DOCTOR WHO: Series 5 - The Pandorica Opens & The Big Bang / Review


The Pandorica Opens: BBC1 - 19th June 2010 - 6.40pm
The Big Bang: BBC1 - 26th June 2010 - 6.05pm


I'm not sure that experience of working on Spielberg's version of Tin Tin has rubbed off on Moffat. The Pandorica Opens more or less amounts to a gene-splicing of the Devil's Tower sequences of Close Encounters and the catacomb exploring of the Indiana Jones films and looks very pretty but I'm not convinced on this evidence he can do 'epic' in Doctor Who. The narratives that hold these glossy visual spectacles together are really what Moffat is interested in. The rest is a bit tokenistic. The two part story that concludes with The Big Bang also reflects an ancient literary tradition that you could say Spielberg himself has deliberately woven into many of his major films. It falls into the tradition of menippea - a form of satire that signifies a mixed, often discontinuous way of writing that draws upon distinct, multiple traditions. Both The Pandorica Opens and The Big Bang act as reflections of each other, at once proposing an anti-epic visual presentation in counter-point to an epic narrative.

From the sky full of spaceships above Stonehenge to the alliance of monsters with their rather ridiculously contrived plan to trap the Doctor in the Pandorica, Moffat turns the whole thing on its head and in the The Big Bang simply has four people chasing around a museum whilst the universe shrinks outside the window and the Doctor cheats willfully with the time lines, bouncing around like a deranged cosmic Tommy Cooper. Bakhtin regarded menippea as 'the use of the fantastic internally motivated by the urge to create extraordinary situations for the testing of philosophical ideas'. Which sums up the finale for me and Moffat's own view of the entire Doctor Who series synthesised into a carnivalesque ambivalence for logic, an irreverent desire to break the rules and to cross boundaries. Sometimes it works spectacularly - not just in terms of visual spectacle but also in narrative complexity - and sometimes it's a way for him to cheat, avoid the implications of what he's done and refuse to answer questions left dangling by the preceding 11 episodes.


Thus we get no real answers to who was saying 'silence will fall', why the TARDIS was exploding and a reasoning for Amy's 'special' status. And presumably the missing ducks from the Leadworth duck pond ended up on the other side of the crack in time. Moffat knows his game and in the opening sequence with Vincent in 1890 he's clearly sending himself up rotten when the neighbour attending with the doctor looks at the painting of the exploding TARDIS and mutters, 'Look at this, even worse than his usual rubbish'.

Moffat's end game with this finale is to focus in on the triangular relationship between Amy Pond, the Doctor and Rory Williams. The messages carried through time via Van Gogh's painting, Churchill's telephone call, Liz Ten's meeting with River after she has broken out of the Stormcage facility are simply a means to an end whilst also cleverly rewarding the patient viewer with the pleasure of recognition in these pre-titles revisitations. They throw out a number of questions that in typical Moffat style aren't likely to be answered - why is Liz Ten still alive in 5154 and why is Bracewell still working for Churchill when it was more than suggested at the end of Victory Of The Daleks that he was off in search of his true love, Dorabella. These are, like many other sequences in the story, narrative conceits.


The Pandorica Opens is in effect one massive conceit. The significance of the Pandorica and the exploding TARDIS drive the story but in the end we never really discover the answer to the latter and the former is inevitably not what it seems with much of the episode heavily signposting the fact that it's a prison cell into which the Doctor is dumped by his enemies and not the home of an ultimate 'big bad'. The most effective twist in The Pandorica Opens is the resurrection of Rory, presumed erased from history at the end of Cold Blood. His reappearance is another layer to the themes of the series about remembering and forgetting and, significantly, he isn't the real Rory but a facsimile, a memory of Rory, created by the Nestenes. They presumably replaced the real Rory who did die at the end of Cold Blood. Or was he an Auton right from his introduction in The Eleventh Hour, then destroyed in Cold Blood, and then resurrected in The Pandorica Opens? It is narrative obfuscations such as these that Moffat deliberately ignores or refuses to clarify.

Rory is that most human of non-humans, embodying the crisis of subjectivity at the heart of this revelation. He struggles with his Nestene programming and conflicting human emotions, just as Amy evoked the same contradictions in the Dalek's android Bracewell back in 1941, to reaffirm his love for Amy, only to then destroy the object of his feelings. That this death takes place simultaneously with the Doctor's capture and imprisonment in the Pandorica, the destruction of the TARDIS and the death of the universe offers the spectacle a much needed emotional grounding. Rory's non-human status and his subsequent murder of Amy is the single most powerful scene in The Pandorica Opens and legitimises what is in effect a Doctor Who episode that resembles a Busby Berkeley tap routine performed by a sweating Steven Moffat sporting a fixed grin. It's hard to be 'epic'.


Moffat uses such conceits to again fuel the narrative expectation in The Big Bang where the audience is given a linear narrative - of the Doctor escaping from the Pandorica and the dead - now alive - Amy taking his place - that is broken into non-linear and often repetitive moments, planting visual and verbal information about scenes that haven't happened but will happen or that have happened and we don't know why they have until the explanation appears further along the narrative. He's testing our ideas about time and the use of empirical and metaphysical paradoxes in the science fiction genre. For me, however amusing it is, and - in the way Matt Smith performs these sequences - it is, it really amounts to more grandstanding, including the revitalisation of the Dalek as a token monster to chase our heroes down corridors, that delays the story getting to the roof of the museum and the ultimate fate of the Doctor, the Pandorica and the TARDIS.

What's more interesting in the story are the binary oppositions between men and women. Amy truly is the fairy tale figure of the mysterious Little Red Riding Hood that the series has been constructed around. She is not only the absent woman in search of her self, her journey starting as a girl, with the adorable Caitlin Blackwood returning as the younger Amy, and continuing through to impending womanhood and that wedding but the story is also a science fiction satire about getting the bride to the church on time, about getting the adolescent Amy married off.


Typically, the finale also underlines of some of the problems I've been having with this series. Firstly, the series as a whole has evidently suffered from a cut in budget. This is unfortunate because television is a visual medium these days and you need to spend money on it to engage audiences. Otherwise, you might as well do all this on the radio and a great deal of The Big Bang might as well have gone out as an Afternoon Play on Radio 4. No matter how much of a clever clogs Moffat is, he can't just rely on characters running around a museum engaging in time travel screw-ball comedy to define the nature of the threat to the audience. The difference here to Series Three or Four, for example, is the inward and insular way Series Five has been structured around Amy and the Doctor, including the world in which these characters are seen to exist and the way they counter the threats to this world.

There is less show and more tell in many of the scripts with, I'd argue, only The Time Of Angels/Flesh and Stone really achieving the winning mix of the epic and the personal that uses the visual medium of television well.  There are undoubtedly instances where location filming abroad has paid off, as in the Vampires Of Venice and Vincent And The Doctor, and the threats have been placed on a broader canvas (unlike the exploding TARDIS which is only ever seen on a canvas). On the whole I get a sense that the world building that's so necessary for a high concept series like Doctor Who is being presented to us in shorthand.


If you look at The Pandorica Opens the money has clearly been spent on the Stonehenge locations and the visual effects. By the time we get to The Big Bang the Stonehenge location is gone as is the visual misdirection of the massing alliance space fleet and what was indicated as threat has, ironically enough, become as fossilised as the remaining Daleks (no doubt another addition to the Character Options range). The Big Bang tells us about the threat to the universe but never actually reveals why it is there in the first place, why it is happening and who caused it. It's an unsatisfying finale because we never have a 'big bad' on which to pin the focus of the story. That conflict is absent and the Doctor spends most of The Big Bang fire-fighting whilst Moffat brings the story of Amy full circle.

Much of the series has therefore been set within a self-referential bubble, with the effects of conflict on those outside that bubble all happening off screen. We're told about the consequences from the Doctor, Amy and Rory but we never really see it actually affecting other people. As the TARDIS burns itself out we get the barest indication through dialogue that Richard Dawkins is slightly concerned about the shrinking of history and the lack of stars in the sky. These are powerful concepts that Moffat is creating but I keep feeling I'm being placed at a distance from them and I am only allowed to hear about them,  never mind see them, through Amy or Rory. You have to have very strong, very identifiable supporting characters to be able to pull that switch from the broadest to the narrowest world view and to convince an audience that the apocalypse is mostly taking place off screen.


Although RTD's use of his characters families and the extended repertoire of supporting characters in Harriet Jones, Captain Jack et al might be seen as too much a reflection of soap opera, the audience accepted that world view because of its familiarity and because the conflict between the Doctor and the villain of the week was often staged on screen in familiar surroundings, often showing us the consequences. In the end we are left only with Amy and Rory as the audience identification figures and there isn't enough context to care about the threat to them and to us, as the audience. I've stopped caring, to be honest, because the series won't let me care.

Secondly, try as I do, but I don't much like Amy. I find her a rather unsympathetic character. It culminates with her finally waking up on her wedding day and getting married. How do we accept that Amy then casually waves goodbye to parents that she's desperately fought to bring back into existence, and who occupy a minimum of screen time, as she and Rory abruptly leave in the TARDIS. We don't even see them wave back! After all the reunions, I find it rather callous of her to reject that new world with her parents in it, and after restoring the Doctor through the power of suggestion, to spend her honeymoon with him in the TARDIS. Has this woman an obsession about father figures?


I'm afraid there's a whiff of a straight male fantasy (the kissogram's a bit of dead giveaway) deliberately being projected onto the character possibly as as an extension to Moffat's own fantasies of a woman who doles out a form of sadomasochism to the men in her life. Moffat and Moffat's analog, Rory, bask in the power of a strong, controlling woman. Amy as the idealised woman, ironically, may both evoke in them the feelings of safety and protection associated with childhood and likewise from which Rory, and by extension Moffat, may derive satisfaction from earning the approval of that figure. Very much a case of bringing yourself to what you write I think.

Amy spends a lot of time belittling both the Doctor and Rory, trying to dominate and to an extent emasculate them (her attempt to seduce the Doctor is clearly an extension of that but he's strong enough to reject it) and it is very telling when, at the wedding reception, the Doctor congratulates Rory with, 'From now on I shall be leaving the kissing duties to the brand new Mr. Pond' after Amy has ordered the Doctor to 'kiss the bride'. Here, the Doctor firmly rejects her dominance but also confirms that Rory is no longer Rory Williams but Rory Pond. 'No, I'm not Mr. Pond. That's not how it works.' 'Yeah it is' confirms the Doctor with Rory's status underlined as victim of his own self-defeating personality disorder.


Rory is for me the best thing about The Pandorica Opens and The Big Bang. As I said, he's the Moffat analog and in being such is a far more humane character, even when he's an Auton, than the horribly idealised Amy Pond. This is the plastic man that hangs around for 2000 years protecting the Pandorica, marries the woman inside it and settles down to a life of hen-pecking in the TARDIS. He's a man who engages in excessive self sacrifice in order to get a response from the woman who allegedly loves him and then happily takes the humiliation from Amy when he is reluctant to find any pleasure in all the dangers that travelling in the TARDIS throws at him. He's a deeply flawed man whom most of us can relate to - 'the boy who waited' guarding the gift of hope in the Pandorica (definitely symbolically similar to Pandora's box itself) and who emerges into manhood.

The finale is flawed, lacking a really decent conflict between the Doctor and whoever it is that caused the TARDIS to explode and told us 'silence will fall', but they are good, solid and entertaining episodes. The scripts are witty and full of life even if Moffat plunges into self-indulgence in The Big Bang. The death of Amy at Rory's hand, literally, is the pinnacle of The Pandorica Opens whilst the allegedly show stopping gathering of the alliance of monsters is just a sop to keep the kids happy (and bearing in mind my thoughts about the budgetary necessities of the anti-epic, how must they have been disappointed to find it all reduced to one pathetic Dalek screeching for mercy in The Big Bang?).  

The Big Bang is more satisfying emotionally with it being the conclusion of the series long Amy arc. The stand out scene between the Doctor and Amy, the conversation with her as he prepares to hurtle into the heart of the burning TARDIS, is one of the best of the series. It adds the full stop to the whole series subtext about remembering and forgetting that has been drip fed into stories from the beginning and the notion that the Pandorica ultimately symbolises hope after both forgetting and remembering, much as in the ancient story of Pandora, even if it does stray rather too close to a big reset button.


Moffat's story arc, in which all of history is erased and then rebooted, in which the very act of remembering is a macrocosmic event (the key to saving the universe) -  and a microcosmic event (bringing back your long vanished parents) is surprise, surprise a main tenet in fairy tales. Amy's Red Riding Hood journey through time, symbolised very powerfully in the forest scenes in Flesh And Stone, is one about avoiding the threat of being devoured wherein the hungry wolf of the old fairy tale is now the crack in the bedroom wall. But like many readings of fairy tales, is this also a story about a girl's desperate avoidance of womanhood, her impending marriage to Rory, and to remain a child by jumping aboard the TARDIS to avoid the predations of the wolf (Rory and the crack in time)? Might this explain her defensiveness to Rory in some of the earlier stories?

The interesting thing about Red Riding Hood and other fairy tales is that they are concerned with the control of women, the control of desire. Amy as a Red Riding Hood princess whose final trajectory is marriage is a fascinating reading of a transgressive woman, acting on her own desires but who in the end must be rescued by two friendly male figures - Rory and the Doctor - the husband and the father. River, cycling through a number of identities and appearances - from earth mother to seductress - is positioned here as a trickster heroine and as literally, the figure of the old wive's tale, the woman as storyteller and an analog to Scheherazade, as one who spins her narrative ('spoilers') throughout the Doctor's timeline. Plus, of course, she's his wife and by extension she's symbolically Amy's wicked stepmother.


As ever, Matt Smith completely steals the show and is particularly impressive in The Big Bang, giving us a mesmerising range of performances within one episode, capturing ancient wisdom and youthful recklessness in one big eccentric package. He truly is the biggest success of what I think has been a fairly middling series this year and remains the sole reason for continuing to watch the show. I have no problem with Karen Gillan's abilities but I'm hoping that now we've got Amy married off the character will acquire some warmth and sensitivity.

The themes in this year's series about the journey from childhood to womanhood didn't quite make it across in the performances until the very end of the series. Less flippancy and that awful shouty emphasis she puts on the ends of certain line readings would also help.  I'm very pleased that Rory appears to have permanently joined the crew. He is the 'everyman' figure that the series must hold on to and Arthur Darvill is completely charming in the role. Now all we need are better monsters (the new Daleks and Silurians were design disasters in my opinion), decent scares and better realised worlds as a context for the journeys the Doctor, Amy and Rory go on. 

Until Christmas then...

A completely revised and much fuller version of this review is now available in my book Doctor Who: The Pandorica Opens - Exploring the Worlds of the Eleventh Doctor published by Classic TV Press and also available on Amazon.  




Bookmark and Share

Comments
16 Responses to “DOCTOR WHO: Series 5 - The Pandorica Opens & The Big Bang / Review”
  1. Great review. I agree to a degree, but I did think they were lovely episodes. Amy's coldness, flippancy, defensiveness and cheek are her shield. She's very much the little girl who NEEDS people to boss about. Rory, loving her so much, is willing to be there for this reason. The Doctor has bigger plans for the both of them, of this I'm sure...

  2. Erik says:

    While I think some of your points are accurate, and most are at least well-argued, I think you're taking as a basic premise something that I would not: namely, that this is RTD's Doctor Who. Clearly, it is not--for me, that is a definite improvement (though I enjoyed the RTD era quite a bit), though it is certainly not to everyone's taste. However, to criticize the show for being more intimate, for being derived more from fairy tales than from kitchen-sink dramas, or for extending its story arc into next year as opposed to wrapping everything up by episode 13 is, I feel, to judge it by an incorrect standard: in short, to criticize Moffatt's Who for not being a RTD's Who. RTD is gone, and so is the version of the show that he gave us--it is time for someone else to show us his, and for us to judge its inherent success or failure on its own merits as opposed to those we bring with us. If we do that, then it all becomes, as art should be if the execution is stipulated, a matter of taste.

  3. It's hardly spoiler territory at this point, since Moffat said it at the end of Confidential, but we get to find out about The Silence and River Song next season. He's got plans, which is interesting because it states that he's got a story to tell which he wanted to spread over two seasons.

    The comment from Bakhtin on menippea is fascinating. He's described, in a sentence, the way television science fiction has been used since...ooo...Star Trek. In a way, he completely encapsulates science fiction whether hard SF or not, in the same comment. I think that unless you're deliberately setting out to make entertainment with nothing more to say than "this is fun!" (I'm looking at you, Stargatge SG1, often at it's best when it's an adventure show with no deeper message) writers are going to use science fiction as a place to put forward ideas that simply don't belong on Forensic Detectives In Love.

    Moffat's relationship with women is a study in itself. Amy was created to be smart, sassy and independant. Instead she comes over, as you point out, as a callous and uncaring bully who occasionally, and under extreme provocation, reminds us that she's a caring and feeling being. Those reminders have to be wrenched out of her, so perhaps she's got an emotional shell about her after having been let down so badly by the Doctor.

    Although I felt a bit let down by the finale, it's because I've had several years of overcaffienated RTD extravaganzas and this quieter Doctor Who doesn't seem as though it has quite so much to prove.

    Paradoxically, it does. Based on experience, the show that has to reinvent itself regularly always has something to prove. This year, though, I think it did prove that Matt Smith is the Doctor (and hopefully has a long and interesting career ahead of him), that Moffat can do more than just two-parters and that the show could survive losing Tennant, RTD et al with most of the new fans making the (to us old sweats) customary transition from one era to another.

    If the finale had happened at any other time of the year, I'm sure the buzz would have been stronger. But between the cricket, the football, the budget and the tennis I'm all adrenaline'd out.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Great review, as per usual. Again, I agree with your analysis of Amy to a point. But I perhaps more agree with Mr. Bundy, and would also argue that she's not completely devoid of warmth and sensitivity - her comments about being "like a wildlife documentary" in The Beast Below, her reaction to discovering the fate of the schoolchildren in Amy's Choice, and just about the entirety of her performance in Vincent and the Doctor.

    Incidentally, I thought the unanswered questions regarding the mysterious speaker - "silence will fall" - and the exploding of the TARDIS were the main topic of the next series; which still leaves the irritation of unanswered questions, but means they're not being ignored, overlooked, or that you are supposed to not think about them, but just a hook for next series. It worked for me, I think...

  5. FRANK says:

    Erik - No, I'm not taking at it as RTD's Doctor Who. It is Moffat's and only he could have written that two part finale. But I think there is no getting away from comparing Moffat's version of Doctor Who to any other era of the show, RTD's included. It's inevitable. The series will stand or fall both on how it presents its differences and similarities. I've found the current series lacking in many respects be that because of a lower budget or Moffat's difficulty with characters. He can do plots very well but he struggles with character. The scale of the show may be more intimate but the characters certainly aren't, especially Amy. That's my problem with it.

    Dave et al - Yes, I was aware that the issues of the TARDIS exploding and the 'big bad' behind the 'silence will fall' business will be revealed next year but my point was that we only found out about this in retrospect. it was slightly disappointing that we had to sit through 55 minutes of expectation and not be told anything about these major plot points. I'm glad they haven't been forgotten.

  6. Steven Gill says:

    Decent Review but have to agree with comment by Erik, i feel the more plot focused episodes and intimate style has been a improvement, certainly it's the first series of Doctor Who that i've followed all the way through. No disrespect to RTD, who's verison of DW i am a fan of.

  7. FRANK says:

    Steven - Strange, but I've actually been less inclined to follow this series. I've found some of it dreadfully flat and uninvolving. It has certainly not been appointment to view this year for me. I guess it's horse for courses.

  8. James says:

    Agree to disagree - with two huge exceptions (Victory of the Daleks and Hungry Earth/Cold Blood) I have found this series to be excellent.

    Though I do agree that the budget cut is sadly all too obvious - the show still looks great (thank god) but it does so by showing less cool stuff, which is a shame.

  9. I agree on all points - you are my more intelligent twin (and I claim my £5). The point you make about Moffat presenting an apparently more intimate canvas but failing due to weak (or offputting) characterisation, especially in the case of Amy, case has also caused me problems as a viewer this year. There were so many times when I too wanted to care and engage emotionally and it felt like I was being actively prevented from doing so.

    My personal view is that Amy is an attempt at a retread of Lynda Day from Moffat's Press Gang. Unfortunately Gillan doesn't have Sawalha's range or charisma and Amy is much less rewarding and fun to watch as a result. Extending the PG analogy the Doctor has shades of rebellious and compelling Spike, while Rory is undoubtedly Lynda's best friend Kenny, who is madly in love with her, but treated appallingly.

  10. eve11 says:

    I have no problems with a more cerebral, intimate, less bombastic show. What excites me is that I think Steven Moffat is much more prepared than RTD to learn from what came prior, and to adapt. Which means that as much as I loved season 5, I'm quite prepared for season 6 to be even better :D

    RTD never had a single series of Doctor-Companion continuity, so in a way a lot of stuff needed to be re-invented at the start of each new series. And even the first season with Christopher Eccleston had its bumps and bruises-- possibly higher high points, but also lower low points. I hope that there is enough room for Moffat to learn some lessons and to grow his characters, especially Amy. I'm excited to see more of River Song too.

    I'm intrigued by the new series, and hell I'd watch it for Matt Smith alone, but the prospect of a new Team TARDIS has me aglow.

  11. FRANK says:

    Andy - that is spooky. As I read that comment I was comparing Amy with Lynda Day in the first chapter of the book! Twilight Zone.......!

  12. Excellent review Frank - I largely agree, except on the subject of Matt Smith, who's simply playing Junior Doctor Who. It's Young Indiana Jones, and there's zero gravitas...

    As I've said before, I stopped watching after the utterly abysmal Victory, but I tuned in for the finale, and wasn't surprised that it was the horrible mess - and depressing betrayal - I'd suspected it would be.

    The Pandorica Opens cliffhanger was wonderful, heart-stopping, epic, but I knew it would all be undone the next week. And it was.

    "Dreadfully flat and uninvolving" you say in your comments. Add to that boring, self-serving, woefully misjudged and gluttonously cannibalistic.

    Oh, and my God, I adore Press Gang. That's why I had such high hopes for Moffat's reign. Oh well.

  13. I was not much of a fan of this series, joining the legions on that particular side of the Doctor Who Fan fence, for three main reasons: -

    1) Aesthetics - the title sequence, music and many design elements of the show just irked. It felt like a return to childhood not only for the characters but for the makers and this audience member as well. Some of those stories reminded me of tales I had conjured up in my head with the interior TARDIS model project I embarked on in the summer of 2001 (yes, I just admitted to that).

    2) Characters - Say what you like about RTD, in some of those episodes from 2005-2010 you really cared about the people in the stories. Where would stories such as Father's Day, The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit, Gridlock, Utopia, Planet of the Ood, Midnight, Turn Left and The Waters of Mars be if they didn't deal with the personal terrors each character had to face? Like most good drama (in my humble opinion), character, plot, and theme were woven together to create a rich world within each episode that carried across to the audience. This time round, the series was heavy on clever plots and bludgeoningly-obvious themes, but unbelievably light on character. Whether due to the dialogue, plotting or any shortcomings in Gillan's portrayal is difficult for me to define in a comment, but the fact still stands that I just didn't care about Amy Pond.

    3) Loose Ends - Frank, you are absolutely right in saying that leaving plot strands seeded over the course of the series are still hanging deliberately at the end of the final episode, with nothing more than allusions and cryptic messages to suggest they will ever be resolved. It smacks of cheating the audience in a manner I find really patronising.

    That said, I quite enjoyed the last two episodes, if not the entire series. River Song is now my favourite "companion", and despite the poor material he was given, Arthur Darvill is a brilliant actor. So is Matt Smith, no matter what grumpy old Liberator says.

    Oh, Doctor Who fans!We are a funny bunch. I can't wait for this season to be heralded as a brilliant break and move forward for Doctor Who in 10-20 years to come...

    PS: My New Blog - http://theatremad87.blogspot.com

  14. Readers here might be interested in an analysis of this year's Doctor Who by award-winning novelist and screenwriter John R. Gordon, which echoes many of the point's Frank's raised:

    http://ka-os.blogspot.com/2010/07/whats-wrong-with-doctor-who.html

  15. Anonymous says:

    I think Moffat has taken the show too far away from what it is. This series was very uneven, with most episodes failing to engage. It seemed cold and heartless, as if made by someone who had to, not wanted to.

    My biggest problem this series is Amy Pond. The companion is our view into the world of the Doctor. I don't know if its the character or the poor performance by Karen Gillan (who seems very inexperienced as an actor) but the companion has been the character I've liked least. She sulks, shouts constantly, seems only interest in her own needs and treats people very badly. Not much of a role model, unless Vicky Pollard is watching.

    Rory was ok to begin with but got more and more watered down and henpecked. The relationship between the Tenth Doctor and Donna showed you could have a strong woman be bossy but funny too. Amy's treatment of Rory is just unpleasant and makes the character look weaker for staying with such a shallow person.

    Finally, Matt Smith really impressed in his first few episodes, but just went very, very wrong towards the end. He seems to be doing a bad Patrick Troughton impersonation and the whole "bow ties are cool" thing is just too stupid. Is this not a 900+ year old being who can travel all of time and space. Why linger around Earth dressing like an art student? The fez was the last straw.

    It seems neither Moffat or the BBC are running this show... every episodes seemed geared up for the new wave of Character Options action figures. New Daleks, new Silurians, new TARDIS. Surely if the budget had been cut this money should have been spent on something more worthwhile, like the plot.

    I'll be watching Dr Who again when Moffat, Smith and Gillan have gone. After these 13 episodes, I just can't sit through another year of this insipid fairy tale.

  16. Scott says:

    Ain't gonna say much other than I loved this recent series through and through. This has been the Doctor Who I've waited for since it came back in 2005. Smith has been a far better and much more 'alie'n Doctor than Tennant was (as much as I like Tennant's Doctor I feel he is very overrated and unfairly overshadowed Eccleston who I felt was better all round). I hope Smith stays on for a very, very long time and he's certainly right up there amongst my very favorite Doctors of all time even after just one series (hell I was happy enough to say that even after his first episode, I enjoyed his performance that much). Gillan too as I've found Amy to be the most fascinating of all the modern companions and quite captivating too in personality, expressions and ok she's the first companion in the modern era I've found attractive I can't deny. Certainly a lot more interesting than the total whiney failure of Martha Jones. Rory's been pretty good too though took me a while to get used to him. I haven't actually disliked any story either to be honest. While Victory of the Daleks may be the weakest I'm still happy to rewatch it. The finale too worked for me a lot better than previous seasons and made me care even more abotu the central characters.

    I even rate the new title sequence and the theme music (best one since the Howell revamp most associated with the Fifth Doctor era, and the itself not drowned out by the obnoxious percussion of the 9th/10th Doctor's versions. Love the build up bit of the themes introduction too).

    Now if Moffat can introduce a quality Master to erase the stench of Simm's incarnation I'll be very happy. Looking forward to the christmas special and next series. This show's the only reason I bother turning on my TV these days.

    Hm, I said I wasn't gonna say much but that's much more than I intended... Sorry.

Viewing Figures

The Legal Bit

All written material is copyright © 2007-2017 Cathode Ray Tube and Frank Collins. Cathode Ray Tube is a not for profit publication primarily for review, research and comment. In the use of images and materials no infringement of the copyright held by their respective owners is intended. If you wish to quote material from this site please seek the author's permission.

Creative Commons License
Cathode Ray Tube by Frank Collins is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.