I started watching the New Series a few years ago, back when Tennant was the Doctor. I memorized the music, I watched the shows over and over. And when Tennant left, I was sure that no one could ever replace him as the Doctor.
I was wrong. In Season 5, we saw Matt Smith battling aliens and cracks, and always hearing that the “Silence” would fall.
In Season 6, we finally met the Silence in a fantastic two-parter that had me hanging off the edge of my chair. He meets up with some pirates that are being stalked by a homicidal Siren in Episode 3, and there are some interesting twists. I won’t go into any more detail, but all three episodes that I have seen so far have been fantastic! This season is shaping up to be one of the best yet, and I look forward to watching (and re-watching) every episode.
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Episode 1: The Impossible Astronaut
Starts things off with a bang (rather literally). The word “impossible” in the title is well-deserved: something you would never have expected to happen really does. Feels more like a typical DW series finale in scope rather than a premiere, and makes for a nice change from the norm. Lots of new plot threads introduced, some new development added to old ones…including the revelation of the Silence, definitely the scariest monster Steven Moffat has created so far.
Episode 2: Day of the Moon
It’s hard to believe after watching Episode One, but this episode is even more incredible and jaw-dropping. All the stars get a chance to stretch their acting muscles and add some layers to their characters. Plus, we’re treated to what is probably the most shocking cliffhanger ever to be seen in Doctor Who.
Episode 3: The Curse of the Black Spot
Fun but forgettable. A simplistic romp which adds little to the main story arc. It’s not terrible, but it falls far short of the show’s usual standard of quality (which admittedly was pushed very high by the premiere).
Episode 4: The Doctor’s Wife
Definitely the best of this set of episodes. It’s so surprising and incredible that I can’t say much about it without spoiling the genius of its premise. You aren’t a true Whovian unless you’ve seen this, and even if you’re not an avid fan, I guarantee you’ll love it.
Episode 5: The Rebel Flesh
An enjoyable return to traditional Who. Very creepy “monsters” (though I’m not sure the term actually applies here). Thought-provoking and engaging. Plus, some things introduced in this episode will become very, very important in the future…
Episode 6: The Almost People
Even better than Part 1 (a rarity in two-part stories). Provides a satisfying, unpredictable conclusion to one of the thorniest ethical dilemmas the Doctor has yet encountered. Some of the FX are a bit over-ambitious, but that doesn’t detract from the fun. And finally, we get some more plot development on the main story arc, in the form of yet another gasp-inducing cliffhanger. You really, really won’t see this one coming, and you won’t be able to keep yourself from downloading the next episode.
Episode 7: A Good Man Goes to War
How should I put this? It’s a mixed bag. The first half of the episode feels a bit like a rerun of Journey’s End, and there are a few irritating bits and pieces randomly thrown in. Then the Doctor makes a mind-blowing discovery, and the second half changes everything for him and his companions – perhaps permanently. And we finally find out who the mysterious River Song is. If you’ve been watching very carefully thus far, and if you’re the kind of person who sees the solution to mystery novels before you finish them, you may not find the revelation surprising. However, it’s no less fascinating, and there will be parts of it you won’t have been able to guess beforehand. In addition, we really don’t find out everything about her in this episode. It’ll be a long, long wait until autumn…
So overall, this first half of Series 6 gets five stars from me. We finally get some real, honest-to-goodness shocks and surprises, and all the main characters are far better developed than they were last year. Order today and enjoy.
- the Doctor: “I wear a Stetson now. Stetsons are cool.”
All hail DOCTOR WHO, back for this Series 6 and more awesome and mind-warping than ever. And this time there’s a neat swerve as show boss and head writer Steven Moffat plonks the Doctor (complete with Stetson on noggin) in the American West. The Doctor’s close associates – Amy Pond (the amazing Karen Gillan) and her long-suffering hubby Rory (Arthur Darvill) – each receive an invitation (in Tardis-blue envelopes) from the Doctor and off they go to rendezvous with him in a desert in Utah. The enigmatic time-traveler (and prison inmate), Professor River Song, also shows up, her own invite in hand, and to quote her now: “SPOILERS.” They all go have a nice picnic, in the middle of which the Doctor gets murdered by an astronaut emerging from a lake. And Series 6 is off to a twisty start. That bloke, Steven Moffat, seems to think he’s some sort of clever clogs, and maybe he is. Amy Pond is absolutely inconsolable; the Doctor had perished before regeneration could initiate. It looks like it’s eleven and done.
The fantastic two-parter – “The Impossible Astronaut” and “Day of the Moon” – goes a ways into resolving certain questions left dangling from Series 5. We learn the nature of the Silence, and there are inroads made in fleshing out River Song’s back story and her connection to the Doctor. As usual, this series plays fast and loose with time and space, and that’s in a good way. Temporally, the venue shifts from the present to the year 1969, and, as the Doctor cautions his friends: “A lot more happens in ’69 than anyone remembers.” In 1969 the Doctor and his companions stroll into the Oval Office and meet a President Nixon early into his term and receiving constant phone calls from a terribly frightened little girl. In two episodes chock full of swerves, one of the really surprising ones is that Nixon comes across as a fairly likable guy. On two occasions he actually intervenes on our protagonists’ behalf.
We learn the true reason behind man’s quest to reach the moon, and also that America had long been occupied by a race of malevolent aliens, aliens that lurk in the corner of your eyes and had been surviving off man’s accomplishments from the very beginning. And I’ll tell the world that these boogeymen are easily as terrifying as the weeping angels. Like the weeping angels, these aliens in 1969 possess a disturbing and creepy knack for distorting perception. How the companions get around that, and how the Doctor ultimately gets the best of the aliens are simply some of the biggest grin getting experiences in my time watching this show. Matt Smith brings his usual eccentric and lively take on the Doctor, and, in his interpretation, there’s a sense of an old soul inhabiting a giddy young body. And Smith really is terrific in those rousing “Gotcha!” moments. “Silence will fall.” Indeed.
There are so many things to love about this two-parter. British aplomb rubs elbows with American bravado, and results in dynamic synergy. And maybe it’s this more impartial perspective from overseas that lends a refreshing feel to this 1960s era. As mentioned, Nixon comes off in a good light. The episodes also benefit from the presence of FBI Agent Delaware, and the final exchange between him and Nixon in “Day of the Moon” is priceless. I love the notion of the two time travelers – the Doctor and River Song – having to sync up their diaries each time they meet. I love the sheer scope of the story, the ballsiness of it, and the constant shifts from chilling horror to political drama to slam bang sci-fi thriller. I also love that, unlike the ninth and tenth Doctor, this one looks to last a bit longer. At least until he meets a sinister Apollo astronaut. I’m loving Series 6 so far; these first two episodes come very strong. As usual the show thrives on the element of surprise. And if we know Steven Moffat, clever clogs that he is, there are even more epic surprises in store.
Just don’t expect it from the third episode, “The Curse of the Black Spot.” With the Tardis behaving all wonky, the Doctor, Amy, and Rory are stranded onboard a 17th century pirate ship of which crew members are being steadily decimated by a beguiling (but homicidal) sea siren. On this ship, one tiny bloody scratch spells doom. But, as usual, things aren’t what they seem. Maybe the best bit in this episode is Amy Pond, sword in hand, taunting the ship’s understandably cautious crew: “What kind of rubbish pirates are ye?” A decent episode, but not all that.
Episode 4 makes up for episode 3′s lack. “The Doctor’s Wife” raises the possibility of other living Time Lords as the Doctor and his companions track a distress signal emanating from a bubble universe. The story begins with a knock at the door even as the Tardis hurtles thru deep, deep space. “The Doctor’s Wife” hits those wonderful emotional beats I’ve come to expect; and, in…