Reviewer’s Roundtable

James

Doctor Who 2010This was one of the most impressive, moving, entertaining and solid runs this wonderful show that we love has ever delivered. Yes, I am gushing but my faith had been tested during Season 4 (or series 30) and the Specials, the show had become slightly tired. But let’s forget the past.

Showrunner (don’t you hate that term?) Steven Moffat has brought back the menace of yesteryear as well as the humour that Tom Baker’s Doctor originally enjoyed. Also, the mature romantic interest, a plot strand which would have been unimaginable until now (recall the uproar of that kiss between Doctor 8 and Grace?), was well paced and above all very honest. The show returned with rip-roaring adventures which delivered a rewarding story arc that moved even the hardest of hearts. Hey, even the Dalek story wasn’t as bad as I first feared.

Consistently strong and considered both in the acting and scripting departments gave the 13 episodes a real contemporary edge, Matt Smith truly captured the innocent and carefree nature the Doctor so rightly enjoys whilst Karen Gillan shines as Amy, a young girl who seems to be cracking up but instead is falling through a crack in time.

It was free from stunt casting too, yes we had a few notable names such as flavour of the month James Corden but it was the stories that were the stars that truly shone. Even Chris Chibnall redeemed himself with a Silurian adventure that helped upgrade them even if the CGI tongue looked a tad lame. And it’s here I arrive at the only negative point, the effects. They seem to have taken a slight turn for the worse, looking pale and not integrated properly. Fingers crossed these are improved for the Christmas special. And remember, bow ties are cool.

James reviewed The Time of Angels.

Simon

Doctor Who 2010What a fantastic year this has been for Doctor Who! The Eleventh Hour instantly grabbed new and old viewers alike and successfully introduced a new Doctor and companion – the mad-haired fidgety-fingered Matt Smith and the lovely leggy Karen Gillan. Smith was instantly convincing as the Doctor and quickly dispelled the memory of the equally excellent David Tennant whilst stamping his own mark on the role. Reading interviews in the run-up to the series I was a little cynical of the “young-old” label that The Grand Moff gave to Matt but as the series progressed we could clearly see what Moffat saw in the floppy-haired giraffe!

I’ll avoid the urge to continue heaping praise on Matt so I can say something about Karen Gillan and Amy Pond. Whilst Karen is obviously talented and pretty I am not entirely convinced about the character of Amy. There’s something unpleasant about a bride that asks someone for a snog in the shrubbery when the groom is within earshot and she clearly knows that it would upset him. It’s this insensitive side to Amy that jars with me and makes me not like her. I won’t even start analyzing the incident when she tried to bed the Doctor! On the other hand, I thought Amy’s interaction with Vincent van Gogh was touching but that’s probably down to the writing of Richard Curtis and the necessity of the plot.

Apart from the wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey arc of the universe collapsing, the overall theme that struck me this year was one of perception with lots of plotlines involving altered perception – memory wipes in The Beast Below, perception filters in The Lodger, the Dream Lord and his alternate realities, Amy’s imaginary friend, etc. I think The Grand Moff did a great job weaving the threads into a coherent linking story carried across the whole series and even leading into next year…

Simon reviewed Flesh and Stone and The Hungry Earth and is the brain behind the Doctor Who and Torchwood News Service.


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