Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Doctor Who - The reboot of the reboot

Episode 5.1 The Eleventh Hour

As I mentioned here I have had some trouble warming up to the most recent reboot of Doctor Who, i.e. seasons five onward or starting with Doctor #11. This is really pretty distressing for me because I LOVE Doctor Who - it has been a mainstay favorite for many a year now. 

My feeling has been that my ennui was a timing thing.  Sometimes you're just not in the right frame of mind to see something in its best light.  It could also be the old curmudgeon who lives in my head, occasionally shaking his cane menacingly, that is not adjusting well to the change.  I adjusted just fine to the switch from Doctor # 9 to #10 but there was at least the comforting presence of the same companion and of course Doctor #10 stayed constant through the various companion shuffles.  Now we have a new doctor, new companion, new tardis, new "Powers that Be" and it may be more than the old man living in my head can take (interesting that he's a man - are men less adaptable to change then women? Hmmm....)   Umm.. and finally, most humiliatingly, and most likely, it is the 12 year old girl living in my head.  As again is likely apparent here my absolute favorite companion is Rose and I really love her relationship with the Doctor.  Steven Moffat has other ideas though and this reboot makes it highly unlikely that we will get visits from or even mentions of any of the former companions.  This makes me sad.  But this makes me happy. Please, Please, Please!

With all that completely neurotic background out of the way, lets move forward with my re-watch of season 5 in an attempt to like it better.  Initial impressions with episode # 1.  The episode itself is pretty good:
  1. prisoner zero is appropriately menacing and the creepy use of the cloaking and the ability to appear as other lifeforms is cool
  2. it's a decent intro to Amy Pond and a good use of the Tardis' time hiccups
  3. the reveal of the Atraxi's true target is clever
  4. introduces the the through line for all of series 5
Overall not one of my favorite stories but pretty good.  But of course what really matters to me are the characters.
  1. Matt Smith as the Doctor  I remember the first time around being kind of meh about him.  He's young and cute, I've seen the actor in other things and like him but he didn't seem terribly original.  That impression did weaken a bit on second viewing and I really enjoyed the first 5 or so minutes interacting with the young Amelia Pond.  He does well with the disorientation of regeneration and has some good chemistry with the young actress.  I also like his "I'm the Doctor, Fear me" speech to the Atraxi towards the end - he managed this better then David Tennant in The Christmas Invasion.  My impression coming out of this episode a second time is pretty favorable.
  2. Amy Pond  I had sort of the opposite reaction as compared to the Doctor. I vaguely remember liking her after the first time round but this time really didn't like her.  I think this impression is being influenced by the fact that by the end of the first watch of the first series I was no longer crazy about her.  I have to say she does seem somewhat promising in this first episode and she's certainly very striking looking.  I really liked Amelia Pond, the little girl.
  3. Rory (do we know his last name yet?) I liked him okay before he encounters the Doctor but once they collide I really didn't like him when he becomes a ditherer.  I think I like him better as the series goes on but I think my view of him is colored by the fact that I think he and Amy have no chemistry and really don't engage with them as a couple. 
So not bad, but doesn't hit me with the all-encompassing obsession that seasons 1-4 did. We'll see if it kicks in as I go along.

So what's your favorite season of Doctor Who?  How do you feel about the reboot of the uh..reboot?

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