Archive for the ‘ Series Five ’ Category

“The Big Bang” – Review: Redux

Professor River Song “Right, I have questions. But number one is this: what in the name of sanity have you got on your head?”
The Doctor “It’s a fez, I wear a fez now. Fezes are cool.”

The Big Bang

So, here we are at the end of The Moff’s first series in charge and we’re waiting to see just how the Doctor is going to get out of the Pandorica in which he was trapped by the alliance. The answer it turns out was funny, exciting, thrilling and, yet, a little bit unsatisfactory. This is where it starts to feel like the story, while brilliantly written, might be seen as being a bit too clever for its own good. The first shock is that it is that two-thousand years later, as the Pandorica rests in the National Museum, that it is not the Doctor but Amy who appears in the Pandorica after it’s been opened by little Amelia. We get a non-linear story to try and get our collective heads around as the Doctor from the future jumps back in time to instruct Rory how to open the “box” to free his younger self and replace him with Amy, who can later be restored. To dismiss the paradox (that the Doctor must’ve escaped from the Pandorica *before* being able to go back and instruct Rory how to fashion his escape) in such an off-hand way effectively gives rise to the notion that he could always do things like that to get out of perilous situations. As a one-off it is justifiable, but as a repeatable process it might become tiresome quite quickly. Continue reading

“The Pandorica Opens” – Review: Redux

Rory “I died and turned in to a Roman. It’s very distracting”

The Pandorica Opens

The season finale of Series Five begins with the longest pre-title sequence yet seen; it takes so long for the titles to arrive that you feel like you’re half way through the episode already. This, of course, may also be due to the fact that so much is packed into that sequence. Following on from “Time of Angels” and setting the scene for future stories when the two time travellers (the Doctor and River) arrange to meet, there are a series of wonderful little, for want of a better word, minisodes. The central conceit being the question of how to two people out of sync with one another arrange to meet up? The variety of ways of answering that question that are sprinkled liberally throughout Moffat-era Who, are always fun. Here we get a painting made by van Gogh in his fugue state, being found by Bracewell and Churchill, who, on the advice of River leaves it in the Queen’s estate all the way through to the reign of Liz Ten, where (after a small detour to obtain Captan Jack Harkness’s vortex manipulator via Dorium Maldovar), it is stolen by River herself, who carves a message along with necessary coordinates on the oldest cliff-face in the universe where it waits for the Doctor to come and translate it, before the final meeting in Roman Britain. Continue reading

“The Lodger” – Review: Redux

Craig “Has anyone ever told you that you’re a bit weird?”

Doctor “They never really stop.”

DOCTOR WHO

“The Lodger” is a really lovely little episode from the pen of Gareth Roberts, long-term Who fan but first time writer with this story of a ground floor flat with mysterious goings on upstairs. This perspective of finding the episode lovely, I imagine, relies on the viewer finding James Cordon to be a watchable talent. I have heard of some people who say that they can’t stand the guy, but I can’t see what’s to dislike; he’s affable and polite with a childish sense of humour, he seems to throw himself into everything he does with gusto, and he has been widely lauded with critical acclaim for his acting talents in “One Man, Two Guvnors”. This story was originally based on Doctor Who Magazine comic strip in which the person looking for a lodger was none other than Mickey Smith. Seeing Noel Clarke in character with Matt Smith could’ve been interesting, although I am not sure if (a) this was ever considered, or (b) could’ve actually worked given that the last on-screen Mickey appearance was battling as a freedom fighter alongside his new wife, Martha Jones, at the end of “The End of Time”. Continue reading

“Vincent and the Doctor” – Review: Redux

Doctor Black “To me Van Gogh is the finest painter of them all. Certainly the most popular, great painter of all time. The most beloved, his command of colour most magnificent. He transformed the pain of his tormented life into ecstatic beauty. Pain is easy to portray, but to use your passion and pain to portray the ecstasy and joy and magnificence of our world, no one had ever done it before. Perhaps no one ever will again. To my mind, that strange, wild man who roamed the fields of Provence was not only the world’s greatest artist, but also one of the greatest men who ever lived.”

Vincent and the Doctor

The announcement that none other than Richard Curtis would be penning an episode of Doctor Who was met with widespread ooh’s and aah’s from anyone with more than an ounce of appreciation for his work, whether it be his huge movie successes like “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and “Love Actually” or his television classics like “Blackadder” or “The Vicar of Dibley”, Curtis’ arrival to the fold of Doctor Who was quite the coup. Exactly how he would handle the Time Lord was always going to be intriguing but what he ended up delivering was almost more than anyone could’ve wished for. A melancholic, character-driven piece in which Tony Curran delivered, in the opinion of this humble blogger, one of the greatest guest characters in Doctor Who’s long history. There are undoubtedly so many nuances and elements involved in depression that it was going to be a nigh on impossible feat to treat it with the necessary sensitivity in a fun, kids show. So, it is with a something of a sense of wonder to acknowledge that Richard Curtis and the team succeeded in such an amazing fashion. Continue reading

“Cold Blood” – Review: Redux

Doctor “In future, when you talk about this, you tell people that there was a chance but you were so much less than the best of humanity.”

Cold Blood

The pre-titles sequence of episode two (as with most or all second parts) gave us a quick recap of the first half, although it oddly failed to remind us that, at the very end of episode one, the Doctor and Nasreen had found themselves overlooking an entire Silurian city many miles beneath the Earth’s surface. The opportunity was there for a deeper dive into Silurian culture and we sort of got it. However, my one gripe probably comes from background as a Geology student and the fact that the whole concept of this previously unknown civilisation had wiped all trace out of the archaeological and historical records and kept their existence secret from the apes above. Churlish, I know, to be watching Doctor Who and complaining that it stretches credulity but that was just the way I was feeling, even in this rewatch. Straight after the credits though, we get a mysterious narrator turn up and start recalling the events about to fold in troubling tones.  Continue reading

“The Hungry Earth” – Review: Redux

Alaya “Shall I tell you what’s really going to happen, apes? One of you will kill me. My death shall ignite a war, and every stinking ape shall be wiped from the surface of my beloved planet.”

The Hungry Earth

“The Hungry Earth” begins with a day in the life of a Regular Joe and his family, or in this case a Regular “Mo”, I guess. Set in the near future during a deep earth drilling project that had just hit a world record 21,000 feet, something deep beneath the surface of the planet was disturbed. Of course, we all knew what or who it was. After, Mo gets swallowed by the ground in the pre-title sequence, The Doctor, Amy and Rory arrive in this indeterminate corner of Wales, as opposed to the Rio Carnival where they were supposed to be heading. No sooner had he stepped from the TARDIS doors, than the Doctor was investigating the strange blue grass in the graveyard and looking over to the mysterious drilling set up on the horizon. You can already see the main cast perfectly settled in to the characters, with simple exchanges such as Amy’s weary “We’re not going to have a look, are we?” dovetailing perfectly with the Doctor’s enthusiastic “Let’s go have a look!”, and also the bemused reaction of Rory when he is mistaken for a policeman by Ambrose and Elliot, being delivered in a really, really wonderful way. Go back and have a look, they really are well done. Continue reading

“Amy’s Choice” – Review: Redux

Amy Pond “It’s not really real, is it? I mean would I be happy settling down in a place with a pub, two shops and a really bad amateur dramatic society? That’s why I got pregnant, so I don’t have to see them doing Oklahoma.”

P1070294

“Amy’s Choice” proved to be a tricky review. Events kicked off with a very Jam and Jerusalem opening. There was rolling countryside, picture postcard cottages, free-range geese and sit-up-and-beg push bikes. There was even a distracting Miss Ellie-style soft focus shot of the very pregnant Amy, while she baked her cakes (which sounds like a euphemism but isn’t). It was interesting that there was no preamble to this story, no indication of why we had jumped in to the future Doctor and Amy’s relationship. It all made sense in hindsight but put me out of step and feeling quite uncomfortable with Simon Nye’s story from the offset. There has been plenty of comment dating back to “The Eleventh Hour” that the village of Leadworth had a weird timelessness about it and here too, it was, if anything, even more to the fore. During the episode itself, the Dream Lord described it as “…the village that time forgot” and never a truer word was said. There is definitely more to this Gloucestershire (?) village than meets the eye but even in hindsight I don’t know what that may be. It may be no more than  a stylistic choice on behalf of the production team but I’m not so sure. When Rory and his anachronistic pony-tail was explaining that the village felt real to him, I was silently shouting “It’s anything but real” but my reverie was cut short by the fact that we were suddenly beset by scary grannies. Continue reading