Saturday, 2 November 2013

Doctor Who (Series Five)

With series five of Doctor Who there was an almost complete changing of the guard. There would be a new head writer, new producers, a new Doctor, a new companion and a redesigned TARDIS. About the only thing that would remain the same about New Who would be Murray Gold staying on as the show's composer!

Back in 2008 it was announced that Steven Moffat would be taking over as the new showrunner of Doctor Who and this was greeted with mass jubilation from the fans. This was because many of the very best episodes from the RTD era had been written by him: The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances, The Girl in the Fireplace, Blink, Silence in the Library/The Forest of the Dead and the mini-episode Timecrash. So, what would Steven Moffat's first series as the Doctor Who showrunner actually be like then? Er... AMAZING! To this date series five (along with series six) is my absolute favourite of the show's run! And when I think that Moffat was also working on the first series of Sherlock at the time this blows my mind! Whilst many of my absolute favourite Doctor Who episodes belong in other series, none of those series have the same level of consistency and overall brilliance that series five has. It's practically flawless! It was because of this series that I finally made the transition from being a casual fan into a true Whovian! Another brilliant thing about series five is that it's completely accessible. You'll still be able to watch and enjoy this series even if you've never seen any of the episodes from the RTD years or the classic era of the show. You can easily follow it.

For me the most frustrating thing about Doctor Who during the RTD years was its lack of consistency. The show was so hit-and-miss back then. You could watch an absolutely stunning episode one week and then the next week see an episode that was absolutely awful! It was an era of spectacular highs like the episodes Human Nature/Family of Blood and The Fires of Pompeii. But it was also an era of abysmal episodes like Love & Monsters and Fear Her! And this was extremely frustrating! As much as I enjoyed the 9th and 10th Doctors, I became tired of potentially great episodes being ruined by crappy villains and cheesiness. I got tired of those over-hyped series finales that always promised so much and were just massive let-downs. Also, I just wasn't a fan of RTD's writing. In his five years as the Doctor Who head writer he only wrote two episodes that I really, truly loved: Midnight and The Waters of Mars. To be fair, having spent the last year going through all of my RTD era boxsets, I now realise that for all of its many flaws it was still great television. I also have a huge amount of gratitude to RTD for bringing the show back. But the Steven Moffat era is soooo much more my thing!

Doctor Who has become a far more consistently enjoyable show ever since Moffat took over as its showrunner. Of course that's not to say that there haven't been any bad episodes. Rings of Akhaten, Beast Below, Curse of the Black Spot and Victory of the Daleks are all pretty poor. But these episodes are only poor in the sense that they're mediocre and average and "meh". Unlike the very worst episodes of the RTD era none of these episodes are downright dreadful! There's also much more continuity in Moffat-era Doctor Who. The only real continuity in the RTD era was having the words "Bad Wolf" and "Torchwood" repeated over and over again throughout their series! But in series five there is proper continuity with each episode building up to the finale. Also Moffat's writing style is so much more my cup of tea! His stories are so intricate and mind-bending and full of wibbly-wobbly Timey Wimey craziness! It actually took me a couple of viewings before I understood everything that was going on in the series five finale The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang. But I'd happily take feeling confused over feeling frustrated, annoyed, angry and disappointed - which is how I feel about the majority of the RTD era finales. Yet another thing that's improved about the show since Moffat has taken over has been its visuals. Even though the budget for Doctor Who has actually decreased over the past few years you'd never believe that from watching it! Since Moffat has taken over, the show has become much more cinematic looking. It has much better cinematography. As an example of this you only need to watch the RTD era episode The Christmas Invasion and the Moffat era episode A Christmas Carol back to back! It's almost like watching a completely different show! And finally Doctor Who has also become much less modern-day Earth based ever since Moffat took over.

The Doctor
Back in 2009 a 26 year old actor called Matt Smith auditioned for the role of John Watson in an upcoming show called Sherlock. Smith had given some extremely well-reviewed performances on the West End but would have probably been most famous for his roles on the BBC's The Ruby in the Smoke and The Shadow in the North (which also starred former Doctor Who companion Billie Piper). But really Smith was pretty much a complete unknown. Sherlock's co-creator Steven Moffat found Smith's audition for John entertaining but ultimately he felt that Smith was just too barmy and eccentric to play the character. However, Moffat had also begun to work on Doctor Who. Moffat had originally wanted his Doctor to be played by an actor who was aged 40+ but he now felt that Smith would be ideally suited for the role of the 11th Doctor. He asked Smith to come back and audition for that role and a week later Smith had won the part. But when Smith's casting was eventually announced it caused a massive backlash amongst the show's fans. I can still remember many rants from fans who swore that they'd never watch the show again!

Poor Matt Smith had a terrible time of it when his casting was first announced. Fans were judging him, calling him a terrible Doctor and declaring that he'd ruin the show a full six months before they'd even seen him act in the role! It really bothers me that Matt Smith got so much hate when he was first cast as the Doctor! Yes David Tennant had been - and still is - a tremendously popular Doctor and many people were sad to see him leave. But that's still no excuse for the hatred that Smith received! And when it comes to criticisms against Matt Smith's Doctor I think I've heard pretty much everything. The Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant detractors all seem to have the same issue with their Doctors, but the Matt Smith detractors can't seem to make up their mind about what they dislike about his Doctor. I've heard so many stupid complaints when it comes to Smith's Doctor. I've addressed the most common complaints below!

He isn't attractive enough!
Since when has the Doctor had to be attractive?! William Hartnell wasn't exactly sexy was he?! And Matt Smith's Doctor is attractive! I wouldn't say he's as handsome as David Tennant but he's still really good-looking! Lots of fans do fancy him including myself! And if anyone could be shallow enough to give up on the entire show just because they don't find Smith's Doctor as attractive as Tennant's then good riddance to them, because they were never Doctor Who fans in the first place. They were David Tennant fans. I'm sorry if this is starting to sound like a scary rant but, well, I guess it is!

His Doctor is rubbish because he's too different to David Tennant's! He's trying too hard to copy David Tennant!
Smith does not copy Tennant's portrayal of the Doctor. The 11th Doctor is as different to the 10th Doctor as the 10th Doctor was to the 9th Doctor. And, brace yourselves, this is actually a good thing! Smith makes the character completely his own. He might not be your personal favourite Doctor but he is still unquestionably THE Doctor!

He's too young! 
The complaint that Smith is too young for the role is the one that I find the most understandable. I admit that I did have some reservations about Matt Smith because of his age, and also because he'd never watched Doctor Who as a child. But Smith would completely win me over when I finally saw him in the role. Also, Peter Davison was only a few years older than Smith when he was first cast as the Doctor. And at 26 Smith wasn't that young to be playing the Doctor! It's not like they'd cast an 18 year old!

He can't act!
Are you high?!
Matt Smith's Doctor is an absolute joy to watch! Now David Tennant is an absolutely phenomenal actor and was absolutely marvellous as the Doctor. He gave brilliant performances in even the very worst of the RTD episodes and he was the first actor that made me really and truly fall in love with the character. Got that? Oh, and Tennant's Doctor definitely got the coolest catchphrase with "Allons-y!" But Smith captures the sheer essence of the character in a way that Tennant didn't. With Matt Smith you can completely believe that you're watching a 900 year old alien who's trapped in the body of a young man! The 11th Doctor is clearly and obviously not from our world. He looks very ethereal for one thing. But he's also bonkers! And a mad man with a box! The 11th Doctor is outrageous and flamboyant and incredibly charismatic but also socially awkward. He can be extremely energetic and light-hearted and childlike. He obviously loves his companions very much and can be very affectionate towards them, but they'll also be moments when he'll be acting just like an eccentric and grumpy old man. Eleven is never as brooding and intense as Nine but he's got more of a temper than Ten. Eleven even dresses like an old man! The Doctors just keep getting geekier and geekier on New Who! Nine wore all-black and had a leather jacket. Ten wore suits and converse. Eleven wears bow ties, tweed jackets and suspenders! And yet he still manages to look cool! Matt Smith has also got impeccable comic timing and his Doctor can be absolutely hilarious! But there are also moments when Eleven reminds you of just how dark and dangerous the Doctor can be. There's still the same self-loathing and guilt-ridden side to Eleven that Nine and Ten had. Eleven just does a better job of hiding it. There are still moments when Eleven can be sinister and powerful and emotional. He's still capable of rage.

I adore Matt Smith's portrayal of the Doctor and the thought that anyone could hate him astounds me. If you don't love Matt Smith's Doctor then I think you're wrong! Right now Smith is actually tied with Tennant as my favourite Doctor and I'm going to be so upset when he leaves! Oh, don't get me wrong. I'm excited about Peter Capaldi's Doctor and I'm sure I'll grow to love him as well, but at this moment in time the thought of Smith leaving makes me feel really sad. Thankfully I know many fans also feel the same. Over the years many of the fans have slowly begun to accept the 11th Doctor and I know that there are lots of people out there who are heartbroken that he's going. Oh sure there are still those annoying people out there who insist that David Tennant is the one and only Doctor but there seem to be fewer of them around these days. Yay! There are just a couple more aspects to the 11th Doctor that I thought I'd mention. Firstly, I have to mention that he has the most tremendously epic and exciting theme music! I particularly love this version of it! I also love Matt Smith's Doctor wonderful rapport with children. Just watch the 11th Doctor in any scene where he's with a child. You can really tell that these child actors are having a terrific time working with him and vice versa. It's lovely to see. The same is true whenever Matt Smith interacts with younger fans. Just watch this video with Matt Smith and a young fan! It's ridiculously adorable!

The Companion
The opening episode of series five, The Eleventh Hour, takes place directly after the events of The End of Time. It begins with the TARDIS crash-landing onto the front garden of a small cottage. The newly-regenerated 11th Doctor then immediately meets a young Scottish child called Amelia Pond. Amelia isn't the least bit afraid of the Doctor but, after spending several minutes chatting with her, he discovers that there is something that she's frightened of: a mysterious crack in her bedroom wall. Amelia can hear voices on the other end and it scares her. After examining the crack the Doctor becomes concerned himself and promises to return in five minutes to help her. Unfortunately the TARDIS is still re-organising itself and its instruments are off-kilter. Those five minutes turn into twelve years! Amelia is now a young woman, has shortened her name to "Amy", and is working as a kissogram. However there's still something sinister going on in Amy's house and, when it places everyone's lives in jeopardy, the Doctor has to get rid of it. Once this is dealt with Amy then becomes the Doctor's new companion.

Amy Pond has a far more interesting backstory than any of the RTD companions even if it does have some similarities to Reinette's from The Girl in the Fireplace. She's also a great companion! Along with Donna Noble and Rory Williams, Amy is one of my favourite Doctor Who companions. I love her! She's feisty, witty, fun, independent, adventurous, strong-willed and helpful. The fact that she managed to work out what was really going on in Beast Below leaves me seriously impressed every single time. She completely pwned a Weeping Angel with a remote control! She also managed to resurrect the Doctor from the power of her memory in The Big Bang! And after Martha Jones, Amy is also the most intelligent companion of New Who. I also love Amy for the fact that she never lost faith in the Doctor - even though she had to spent most of her life being told that the Doctor was an imaginary friend that she'd made up. She never managed to end up in a mental institution because of this either! I also love the fact that Amy lives in a small English village called Leadworth. It makes for a really refreshing change from all of the cockney companions from the RTD era. Another very refreshing change is that when we do eventually get to see Amy's parents it turns out that she's got a good relationship with them and that they're not annoying! And I also love the fact that Moffat let Karen Gillan keep her Scottish accent for the role of Amy.

It has to be said that Amy is certainly a flawed companion and that there are times when she can be annoying in series five. In fact her character isn't all that dissimilar to Rose Tyler at first. Amy doesn't treat her lovely fiancé Rory very well at first due to her crush on the Doctor and she even tries to seduce the Doctor on the night before her wedding! This is a hilarious scene - because of the Doctor's reaction to it - but it's still very, very wrong! Because of this it actually took me a few episodes to start liking Amy again. But thankfully she eventually realises just how much she really loves Rory and makes her choice. Amy becomes far more loving and affectionate towards Rory and chooses him over the Doctor every single time. By the end of this series Amy's love for Rory can't even be questioned! And out of all of the companions that we've had on New Who, it's Amy who's developed and matured the most. Oh of course Donna was developed beautifully in series four but this was then completely ruined in the episode Journey's End! Argh, it still makes me angry! 

I should also mention the actresses who play Amy. Well, Karen Gillan is wonderful in the role! She has a lot of charisma and screen presence and is brilliant at both comedy and drama. She has fantastic chemistry with both Matt Smith and Arthur Darvill. I'm so grateful that Moffat brought her back to the show! Gillan's first introduction to Doctor Who was actually in series four with the episode The Fires of Pompeii. She had a minor role as a soothsayer in that story. Gillan has an English accent in that episode and is wearing a lot of make-up but you can still tell that it's her. That episode would also feature the 12th Doctor Peter Capaldi!


There's also Caitlin Blackwood who plays the younger version of Amy - Amelia. Caitlin Blackwood is actually Karen Gillan's real-life cousin which explains why they both look so alike! After Gillan got cast as Amy Pond, Moffat and the producers then began to search for a child actress who could play the character's younger self. Gillan then remembered seeing a photo of her younger cousin Caitlin and suggested that they audition her for the role. Blackwood won the part and she and Gillan actually met for the first time on The Eleventh Hour. Blackwood is clearly a great child actress and I think she deserves far more credit for helping to create the character of Amy Pond. I'm also really glad that Blackwood didn't just get to play Amelia once. She makes an appearance in The Big Bang and has actually shown up a few times since then.

Recurring Characters
Amy Pond's fiancé Rory Williams is introduced in The Eleventh Hour and then gets brought along on an adventure with the Doctor and Amy in Vampires in Venice. He then has further adventures in Amy's Choice and The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood before he gets shot by a Silurian whilst saving the Doctor's life. He's then swallowed by the mysterious crack that was first seen in Amy's bedroom and is erased from history. Technically he never existed and only the Doctor can remember him. But Rory then gets mysteriously brought back as a Roman centurion in The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang and would later become a full-time companion in series six :)

Now I love Rory Williams so much that it's hard for me to believe that there was a time when I didn't! But it's true. Back when Rory was first introduced in The Eleventh Hour I had a feeling that his character was just going to be the new Mickey Smith, the butt of the Doctor's jokes and the companion's mistreated boyfriend. Yes, Mickey did get some more development during series two but he still wasn't a particularly well-written character. We never really got to know him. But I was very happily proved wrong about Rory! The 11th Doctor is never as mean towards him as the 9th Doctor was towards Mickey. The 11th Doctor actually really likes Rory and does everything possible to repair his relationship with Amy. There's also the fact that Rory is an awesome character! He's charming, funny, kind, endearingly awkward and incredibly brave, loyal and determined! He duels a vampire with a broomstick! He spends 2000 years guarding Amy and doesn't complain! Rory is probably my second favourite Doctor Who companion after Donna and is easily my favourite male companion. I never really cared all that much for Mickey and I've always thought Captain Jack was kind of overrated. But Rory is a brilliant character. He complements the Doctor and Amy TARDIS team superbly and his relationship with Amy becomes so lovely and touching. It really makes me angry that Rory often isn't even acknowledged as a companion in the media! Yes he didn't receive top billing until series six but still! And of course I've get to give some love to Arthur Darvill. He plays Rory brilliantly and has fantastic chemistry with Karen Gillan and Matt Smith. And he's from my home town! I find this very cool! :D

The other main recurring character of series five is River Song, who was first introduced in Steven Moffat's Silence of the Library/Forest of the Dead from series four. Since River and the Doctor are both time travellers they never meet in exactly the same order. The Doctor first meets River in the story that she dies in. In series five the Doctor meets River again and we discover that she's actually in prison - not that this stops her from breaking out and having adventures with the Doctor!

River Song is a very divisive character. Some fans love her, some fans hate her. Hardly anyone seems to be indifferent. Me? I love her! I was instantly sold on River's character in series four. I found her absolutely fascinating, was moved by her death (which is even more heartbreaking in hindsight!), and was thrilled that she was going to be making a return to the show. I love River even more now. Also, I don't usually get very shippy when it comes to TV characters but I ship her and the Doctor HARD! Matt Smith and Alex Kingston have an insane amount of chemistry! Which is especially impressive when you consider that there's an almost 20 year age gap between them! I love the relationship between Eleven and River Song. When the Doctor first meets River again their relationship is pretty business-like. The Doctor doesn't really know River yet and he's still fairly uneasy and wary around her. But over time we get to see them become much more comfortable with each other, and by the time we get to series seven their relationship is very romantic. I find Eleven's romance with River far more believable and interesting than the romance between Ten and Rose. I could never buy into the Ten/Rose romance. The Doctor is over 900 years old, has travelled all over time and space, and has met countless amounts of people. He's an extraordinary person. So why on earth would he fall in love with a completely ordinary girl with a completely ordinary life?! The Eleven and Rose romance though makes far more sense because River is extraordinary too. She's a far more dynamic and interesting character than Rose ever was and the Doctor is obviously fascinated and intrigued by her. He finds her fun. He doesn't have to explain things in as much depth to River as he does with his other companions because she can actually keep up with him and has decades worth of experience. The Eleven/River romance is fascinating and I think it was a brilliant move on Moffat's part not to have the romance between their characters completely take over the whole show like the Ten/Rose romance of series two. River hasn't become an official companion and she and the Doctor are having plenty of adventures that are taking place off-screen. We're probably only seeing a fraction of their adventures! This is a good thing. Of course being the Eleven/River shipper that I am there is a part of me that wishes we could see every single moment of their relationship but Doctor Who is above all else a sci-fi show and it should stay that way. We're clearly seeing all of the important Eleven/River moments on the show, and there are several mini-episodes that do show more of Eleven and River's relationship. I especially love Rain Gods!

Again, I really love River. She's strong, capable, intelligent, funny and self-confident. She's an academic. She's a complete badass and even made a Dalek beg for mercy in The Big Bang! Her interactions with the Doctor are either enormously entertaining or extremely touching. River is a wonderful character and I've loved all of the episodes that she's been in. Also, Alex Kingston is a great actress and she plays River brilliantly. I absolutely love Kingston's portrayal and I love that she's a mature older woman. Alex Kingston is by no means old but she's older than most female love interests on film and TV tend to be.

My Favourite Episodes: Since I love almost all of this series' episodes it's incredibly hard for me to narrow this down to just three!
  • The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone (by Steven Moffat)
  • Vincent and the Doctor (by Richard Curtis)
  • The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang (by Steven Moffat)
My Least Favourite Episodes:
  • Victory of the Daleks (by Mark Gatiss)
  • Beast Below (by Steven Moffat)
My Favourite Guest Stars
  • Tony Curran in Vincent and the Doctor
  • Toby Jones in Amy's Choice
  • Helen McCrory in Vampires in Venice
  • Ian McNeice in Victory of the Daleks
  • Iain Glen in The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone

The episodes of series five summarised:

1. The Eleventh Hour (written by Steven Moffat)
This episode is widely considered to be the best post-regeneration story ever. It's a glorious opening episode! OK, this episode does have a couple of minor faults. There are a few plot-holes. But still, this is a brilliant episode and it gets so much right! It's far better than Rose and The Christmas Invasion! Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Caitlin Blackwood are all superb in this - and Matt Smith's "Hello, I'm the Doctor" speech to the Atraxi is a particularly awesome scene! The episode is literally an hour long and it's fast-paced and funny with some brilliant one-liners. It would also make complete sense to someone even if they'd never seen any of the RTD era or the classic era. 
2. The Beast Below (written by Steven Moffat)
I suppose it was inevitable really. At some point Steven Moffat was bound to write an episode that I wouldn't like, and even Moffat admits that this episode is the worst he's written for the show. The Beast Below is by no means a terrible episode and Smith and Gillan are both great. But the episode is just very average. I can't even pinpoint exactly why I'm so lukewarm about this episode. It's just, yeah, average.
3. Victory of the Daleks (written by Mark Gatiss)
This is another average episode. It just doesn't live up to its potential and the redesigned Daleks look ridiculous. Also, at the end of Beast Below Winston Churchill seemed really suspicious of the Daleks but in this episode he doesn't seem to have any kind of problem with them. It's still a fairly fun episode though and the Dalek saying "You do not want tea then?" cracks me up every single time.
4-5. The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone (written by Steven Moffat)
There isn't a single thing that I don't love about this two-parter! This story is the "Aliens" to Blink's "Alien". Blink is basically a haunted house story with Weeping Angels being used instead of ghosts. But this story is basically an action movie with the Doctor and his companions being besieged on all sides by the Angels! Matt Smith and Karen Gillan both knock it out of the park in this two-parter. This was actually the first story that they filmed for the show but you'd never believe it from watching their performances! They're both astonishingly good! We also get the return of the awesome River Song. The writing, the acting, the extremely cinematic production values and direction... this story is insanely good! Also, the Doctor's "Leap of Faith" speech at the end of the first episode is amazing! It show that no matter what the situation you should never, ever put the Doctor in a trap. It's brilliantly written and brilliantly delivered by Smith. It was an instant classic!
6. The Vampires of Venice (written by Toby Whithouse)
This episode was written by Being Human creator Toby Whithouse, who previously wrote the brilliant School Reunion from series two. Even though this episode isn't as brilliant as the two-parter that came before this is still a great episode. It has a great story, it's really funny, Rory's great, it looks stunning, and the vampires are really creepy. Helen McCrory is brilliant as Rosanna and her confrontation scene with Matt Smith is awesome. There's a really nice William Hartnell tribute scene as well.
7. Amy's Choice (written by Simon Nye)
This is yet another great episode. It has a brilliantly clever and simple premise. It's full of atmosphere. It's got an awesome villain and Toby Jones does a brilliant job at playing him. He steals every scene he's in and is obviously having an incredible amount of fun in the role. There are some extremely touching scenes, it's really funny, and there are some fantastic visuals.
8-9. The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood (written by Chris Chibnall)
This two-parter features the return of the Silurians, who were Classic Who monsters. Initially I wasn't actually all that keen on this two-parter for some reason but when I saw it again I loved it far more. This is a terrific story for the Doctor's companions. Amy and Rory are both hugely independent in this story. They both take control and get to do a lot of things. The Silurians are both sympathetic and threatening. The supporting characters are all really likeable and well-developed. Rory's death is an extremely sad moment and Amy's reaction to it is heartbreaking. It's brilliantly acted by Karen Gillan. The ending, which has the Doctor finding TARDIS debris, is brilliant too.
10. Vincent and the Doctor (written by Richard Curtis)
I'm not really a fan of Richard Curtis's romantic comedies. They're far too schmaltzy for me. But this episode is absolutely wonderful and is easily the best thing he's written since Blackadder! I could point out that the monster in this episode isn't the best but it really doesn't matter. This is an utterly beautiful and emotional episode. It never shys away from depicting Vincent Van Gogh's mental illness. It shows the pain and tragedy of his life whilst still celebrating his incredibly beautiful paintings. Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Tony Curran are all fantastic in this and the ending is stunning.
11. The Lodger (written by Gareth Roberts)
I was a bit anxious about this episode because it guest-stars James Corden and I don't usually find him funny at all. But in the end this episode turned out to be really funny and entertaining. This is because Corden actually plays his role straight and it's Matt Smith who gets to be the funny one! He steals the show in this and is absolutely hilarious! I especially love his reaction to the "annihilate" comment! The Craig-Sophie romance is also surprisingly sweet. Karen Gillan doesn't get all that much to do but she still gives a good performance.
12-12. The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang (written by Steven Moffat)
This episode is a million miles away from the "epic" finales that RTD used to do. There's no modern-day London, no annoying mothers, no celebrity cameos! It's just got lots of timey wimey-ness and Stonehenge! And it's the best series finale so far! Everything comes together in a hugely satisfying way. It's exciting and emotional. Matt Smith gives a stunning performance. River Song is wonderful. The special effects are brilliant as is Toby Haynes' direction. It's an awesome end to a wonderful series : )

3 comments:

Manette said...

Heeeyyy, it's me again, coming for a visit to make long Doctor Who comments. I'm halfway through the sixth series now and I am digging Steven Moffat's Doctor Who so very, very, VERY much. I just love it how he really takes advantage of the possibilities of time-travel, which never really happened in Davies' Doctor Who (except in Moffat's episodes!) I also don't mind at all that I've had to watch some episodes more than once to understand what's going on – I like to be challenged!

Matt Smith and David Tennant are both terrific Doctors but in very different ways, which is brilliant. I think Eleven gets the best relationships with his companions. I liked it that he was actually concerned about Amy's relationship with Rory and brought Rory along. And just as I might have started to think there was going to be another boring love triangle, I watched Amy's Choice, which made very clear how real Amy and Rory's relationship is. Both of them have developed beautifully and Rory is wonderful because he's a nurse and a Roman :D

Soooo many people are complaining that Moffat's Who is sexist, and I really can't see where they're coming from. They seem to think that Amy isn't a good female character because she wears short skirts, which is just completely dumb. What happened to not judging people, especially women, based on what they WEAR? We're living the 21st century! Some people also seem to have the opinion that River Song is some sort of a male-fantasy-fulfilling-thing, and this sounds equally ridiculous to me. Oh please, River Song is completely awesome and has the most interesting character arc in the entire television world. Even though I've only watched the sixth series till "Let's Kill Hitler" so far, I think it will be my favourite series and one reason for that is getting to know all that timey-whimey stuff about River. Another reason is that I absolutely love the bonkers-family relationship between the Doctor, Amy and Rory, plus eventually River. I love it that the Doctor and Rory are bros – one of the most annoying things about the earlier Doctors was that they were so damn jealous and protective, even offensive, against all the male characters who interacted with their companions. I'm already feeling sad about Amy and Rory eventually leaving :(

My favourite episodes in series 5 and 6 so far have been: The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone (I made the mistake of watching those episodes right before bedtime, stupid stupid me...), Amy's Choice, Vincent and the Doctor, The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang, The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon (the most intense series-opener ever!), The Doctor's Wife and A Good Man Goes to War (which had so many awesome Rory moments). So... almost half of the episodes I've watched are my favourites. Right.

Oh, and one more thing about River: I want all of her costumes! :D Are you going to make reviews of the sixth and seventh series?

Hannah said...

This comment made me so happy! Oh my gosh, I'm SO glad that you're loving Moffat-era Doctor Who! I mean, I thought you probably would but still, I am very pleased! :)

I get so upset and angry when I read complaints about Moffat's Doctor Who being "sexist". I find most of Moffat's female characters extremely likeable and inspiring! And I've found a bunch of pro-feminist Moffat appreciation blogs on Tumblr to follow which has been really nice.

I agree with everything that you said in your comment about Eleven and his companions. I really do miss that weird family dynamic that they had!

You've picked all of my favourites from S5 and S6 I think. Although I adore 'A Christmas Carol' and I think 'Vampires in Venice' is quite an underrated episode. I also love 'Let's Kill Hitler' for its bonkers brilliance and for Rory putting Hitler in a cupboard :) S7 has been my least favourite of the Moffat run so far but it's still a really good series on the whole and it has some excellent episodes. 'Dinosaurs on a Spaceship' & 'The Bells of Saint John' are a lot of fun and I think you'd love 'Hide'. 'The Rings of Akhaten' is a weak episode but Matt Smith gets an insanely great acting scene that almost completely redeems the episode. You'll know it when you see it! 'The Name of the Doctor' is a really good one too. It has a beautiful scene between Eleven and River and an AWESOME opening!

At the moment I'm watching S8 on TV which has been great so far! :) After that I do plan on reviewing S6, S7, The Name of the Doctor, The Day of the Doctor, The Five-ish Doctors, An Adventure in Space and Time and then S8. It might take me a while though! Have you thought about reviewing the show yet? :)

When you're done with all of New Who I'd recommend that you start watching some Classic Who. I'd start with 'The Talons of Weng Chiang' and 'The Caves of Androzani' which are fantastic stories and were both influenced by The Phantom of the Opera! :)

Manette said...

Yeah, well, I haven't disliked any of the Matt Smith episodes so far, so when making that favourites list it was really hard to differentiate between REALLY GREAT episodes and just really great episodes :D A Christmas Carol was the first Christmas special that wasn't ridiculous – in my opinion. Of course, it helps that I adore the original Dickens novella and loved it how Moffat paid homage to it in the first place :)

I'm definitely going to blog about Doctor Who. Judging by the length of my comments to you, those posts are going to be gigantic. I just want to watch all the Matt Smith series (and possibly the newest one) before I do that, because I really want to compare Davies Who and Moffat Who properly :D

Classic Who is pretty hard to come by in Finland, I don't think I've ever seen it on sale anywhere. Doctor Who in general is only just starting to emerge over here! I've found exactly one store in my town that sells the New Who dvd boxes at all, and even the availability in online stores is quite limited. And the funny thing is, they haven't put Finnish subtitles into any of the dvd's – which doesn't bother me because I can understand English just as well, but I imagine it's quite irritating for most. It's really hilarious AND infuriating how far behind Finland comes in most of those things that are huge hits in America and Western Europe – no matter how hard Finland wants to identify with the west rather than the east. I seriously can't wait to move out of here and live where I can experience cultural phenomena in real time! :D

(That being said, Finnish television actually started showing the eighth series just a few days after it started in Britain, but I haven't been watching it yet because I want to go chronologically.)