Category: Series 7


In preparation for the 50th Anniversary I have been going through series 5, 6, and 7.  And after doing so I noticed something odd: they don’t have continuity at all, despite Moffat claiming he planted things in series 5 that will come back in this year’s Christmas special.

SPOILERS SERIES 5, 6, 7

To start, take a look at the Silence.  They’re apparently a religious order on a mission to kill the Doctor before the final question can be asked, which we know is the simple and somewhat annoying “doctor who?” asked by the Great Intelligence at the end of series 7.  Now, if the Silence knew of this and wanted to prevent the Doctor from being there to answer the question then they should have also known the Doctor was going to die once the question was asked.  The Great Intelligence simply walked into the Doctor’s entire time stream, killing him at every moment in time.  Of course it also means the enemies he was trying to eliminate ended up succeeding in whatever their plans were.

To prevent the Doctor from being killed, the Silence decided it was best to kill the Doctor, twice in fact.

Series 5 was all about silence falling, cracks in time, the Pandorica, and the TARDIS blowing up.  The Pandorica made little sense if the Silence wanted the Doctor dead since all they had to do was kill him when all his enemies had him

And you get out of this how, and why are you in this anyway?

And you get out of this how, and why are you in this anyway?

trapped.  But then somehow the Doctor escapes the Pandorica (how he originally escaped it, well, we’ll never know) and the TARDIS has already exploded.  We don’t know who blew up the TARDIS, but assuming somehow the Silence did it then they really went out of their way to kill the Doctor, which was going to be done anyway in series 7, which again, they knew about, but I guess blowing up the entire universe was more convenient for them.

Series 6 there was some elaborate plan to have River be Amy’s daughter and proceed to try and kill the Doctor.  Again, very dramatic but not very practical since, oh I don’t know, they could have just electrocuted the Doctor like they did to everyone else.  So then we have River in a space suit coming out of a lake (again, very dramatic) and killing the Doctor a few times but not really (and for added drama there’s a random Madam Kovarian, who just kind of appears then dies but not really [not really being killed is a thing these days]).  Satisfied with this, the Silence never show up again, despite the Doctor running around for all of series 7.

Series 7 still had to deal with the final question and Trenzalore.  So, with the departure of the Ponds and arrival of Clara (who is awesome), the Doctor eventually ends up at Trenzalore with Clara, Jenny, Strax, Vastra (oh those three need to go away forever), and of course River, because why not, she hasn’t been done to death at this point.  The Great Intelligence, which I thought was greatly underused, then ended up going into the Doctor’s time stream and killing him, which I suppose the Silence were selfish and wanted to do instead.  Well, it didn’t matter since Clara continued being awesome and went on to save the Doctor.

"Alright Clara, I'm just gonna take a quick stop, die again but not really, and we'll be on our way."

“Alright Clara, I’m just gonna take a quick stop, die again but not really, and we’ll be on our way.”

Now for the end of series 7 we get John Hurt’s Doctor.  I first thought maybe the Silence wanted to get rid of him, but that doesn’t make sense since he likely has come before 11, and if anything, the Great Intelligence got rid of him.  Maybe the Silence didn’t want him dead.  Maybe the Silence are actually good and know the Doctor cannot have his past erased.

I don’t have the answers, but after watching all these finales in a row, I honestly don’t see any continuity.  It’s like Moffat is just writing stuff as he goes along, not really planning.  I don’t think he planted things in series 5 that were meant to be answered this Christmas, but rather I think he is doing damage control after so many complaints that he has so many unresolved/unexplained threads going on (I’d love to see if they keep the crack in the TARDIS window now or if that just gets thrown out the window [pardon the pun]).

Or maybe the Silence are just the dumbest people in the entire universe.

What do you all think?

I’m still excited for the 50th, but come on, try to write some sort of continuity Moffat, you are the showrunner (despite needing someone to balance you out like RTD must have, because those were really good episodes), no excuses anymore.

So we all probably know by now about how John Hurt didn’t do what he did in the name of the Doctor.  Right, we don’t know what it means exactly, but we know of the line and we expect to understand it in the 50th, so that’s enough harping on that.  What is more frightening is how much sense this line doesn’t make.

Last night I re-watched The Power of Three, as I had only watched it when it aired and didn’t remember much of it.  For nearly 35 minutes I was very entertained.  It was great seeing the gang together just talking and hanging out, getting up to some time travel shenanigans.  There were some well written dialogue moments, something which has been somewhat lacking.  There were some good laughs and well, I really do wish it was a two-parter, as I’m a fan of these slower paced type shows/episodes, and this had good promise to be one, and it mainly was.  All great stuff.  But then came the ending, an ending which actual disturbed me, and not in a good way (is there a good way to be disturbed, I don’t know, but this doesn’t help that case).

SPOILERS

Ignoring the randomly placed holographic villain, which by the way, could have been interesting if given proper time to develop, I want to discuss what happened after the hologram disappeared.  The Doctor waved his magic wand, I mean screwdriver, around, and got the cubes to save everyone on Earth.  Awesome, who doesn’t want to see the Doctor save everyone?  I know I do and I was glad to see it happen.  What I wasn’t glad to see happen was him kill a lot of people.  These people weren’t hostile, in fact, they were sleeping.  Yes, the Doctor killed humans in their sleep.  You may be wondering what I’m talking about.

Well, if you recall, for some reason the evil alien nurses were taking people through a wormhole to another dimension to get to one of their seven spaceships.  I say for some reason because it seems whatever they wanted to do on

In about 10 minutes this will explode, and well, bad day to be human I guess

In about 10 minutes this will explode, and well, bad day to be human I guess

the spaceships was also being done by the cubes, but whatever.  So, the Doctor saves Rory and his dad (who is awesome, just thought I’d let that be known) but for some, very not Doctor reason, ignores every other human in the same unfortunate situation.

Maybe he’s saving them for the end to send through a wormhole or something.  Well no, though that would have been an easy way to save them (use a teleport beam, you get the point).  Instead he just kind of ignores them, saves himself, Amy, and Rory and well, they all blow up.  It’s not a stretch to imagine each of the seven ships had people on them, and they all blew up.

Seriously, what in the world were they thinking?  Right before this the Doctor goes on a whole speech/rant about how important and amazing the human race is, and boom, he blows them up!

Come on, and the episode did so much right, like bringing back UNIT from the mess RTD made of it.  I just don’t get it.  As someone who was pretty much raised on the 4th and 5th Doctor followed by getting into the 3rd and of course the 9th, 10th, and 11th, this is just inexcusable.  I could see if the enemy did it and the Doctor tried desperately to save everyone, as he often does, but come on, to just ignore them and let them blow up but still save your buddies, that’s just cold, wrong, disturbing, and not Doctor Who at all.  Again, this may have been a victim of rushing an ending, but couldn’t they have rushed a better one?  I want to  stress how much I genuinely enjoyed the episode (as I have been a bit critical of the Moffat era as of late) up to the ending, as it kind of made me miss the Ponds again and it was simply a well written episode with really good balance between characters, UNIT, how the world reacted to the cubes, all of it was so good.

At this point, how wrong can John Hurt’s Doctor be?

Serious question.  I don’t think he does – or maybe he does and just isn’t a good show runner, as he was exceptionally good during the RTD era and great for Sherlock and Coupling (currently re-watching both).  At least he doesn’t seem to respect the show and its history.  No time for a drawn out introduction, let’s just dive into it with the sonic screwdriver.

These days the sonic screwdriver is used for everything, and I mean everything from simply unlocking a door to being able to blow up spaceships to conveniently end an episode (The Power of Three).  After doing a bit of quick research online it seems throughout the classic era the show-runners and producers didn’t want the device to basically be an easy out for script writers.  It makes sense too since every episode would just end with the Doctor pointing the screwdriver and something and saving the day.  That would get boring, and you know what, as we’ve found out recently, it does get boring and annoying.  Rarely do we see the Doctor actually thinking out a situation or using his wits, but we do get to see him run around pointing his screwdriver at apparently random things these days and automatically knowing where to go.  Furthermore, since when does the TARDIS grow sonic screwdrivers?  Any fan of the classic era will recall Romana making her own screwdriver, so at what point did Time Lords and Ladies apparently forget how to make them?  Back to using the device to encourage bad writing, I recently watched The Visitation (a fifth Doctor episode with a very good side character and a nice little historical reference ending) and the sonic screwdriver was destroyed.  Then again, the fifth Doctor barely used it, but it was nice to see they took the final (of many steps) to take it away from the show.  And then Moffat and the other writers just uses it as a magic wand to make up for poor writing.

What in the world is the deal with Strax?  Sontarans are clones for war, so what in the world happened with Strax?  I understand they have no idea if the show is to be a childish kid show or a sci-fi show for all to enjoy, but get rid of Strax (and Vastra and Jenny, but they’re a little more tolerable) and give him his own spin-off.  Fill the space left by the Sarah Jane Adventures and give these characters their own show and take them away from Doctor

Lovely and all, but excuse me, who blew it up?

Lovely and all, but excuse me, who blew it up?

Who forever.

What the frak is going on in Doctor Who anyway?  Since series 5 we have had countless threads that went nowhere.  For instance:

  • Who was making their own TARDIS?  Likely very important because it was brought up in series 5 and 6 and again, never explained.
  • What is the Silence (the religious order) and why do they want the Doctor dead?  Come on, this was a full season arc that went nowhere.
  • How did the Doctor’s and River’s timelines get reversed, literally never explained.
  • Who was Madame Kovarian, and I don’t want the excuse of just some baddie, that’s weak and we all know it.
  • Who blew up the TARDIS in series 5?  This, come on now, this is huge, who blew up the TARDIS?  Anyone, really, nobody knows?
  • How did the Doctor get out of the Pandorica?  Yes, he used his magic wand to get out the second time, but how did he get out the first time?

I know I’m missing things for the list, but I think you get my point.

Sure, it may have been a fun ride while the episodes aired, but after realizing the threads go nowhere what’s the point?  Seriously, this is the only show I know that can get away with this and have nobody criticize it.  Furthermore, with only 13 episodes a season, it’s the only show I know that has such inconsistent writing.  This is for another post, but they need new writers and a new show runner.  The show is currently so sporadic that it’s difficult to watch.  It’s like there’s no rhyme or reason to anything anymore.  Series 7 was weird because I like Clara but it didn’t matter at all which order her episodes were in because they were all rather rushed single episodes.  The Ponds in Series 7 were awful, and I still don’t understand why the Doctor blew up a ton of people in The Power of Three or why they wasted money making a completely nonsensical dinosaur episode.  All they had to do was send them to the past, that would have been cool, but no, instead we get the Doctor playing fetch with a dinosaur.

My last point is how the Doctor is written.  Moffat seems to not like it when the Doctor is serious, talks, or stands still.  It’s all running about and no talking.  I wish there was a low-key episode with the Doctor and Clara just kind of you know, talking, developing their relation.  Instead, Clara went from being scared of dead bodies (Cold War) to carrying a giant gun and commanding troops (Nightmare in Silver, what a mess that was).

Hey, at least I somehow make sense!

Hey, at least I somehow make sense!

I don’t know.  I liked Moffat during the RTD era, but maybe RTD was able to control Moffat.  Maybe we don’t need these crazy arcs, as he clearly doesn’t understand them and just says how much fun it is to write with time travel, but when it goes nowhere, it’s not fun or entertaining, it’s just a waste.  Perhaps the new Doctor will be older and not as frantic.  We need someone who can calmly analyze and respond to a situation, not someone just running around being all crazy.

Basically, the 50th will determine if Moffat deserves to stay and the Christmas episode will likely only confirm it either way.  Right now it doesn’t seem like he likes the show or maybe he doesn’t understand it or maybe it’s just too much for him to do this and Sherlock, which he’s very good at and as a writer I love his work with Coupling.  Maybe Doctor Who just isn’t his thing and as much as he likes it it just isn’t working.  There’s no shame in that, just go back to writing an episode a season, which were all very good, and maybe make more Sherlock (well, that’s just me being greedy, as three episodes a season, as great as they are, just isn’t enough).

Now with Series 7 at an end it is time to critique Moffat’s run so far with Doctor Who (this will be in no particular order because the same issues run throughout all his series).  For a look at all the seasons under Moffat you can check out part 1. (Spoilers and sorry for the length)

  1. Moffat seems to think it is acceptable to replace an actual story with catchphrases.  Take for instance this season.  We have been looking forward to Trenzalore since it was announced last season.  At the end of the sixth season it was said it will be the fall of the 11th.  Yes, this was cool and all but the 11th Doctor did not fall.
  2. Threads going nowhere.  I understand that sometimes threads can be underwhelming, but when they go nowhere, that’s a major issue.  Let’s look at a few.  The first spans seasons 5 and 6 with the makeshift TARDIS.  We first see it in The Lodger chilling above Craig’s house.  Then again in season 6 the Silence have it.  Neither of these occasions is it explained why it exists, who made it, why, and if they’re the same ones.  If there are two
    "Doctor, do you think it's important?" "Nah, Moffat will forget about it."

    “Doctor, do you think it’s important?”
    “Nah, Moffat will forget about it.”

    different ones then this is a really, really big issue.  It’s not like the TARDIS is a Honda Civic that has little significance, it’s a time machine from Gallifrey, it has to mean something that it’s being replicated, right?  But it goes nowhere.  The same goes for the Silence.  All we learn is they’re a religious order and recruited Madame Kovarian to lead an army.  This makes no sense.  What is the point of the Silence?  What is their quarrel with the Doctor?  They just showed up one day and seemed to say “hmm, what shall we do today, I don’t know, I don’t like the color blue so how about hunt down people with blue vehicles.”  These are either season or two season long threads that go nowhere, not good at all.

  3. Why did the TARDIS explode?  This could go with my last point, but it has an extra level of importance because it is the TARDIS blowing up.  It seems like someone went to very large lengths to make a universe based on Amy’s memories/favorite book for kind of no reason.  At least no reason that ties in to the TARDIS exploding.  I won’t lie, it is a very grand finale, but take a second to analyze it and it makes no sense.  I don’t mean it makes no sense in terms of if it could happen, because sci-fi can’t happen, but it makes no sense because it is never explained.  The same goes for how the Doctor got out of the Pandorica before opening it with the sonic screwdriver, which leads me to my next point.
  4. The sonic screwdriver is now a magic wand.  This may be the cause of having rushed episodes, but the sonic is now able to solve every single thing in the universe.  It’s like a way for writers to cop out of writing a well thought out episode.  I would like if they’d go back to 5th Doctor era and basically take away the sonic.  Allow the Doctor to show that he’s smart and isn’t a graduate of Hogwarts.
  5. Writing characters without feeling, and by this I mean Clara in the majority of season 7.  I like Clara, I really do, but her character was very inconsistent in season 7.  One episode she’d be scared at the sight of death and start reflecting on traveling with the Doctor and not long after she’d be holding a giant gun and leading a small group of soldiers.  This inconsistency made it difficult to relate to her and took away from the story arc since at that point she was the story arc.  But that is a reflection of Moffat writing.
  6. No two parters from season 6.5 to now.  This drives me crazy.  Countless episodes have been rushed to no end.  The Power of Three not only had a rushed story but also led to the Doctor using his magic wand to do something very un-Doctor: kill a ton of innocent people on those spaceships hovering around the Earth.  Every Clara episode was rushed, taking time away from building a relation between Clara and the Doctor and Clara and the audience, which was even worse due to her not being there a whole season.
  7. There isn’t a tone anymore.  During the RTD era there was always a tone for a season or at least tonal changes made sense.  But let’s look at season 7.  What in all things Doctor Who was the first five episodes of season 7?  Dinosaurs on a Spaceship may very well be the worst thing I have watched since Love and Monsters.  Seriously, the tone of that was jarring as was the awful script and set pieces (riding a dinosaur, that is a  jumping the shark moment if I ever did see one).  This whole season was built on blockbuster movies in around 40 minutes, and it doesn’t work.  It leads to many inconsistencies in tone and character development as well as rushed stories.
  8. Stupefy!

    Stupefy!

    Too confusing?  Are the plots too confusing?  No.  Moffat is right when he says that, but he is right for a reason he doesn’t know.  The stories simply, going back to point 2, don’t go anywhere.  It’s a bunch of threads that are still floating around.  At this point it would be best to get rid of all these threads and start over.  Reboot the reboot.

  9. Strax, Vastra, and Jenny.  Simply put, I hate these characters to no end.  Strax is a disgrace to Doctor Who mythology.  His character makes zero sense.  How does a warrior race turn into him?  Vastra is somewhat better as she at least does things and is competent.  Jenny is apparently a ninja.  Get rid of these characters, they’re not fun at all.  Instead, they make me cringe every time they’re mentioned or show up.
  10. Get new writers.  Obviously these guys have been on too long and have run out of ideas.  Maybe they’re just not good Doctor Who writers.  I don’t know, maybe it is a bit of both.  I don’t want to get all sexist, but I believe there isn’t a female writer on New-Who.  Why is this?  Also, Neil Gaiman is a bad Doctor Who writer.  And all the Gaiman fanboys attack me.  But hear me out.  The Doctor’s Wife could have been really good, but so much was wasted on Amy and Rory running down corridors and Rory being killed again.  Gaiman said he was glad he could write for Rory (it was supposed to be in season 5 but due to budget reasons wasn’t so The Lodger took its place) and all he does is kill him again.  The episode was basically half wasted.  Nightmare in Silver is one of the worst things I’ve watched.  It was boring and the Cybermen updates were just a lazy way to make them trot on forever.
  11. The Doctor is the most evil, powerful being in all creation.  Three seasons now we’ve had almost the same finale: the Doctor is evil and the evil dudes want to kill him.  It gets old.  The Doctor was never this all powerful, godlike force.  He’s just a traveling Time Lord that happens to put a stop to evil when it needs be done.
  12. Underwhelming enemies.  The Silence ultimately had no point.  They loomed in the shadows but didn’t do that much.  The Great Intelligence wasn’t quite so great and was absent for the majority of the season when it could have been a recurring thing (again, Clara’s story had no point for most of the season either).  The Weeping Angels show up so often that they are no longer cool.  Classic Who enemies, especially the Daleks and Cybermen, have overstayed their welcome, but that’s because they’ve shown up too much (Classic Who barely had them compared to how much we’ve seen of them since 2005).  It is like the creativity has been drained from the writers, so as point 10 notes, bring in some new ones.

I feel like Moffat needed RTD to calm him down.  I’m currently watching Torchwood: Miracle Day and only three episodes in I wish RTD would be involved in Doctor Who again.  I love how Miracle Day has a story and it keeps building and making sense.  Then I go and watch Doctor Who and it seems like Moffat just puts things in there to stir the pot but never mean anything.  Season 7 felt like two episodes were written and he told the guys to write a few filler episodes and put them in any order.  Maybe Doctor Who would benefit from having a mini-series type format.  At least then there could be the chance of consistency.  Even watching Fringe right now I’m looking forward to getting into season 3.  There may be filler episodes but they don’t change the tone of the show or cover up threads that go nowhere (at least through season 1 and 2 it has been consistent so far, I’m new to the show).

Consistency is a word I’ve used a lot and for good reason.  Without consistency it is difficult to care about characters and if you don’t care about characters then what is the point of watching the show?  When watching Downton Abbey I can’t wait to see what happens with the characters, even if it is something as small as seeing what Carson (the butler) has to put up with from his staff.  These are characters I have grown attached to.  If something good or bad happens to any of them the reactions of all the other characters makes sense and the impact is felt.

Watching Doctor Who it is difficult to care.  When Rory dies for the tenth time I no longer care, it doesn’t mean anything.  It is like Moffat has created hollow characters.  Amy was on there for two seasons, but it felt like an eternity.  Her character was good in season 5 but in 6 it is like the show became her but yet she barely developed.  With all the focus on the Ponds I would have liked to see them grow but in the end all they did was say they love each other, almost divorce, and then love each other.  At least Clara eventually grew to become stronger and realize she had to save the Doctor for the sake of the universe.  And in turn the Doctor showed a selfless side of himself to save her.

The characters may not have much development but neither have the finales.  As mentioned in point 11 the Doctor is apparently this evil god or something of the sort.  It is running thin these days.  Finishing three season almost the same way takes away any suspense.  I wasn’t at all exciting to watch this season’s finale, even though it was very good.  I just didn’t want to see another person wanting to kill the Doctor for no real reason.

I can only hope the 5oth will be something special and lead to a new beginning of sorts for season 8.  I’m not giving up yet, but I can’t help but feel the show is growing stale.  Bring in some new writers with new ideas.  It’s not that hard.  I’ve skimmed fan fiction more interesting than some of the nonsense the current writers produce.

Here’s to looking forward to a brighter future for the show, as I do like it, but Moffat isn’t doing much to make me care about the characters or story these days.

Ignoring the fact that I’m in the midst of writing a two part post on why Moffat isn’t good, I really quite loved The Name of the Doctor.  We actually learn who Clara is and we get a cool set up for the 50th anniversary episode, but more on that later.

For the first time since the midway point of series 6, Moffat has figured out how to write a really solid 45 or so minute long episode.  But really this is a set up for the anniversary, so he basically wrote part 1 of 2, going back to

I know Clara, the coat is too much to handle

I know Clara, the coat is too much to handle

the point that the series needs two part stories.  Another first is Strax didn’t annoy me to tears and the rest of that gang were actually well used.  Yet another  first, River Song actually had a point beyond just saying “hello sweetie” or “spoilers” (spoilers is still said as is sweetie, but it makes sense and isn’t forced, it’s actually kind of touching).  The Doctor has a sentimental moment with River that shows Moffat can still write characters with emotion and personality.  It’s clear these are his two characters, and Matt Smith and Alex Kingston clearly respect these characters.

But what we all want to know, who is Clara?  The episode starts right up with a very cool montage of Clara basically being a guardian of all of the Doctor’s regenerations, and a quick bit of her at Gallifrey before it all went to ruin.  I hope to see more of these sorts of clips in the 50th, as Matt Smith needs to somehow “interact” with his past versions (to see him run along side Tom Baker would be absolutely hilarious and fantastic).  As the story progresses so does Clara’s realization of who she is, and it’s all played very well by Jenna-Louise Coleman, who was pretty much pushed to the side for the last two episodes.

Just an aside, but an important, and actually more than an aside: Moffat needs to stop writing big old sayings that go relatively nowhere.  See, the whole thing about silence falling when the question is asked, well silence doesn’t really fall.  Yeah, it kind of does for maybe thirty seconds, but it’s not nearly as grand as it was hyped to be.  Another area Moffat needs to cool it with is the Doctor being this evil person/god, it’s just getting old and making less sense each time.  But back to the good now, yeah?

Situations have been better for the Doctor

Situations have been better for the Doctor

The Great Intelligence, played yet again by Richard Grant, has become more foreboding and dark, making him (well technically it I suppose) an even better nemesis.  I would have liked to have seen the Great Intelligence bet a little more great and, well intelligent, as it didn’t do much in terms of being clever or smart.  However, its ultimate act of evil is pretty grand and unlike the endings of the past two series, makes sense.  Now, the ending needs talking about, and I’ll try to not include spoilers, but they’ll most likely happen, so you are warned.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS FROM HERE ON, YOU ARE INDEED WARNED

Cool, so we find out the master plan of the Great Intelligence, who Clara is, why/how River is still hanging around, and there’s just one more thing: how is the Doctor going to save Clara?  See, Clara has to do something to save the Doctor that ends up killing her a lot.  So the Doctor decides he needs to save her this time after failing so much before.  When doing so he finds himself facing himself.  Kind of himself that is.  It seems that somewhere in his timeline there is a Doctor that doesn’t do what the Doctor would do, a Doctor that disgraces the title of Doctor (played by John Hurt).  I’m going to be one to jump ahead and say this may very well be the Valeyard.  This would go in tune with the show wanting to have a lot of throwbacks to Classic Who.  However, as a write this there are also reports that Hurt’s Doctor will be the “real” ninth Doctor, which apparently 9, 10, and 11 forgot about because it was too horrible a time during the Time War.  Though, I would also argue, if he is to be one of the Doctor’s regenerations, then he may be an aged version of the eighth Doctor, as he does resemble him, just older.  Actually, in a picture of Hurt on set for the 50th, he looks a bit like a mix of eight and ten.

If we are to have him be the Doctor instead of the Valeyard, then it would be cool if Paul McGann was asked to come back, start off in the Time War and then have something happen to him so that he’d begin to regenerate, but be forced by the Time Lords into some sort of in between regeneration stage, where he has both aged and has a bit of both eight and nine’s personality.  In order to fully regenerate he would then have to finish the Time War.

And let’s not forget, the Doctor does say he’s (Hurt’s Doctor) not the Doctor, or at least he breaks the name of the Doctor.

Regardless, I’m definitely looking forward to the 50th.  This episode has restored some faith in Moffat for me, and if he doesn’t go overboard with a nonsense/complex plot for the 50th, I’ll be looking forward to series 8 (apparently Smith and Coleman will be back for next year and I’m assuming Moffat will as well, unless the 50th is a flop then who knows).  Regardless, this is a great episode, so let’s praise it for bringing the show back into the spotlight before I go on and on about it, as there is a lot to say, but it’s best said by saying to watch it.

This will be a two part series of posts.  The first will be a run down of the show since Moffat took over (and will go series by series) and the second will be more focused on specific issues.

I’ll be the first one to say it, I was very glad when Moffat took over as head writer of Doctor Who.  After all, he brought us some of the most loved episodes of the reboot, and based on that alone I figured his run would be awesome.  I was right too, for a while.  Series 5 remains my favorite since the show came back in 2005, even if there are glaring issues with the finale (i.e. how did the Doctor originally get out of the Pandorica before using the sonic screwdriver [aka magic wand/cop out for many new episodes] to get himself out or who blew up the TARDIS, ok, that’s a big one, so Moffat, do explain at some time).  As a whole, the episodes were fun but serious.  There was a nice arc throughout (even if it ended up making not so much sense) and Amy carried on some of the attitude of Donna (probably the best companion since the reboot).  Even Rory, annoying as he could have been at times, wasn’t overbearing (at that point his countless deaths may have meant something, but they never did).  What I liked the most was the lack of bad episodes (ignoring those rainbow Daleks).  It all felt like a grand adventure with something new every week.  Very few episodes felt like true filler and even the filler episodes had some tie in with the larger arc.  Basically, it was all great fun, had companions being companions while the Doctor was still the face of the show, and continues to be fun to this day.confused doctor

And then  there was series 6.  True, it started off with a strong two parter.  But in what was shaping up to be typical Moffat fashion, most of it was completely useless in relation to the main arc.  Sure, we get on to some drawn out pirates, Rory almost being killed off, TARDIS becomes a Helena Bonham Carter knock off, Rory almost dies again, and then we get to see the Doctor talk to none other than himself or rather a copy of himself.  All of this (minus the pirates and Rory) was mainly good times.  Sure, The Doctor’s Wife wasted a lot of time nearly killing Rory and running through the TARDIS, but the Doctor was still who we all wanted to watch.  But then things get rather awful.  See, Madame Kovarian is useless (seriously, what is the point of her if the Silence can get people to do whatever they want?), the Silence is some sort of religious order (sure, let’s go with that, doesn’t make much sense but so be it), and the show becomes the Amy/Rory/River show featuring the Doctor.

Series 6 part 2 (or whatever you like to call it) made the awful move to get rid of two part episodes.  What does this do?  It rushes the daylights out of everything, leaving a giant mess of things.  To tell the truth, this didn’t matter much until series 7, but that matters little when only half of series 6 part 2 was worth watching (Let’s Kill Hitler, The Girl Who Waited, and The Wedding of River Song).  Notice something with those episodes?  Yeah, you’re right, they feature the Doctor in a supporting role.  True, they’re not awful episodes, but this is a show called Doctor Who, not River Who.  That is really the best way to describe series 6.  It starts off promising and really leaves you hanging… to go to series 7!

Right on, so series 7.  What in the name of all things created is series 7 part 1?  Hi, I’m the Doctor and if you fancy watching complete rubbish for the next forty minutes you can see me ride a dinosaur for on particular reason or any logical explanation.  Or better yet, watch me wave my magic wand, I mean sonic screwdriver, around and blow up a ton of innocent people on spaceships in The Power of Three, it’s tough doing much else in a rushed episode.  Better yet, I forgot how to ride a train, so I am faced with never being allowed to see Amy and Rory ever again.  At least I had a good time not being killed in a Dalek asylum planet and it was fun being the wild west.

Those are the only two episodes that are really good in this part of series 7.  True, the angels aren’t that bad, until you see a giant Statue of Liberty making little sense and being there just to chill out.  Then the best scene is never filmed and only shown as a storyboard being read by Rory, which is him reading a letter to his dad after he has been sent back in time forever.

Chalk it up, is this the 10th Rory death?

Chalk it up, is this the 10th Rory death?

Cool cool, no big deal.  New start with Clara in part 2 of series 7.  Really good Christmas episode, so right there is some promise.  The Bell’s of Saint John is a very good episode, as it has a good balance between the Doctor and Clara while still dealing with a threat.  Then they go off to some planetary system and Clara’s given her first trip to space (never a real shining moment for any of the new companions) and the Doctor gives a nice speech so alright.  Cold War allows Clara to develop a bit more at the sight of death, allowing her to further develop her emotions from the previous week.  Then a pretty cool horror story (even if the ending is kind of goofy).  Actually, Hide should be a two parter (as should all of these episodes) as I really liked the side characters relationship as much as I liked the chemistry between the Doctor and Clara.  Awesome, two very good episodes and two good ones, we’re on a roll.  Off to explore the TARDIS now and continue the trend.  Pretty cool episode I must say.  The ins and outs and intricacies of the TARDIS plus a great scene between the Doctor and Clara make this a definite rewatch episode.

Seriously, what is happening anymore?

Seriously, what is happening anymore?

We all know it can’t all be fun and games, and so we are presented with the most annoying character ever again, Strax.  I truly hate this character, partly because he is annoying and partly because it defeats the purpose of the Sontarans.  Also, Jenny’s now a ninja apparently.  Clara maybe gets five lines of dialogue and the Doctor is still entertaining.  See, no main character interaction becomes an issue.  Then we’re off to visit the Cybermen and they still are boring.  Except now they can upgrade 24/7, basically allowing the episode to potentially drag out until the dusty end of time.  They’re not scary, just annoying, and now Clara has a giant gun.  Seriously, only a few episodes ago she was cringing at the sight of a dead body and now she’s off to lead a group of soldiers, talk about lazy, inconsistent writing (maybe they were inspired by Battlestar Galactica).  Did I mention, there are kids in it, so right there is a red flag.  Because who other than kids would moan about no cell phone reception in space.  Seriously, you’re in space, at least acknowledge it!

To think, it was kind of getting back on track up to this point.  However, read on to the next part, for as you’ve seen, I don’t hate all things Moffat, just he’s been letting me down quite a bit lately, and I’m hoping he does service to at least the 5oth anniversary and hopefully this week’s episode.

Catching up on reviews here, I’ll be going backwards from here to the start of this part of series 7 as if I have not seen the episodes after them.  Cool, so we get to see a bit more of the TARDIS in Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS (Journey for short).  You’re going to hear this a lot from me, but this would have been a cool two parter if for no other reason than to further elaborate on the side characters.  While not overly original, they create a nice human dynamic and if given time could have avoided some rushed dialogue and sometimes one dimensional writing to become a memorable story to themselves.  Despite this, Journey is a pretty good episode.

Ominous stares all about this place

Ominous stares all about this place

The bulk of the episode, or at least the exciting parts, are based around Clara.  She goes all about the TARDIS to various rooms and suspiciously similar miles of corridors.  There’s a nice nod to the often mentioned swimming pool, though I would have liked a glimpse of the kitchen due to the nature of Clara’s character.  Still, we also get some throwback moments to the Classic-Who era to continue the nostalgia factor all about this series.  Most importantly, the TARDIS library gets a visit from Clara, where she finds out some things about the Doctor and his involvement with The Time War that likely no other eyes seen.  To tell the truth, this episode really could have been an awesome two parter due to the extensive nature of the TARDIS.

I quite liked the main threat throughout, from the TARDIS itself (herself?) to the more physical threat chasing our time travelers throughout the ship.  Actually, without giving anything away, the “monsters” chasing them are very dark and somewhat disturbing.  Don’t worry, you’ll see for yourself to judge.

There is one really good scene with the Doctor and Clara where the Doctor confronts her about who she is.  In natural Moffat fashion, nothing is solved, but watching the two characters interact is always fun.  Following this is a kind of rushed ending, but you know, I know, the structure of this series just isn’t very kind to story and character development.

Honestly, I don’t want to give too much away, as this is an episode definitely worth watching.  You get the Doctor being serious and then not and then serious again, but this time it all feels right whereas sometimes it feels forced.  A relatively solid support cast helps add their own dimension to the story, even if it is rushed.  Clara, well, I have not been keeping up on the reviews, but Clara is pretty great.

Basically, if you have yet to watch this episode, please do.  It isn’t the most amazing one ever, but it is still very good.

Nightmare in Silver perfectly sums up what the episode is: a nightmare.  For those who read my review of last week’s episode, you will know I paid little attention to the fact that Neil Gaiman penned the story of Nightmare in Silver.  I was not very fond of the time he wasted killing off Rory in The Doctor’s Wife, and now it is clear he is very good at wasting time and apparently wasting a full episode worth of time.  This review is coming late, as I wanted time to cool off after watching the episode, but it has left me with the same feeling as just finishing the episode.

Look Doctor, Rose isn't the only one who can be an action hero!

Look Doctor, Rose isn’t the only one who can be an action hero!

First off, I’d like to get it out of the way, the kids.  If I wanted to watch people complain about cell phone reception and being bored I’d sooner go over to a computer lab at my college and listen to people complain, at least then I can quietly laugh to myself as I find the one area of the room that has reception.  It’s like these kids couldn’t care less that, I don’t know, they just traveled through space (and likely time) to a distant planet.  I guess it is hard to please children these days.  Of course they get caught and then saved, same old nonsense.  On this topic, I dare anyone reading this to name me an instance in which a movie/show has brought in a kid and they were actually not annoying to no end.

Now, let’s have a look at the Cybermen.  I do like that they’re not this big clunky things we’ve had for so long now.  However, I absolutely hate how they now just have to say upgrade and they’re no longer dead.  It feels like lazy writing just to make them scary, and it turned out to be more annoying than anything.  Seriously, how are they able to upgrade their metal body, which in no way is a computer program that can be patched as they were doing with everything else.  Everything they ended up doing felt awkward and forced just to prove a point that they’re back and they’re going to be scary.

On the plus side, Matt Smith was good as the Doctor, but we have kind of come to expect that at this point, even with the very average writing we’ve had for the majority of series seven.  Though, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the good vs. evil Doctor, but then again, I’m a bit spoiled right now with Tatiana Maslany in Orphan Black and her ability to be not only multiple characters but also be a character impersonating another character that she plays.  But there’s really not much to say against Smith’s acting here, so good job!

Not as much can be said for Jenna-Louise Coleman, or rather for Clara.  Coleman was good despite her character being written differently for every episode just to fit the specific conflict in the episode (much like the often unrealistic writing in Battlestar Galactica).  It was only a few episodes ago that Clara was freaking out over dead bodies in Cold War, yet now she is leading a group of soldiers to go off to war against the Cybermen.  People are falling around her yet she doesn’t seem to take notice or care at all.  For the past two episodes now, Clara has been kind of pushed to the side, coming in only when the writers want her to progress the plot.  This makes her story arc less interesting with every passing week, as we don’t get to see her simply talk with the Doctor and build a relation with him.  Granted, this is also due to cramming big ideas into tiny, forty-five minute episodes, resulting in a lot of things being rushed.  However, next week’s looks to have a much better tone despite the unending aggravation of Strax coming back (seriously, what is the point of him?  It’s like Moffat made it a point to ruin what little interesting bits of the Sontarans existed).

I thought there would only be two episodes I’d definitely never watch again from series seven (Dinosaurs on a Spaceship and The Power of Three) but it seems I can add a third to that list.  By trying to bring back Classic-Who villains (that were never used this often in Classic-Who) they waste an episode trying to reinvent something that has run its course.  Here’s to hoping next week’s is better (as I do like Clara and there have been some episodes with her as the full-time companion that I really do like a lot), even with a title as plain as The Name of the Doctor, which has a very cool prequel clip and trailer, which will be provided below:

Continuing to ignore the fact that every episode this part of series 7 would greatly benefit from being a two parter, The Crimson Horror is a surprisingly enjoyable episode.  I say surprising because I’m not exactly a fan of the Vastra, Jenny, Strax team (mainly Strax, as the character is kind of annoying and makes very little sense, but I guess I’ll have to deal with it).

Image

Part of a brilliantly done flashback montage

See, this episode almost seems like it will be a Doctor-less one, such as we’ve had in the past, notably with the classic episode Blink.  However, the Doctor and Clara do come back into the picture as the story goes on, but before then, Jenny takes center stage.  She’s actually a fun character to follow, though I’m still a bit confused about a particular scene (I don’t think this at all a spoiler) when she basically turns into a ninja and gets some sort of weird, fast motion camera work as she beats up some bad dudes, as I don’t get how she has harnessed the power of the ninja.

The story isn’t particularly amazing, but the setting and atmosphere is noticeably dark and to an extent, disturbing.  I wish there was more time for the heavier themes of human equality, inequality, and perfection to be explored, as the episode has potential to break into long standing social issues, and this may lead to future episodes tackling relevant issues.

I usually come away from a Clara episode thinking how awesome she is and loving her witty comments.  Sadly, there weren’t many of them this week, nor was there much talking from her.  At least what little she said was important to progress the story, and her part in the ending scene finally helps a little to go into her story arc.  Speaking of her arc, are they expecting to explain and wrap it all up in the finale, because I don’t want this to be a 45 minute arc and that’s it.  Also, why doesn’t this Clara make soufflés?  At what point does she start making soufflés?

I digress, back to The Crimson Horror.  I definitely would tell fans to watch it, though it’s not a good one to get people started on, as the ultimate reveal isn’t amazing.  Here the episode relies on the strong acting from the cast, which doesn’t disappoint, and there is a nice lack of goofiness by the Doctor.  I say nice because the show had an issue for making him too goofy, but it seems they do plan to fulfill the promises of a more serious Doctor.  Plus, it makes his witty comments more enjoyable, especially during more serious moments when he breaks out some sarcasm.

Next week we get Nightmare in Silver, and I don’t care that it is written by Neil Gaiman, I have my doubts (a. Cybermen aren’t overly exciting and more importantly, b. the trailer confirms there will be kids in it, and as we know from nearly every movie with kids, they’ll try their hardest to ruin it).  Still, here’s the trailer and I will be catching up with reviews on previous episodes from this season, that is after watching The Crimson Horror again.

rings of akhaten doctor who

Really Awesome

Is this what the wait for the rest of season 7 has been for?  I really hope not.  Let’s get talking, shall we? (Oh, there will be spoilers)

So, episode two of this half of the season isn’t exactly what I would call good.  In fact, the majority of the episode was nothing short of awful.  I had hoped we’d gotten past the really bad episodes with Dinosaurs on a Spaceship and The Power of Three, but sadly I have been proven wrong.

The beginning of the episode with Clara’s parents and the leaf was actually kind of cool and helped add some emotional impact to this version of Clara.  However, outside of that the story went nowhere good.  She and the Doctor end up on an alien world looking down on some really spectacular space CGI.  Then they go to another part of the planet to take a visit to the Cantina (I’m not exactly sure if where they were had a specific name, but it was basically the Star Wars Cantina).  Even from there it seemed like there was some hope when Clara started talking to the Queen of Years (a little girl named Mary was chosen to be the queen, not quite sure why).  It was a nice little scene, as it continues to show Clara has a motherly inclination to her (this probably is important, just as important as the Doctor referencing his granddaughter I’d say).  But then it all goes to pieces.

Apparently the Queen (and presumably King) have to sing a being to sleep every thousand years, or he will eat the soul of the Queen (again, not quite sure why).  Naturally, something goes wrong and the being wakes up, but not before the Queen is teleported to the being and the Doctor and Clara somehow learn to breathe in space (yeah, I know).  So of course the Queen doesn’t die because she’s a little girl and that would not fly.  Eventually the being breaks out of its nifty glass cage and proceeds to be illuminated by a bright light and die (makes sense, right?).  So what is the natural order of progression here?  The sun, yes that’s right, the sun, ends up being the evil force controlling the now dead being (I guess he’s the middleman so the sun can sleep) and decides it wants to be a sun with a face.  Yes, a face, with the eyes, nose, mouth, all of it (to be fair, they treat the sun as a god so the face may be why, and apparently it’s a parasite of sorts, but again, not quite sure why/how).  At this point I’d like to note that if this were done in Classic Who, I imagine they’d at least make an effort to explain anything that’s going on right now, but then again they didn’t have a deranged Steven Moffat who wants to cram everything into a very small time frame or is off doing Sherlock or writing something else (no wonder DW is losing quality control these days, which is kind of sad considering how good Matt Smith can be and Jenna-Louise Coleman is quickly showing signs of becoming my favorite New-Who companion).

The Doctor then goes on a nice speech to the sun how he is all full of memories with pain and loss and love and happiness (you get the point, oh, the Time War was brought up again, I assume to prep us for the 1oth Doctor’s return, as he liked to go on about it a lot) and the sun starts to consume the memories (by the way, the soul is code for memories) but it just isn’t enough to fill its appetite.  So what does Clara do?  Well, for starters she figures out how to fly a space moped and then gives up her leaf for the sun, because we all know that what could have been offers an infinite amount of memories, which is why it is puzzling why she didn’t give up the book of things she wants to do, which likely contains the memories of her and her mother of things that could have been, but whatever, at this point it doesn’t matter.

And well, this isn't really awesome

And well, this isn’t really awesome

So, here’s what gets me the most: the Doctor, yet again, likely kills a ton of innocent people since the sun ate too much and then somehow disappeared, hence no gravitational pull from the sun, and I’d assume the fall of those planets out of orbit (still, was that as bad as blowing up humans on the spaceships in The Power of Three?).

Also, there’s a lot of filler in terms of singing, which I get is important for this story, but it really felt like filler, especially since the Doctor was barely in the episode (perhaps he was needed to film another episode).

I don’t exactly remember how the episode ended, but I do know Clara was given back her mother’s ring she had to give up to buy the space moped.  I liked this part because it brought the episode back to Clara, who is, oh I don’t know, the current story arc that is supposed to wrap up in the next six episodes, and with next week’s episode it doesn’t look like anyone will be addressing that arc soon.  On the bright side, next week’s episode looks to be a lot better and last week’s was also very good (I’ll probably be reviewing it during the week).

So, what do I rate this episode?  It hurts me to do this, but I can’t be kind just because I’m a huge DW fan (actually, that gives me more of a reason to be critical) but The Rings of Akhaten gets a very poor: 5/10

I liked the dialogue between the Doctor and Clara, but the rest was just plain bad.