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Published on April 24th, 2011 | by Christian Cawley

Impossible Astronaut Reaction

Wow – what a cracking return to the airwaves that was! The Impossible Astronaut aired in three major territories on Saturday, with British, America and Canadian fans tuning in and able to enjoy the same episode of show on the same day without resorting to file sharing networks!

One side effect of this is that there are a hell of a lot of reviews out there, largely positive but with a few exceptions. As ever, we’re going to bring you snippets from the best of these reviews for this series of Doctor Who, beginning with low-brow leftist tabloid The Mirror, who described The Impossible Astronaut as “impossible to understand”, with its star:

A twitchy whirl of studied eccentricity, Matt Smith remains a derivative Doctor who brings nothing new to the party.

Note to Mirror review Kevin O’Sullivan: there are jobs out there where you don’t have to watch TV shows that you don’t like. Also, if you’re still not getting it, see ScreenRant, who obvserved:

If you’re confused, don’t worry, I was too. And the rest of the episode didn’t do much good in clarifying the situation. Of course, that’s why it’s a two-parter!

And, Mr O’Sullivan, if you’re still not getting it… well, there’s a reason why online and independant journalism is killing print, you know?

Much more enthusiastic was, naturally, FlickFilosopher, where the discovery of the Doctor’s appearance in vintage movies and flirtations with women from history is highly rated. Let’s face it, The Impossible Astronaut features a good pre-credits sequence.

I knew this was the kind of stuff the Doctor would get up to, at least sometimes. What’s the point of being a mad, wonderful, hot-when-you’re-clever gentleman about the universe if you don’t have some fun once in a while?

There is so much fanfic fodder in so much naughty Doctor. Except… it’s all going the other way around now, isn’t it? What was once the stuff of fanfic is now the canonical material. It’s bit wibbly-wobbly itself.

With Mark Sheppard and real-life father William Morgan Sheppard playing two versions of the same character, 40+ years apart, Doctor Who was afforded some cult casting kudos in its first US location shoot, something that seems to have struck a chord with some fans and reviewers. MTV Splash was particularly impressed with Sheppard, not to mention the Silence.

The episode also features a few new additions — namely, Canton and the terrifying new creatures — who both make a strong case for themselves to become a bigger part of The Doctor’s universe. We’re only one episode in, and I already want to see more of Mark Sheppard as Canton. The mysterious new creatures give the Weeping Angels a run for their money in scare factor, too.

One aspect of the 2010 series of Doctor Who that came in for criticism was the performance of Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, something that in this particular wing of Kasterborous Towers we had no complaints with. However it was interesting to see a new take on the character in The Impossible Astronaut, something focused on by Obsessed with Film’s review (outside their remit though, surely?)

For me, actual improvement came solely from Karen Gillan. I really enjoyed Amy last season when she was introduced as the feisty, intelligent young woman who had waited years to reacquaint with The Doctor after a childhood encounter, but then she became a fairly one-note kook. As you can tell from interviews, Gillan’s a peculiar person in reality, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with unusual people (this show celebrates them!), but I’m so pleased Gillan appears to have toned down Amy’s saucer-eyed stares and lilting vocals. She appears to be giving us a more assured take on Amy Pond, finally, and it was a pleasure to notice that Gillan’s performance has been steered in this better direction.

Finally, we steer over to uber fansite Digital Spy, the home of fans of everything that is made up of 1s and 0s. While they were slow to come to the Doctor Who party back in 2005 they’ve been making up for it ever since, and their review of the Doctor Who Series 6 premiere closes with a 5 star rating and this to ponder…

The only obvious criticism is that this instalment and the one that follows could prove too confusing and too frightening for kids, but perhaps we’re just underestimating the show’s young fans?

We’ll have more coverage of press and online reaction later on!

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About the Author

A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.




One Response to Impossible Astronaut Reaction

  1. Carn says:

    The Mirror really is the dumbest ‘newspaper’ out there though.

    The episode was superb and everybody performed brilliantly. There’s no doubt in my mind Smith is one of the very best Doctors ever and certainly leagues ahead of Tennant (my opinion so don’t hit me, tennant fangirls). I knew Sheppard would be great (both of them but mainly talking about the younger) but I’m glad to see a lof of Who fans who aren’t familiar with him (ones who’ve somehoe never seen one of the bajillion US show episodes he’s been in) reacted well to him too. I’ve rewatched this episode about eight times already and while I still get sniffles at the Lis Sladen message at the beginning, by the end of it I’m dancing about desperately wanting part two. Happy to see the one tv show I even own a TV for being on such top form.

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