I realize that my Doctor Who reviews have lagged behind a bit, but I’ve been traveling and hadn’t had a chance to watch them. So this may be old news and you may not want to read it, but I have to write it all the same. My OCD requires that everything be sequential and symmetrical. So here we are. Also–after questioning Neil Cross’s ability as a writer and possibly as a human being after the disaster that was “Rings of Akhaten,” I am happy to report that he has redeemed himself somewhat with this episode.
After ranting last week about the disappointing “Rings of Akhaten,” I was hoping that there would be something better to come. Though “Cold War” wasn’t perfect, it was definitely a vast improvement. This was Doctor Who meets The Hunt for Red October, without the involvement of right wing weirdo Tom Clancy. And though it doesn’t quite meet the standard set by “Dalek” or even “The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood,” it was a suprisingly satisfying return of a villain I wasn’t entirely sure would work well in 2013.
I’m not being grumpy or unfair here. I like Matt Smith. I see a lot of potential in Jenna-Louise Coleman. I really enjoyed the debut episode of this half-season (is that what we’re calling it?). I definitely have it within me to be optimistic about Doctor Who, as can be proven by the fact that I regularly defend the Colin Baker era of the original series. Now, that being said…
“Rings of Akhaten” was crap. Sorry. I see a lot of my fellow Who Geeks rushing to defend the episode and its writer Neil Cross, but I have to call this as I see it. Lazy. Cheap. Dull. Irritating. Senseless. We have to own when the series lets us down, and it really did here in a big way.
Doctor Who has finally returned from hiatus. I can’t say I’m particularly fond of the new format of divided seasons, but then it isn’t up to me. So I’m learning to deal with it. There has been much discussion in fan circles over what to call this season, but I’m sticking with “second half of series 7.” In any case, it’s back and all the fans are happy.
Before I begin, let me insist I love this show. I have since childhood, and it will always have a special place in my heart. I also like to give tough love, however. So don’t think I’m not showing the proper respect. I just like to be bitchy sometimes. So here goes…
I have been a fan of science fiction for most of my life. In my youth, this alone did not define me as a complete dork (band, show choir, competitive debate, lack of athletic ability, and acne all played an important part), but I did carry an appreciation for it into adulthood. Where the genre is concerned, though, there is precious little that can compete with Doctor Who. In celebration of its 50 year anniversary this year (its debut episode aired the day after the Kennedy assassination in 1963), it is my mission to indoctrinate additional fans. Before you judge or reject me outright, read the following list. I’m going to outline the seven stories from the new series (the classic series is an acquired taste, so let’s start slowly) most likely to engage someone with no familiarity with the series. I promise that no prior knowledge of the show is needed to enjoy any of these.
My flight across the Atlantic was a new experience for me. I had only ever flown domestically up until then, and those flights were only ever 4-5 hours at most. Furthermore, in my old age, I have come to dislike flying. It never bothered me until fairly recently; in high school, I won a trip to Washington D.C. in an essay contest, and was absolutely giddy with excitement as I boarded that Delta flight. In college, one of my fraternity brothers had his own plane–a scary single engine two-seater with nothing but a big gear stick for a flight instrument. I willingly got into that Buddy Holly plane and marveled at my college campus far below. Now, instead of being giddy with excitement, I am mainly thinking about how quickly the flames will engulf me as the aircraft I’m in drops out of the sky at 500 miles per hour.
Luckily, they make this drug called Klonopin that has the power to make anyone giddy–even if they’re falling out of the sky at 500 miles per hour. So I was set.
I am a huge Doctor Who fan, and actually enjoyed his run on the show. But his attitude is seriously ruining it for me. Do any associated parties know the real behind-the-scenes dirt? His dismissive response to any questions about the show make Tom Baker’s 80′s ‘tude seem friendly by comparison.
“It’s been so long ago I don’t even think about it!”
Sure you don’t, Mary. Sure you don’t.