Halfway Through With Doctor Who

Hard to believe, but Saturday’s story was number seven, so we’re halfway through the season already. What’s the verdict so far? Read on, but beware:

Honestly, so far I’m a bit underwhelmed. Although I like Matt Smith’s Doctor a lot, and Amy is pretty good, the rest of it has been disappointing.

The biggest problem are the stories themselves. It’s hard to believe that the same person who gave us “Blink” and “The Girl in the Fireplace” is the same person producing this season, because the attention to detail just isn’t there. Nearly every story seems not quite finished, like it needs at least one more draft of the script. There are holes, muddled parts, and things that just plain don’t make a lot of sense.

While none of the stories have been flat-out bad (though “Victory of the Daleks” isn’t going to win any awards), none of them have been particularly stunning, either. They’re mostly just…there. If I had to pick a standout story so far, I’m really not sure what I would go with, since none of them have made that big of an impression on me.

I’m also really disappointed in the character of Rory. Although I’m glad that it seems we’re not going to belabor the point on the Amy-Doctor-Rory issue, I’m disheartened that we got Mickey Smith 2: The ReMickeyning. It would have been nice to have Rory turn out to be an actual rival for the Doctor in some way, instead of yet another buffoon boyfriend who can’t hold a candle to our amazing hero. It’s an easy, lazy decision that makes it hard for me to say, “if the stories themselves aren’t overly interesting, at least the characterizations are a lot of fun.”

(Speaking of which, and as long as I’m grousing anyway, I’m really getting a bad feeling about them dragging out the River Song thing. I suspect they’re going to play “is she or isn’t she?” ad nauseam until Alex Kingston gets hit by a bus and the whole thing has to be abandoned anyway.)

Even the enemies so far aren’t anything to really speak about. The return of the Weeping Angels got rid of most of what made them interesting in the first place (it seems that a cavern full of things that can’t be looked at…even by each other…is probably poor planning) in favor of elements that ultimately didn’t add much of anything. The Dalek episode pushed aside plot in favor of finally really for real bringing back the Daleks, despite that card being played so many times already in this new series. This latest episode gave us an intriguing new enemy that turned out to be the flip side of Rory/Mickey — the foe who was so dangerous and powerful he could only turn out to be the Doctor himself!

It kills me to say this, but I would not have expected, after the delight and enthusiasm with which Moffat rebooted everything in the first episode, to feel as though the rest of the season were running on fumes, tired and aimless. And with only six more episodes to go (at least one of which will exist to clear up the mystery of the “time cracks” that I don’t think much of anyone cares about) I’m not sure how it’s going to pull out of this. Hopefully this is the sign of a team finding its feet, to come back next season firing on all cylinders again.

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4 Responses to Halfway Through With Doctor Who

  1. Interesting. No comment on the theory that the Doctor we are seeing is not always in chronological order? That he’s ducking back into his own time line to talk to the companions, or even that the companions are have some idea that he’s running some sort of plot against himself?

  2. Dave says:

    Patrick,

    I had no idea there was such a theory or what would prompt such a thing. I don’t see much evidence of this in the show itself. I don’t read the fan forums and am not particularly interested in doing so, I just take the show as presented.

  3. Nicole says:

    Have hope! Moffat does have a good track record- Girl in the Fireplace was one of the best episodes of the Tennant era. The Who of old was pretty hit-or-miss; the last few seasons have been relatively solid.

    Aside from the directionlessness, my main problem is the lack of returning characters. With absolutely nobody from the previous seasons involved, it’s hard to take Matt Smith as Doctor seriously. Everything feels unnecessarily NEW.

    I’m surprised they didn’t bring John Barrowman back- seeing as how Torchwood seems to have fizzled out, he’s probably free.

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