Arabian (arabian) wrote,

'Doctor Who' Series Five, Episodes 2-5 Thinky (Somewhat Ranty) Thoughts

I'm trying to put my finger on what is not working with this version of Who for me, and what I've come up with is that it's like so much other television, and non-great television at that. Not bad television, mind you, I'd compare it to good television, enjoyable television. It's just not great, or ... special. And RTD's Doctor Who, in my opinion, was beyond great, it was unbelievably fantastic. It *was* special. There was a light, a spark, a belief in what could happen, and what could happen was anything, everything, and the reactions (both good and bad) from the Doctor, his companions, the other characters (recurring or one-offs) made the viewer feel like they were witnessing that something special.

In Moffat's Who, I'm just watching a standard sci-fi television show where 'ooh!spooky!' things happen, but they're just stuff that happens on a tv show. I don't *feel* anything. Which fits with Moffat's comments about Who being plot-based in his opinion, about being what is the scary thing in the dark, as opposed to why there is a scary thing in the dark. I prefer the why. Also all the episodes, so far, that I've watched have so many moments of predictability. I say dialogue before the characters do, I know what's going to happen before it does because it's so obvious. It's just not ... special. *sigh* In a way, this is worse than I thought it would be because it's not bad, it's not terrible, other than Matt Smith, it's just kinda there. Anyhoo, onto specific episodes (02 through 05), some brief thoughts, with later episodes getting a bit wordier treatment.

Also, note that I am NOT a Steven Moffat fan. I insult him and his work quite a bit in this. If you're a Moffat stan, or even just a reasonably-minded fan of the guy, you will most likely disagree or even be annoyed with much of this. Just a heads-up. Oh, and anon commenters showing up just to be Moffat-jerky-stans, I will delete you pronto without a response.

"The Beast Below" -- Wow, that was pretty bad. Good thing I enjoyed the first one or I'd pretty much be done after this. Bad story, bad plotting, bad pacing, the Doctor was kinda an annoying git, and oh my Lord, could the anvils and sentiments BEEN any more heavy-handed? I don't think so.

"Victory of the Daleks" -- Well, my hopes were raised when I saw that this one was written by Mark Gattis (he of my beloved "The Unquiet Dead"), but nope, this one was pretty bad too (which reminded me that, of course, he also wrote "The Idiot's Lantern," an episode that's only bright spot was the great Doctor/Rose interaction). It was just ... lacking. And it rather began to sum up my problem with the series as a whole so far. There is no depth; I don't feel anything for any of the characters. The one-off characters are so thin that they make no impression. Also, I felt that Ian McNiece's performance as Churchill was that of a caricature. Points to advance the plot felt *exactly* like that. It was all plot points and no substance. And, damnit, the Daleks were lame. Daleks are NEVER lame. But they were in this. Maybe it's just my bias, but I could feel/see/hear Moffat's influence over the entire episode. Ugh.

The one bright, shining spot is Matt Smith. He is PHENOMENAL. And I thought during this episode something that I never even remotely came close to thinking EVER during RTD's Who. Matt Smith? Is better than this show. He's too good for it. Man, oh man, what RTD could have done with this kid's talent. Wow! And I think I like him better than Ten/Tennant already, but that could be because Ten/Tennant was surrounded by awesome and so his awesome mingled with all that around him. Eleven/Smith is the ONLY awesome to be found. So he stands out even more. Still, Tennant, Smith, Ten, Eleven? Either way, I love them both (but Nine will always be MY Doctor).

Ah well, a River Song episode is next. Yay. What joy. What bliss.

"The Time of Angels" -- Thank God for Alex Kingston because she's actually making me like River despite the GOD-AWFUL writing of the character. What an annoying pretentious, rude, know-it-all! UGH. She can not only read, but write in Gallifreyan! She can fly the TARDIS better than the Doctor, and knows buttons he doesn't! And can land it without the awesome whoosh-whoosh noise! She can float through space! But, she's not perfect, so you *can* feel for her! She was in prison! Oh noes! Gah. Can NOT stand the writing of the character, but Kingston is so good that, yeah, I actually began to like her by episode's end.

Sigh. Her performance, as well as the always-delicious Matt Smith, were the only redeeming qualities in this episode for me (yet it was still way better than the last two episodes ... sad). SO VERY PREDICTABLE. And the characters were SO STUPID. Why didn't Amy tell the Doctor or River things? Why did they keep bits of info to themselves? Why did we see the EXACT same thing happen to two separate one-off characters? Why are the Bishops/Clerics soldiers? It just seems like a silly 'ooh!shocking!' plot point -- the kind that Moffat loves doing for no reason other than to go 'ooh!shocking!'

As for the Doctor/River relationship, I do find them amusing to a degree. Which has me thinking now that had River shown up in THIS series, as opposed to right before the climactic end of the Doctor/Rose love story, I wouldn't be soooo negative about it, but, you know, Moffat? Filled with so much disrespectful fail. Never mind that the executive producer, writers, directors, actors, pretty much EVERYONE involved with creating Doctor Who for the last four series' had developed and crafted, nurtured and respected this love story between the Doctor and Rose. Nah, Moffat's just gonna come in, ignore that and throw in HIS awesome Doctor love interest. Oh, and that little bit of them filming at Bad Wolf Bay? Sure, it wasn't called BWB and wasn't supposed to be it, but there was NO REASON to film there AT ALL! I'm sorry, I can't see how Moffat couldn't have known that every flipping Doctor/Rose fan on the planet wouldn't recognize that location. And he brought River there. I just can't see it as anything other than a FU to the D/R shippers. Blech! Whatever, Moffat, whatever.

Still, if I put that aside, I was actually amused by the "Sweetie" when she casually, naturally said it during the mission and Eleven's reaction (mouthing the word) was cute. Again, Alex Kingston rocks. As does Matt Smith. I do like them together. And as freaking annoying as River is, she's not bland. Give her that. She's not just, you know, there. Unlike Amy. Who is. Just. There.

Oh, and way to take away the actual spookiness of the Angels. Now they're snapping necks and trying to take over, blah, blah, blah. And they're the MOST AWFUL EVIL EVER! Hello?!?! Moffat, many of us HAVE watched Who before, there have been a LOT more evil baddies! Just because the Angels are the only actual baddies* you ever created on the show, doesn't discount the way more awesome villains from Classic and New Who. Seriously. Gah, the ego on this man!

* The robots in GitF weren't bad guys, just doing their job.

Ugh, well, we'll see what happens in part two. Maybe some of my issues will make sense. I doubt it, but hope springs eternal.

"Flesh and Stone" -- A flashback to the crack in Amy's room?! Seriously!?!? Does Moffat think his viewers are that stupid they need a visual reminder?!? REALLY!?!?!? I can kinda sorta buy the flashback in the end, but it was still a bit annoying. Anyhoo ...

Well, this one was the best since the premiere so far, definitely. I felt genuine emotion -- gasp! I felt something! -- during the Doctor/Octavian pre-death scene. That was very well done. I did like AngelBob. I like River now, and Alex Kingston and Matt Smith have a huge step up from Kingston and Tennant: They have chemistry. Smith still has loads with Karen Gillian (loved, loved, LOVED the scene in the forest right before he left her), yet, I really did NOT like the final bit with her coming on to him because it came out of nowhere. His reaction was amusing, but still, her going at him was just 'huh?' I am confuzzled. :shakes head: Also, I was annoyed with the whole 'Amy Pond is the most important person in history' bs because hello? That's Donna's claim to fame, thank you very much. Ugh, do kindly stop taking cool companion things from RTD's era and giving them to your folks, Stevie, mmkay?

Speaking of, if this had been RTD's Who, I'd totally think that Eleven's smiling "time can be rewritten" as he stands at Bad Wolf Bay was about Rose, and that it meant Rose was coming back with the events of "Doomsday" being rewritten. However, because it's not, and is instead Moffat's Who, I'm sure it has absolutely nothing to do with that. Oh, and speaking of BWB, their presence there bugged me in part one, and it bugged me even more in this one. I'm sorry, but that was so clearly, completely, absolutely Bad Wolf Bay. Moffat choosing to film there truly comes across as nothing more than a giant FUCK YOU! to the Doctor/Rose shippers. Gah, what an ass.

Trying to be positive though, again, this episode was pretty good, but I still think that the Angels lost most of their cool, spooky factor and were kinda lame. And I felt bad for Octavian if those were his best soldiers, considering all of them completely neglected their primary order at that point which was: Protect Amy. :rolls eyes: Still, there were genuine moments of suspense, I liked more than Eleven in this episode. River charmed me a bit, Amy was more than just there, and there were a few, strong, emotional-character scenes. So, it was good. And I've been told, the series gets better as it progresses.

Oh, and butterfly, at this point, I'm going to definitely say that despite Matt Smith's uber-adorable factor, don't bother.
Tags: doctor who, matt smith, tv

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