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