Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Midpoint: Some Thoughts on Doctor Who season 7 part 1

Typically I write a review for the new doctor who episodes as they come out.  That is one of the reasons I started this blog.  I did set out to write a couple of reviews for this season and they all sit as drafts in my dashboard.  I've tried to write, I honestly have but the muse has not taken me, and now the mid season has come and gone.  Now . . . I am ready to write. . . Go figure.

This season has been interesting for me.  Over the last two years I have been very vocal about my feelings about the new direction of the show.  I was one of the loudest supported of Moffat taking over, and since he has taken over I have been pretty loud in my disapproval.  This season has gotten me excited again.

There is something about these stand alone episodes that really energized the series for me.  With only a loose thread of the ponds and their journey ending tying them together we were able to go throughout time and space and have ridiculous adventures the way Doctor Who was truly meant to be.  We got to see glimpses of the future (with Jenna Louise Coleman (the new companion) appearing in the first episode) and we saw memories of the past as the ponds say goodbye.  I think it truly was a passing of the baton season.  Reminding up what we had, but letting us know that there is more to come.

Of course the thing that I loved about this season was the Space Ships.  My favorite sci-fi is Space Opera, and Doctor Who is at it's best when it gets the space opera treatment.  Even when not in space, we got evidence of space ships and/or great space battles wars in 4 of the 5 episodes.  I hope that is a bit of foreshadowing of things to come.

One of the things I have had issue with over the last few years is the Ponds. . . more specifically Amy.  To me Amy has been a Marry Sue character and they haven't even bothered to write good explanations for most of those qualities or traits that she possesses.  She has been a cardboard cut out of what Moffat's ideal companion is or should be.  This season seemed to break that.  I actually found myself stomaching her a bit more.  The writing seemed to present equal amount qualities and foibles.  This is something that I feel her character has lacked the last few years.  Since she has had distance from the Doctor, she has matured.  She is a much older Amy than we first met, just as the doctor is a much older Doctor, and I think that goes a long way for me.
This season has really taken a dark turn, and has dealt with some deep issues.  A character who has to come to terms with essentially being dead, A mad man who has basically killed a an entire race, forcing the doctor's hand to kill him, Human experimentation, genocide.  some deep dark topics for a show with a pretty young main audience.  Although, there is humor thrown in, there are some heavy themes going on here.  and to be honest it has made it a fun ride to go on.    

Now, all that said there were week points in the season plenty of them, but they were easier to disregard this time.  I feel like the Final episode was the weakest.  I think it was weak mainly because it felt like an event that we were all gearing up to.  Every one knew it was the end of the companions and they just wanted to know how it came.  I felt like the story was lost on that.  That is not to say it was bad, far from it.  I just wasn't as intrigued by the timey whimey tricks of the Moff as I once would have been.  Actually that whole thing is beginning to get old, so perhaps that plot hook will leave with the ponds, and will instead bring us a passel of space adventure plots!

This is of course the Pond's swansong season, and I feel one of the things that Moffat has done was make that too apparent.  Every week we got that knowing glance from the Doctor, Moffat really played up that emotion card.  He takes viewers for a ride, by goading them on and taunting them.  I feel that if there was a weak thread in the season it was that.  It was the reliance on the emotional impact of the last episode.  For me that was played up so much it made the final episode more of a downer than anything else.  It didn't live up to the hype Moffat had made for himself.  

One of the interesting things about this first part of season 7 is that the stuff we haven't seen is as important (or perhaps more important for the long run) than what we have seen.  We are in a post Doctor's death world/ universe, and the Doctor has been taking advantage of the universe thinking he is dead.  He is slowly making himself a ghost.  A whisper.  Records are being erased.  Moffat, with just a few lines made the Daleks forget their oldest enemy.  They are truly gearing up for the 50th anniversary.  I can feel this subtle reboot taking root and finally paying off on November 23 2013.  Though I wish they would ask the question differently than the obvious way:  "Doctor Who?" The direction has changed and I am once again along for the ride.  Moffat is slowly making me a believer in my favorite show again, and I'll be glad to come along for the ride again.

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