R.J. Anderson (rj_anderson) wrote,
R.J. Anderson

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In which I finally get around to talking about DOCTOR WHO

I have spent the last fourteen weeks with my nose in my laptop, writing furiously -- but now Arrow is all drafted and even a bit polished and ready to send to my editor for her comments, huzzah!

So now it is time to fulfill my promise of telling you all what I think of the new season of Doctor Who. Because I know you have all been waiting for my Very Important Opinion on this subject, and that nobody else on the entire Interwebs has had anything sensible or interesting to say about it in the meantime.

*coughs in an embarrassed fashion*

Anyway. My opinions, which are mine and also contain Great Walloping Wads of SPOILERS, are as follows:

THE ELEVENTH HOUR: Plot-wise, an over-the-top runaround with a curiously restrained though icky-looking villain and an even ickier giant eyeball. The crack in Amy's wall was more interesting than either of them. But that being said, oh, what a wonderful introduction to the Eleventh Doctor and Amy! Within the first few minutes I was charmed (fish custard = WIN), by about halfway through I was absorbed, and by the end I was trying to decide whether I like Eleven as much as or more than Five, and leaning heavily toward the "more" side, which is HUGE, people. Huge.

Though unlike others, I didn't at all care for Eleven's final, rather bombastic speech to the Giant Eyeball -- it smacked too much of all the things I was hating about Ten and the RTD era by the end. I'd rather be shown how scary the Doctor is than be told how scary he is -- especially when it's the Doctor doing the talking, which just makes me want to slap him. But still. A nice transition from the old era to the new.

THE BEAST BELOW: An episode with a great deal of style and panache and not a whole lot of sense, but frankly I didn't care about the plot holes. Not with Liz Ten being awesome and gorgeous and fierce and making me wish we could keep her for the whole season. Sophie Okonedo FTW. I need an icon. And more delicious character moments for the Doctor and Amy, and Amy being smart and figuring things out and saving the day, which I loved. I approve of how Matt Smith does anger. I actually believe he is angry and upset, instead of merely making loud noises and scrunching up his face. Nice.

VICTORY OF THE DALEKS: The last episode that made me scared of the Daleks was, um... "Dalek", actually. Which was also the first episode that ever made me scared of the Daleks, and that chilling sequence with the single Dalek taking out an entire squadron of soldiers gave me hope that they would actually be handled in a scary and interesting fashion in the new series. But no, they've just bored and/or vaguely embarrassed me ever since.

Not that episode was up to much in any case -- among other glaring plot problems, the Doctor's ability to fool the Daleks with a Jammy Dodger (however cute) strained credulity past the breaking point, and then having him turn around and fiddle with their scanners while they just stood there was equally preposterous. I mean, at least give me some reason for them not to do the obvious thing and shoot him. As it was, how am I supposed to be scared of villains that are that stupid?

I think there were some actually good bits somewhere in this episode, but what I remember were the bad bits and I have no desire to sit through it again. Also, we watched it with our kids and they were all bored.

THE TIME OF ANGELS: I did not think the Weeping Angels could possibly get scarier, and in a way I was right; this doesn't have the nail-biting Hitchcockian suspense of "Blink". But in another way it is MUCH SCARIER, because the stakes are higher and the angels are more dangerous than ever, in new and unexpected ways. Aieee! And also because I was so very worried for Amy.

Loving the characters even more in this one. The interaction between the Doctor, Amy and River is delicious, and there are a bunch of great lines. It's such fun to see the Doctor thrown off his game and Amy and River sharing amusement at his expense over things like landing the TARDIS -- but when things get tense, there's no doubt Who's in charge (oh, I'm sorry, that was bad, I'll stop now).

FLESH AND STONE: I was afraid that after such a wonderful Part One to this story, Part Two couldn't possibly live up to it -- but I was wrong. More tension! More danger! More wonderful Eleven/Amy/River interaction! And the scene where the Doctor leaves Amy alone in the forest and then comes back to reassure her (with bonus continuity strangeness in the form of his clothing being different when he comes back) is just heartbreaking and lovely. (I will never get tired of the forehead thing, never.) I am now firmly convinced that Eleven is my favorite Doctor, and like I said, that is HUGE for a lifelong Davison fan. I'm not sure that Amy isn't creeping up to become my favorite companion, either, though I'm going to have to reserve judgment on that for a while longer.

Now for some general, non-spoilery thoughts on Eleven hisownself:

Others have said that David Tennant was Ten (and to that I would add that Christopher Eccleston was Nine, as well) but Matt Smith is the Doctor, and I agree. He's got that wonderful old-man-in-a-young-man's-body thing going that Davison occasionally managed but didn't quite hit consistently. I almost feel, so help me, that Eleven is what Five should have been if the showrunners hadn't been so uptight at that point about making him Different From Four and also keeping him physically distant from his companions so that nobody would think anything was Going On There. What has also surprised me is how much Matt Smith even looks like Davison at times, even though in still photos they could scarcely be more different. It seems like at least once a week there's a moment where Eleven turns or looks up and I catch my breath at how much he reminds me of Five.

But he's also so much like Two, with the dithery hands and the bow-legged stance and that distracted air that can turn laser-sharp in an instant, and I'm loving that as well. Really a fantastic performance that doesn't feel like a performance... just a fine actor inhabiting the Doctor and bringing him to life, instead of Eccleston-as-Doctor or Tennant-as-Doctor like we've had before. So yes, I am sold, and I look very much forward to seeing Matt Smith's portrayal continue to refine and develop over the course of the season.

Tags: doctor who, reviews, tv
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