Thursday, August 8, 2013

Doctor Who - Season 7 Review/ rambling....

First things first Season 7 was way better than Season 6. A quick and dirty recap of Season 6:
Impossible Astronaut/ Day of the Moon – a cracking start, nasty aliens, clever resolution with intriguing hints of the larger story to come.
The Curse of the Black Spot – the worst episode since Love and Monsters. Down there with The Twin Dilemma awfulness.
The Doctor’s Wife – sort of interesting, but over-indulgent
The Rebel Flesh/ The Almost People – actually, quite good
A Good Man goes to War – a long way up itself, but with enough thrills and spills to be fun, a good twist but let down by the revelation that River was Amy’s daughter
And then came the second half....

Let’s Kill Hitler – Poor
Night Terrors – seen it all before
The Girl who waited – YES, Amy loves Rory, how many times do we have to be told? And look, a robot thing with a catchphrase.
The God Complex – seen it all before, in fact, two episodes ago.
Closing Time – oh please...
The Wedding of River Song – and reset.
So overall, a decent start which nose-dived in the second half. Which brings us to Season Seven. We’ll ignore the 2011 Xmas special because it was terrible.

Asylum of the Daleks – superb, best NuWho since...possibly since Who returned.
Dinosaurs on a Spaceship – almost daft, but they pull it off. A decent villain for a change.
A Town called Mercy – predictable but good stuff.
The Power of Three – surprisingly good despite being yet another sodding character piece.
The Angels Take Manhattan – Weeping Angels have jumped the shark, although the Statue of Liberty as Angel was impressive. But this was good because we finally saw the back of Amy and Rory who had gone on way too long.
The Snowmen – superb, best Nu Who since...oh, Asylum of the Daleks.
The Bells of St John – watchable but not what you’d call good.
The Rings of Akhatan – oh dear, is it Season 6B revisited?
Cold War – thank God NO – Ice Warriors return in style.
Hide – haunted house stories are getting a bit tired, but solid work.
Journey to the Centre of the Tardis – bleuurgh.
The Crimson Horror – Another good villain – that’s two in one season.
Nightmare in Silver – the best Nu Who since....The Snowmen
The Name of the Doctor – a bit of a reset but a good tease for the 50th Special.

My overall gripes are Amy and Rory dragging on and how the mid-season break distorts the flow of stories – we’re just waiting for the mid-season “event”, the rest is almost filler (if sometimes very good filler). Clara was superb in Asylum and the Snowmen but took a few stories to pick up again. Cold War saved the second half and Nightmare brought it home with gusto.
All in all, a great improvement and a great new companion gee’d things up nicely. Season 6 just bogged itself down in too much Amy/ Rory-ness – Season 7 was a return to plain old villains and monsters (and returning villains and monsters), with Daleks and Cybermen getting their best outings for a long while, the revived (should we say defrosted) Ice Warriors and reintroduced Great Intelligence. Matt Smith continued to rise above some mediocre material, but thankfully, not too much mediocre material – in Nightmare in Silver, I’d argue he hit his highest notes yet. Sadly we’ve only got two more adventures with him – the Big Special and then the Xmas episode.
Coming up, though, is even greater excitement – we hope. Who is this “other” Doctor played by John Hurt? What fun and jollies will go down in the 50th Anniversary Special, with Doc no 10 and Rose Tyler returning? And how will No 11 regenerate into No 12 – in the form of Peter Capaldi?

My personal hopes for Season 8:
No mid-season break – 13 straight episodes, please.
Slow down a bit for longer two-parters. Maybe even try for a meaningful three-parter.
Enough of the mysterious companion nonsense. Clara’s role is to have stuff explained to her (and thus, us), lose the Doc and meet the locals and tell the Doc where he is going wrong. She is along for the ride because it is fun; not because she is in love with the Doc or getting over something, or because the Doc is finding out who she is. Note how I have refrained from saying that her role is to look pretty. This is 2013, you know....
How about a nasty, villainous villain doing something nasty that the Doctor will sort out? No need for paradoxical timey-wimey-ness.
New villains and new monsters – once we’re past the Big 50, let’s put the old stuff on ice for a while, shall we?
An episode (or two) commissioned from a bright new writer based in New Zealand, shot in Wellington and directed by my chum* and almost neighbor, Peter Jackson.

Anyhoo - that's my wrapping up. Now, go and buy my ebook, ideal for Dr Who fans -

*When I say chum, I have seen him drive past my bus stop several times in his lovely silver Aston Martin DB5. If he stopped and said Hi, I’m sure we’d get on like a house on fire.

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