Television: Doctor Who, Season 7 (so far)

Okay, so there have been five episodes thus far this season, one for each Saturday in September. And now we must wait for the Christmas special and then whatever comes in the late winter or spring. I'm kind of fine with that. I have an odd lack of impatience at this point, having become used to the long hiatus gracing all things Steven Moffat.

As a whole, these episodes have been largely uneven in tone and texture. The Doctor, as portrayed by Matt Smith, has been especially off with these strange bouts of rage that (a) don't suit this particular Doctor, and (b) don't suit this actor, either. Matt Smith =/= intimidating in any way, so to believe others would find his ire a deterrent is difficult. Meanwhile, Amy and Rory had already begun to peter out well before the Angels took Manhattan and forced them off the stage.

I suppose the big to-do is over how The Doctor has managed to wipe his slate clean by deleting himself from all, what, databases? Human memory? It's not 100% clear, though it smacks of Moffat trying to be clever with the show's title while simultaneously giving himself a new starting point.

Not that he's reinventing the wheel or anything. "The Angels Take Manhattan" borrowed from Sherlock's "The Reichenbach Fall" by utilizing jumping off a building as the climactic endgame and the discovery of our hero(s) still being alive in a cemetery—even if only for a few minutes. I've argued before about how Moffat steals from himself quite liberally, but the redundancy is starting to be a bit of a drag. (You can argue that Moffat didn't write "Reichenbach," but he's still the producer, and if you don't think a man like that isn't in control of the scripts, you're delusional.)

The misogyny in "Angels" bothered me a bit, too. Women already have enough aimed at them regarding aging and body consciousness without a troll like Moffat adding his two cents. And now The Doctor is off to get himself a cute, young, bubbly new sidekick? We were better off—and so was The Doctor—when the companions were mature women like Donna, or even Martha, who was somewhat young but very level-headed. But maybe the show is hunting for a younger audience.

As for the other episodes so far this season, well, some were okay . . . "The Power of Three" was fun but could have played on the Three's Company vibe a bit more. "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" was cute. I was underwhelmed by "Asylum of the Daleks" as the opener, but it wasn't the worst. "A Town Called Mercy," though? That one was pretty awful. Again with the unbelievability as The Doctor gets angry. Am I supposed to think he's conflicted and has a dark side? Meh. Smith isn't able to pull it off. Better he stick to manic and occasionally sweet or sentimental. (But only occasionally. Like seriously, not very often, because even then he seems to be stretching his range.)

Now we wait for Christmas, and to see if The Doctor gets everything on his growing wish list. One new companion now on backorder!

1 comment:

Christine Rains said...

I felt the same way as you. The Ponds were fizzling out before the end. It feels to me like it's too soon to see them go, and I don't get why River can't always travel with the Doctor. (Though, again, could be just Moffat wanting young blood.) I've heard the new companion described, not nicely, as this Doctor's "Martha." I'm not sure what that means. I liked Martha.