Quicklink: Doctor Who Season 6B Episode 1 review

SPOILERS for Let’s Kill Hitler: Very interesting review, which clarifies several points that have been bothering me about Moff-era Who, although I don’t agree with all of it.

I am however very much reaching the stage where I’m mainly watching it for the sheer joy of appreciating Matt Smith’s acting skills, even when the writing gives him little to work with except inconsistencies. I relish other performances as well (especially Alex Kingston) but again it’s despite the writing, and that’s not because the writing isn’t intricately clever and satisfying on a puzzle-solving level alongside its twists and thrills (that’s its major strength), but it just seems to lack both heart and perspective.

Admiring the Moff’s talents generally as I do, I’m willing him to have something hiding up his sleeve to win me back onside with an epic oh-so-that’s-what-was-happening revelation, but that’s (a) gonna need to be really, really, really huge; and (b) deep down still not quite as satisfying as just having more heart and perspective in each week’s episode. Pleasepleaseplease – don’t fuck it up.

BONUS: non-spoiler link (via above review) to this genius Kate Beaton webcomic on Strong Female Characters

BONUS BONUS: Eleventh Doctor artwork by our own napalmnacey
The Eleventh Doctor by *napalmnacey on deviantART

Categories: arts & entertainment, fun & hobbies

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8 replies

  1. What a gorgeous, textured painting!
    Sady Doyle also recently put a piece up on Global Comment that might be of interest, with some more excellent criticisms of the quality of the show’s writing since Moffat took over.

    • @Sniff, I read that piece. I also saw some of the horrendous fandom outrage that followed. I happen to not agree that Rory=Shark-Jump-Fail-Territory, and that having an insecure character also have Moments of Awesome, and even be KickArse Woman’s love interest, is an OK concept. I just wish that Moff didn’t feel the need to hit us over the head with Rory’s insecurities-as-punchline quite so much – RTD did a much better job with incorporating Mickey’s insecurities into the Rose narrative, IMO.

  2. I think the disconnect for some people is because Moffat is actually telling the story of River, not the Doctor (or Rory or Amy). A story told in reverse, with a lot of it happening off-stage.

    • @uniquerhys, I hadn’t looked at it from that angle, but it’s a very interesting view. I guess it is a lot more difficult for a storyline about a stolen child deliberately raised to become an indoctrinated psychopath with enormously grandiose narcissistic tendencies to also incorporate heart and perspective when what we mostly see on screen is less River’s own emotional journey than our previously major protagonists transformed into the surrounding/reactive ensemble supporting River’s narrative arc.
      If I put on my litcrit-wonkish hat, I can see how there’s an awful lot to unpack in that and it might well be a rewarding headspace to be in. But when I’m wearing my faded and crumpled from long use Whovian-fandom hat, it’s just not engaging me as much as I’m accustomed to when watching Who.

  3. I feel saddened that my thoughts about The Doctor degenerating through abusive boyfriend territory toward whiny teenager appear to be coming true. As the owner of a dodgy cheap imported scarf, I would much prefer to be wrong. Jelly baby?

  4. Thanks, Sniff. 🙂 That made my day!
    I think a lot of the problems people are having with this new Who series is that so much of it focuses on River Song. And I was a complete River Song Loather when I started out, but her story has become more and more interesting to me, and I’m a bit of a convert. And really, we’ve had thirty plus years of stories about the Doctor and the Doctor only. Now it’s a story about the Doctor and a complex knot of a human being that is actually a Time Lord. Honestly, it’s really nice to have a focus on a woman, and she’s a mature woman in most of the story and confident and happy in herself.
    Not that this doesn’t mean that Doctor Who isn’t full of problematic bullshit, and yeah, there were slightly *less* problematic problems in RTDs time, but let’s not forget how shocking RTD treated POC, or how it took until Donna before we found a companion that didn’t want to bone Ten.
    My main beef is the “Permission to hug Amy” thing, to be honest. Other than that, I really love the representation of marriage between Amy and Rory. People get married. It doesn’t mean Amy is deferring to Rory all the time or has lost any of her independence. It’s nice seeing a normal, happy marriage on TV.
    Also, on the point of your review, TT, I think Moff has the weakness of spending so much time focusing on the GREAT PUZZLE that he misses the nuances of the relationships between the characters. But usually it just varies between episode to episode.
    Overall, I’m not expecting the series to be all perfect, all the time. I remember the disaster that was The Year of Specials, and I am thankful that I am watching episodes that don’t make me want to punch the screen or wish the writers would put the Doctor out of his intolerably Lonely Old Last Of His Kind misery.

  5. *spoilers* *spoilers* *spoilers*
    The thing that really annoyed me was River using up all her regenerations to save the Dr. Every single one of them. Sacrificing herself effectively. I am prepared to be the only person bugged by this. Actually the ‘hey I’m your best mate and also your daughter so you got to spend time with me, yay you’ thing was annoying as hell too. Maybe they wanted their BABY. Not unusual for young parents to want to have and hold their baby.

  6. @Mindy, River not having any regenerations to spare kinda had to come into the plot somewhere, because otherwise she wouldn’t have died in Silence in the Library, would she? As a retrofit to that known history of the character, it didn’t bother me too much, plus it’s first sign of her moving beyond her programming by the kidnappers.
    Moving on, I really enjoyed tonight’s creepy kid’s scary bedroom episode. Vintage Who with a twist. Nicely done by Mark Gatiss.

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