New series, new Doctor, new production team. Following Matt Nidaâ€™s 2010 series critique (Geroni-Meh!), the reviewers of the individual episodes got together to provide their own thoughts on season 31 (aka Series 5 and Series Fnarg) as a whole.
(We really did get together. There was cake.)
Time… time…TIME? Future jackets vs continuity errors, wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey intricacies â€“ thatâ€™s what summed Doctor Who up for me in 2010.
Matt Smith was great of course, and Iâ€™m quite fond of his leggy companion, but what most impressed me were the intricacies of Steven Moffatâ€™s arc plotting, from The Eleventh Hour through to The Big Bang.Â Iâ€™m under no illusions that some episodes were pale shadows of what they should have been, and perhaps the added load of fitting in elements that can then be referred back to later on was too much for certain writers. Certainly as far as Victory of the Daleks and The Beast Below go, there was little to recommend subsequent viewings despite show-stopping moments like â€œSpitfires in Spaceâ€.
But where Steven Moffatâ€™s first season in change has impressed is with the extrapolation of the confused-time themes of The Girl in the Fireplace, Blink and Silence in the Library into a full season. I totally love stuff like this, and while there were moments in The Big Bang that perhaps didnâ€™t make sense, the same can be said of one of its thematic stable mates, Back to the Future 2.
Seeding that â€œFuture Doctorâ€ moment from the finale into Flesh and Stone was particularly effective, as were suggestions from River Song that sheâ€™s a bit of a badâ€™un, and this represents the other side of the The Grand Moffâ€™s plotting. Heâ€™s not only brought the season together with timey-wimey brilliance, thereâ€™s even more to come!
One thing that I always disliked about the previous series was how everything was tidily sorted out with the â€œdo too muchâ€ finale of the Russell T Davies era. Moffat didnâ€™t even try to sort everything out, leaving the nature of the â€œSilenceâ€, the entity controlling the TARDIS, the identity of the owner of the TARDIS in The Lodger and various River Song-related bits and bobs to the next season.
Episodic, ongoing, timey-wimey â€“ great stuff!
From the start of the season it was clear to see that Moffat knows Doctor Who. In the beginning, while The Eleventh Hour was a great episode, I thought he might have just known past Doctor Who a bit too well with all the reused ideas in that story. But as the series progressed it got better and better. While, as a fan, I had small issues with certain episodes along the way that by no means meant they werenâ€™t good, just that it was not my vision of the show and I had to get passed that as I did with the Russell T. Davies era.
Once I got to The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone my issues all took a back seat. I enjoyed every minute of that story and am proud to say that I noticed the Doctor walking through his own past – although admittedly I did wonder at first if it was a production error â€“ but then started to wonder if it was more. And it was!
As the series moved on ever further, we got reintroduced to Rory and the TARDIS had a team again. A team that got along the way that friends do, meaning sometimes there is tension but on the whole they are there for each other. Just like the good old days. Then Rory died. I was really taken aback by this. Half expecting it but hoping it wouldnâ€™t happen.
When the time came for the Doctor to meet Vincent Van Gogh, the series just seemed like it could do no wrong. And now that The Big Bang has come and gone I am left with the feelings Iâ€™ve wanted to feel at any of the series finales. Joy. Not sadness, not tears, not emo stuff. Just joy. The heroes are together and read to take on the universe again and loving every minute of it. Perfect.