Probic Vent Ood For Thought

4Oct/110

Caves and Twins: Season Six

Season Six - doesn't time fly? Doesn't seem long since Eccleston was running through a tunnel and enquiring as to whether we'd like to join him.

Blink and you skip forward over six years to the brilliant Matt Smith's sophomore series - and that of show-runner Stephen Moffat too.

Portents are frequently poor. High-level fan gossip suggested that Series Fnarg would be a disaster and it was brilliant. But there were lots more unpleasant rumours this time around about the allegedly shambolic production office; Moffat distracted by his other series and various production commitments; an unloved and over-promoted production staff; the BBC at odds with the show's show-runner; and a fickle press that's apparently forgotten its love affair with out series.

Ratings do seem to be down this series too. Oh there's timeshifting and there's definitely poor scheduling but there does seem to be a drop-off in the public's interest in the show. All of a sudden 'do you wanna come with me?' seems like a long time ago. So it's a good time to take stock.

In the classic 'what was good; what was bad?' format of Caves and Twins I've turned my eye stalk on the whole series to figure out which stories worked and which didn't.

Caves

The Doctor's Wife - An all-time classic. Funny, scary, weird. And a Timelord called The Corsair. A manifesto for how NuWho can succeed.

Deaths: Rory

A Good Man Goes To War

A classic NuWho clusterfuck but on reflection I liked all of the elements and I loved the last 15 minutes. Matt Smith, especially, was fantastic.

The Girl Who Waited

A genuine hard sci-fi set-up that led into one of the best-observed emotional stories of the new run. Brilliant work from the regulars and another episode that could really show how Doctor Who can work shorn of its tiresome story arc trappings.

Deaths: Amy

Twins

The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon - I just didn't care, probably because anyone who had any sense knew that the stand-out scene, and the peg the whole thing hung from, was a lie from the outset.

Deaths: The Doctor, Rory, Amy

Curse of the Black Spot - Classic NuWho shit episode. Not because of the odd swerve, which didn't work anyway, but because of how utterly trite and dull the whole thing was.

Deaths: Rory

The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People - There was a lot on these episodes I liked but I didn't really feel it had the courage of its convictions. The Doctor doppelganger didn't really go anywhere or make much sense; the moral ramifications of the gangers were wrapped up in noble self-sacrifices and/or a big explosion and I didn't feel any of the characters were well-drawn.

Deaths: Amy

Let's Kill Hitler - Impossible to like something so in love with itself. A sprawling mess that tried the patience and had another death swerve.

Deaths: The Doctor

Night Terrors - Utterly awful. I hated this.

Deaths: Amy

The God Complex - I feel harsh putting this one here too as there were lots of bits that I liked but the ending was drivel and, given the promising set-up, it didn't deliver.

Closing Time - I've seen this twice and can recall virtually nothing

The Wedding of River Song - Carried the sins of the season as a whole on its shoulders and, as such, couldn't be rated as good. The whole season comes to a messy, shagged-out end in an episode that sparkles with lovely moments but ultimately collapses under the weight of how daft the whole season has been.

Deaths: The Doctor

29May/110

Caves and Twins: The Almost People

The Almost People - the second part to Doctor Who's take on The Thing, or Battlestar Galactica - or whatever.

Last week had some strong elements and a good cliffhanger, but it was all a little bit messy and confusing, like much of this series.

There were hints that something big was going to happen in this episode to set up next week's mid-season finale, so are we going to start getting some answers?

Would we get Battlestar Galactica or, er, Battlestar Galactica?

Caves

I though the performances were generally up on last week, with some of the humans/gangers becoming recognisable characters.

Smith Docs - I enjoyed the interplay between the two and Smith's performances - as well as the Doctor being at the centre of the story.

Climax - Obviously something involving Amy - and perhaps Rory too was coming - but this was a great shock pulled off with style by Moffatt.

Twins

CGI - CGI is always bloody awful. The scene with the discarded flesh - a scenes that should have been a powerful moment - was just embarrassing in how poor the effects were and the Jenny Monster was another tiresome revisitation of the Utterly Terrible New Series CGI Monster.

Jenny - An annoying and not believable character not portrayed especially well.

Characters acting out of character - In stories where plotting struggles characters begin to act out of a necessity to drive the plot along rather than believable motives. Rory's behaviour was pretty unfathomable in this one - as was some of the Doctors'. Which leads us to...

Noble self-sacrifices - see above. Another familiar Nu series meme.

Smiths - While Smith did well in both parts it was horribly confusing to try and follow who was who (ahem). THis seemed to pay off in the climax, but if the two Doctors had swapped immediately then why was the real Doctor trying to strangle Amy?

Killing Amy - Didn't the Doctor creaming Amy (!) negate the moral core of the previous 90 minutes? Arguably the flesh Amy (!) was simply an avatar rather than a sentient ganger, but it was another muddled point that didn't come off well under analysis.


There was a lot wrong with this, but I still quite enjoyed it. It felt rather unlike any previous Doctor Who - and change is generally to be welcomed.

I'm still unsure about the series arc and the wisdom of leaving so many baffling answer hanging in the air and this story itself was quite hard to follow and didn't really add up.

Still, another intriguing twist in what's looking like the strangest series yet of Doctor Who. Let's hope it all adds up in the end.

   

Hush child stop addlepating me!

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