. He can be reached at sepinwall@hitfix.com