Tag Archives: Matt Smith

Doctor Who – “The Time of Angels”

“The Time of Angels”

April 24th, 2010

This afternoon, I spent a few hours doing what I guess I’d call “Doctor (W)Homework.” After last week’s episode, it was clear from the preview that the show would be returning to two key parts of Steven Moffat’s oeuvre, and so many suggested that I take a look back into recent seasons of the series in order to follow the continuities. Since I am not one to doubt the intelligence of my Twitter followers and blog commenters, I took this suggestion to heart, and so I sat down with Series Three’s “Blink” and Series Four’s “Silence in the Library” and “Forest of the Dead.”

Inevitably, this created quite an interesting experience going into this week’s new episode of Series Five, as both the Weeping Angels (central to the Carey Mulligan-enhanced “Blink”) and River Song (introduced in the two-parter) effectively pick up where they left off, as odd as that particular phrase may sound when considering Professor (or Doctor?) Song. “The Time of Angels,” the start of a two-parter itself, delivers on the promise of those earlier episodes, heightening the terror surrounding one of the universe’s most dangerous creatures while proving that River and her magical blue book are both just as fun and just as tragic as we imagined when reintroduced in this fashion.

Some thought on “The Time of Angels,” although probably not before I write out some thoughts on the episodes which came before, after the jump.

Continue reading

14 Comments

Filed under Doctor Who

Doctor Who – “Victory of the Daleks”

“Victory of the Daleks”

April 17th, 2010

On the one hand, writing this review seems a little silly: I know very little about the Daleks beyond their general appearance and their robotic cadence, so I can’t really tell you how “Victory of the Daleks” works in terms of returning the alien race to the world of Doctor Who. However, on the other hand, the whole point of this episode is a sort of rebirth, a Dalek renaissance designed to reassert the function of this particular arch-nemesis, so while I cannot judge the story for continuity I can judge how well the episode sets up the Daleks for their likely return in subsequent episodes.

“Victory for the Daleks” replaces last week’s futuristic setting with an historical glimpse into the London Blitz, and does not really switch up much else: the formulaic structure of the series is readily clear but also fairly effective, managing to continue to throw in some small characters beats and some fun standalone elements within an episode which primarily continues the series mythology.

Continue reading

15 Comments

Filed under Doctor Who

Doctor Who – “The Beast Below”

“The Beast Below”

April 10th, 2010

While Doctor Who effectively transcends our understandings of both time and space, it is generally the former which has had the most impact (at least from my outsider’s perspective): the Doctor is, after all, a Timelord, and the different locations that the Doctor visits tend to be defined more by “when” as opposed to “where,” especially when you consider that location is often dependent on time period. There is always that initial moment, upon the Doctor’s arrival, where the question of “where” becomes immediately important, but it is often superseded by the show’s interest in “when” the Doctor has arrived in order to place the events in question into some sort of new context.

“The Beast Below” is one of these examples, beginning with a really fascinating question of place and national identity before eventually delving into a complex investigation of morality in the wake of great tragedy. In the end, the episode boils down to considerations of time as opposed to any questions about location, but the presence of those ideas is sort of what makes Doctor Who so intriguing to me. While we would normally complain that so many potentially interesting ideas regarding Spaceship UK and its police state are left uninvestigated, their presence makes for a more engaged audience experience – the show may eventually boil things down to a single story, but the presence of that added potential is something for us to chew on, which is at least half of what Doctor Who means to accomplish.

Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under Doctor Who

“Series” Premiere: Doctor Who – “The Eleventh Hour”

“The Eleventh Hour”

April 3rd, 2010

Part of me wonders whether I should be writing this review at all. You, my faithful readers, are not ignorant enough to think that I live in the United Kingdom, and as a result you know that I did not tune into BBC and catch the premiere of Doctor Who‘s fifth series, “The Eleventh Hour” earlier this evening. No, you are well aware that I found the notorious “alternate means” through which I could consume this material, and as a result I am incriminating (or, less hyperbolically, identifying a clear ethical conundrum for) myself by saying that I just finished watching Matt Smith’s debut as the eponymous Doctor.

The problem, at least for me personally, is that most of the conversation about the show is going to happen now as opposed to two weeks from now. While the series is a cult favourite in North America, it’s a major primetime event in the U.K., so the sorts of immediate responses and analysis going on at the moment are going to be the most diverse and (arguably) the most interesting. And, by nature of their taste in science fiction programming, there’s a mighty fine chance that the type of people who would be online writing or reading about the show in North America are probably tech savvy enough that they too would search for “alternate means,” which means that they’re in precisely the same boat.

At the end of the day, my view is this: this review will not be a plot description, nor does it have any chance of capturing the witty repartee that Steve Moffat brings to the table. It is not designed to replace the episode, or to inform those without previous knowledge how to illegally acquire or view the episode in question. Rather, it is a critical discussion of a rather intriguing and, at times, fantastic episode of television which builds from the momentum of David Tennant’s exit and has me legitimately excited to follow these characters into the rest of the season, or series, or whatever you want to call it.

And so if you have not found “alternate means,” and are intending on waiting until April 17th, then let the message be this: things are off to a fantastic start, Matt Smith is pretty darn great, and “The Eleventh Hour” is well worth 90 minutes out of your Saturday evening two weeks from now.

For those of you who have found “alternate means,” or who are here from across the pond, we’ve got some things to discuss.

Continue reading

12 Comments

Filed under Doctor Who

Review – Doctor Who: The End of Time, The End of Tennant

The End of Time, The End of Tennant

January 2nd, 2010

Watching Doctor Who: The End of Time, for me personally, is a bit of a strange exercise for two reason (one exclusive to me, the other general).

First, I don’t watch the show on a regular basis, so while watching a few of the recent specials (Specifically the quite enjoyable “The Next Doctor” and the thrilling “The Waters of Mars”) has given me some sense of what’s going on – the Doctor (David Tennant) without a companion on a self-destructive journey to confront his impending death (I think?) – I’m still left out of the loop in terms of both the show’s larger mythology and the intricacies of Tennant’s run on the series.

However, even considering my ignorance to the broader mythology at play, the two-part event (which airs in its entirety tonight at 8pm on SPACE in Canada, with the second part (Part One aired in Boxing Day) airing on BBC America) is unique in its clear purpose: the death of the Doctor, and the departure of David Tennant from the series to make way for newcomer Matt Smith. And while you could argue that Law & Order or CSI, with their revolving door casting policy, offer something similar (in terms of transitioning from one actor to another), Doctor Who is unique in the fact that Smith will effectively be playing a new character…except that he won’t.

The single greatest accomplishment of The End of Time, which is at times a mixed bag in terms of its effectiveness, is that despite my lack of knowledge of the show’s history, and despite the lack of suspense surrounding an inevitable conclusion that has been known for over a year, I was emotionally affected by Russell T. Davies saying goodbye to the Doctor, and the Doctor saying goodbye to the people he cares about. Built on a foundation of David Tennant’s fantastic performance, the movie overcomes a bit of a muddled first part (which is tied up in a lot of exposition) in order to deliver a conclusion which demonstrates the combination of whimsy and pathos that has made the show, with its low budget special effects and its quirky sense of humour, so enduring.

And it feels like just the right kind of note on which to head into the reign of the new Doctor, which based on what I’ve seen in these specials is something that I might be willing to spend some time with in the years to come.

[Spoilers for both parts of the Miniseries after the break, where we’ll discuss the special in more detail]

Continue reading

5 Comments

Filed under Doctor Who