Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Countdown to new Who: Doctor Who Series 5

"I've seen many things, my friend. But you're right. Nothing's quite as wonderful as the things you see"

So as David Tennant's Ten regenerates into Matt Smith's Eleven, Doctor Who also changed showrunner/lead writer/executive producer/oddjob man as Steven Moffat took over the reins from Russell T Davies. The pressure was on both to deliver - the relatively unknown Smith had low expectations, Moffat had sky-high ones due to his much-garlanded writing - and I don't think you can argue that they didn't. Smith revealed an impossibly ancient soul to his youthful frame with a Doctor unafraid to be as angrily dark as hyper-actively quirky. And Moffat constructed a complex series, introducing the depths of new companion Amy Pond slowly, and building to a multi-stranded timey-wimey finale that makes the head hurt just to think about it.

Elsewhere, the overused Daleks returned in multicoloured format, the Weeping Angels were much more successfully reprised in a stonking double-header, the Silurians also came back, and Arthur Darvill's Rory grew in stature to become an effective second companion as opposed to a third wheel. Oh, and Helen McCrory stole the show, but then you knew I'd say that didn't you ;-)

Episodes, in order of preference

The Time of Angels
Flesh and Stone
The Vampires of Venice
Vincent and the Doctor
The Pandorica Opens
The Big Bang
The Beast Below
The Hungry Earth
Cold Blood
The Lodger
The Eleventh Hour
Amy's Choice
Victory of the Daleks

Top 5 guest spots

1 Sophie Okonedo's spiky monarch Liz Ten
2 Helen McCrory's Signora Calvierri is vividly complex
3 Alex Kingston's River Song, so achingly good before it all got way too complicated
4 A bit under-utilised but Susannah Fielding's army officer Lilian is nicely done
5 Starry starry Tony Curran's Vincent Van Gogh is an archetypal Richard Curtis bloke and all the more effective for it

Saddest death

Rory - I know, not a 'real' death but you didn't know that at the time and it is still powerfully played, particularly in its aftermath

Most wasted guest actor

Olivia Colman, although she does get to utter a pre-warning about the Pandorica

Most important thing that is never mentioned again

The rationale behind the Dream Lord was fascinating and I'd've loved to have seen more of him (if only to get more Toby Jones)

Gay agenda rating

E - even with rainbow coloured Daleks, it's all rather cis-het




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