Tuesday, July 13, 2010

11th Doctor

The Eleventh Doctor has managed to exceed all expectations. Coming off one of the most popular Doctors in the tenth version and the writer/ show runner who literally brought the show back from the dead—the new Doctor is perhaps better.

This is perhaps not much of a surprise. Stephen Moffat was consistently the best story teller in the past four seasons. It only stands to reason that he would construct a great season. His understanding of plot and structure are only improved by the fact that he understands what makes the Doctor great. Russel T. Davies had a problem in that he would sacrifice the essence of the show for the sake of an emotional impact. That, and for him the most important of all emotions seemed to be romantic love. Therefore, he made the Doctor a romantic character, which goes against who the Doctor is. Moffat has not made that mistake. He understands that friendship can be as deep as or deeper than romance, and he knows that above all the Doctor is alien. So, this season our emotions have followed the tightly plotted story arch that blew “Bad Wolf” or “Torchwood” completely away. This season was powerful.

The Eleventh Hour

We first meet the new Doctor with a clever reference to the Winnie the Pooh stories. This Doctor really is a Tigger. We also get the best introduction to a companion ever, as it takes some 14 years. Then there is the crack—and this all ties in beautifully to the rest of the season…

The Beast Below

The beast in question turns out to not be whatever is deep in the bowels of the futuristic mobile version of London, but the human system of government in which people choose to forget the truth rather than face a harsh potentiality. Such a good commentary on the way the masses choose to deal with issues—and why the current crop of world leaders are anything but.

The Time of Angels/ Flesh and Stone

This is a scary and entertaining story—seeing the return of two of Moffat’s best creations: the Weeping Angels, and River Song. It also helps further the story of the cracks in the universe and foreshadows events to come in the finale.

Amy’s Choice

Here we see a huge amount of character development in a good way. We see into the psyche of the Doctor as the alien that he is, and we have romance—but it is the human couple traveling with the Doctor who are in love.

The Hungry Earth/ Cold Blood

The Silurian’s return to Doctor Who with much of the same political message they brought in the seventies: can’t we all just get along? Here, thankfully, it is not just some of the humans who are weak and/or bad… it turns out that the Silurians have bad apples too. This helps strengthen the diplomatic appeal of the story. It is the best way out of these confrontations, but it is not always possible and that is not always our fault.

Vincent and the Doctor

This is an emotional and beautiful story. It is unusual to see this amount of character in a secondary person in sci-fi. When the Doctor gives Vincent a glimpse into the fact that his life does make a difference and have meaning it is so moving. The fact that it doesn’t change anything and the painter still takes his own life is just as moving for other reasons. Everyone who tries to help other people is devastated when that help is rejected or fails to get through for some reason.

The Pandorica Opens/ The Big Bang

The finale is what all finales have become: big, epic, and theatrical. However, the build up for this delivery—the plotline for the whole season as it were—is much stronger than it has been in the previous four seasons, and therefore for the entire history of Doctor Who as well. Check it out!


  1. Saw the finale last night on BBC America and LOVED it! As far as the characters went, it was as good as it could have been, and quite funny. The twist at the end of The Pandorica Opens, when we find out it was all along a trap for the Doctor was brilliant, and almost matched by Amy coming out of the Pandorica in The Big Bang with the line: "This is where it gets complicated." I also really liked the way Rory guarded the Pandorica for all those years.

    That said, I'm not sure the plot's time-travel/universe-resetting logic could stand up to much scrutiny (then again, what Dr. Who episode could?). Why did the Tardis' explosion destroy the universe from the outside in rather than destroying earth first (and if the sun went nova with the rest of the stars, why wasn't earth destroyed, even if the Tardis was keeping it warm)? How did the Doctor get out of the Pandorica to give Rory the sonic screwdriver in the first place? Where did all the Darleks and others go after locking the Doctor in the Pandorica, why did they make it so easy to open from the outside, and why did they not come back? How were the two Amys and the two Doctors able to touch without causing temporal paradoxes? Granting the plot-device that tossing the Pandorica into the remains of the Tardis can restore the universe but erase the Doctor from existence, why didn't everything the Doctor had ever done come undone at that moment as well (shouldn't the universe be overrun by Darleks or something, if the Doctor had never existed)? For that matter, how did the whole "you were never born" thing work anyway? Shouldn't Amy have never been born either when her parents got erased? Or did the cracks in the universe--inexplicably--only delete the MEMORY of a person--unless of course you try REALLY HARD to remember!? And how did simply remembering the Doctor pop him (and his Tardis!) back into existence? Oh, and how did Rory (who wasn't just wiped out but actually killed) come back to life, and how did he remember his time as a plastic man? I could go on...

    Thankfully, the episode was so darn fun that even those kinds of glaring issues can hardly diminish my enjoyment of it. I can't wait to see the next series!

    P.S. Are you able to watch Dr. Who in Germany, and if so on what kind of timeline? Obviously you saw the series before it played on BBC America, but how, on BBC Germany? It'd be cool if moving to Germany means I won't have to wait as long to see the new episodes as I would in the states. :)

  2. Thanks, Ken. Unfortunately, Doctor Who comes on much later in Germany due to translation etc. I usually buy the DVDs when they come out in Britain, and I have my ways of seeing the episodes right after they air in GB, but we won't go into that on this public forum... :)

  3. Oh man, BBC Germany still has David Tennant listed as the Doctor.... http://www.bbcgermany.de/GERMANY/dokumentationen/genre2/385/auftritt.php lame.

  4. Heh heh. Yeah, I think they are just now airing season 3. It is sad.


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