Probic Vent Ood For Thought

27Aug/110

Caves and Twins: Let’s Kill Hitler

Doctor Who's back! With the second part of Series Six, which has been split in two for reasons that's absolutely aren't anything to do with money or ructions among the production team or Moffatt's schedule.

Four episodes into the Silence/River story arc and there's at least some manner of closure. But was Let's Kill Hitler The World at War or was it Allo Allo?

Caves

The regulars - I have doubts about Alex Kingston as River Song sometimes, mainly because the lines are occasionally terrible and the character is a bit annoying, but the main trio are excellent and have great chemistry

River Song - I quite liked the set-up of who River becomes, with the diary and archaeology.

Twins

Everything - That sounds a bit glib and unfair but I think the biggest problem with this is that it's just a massive ball of confusion, with story arcs going back several years in some cases.

Somehow, it's still not clear how, the Silence are involved as is the eyepatch lady and in the midst of everything our heroes are in Hitler's office - for no other apparent reason other than it's clearly supposed to be a kerrayzee thing to do - while miniaturised war criminal hunters are stalking around in a shapeshifting robot with the aim of torturing the Fuhrer.

No doubt a breathless review in DWM will laud it all for that very reason - bonkers! - but coherent storytelling that doesn't require an episode of Confidential to explain it all seems to be in short supply at the moment. The Silence, the killing of the Doctor, the reason for River being in prison - it's still all ongoing and I'm bored of it; it feels like Doctor Who is in danger of collapsing under the weight of its own mythos and how pleased it is with itself.

I don't think these stories are actually poor but they aren't easy to follow and require an increasing effort to keep up with that. The 'story arc' episodes in this series have left me cold - and I'm a Doctor Who fan.

Mels - Like Ace but worse. And a swerve that was pretty flippin obvious.

Funny regeneration - Firstly, River seems to experience regeneration as orgasmic, which is a rather tedious little touch if totally in keeping with Moffatt's tics, then we get the trademark 'whacky regeneration' acting and music. Bleh.

Another non death - Tiresome; decreasing returns; and feels lazy

Hitler - I'm prepared to go along with it but really? Doctor Who meets Hitler? Dangerous territory.


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6Jun/110

Caves and Twins: A Good Man Goes To War

Well, after what feels like the longest lead-in to a mid-season story since The Dalek's Masterplan, A Good Man Goes To War promises much with bonkers SFX, a raft of returning monsters, River Song and an angry Doctor.

So, was this The Big Bang or was it that drivel with the Master as the Prime Minister?

Caves

Sonataran nurse - Gave a bit of depth to this race, which hasn't been interesting since 1976.

New Adventures - There was something of the NAs about this in the way that it tried to establish a complicated, fleshed-out, almost unified vision of the Whoniverse where Sontarans can be goodies and Earth Reptiles live on Earth alongside humans. I liked it.

Some very good lines - "Stringy"; "Stevie Wonder"; "Get some rest"; "Make a donation"; "No it's not; it's cool" - Moff's was always one for with his zingers; he was on form here.

Regulars - I've generally like the characterisation and performances of the regulars but I thought they were particularly good here – especially Smith, who was quite different again, and Arthur Darvill as a believable, likable foil.

The intro bit - Nice bait-and-switch on Melody's Dad (one of several throughout) and good Cyberman intro bit.

The fat blue bloke - I just like him

Abberline - Just liked this reference

Twins

Headless monks - A bit like the Smilers, these were a bit lost in the mix and didn't really come off.

Greatest hits - Rather like The Pandorica Opens, this was a bit of a greatest hits of Moff's run and beyond; rather like his version of Journey's End. The pirates, those daft space Spitfires, Cybermen, Sontarans, Silurians, that fat blue bloke. It felt very familiar and it was a little bit of a case of diminishing returns.

River Song - It's fairly clear we're supposed to think River is amazing, cool, funny, sexy ad generally fabulous. But I'm afraid I just find her a bit irritating.

Cyberman voices - Still terrible


Lots of nice elements, but it was pretty out there. So much going on - a few revelations and more questions again. Maybe, over 13 episodes, this will all turn out to be something of a masterpiece but it feels rather on the edge at the moment, like it could be an absolute disaster too.

On a second viewing this was a lot more enjoyable if you can indulge it. Smith really is excellent as the scales fall from his eyes in this episode and he continues to add more strings to his bow.

A Good Man Goes To War (even on a second viewing) does little to dispel the impression that this is shaping up to be quite the oddest series of Doctor Who in a long time. Certainly change was required but this feels fairly radical, to the point where this no longer feels like a Saturday early evening show but something that may be better off after the watershed.

I'm unsure if that's a good idea in terms of keeping an audience, but a a few teases have started to pay off this season I'm enjoying it more. Here's hoping the second half of series six is the superior one.

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Hush child stop addlepating me!

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