I’ve waited till now to post about the latest incarnation of everyone’s favourite Timelord, the idea being to give Matt Smith time to find his feet and get going before passing comment. I always knew I was going to enjoy the writing on the new series of Doctor Who. Steven Moffat’s episodes were easily the best episodes of the Russell T. Davis era so his taking over as lead writer when Davis left was always going to be a good thing.
So here we are, four episodes into a new regeneration of the show, hanging by our fingertips from last week’s cliffhanger, and there’s lots to like. Here’s a list of my favourite bits of New Who:
- Top of the list has to be the art direction of the show seeming to be not a little influenced by the classic Doctor who movies of the Sixties starring Peter Cushing as The Doctor. The new series, from the redesign of the Tardis interior, to the Doctor’s new dress code and the general atmosphere of the first two episodes, particularly The Beast Below with the retro-technology of the Starship UK, felt tonally like a modern extension of the classic (though non-canon) movies. The Dalek’s own regeneration in Victory of the Daleks was the moment when the impact of the Cushing/Dalek movies became overt and the story here made more sense than a couple of the Dalek stories under Russel T Davis’ reign. Looking forward to seeing the new, more colourful Daleks back later in the series.
- Matt Smith is slowly proving to be an intriguing Doctor. Less cock-sure than David Tennant’s excellent portrayal, what’s interesting about the Eleventh Doctor, both from a performance and a writing perspective, is that he has already, in the space of less than a handful of episodes made a number of mistakes which have led to his being ‘saved’ from them by Amy or, in the case of the Daleks, giving his greatest enemy a victory when they needed it most. This level of weakness in the Doctor makes for an interesting premise. Whether this is a carry over from the trauma of his recent regeneration or linked to the events just prior with the Timelords remains to be seen. I’m intrigued enough to be hooked.
- The Tardis redesign. I want my writing office to look like that. That would be very cool, but not sure how much writing would get done with all of time and space to explore.
- The return of River Song. First off I want a note book like River’s, that looks like the Doctor’s Tardis. Second, the interweaving of the Doctor and River’s timeline is very interesting and something that could run and run. I do hope they don’t rush to a pay off with this element. Definitely a case of the journey being more important here than the final destination.
- The return of the Weeping Angels. On this point I need not say anymore, but instead direct you to the advice above.
The only element that has left me cold so far is the character of Amy Pond. Unlike most corners of the internet, I have thus far found Amy a little dull. Admittedly her ‘origin’ story was well written and the idea of a girl who grew up with the Doctor as a mythic figure in her life is pretty smart, but so far her performances have been, in my opinion, unimpressive. I kind of get the feeling that Moffat wished he hadn’t wasted Sally Sparrow in the Davis era. Or perhaps that Amy Pond is really an attempt to reboot the Sally Sparrow concept from ‘Blink.’ That said, it is still early days, and there was a time I thought Catherine Tate as the Doctor’s companion was an absurd choice but she was easily the best companion of the series revival so far. Apart from Sally Sparrow of course. Who really wasn’t a companion at all. Except I say she was.
What about you? Any thoughts on the New Who?
image from cafepress.co.uk