TV Review: “Doctor Who” – A Grand, Charming, And Confusing Time

Written by Spencer Sterritt October 01, 2012

“Doctor Who” has certainly found itself at a weird place in time and space, with its fan base bigger than ever, and at the same time with a mythology bigger and more unmanageable than ever. Most of that mythology has just come to a close as “Doctor Who” says goodbye to some of its most beloved companions, and is now ready to launch into a brand new saga.

A Timey-Wimey Adventure in all of Space and Time

“Doctor Who” has been around for a good long time now, but for those who haven’t been drawn in by the numerous references and merchandise, it follows the titular Doctor, a Time Lord who travels through space and time, being daring, charming, and rather complex. He is always joined by a companion who acts as a sort of pseudo-family. For the last few seasons it has been Amelia and Rory Pond, a sassy British couple whose love trumps all. They’ve made a swell team, facing a whole slew of the universes most imaginative creatures.

The show really all boils down to a prolonged perplexed look

The first five episodes of this season, a nice tiny mini-arc, have concerned themselves especially with the idea of companions as family. Amelia and Rory have been with the Doctor off and on for a decade (in TV time) as he pops in and out of their lives like a zesty uncle, enthusiastic cousin, etc. But time flies and now the Pond’s need to move on. Last season dealt rather clumsily with Amelia and Rory working out their kinks and jealousies, and now they’re dealing with their kinks and jealousies about the Doctor. Before it was rather dull and repetitive week after week, and it definitely bogged down last season. This season, however, has been very fresh and subtle with it’s pathos, always lingering behind the fun.

A Doctor Who Orders A Bit of Slapdashery and a Heap of Fun

All of the great aspects of the earlier seasons have carried on nicely. Matt Smith is still as dashing as ever, cutting a nice figure as the Doctor. He has finally managed to mix in some realistic darkness and anxieties into a character that’s supposed to be exuberant and adventure seeking, which was always an issue with seasons previous. Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill as Amelia and Rory have really managed to nail down the camaraderie of a couple after a decade of being together, and their charms spread throughout the show. Even if it’s one of the darker, more terrifying episodes (of which there are many), all three of them keep it warn and fun, and most of all exciting. This newest season has been short on really fantastic guest stars, with the exception being Mark Williams (aka Ron Weasley’s dad). Not having to spend precious minutes introducing guests has given the actors more time to shine, and just in the last few episodes have covered nearly every emotional beat from pent up excitement to world wearied exasperation.

Not the most attractive face, but that’s a face that’s about to go on a great adventure. One dealing with dinosaurs on a spaceship specifically

As much as I do love the Pond’s, I am glad that they have departed for good. The last two seasons have been marked by increased serialization and an increasing inability to handle it all. Major plots have a habit of being introduced and then forgotten for long stretches at a time, which is unfortunate because the plots themselves are damn nifty and could spin into millions of directions. Each episode has been standalone so far, and unlike many of the standalone episodes last season, have really hit home. I didn’t cry at the end of last Saturday’s mid-season finale, and Pond swan-song “The Angels Take Manhattan” but I certainly teared up a fair bit.

You may from time to time find yourself screaming instead of laughing.

“Doctor Who” thrives on continuity and charm, so it is rather difficult to attach yourself to, but come next year the Doctor will have a new companion and a new overarching plot, making it a perfect time for viewers to finally join the fun. Some of what you see might now make sense, or will take a huge logic leap to get to a conclusion, but “Doctor Who” never stops being fun, and will always be the best part of your weekend.

My Rating: 8/10

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About Spencer Sterritt

Spencer Sterritt

Spencer Sterritt: former Editor-In-Chief for We Eat Films, future President of the Men With Beards Club, and hopefully candidate for ruler of the world.

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