Thursday, May 23, 2013

Doctor Who - Season 6 - Episodes 1-6

 File:Doctor Who Series 6.png

 Because Doctor Who is amongst my favoritest TV shows of all time, I've been incredibly sad to have trouble connecting with the reboot starting with Matt Smith as Doctor #11.  A re-watch of season 5 helped me develop an appreciation for Matt Smith but it did not improve my feelings for Amy Pond or River Song.

So, the point of all that rambling is to say I've been slow to watch Season 6.  But buzz about the upcoming 50th Anniversary episode this November (and the knowledge that Amy is no longer the companion in Series 7), has given me a little shove in the Season 6 direction. I'll write about each episode in turn and then try to summarize my overall feelings about the season halfway through and then the second half and feelings on the whole shebang in a second post. Here goes:


The Impossible Astronaut and Day of the Moon (Eps 1 and 2)

The Majority of the action in these two episodes takes place in the U.S. during 1969. Amy, Rory, River Song, and a random ex-FBI Agent receive Tardis Blue invitations with a date, time and coordinates. When they get there they run into the Doctor who announces they will be heading to 1969 but he doesn't say why. This is definitely one of the more convoluted and mysterious plots which works best the less you know so I'll leave it at that vague point.

I liked all the twists and turns in this one and it sets up the big bad for the near future of the series really well. The Silence are seriously creepy. It also introduces and leaves untied a lot of loose ends which will be slowly developed and revealed throughout the season. I was also quite impressed that the plot was subtly started in Season 5 - nice long-term plotting! My favorite moment was probably the Doctor stumbling unintentionally and clandestinely into the Oval Office ("I was looking for the oblong room!") - It is played really well by Matt Smith. Because I'm not a River Song fan, I really didn't like all the flirty flirty and angst with the Doctor. But overall this was a great two part season opener - An improvement over Season 5's two parters.
Grade: B+

Curse of the Black Spot (Episode 3)

Pirates! Doctor Who and PIRATES! You had me at Pirates.  "Yo ho ho. Erm..Or does no one actually say that?" The Tardis is drawn by a distress signal to a 17th century pirate ship in the middle of a becalmed sea that is being terrorized by a Siren.  As soon as anybody on the ship is injured in any way they are marked with a black spot and the Siren appears and zaps them away with her touch.

I really liked this episode!  It's a fun one-off. The solution to who/what the siren is, was clever.  And did I mention there are pirates?  Things I liked - Pirates!  And all the Doctor's fun with the pirate cliches.  The one scene I didn't care for was CPR on Rory - it was manipulative and overdone and unoriginal and ugh.  However, so far I'm really enjoying Season 6... Grade: A

The Doctor's Wife (Episode 4)

 The episode starts off with The Doctor getting mail!  It's a distress signal from another Time Lord called The Corsair.  In response, The Doctor, Amy, and Rory rush off to a pocket of the universe that's been isolated from the regular universe and they encounter some very strange folk.  In the end this is a love story between the TARDIS and her Doctor...Awww....

It's like the delicious child produced in a union between Terry Gilliam and Tim Burton.  Love, love, love the soul of the TARDIS personified. The actress who plays her was lovely. We get to see more of the Tardis' innards and its surprisingly boring. I love that the TARDIS thinks Rory is the pretty one.  I love the Doctor's "excitement" about his TARDIS being a Lady (whose name is Sexy). And finally I love the TARDIS kicking some ass!  If you can't tell I very much like this one!  And I've just figured out why  - it was written by Neil Gaiman! Grade: A+

 The Rebel Flesh and The Almost People (Episode 5 and 6)

This an episode ala the small-crew-trapped-in-an-out-of-the-way-place-and-bad-things-start-going-down which they have in every series (The Time of Angels and Flesh and Stone in series 5, Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead in series 4, 42 in series 3, The Impossible Planet and The Satan Pit in series 2, Bad Wolf and Parting of The Ways in Season 1).  This time the out of the way place is a medieval monastery on an island of future Earth where a small group of people are using sentient Doppelgangers of themselves to mine an extremely caustic acid.  When a solar storm hits there are suddenly two of everyone and conflict is inevitable.

Doctor Who frequently likes to question what makes a sentient being  - what is a person with worth of their own (New Earth from series 2 is one example that comes quickly to mind). These two episodes do an okay but not great job of addressing the question because basically the humans and the doppelgangers are equally corrupt.  I liked that Rory got to be a little independent and wasn't trailing after Amy like a lovesick puppy the whole time even if he was pretty ineffectual. Nice twist at the end and the final scene is properly scary! Grade: B

Well at this point my relief is HUGE.  I thought I was done with Doctor Who but no such tragedy.  Thus far Series 6 has been fantastic even with Amy Pond and River Song. Can't wait to see what the second half of Series 6 has to offer.

What was your favorite episode in this first half of series 6 and why? Did you have the same lack of enthusiasm for series 5 as I did?

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