Astronaut To Moon

Further Analysis

So, here we sit in that dreadful period that exists between the cliffhanger and its conclusion, as we ponder the intrigue thrown up by the Impossible Astronaut and its implications for Saturday night’s Day of the Moon and probably for the rest of the series. For my sins, I have ventured into the murky waters of Gallifrey Base to get a feel for what some others are saying. As usual, there is much consternation. Disgruntled fans, venting their frustration at whatever element of Steven Moffat’s Doctor Who riles them the most. Other fans, blindingly in awe of the great Moff’s wizardry and unrivaled genius. More in the latter camp than the former in my case, although I hope to remain somewhat objective. And everything betwixt and between is there in its rich tapestry as well. There must be some kind of psychological analysis possible to try and understand the behaviours of a group of internet forum members, but I fear it  would require a scientific mind far greater than mine to comprehend the motivations and reactions of such a group. Beneath the fluff, the criticism of the episode seems to boil down to three salient points….

  1. The Doctor’s death is not real but there will be some kind of cop-out that enables our hero to live on. Well, d’uh! If the writer had decided to eliminate the possibility of there ever being another Doctor after Matt Smith, then we really would have something to complain about, even if there is always a way, in a fantasy show like Doctor Who, to write oneself out of a corner. The drama stems from the fact that the characters in the show don’t know this, they think they know that the Doctor will die and we’ve already seen Amy struggle with this and uncharacteristically shoot the astronaut at the end of the episode in order to prevent it. And anyway, I’ve not seen much (if any) speculation as to quite how exactly this will get “rewritten”, if indeed it even will.
  2. TIA (as The Impossible Astronaut is shortened to) sags in the middle and lacks pace. For the most part, in the history of new Who, I have preferred two-parters to one-parters for exactly this reason. i.e. that it gives characters and plot time to develop and allows for a doozy of a cliffhanger to fret about for seven days. There are a few exceptions (“Aliens in London/WWIII” not being as good as “Dalek” in Eccleston’s tenure for example, but in general and here specifically, I did not recognize any sagging or slowing of the pace. Simply lots of good value-add scenes with sparkling dialogue and great acting.
  3. Repeating the same old timey-wimey stuff and it’s getting boring. I am going to lift a quote from GB-user “Gloryroad” to address this (post #1386 in the “Rate / Review” thread)…

“Actually, people really need to stop conflating every use of time travel into ‘timey-wimey’.’That phrase was coined to refer to ontological paradoxes, not linear time jumping (like TGitF and TEH) or simple visitation from a future self (like TIA). As I said before, it’s basically become a sneering dismissal that means ”any use of time travel by Moffatt”, especially when they give passes to any other writer that uses them (Gareth Roberts used both time loops and an actual ontological paradox in The Lodger and the people who moan about ‘timey-wimey’didn’t even peep.).”

Gloryroad 9:28am 26th April 2011

An additional perspective worth mentioning is the one about Amy. There are a lot of comments being banded about saying that she seems “a bit nicer” in this series after being a tad irritating / unsympathetic / intense during Series Thirty-One. I think that credit needs to go to Karen Gillan and Steven Moffat in this regards. Lest we forget, the Amy we saw last year was one whose childhood was without her parents, and her recovering (via four psychiatrists) from the trauma of meeting her raggedy Doctor; this Amy is one that grew up with her mum and dad and a much more settled childhood. The subtle difference in her demeanor is to be commended and I eagerly anticipate further exploration of this as the series progresses.

Playing It By The Numbers

Viewing figures…. On average 6.5 million people watched the show on Saturday (BBC1 and BBC HD combined) with a peak of 7 million. This had an audience share of 36.7% and was the second most viewed programme of the day, lagging only behind the juggernaut that is Britain’s Got Talent (9.5m with 41.5% share). Superficially, these do seem to be something of a disappointment being lower than previous first episodes. However, a (far too) early start and glorious British weather, along with the terrible lead-in show “Don’t Scare the Hare” did no favours to it at all. On the plus side, the share was very strong and these numbers will no doubt shoot up following the “time shifts”. For the uninitiated, these will include the additional people watching recordings they have made of the programme and also iPlayer views.  Later in the week, the Audience Appreciation figures were released and showed a remarkable 88%, meaning the people that watched it, loved it. Over on Gallifrey Base, the “Rate the episode” poll is, as ever,  giving readers the opportunity to mark the episode from “one out of ten “to “ten out of ten”. The weighted average as I type this is 8.35/10 (after 3,916 votes) again suggesting widespread approval that is not quite reflected in the vocal criticisms.

Elsewhere On The Internet

Believe it or not I am not the only blogger who likes to write about Doctor Who. Oh no, dear reader, there’s a veritable smorgasboard of opinionated Who fans out there. I enjoyed these among others….

  • Ebonrook – he really didn’t like it.
  • This Whovian Life – a little mixed reaction
  • Frank Collins – I adore this chap’s writing, which intellectualises and contextualises Doctor Who in ways you never thought possible
  • Gareth Bundy – Immediate reactions in this link but plenty more comment in subsequent posts too

Looking Forward to “Day of the Moon”

Need I say any more than…..

    • Amiko from Gallybase
    • May 1st, 2011

    Wonderful stuff on here! A great find! Thanks for putting all the effort in.

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