Sunday, September 30, 2012

Doctor's Checkup

Like the Doctor himself, I experienced  Doctor Who in a non-linear way.

I tried the first episode of the relaunched Doctor Who way back when it first aired in the US, and I absolutely detested it. I did not care for Christopher Eccleston at all, I found the plot to be unappealing, and I did not care for the episode's pacing and structure. That's why I didn't continue with it. But since friends of mine whose tastes I respect had many good things to say about the series, I gave it another try, starting with the sixth season.

Yes, that's a Matt Smith season. That means I skipped the entirety of David Tennant's run on Doctor Who, and even missed the introduction of Amy Pond and other characters, leaping right into the River Song saga and the death of the Doctor.

I absolutely loved it. Matt Smith is remarkable as the Doctor, Karen Gillan is engaging as Amy Pond, Arthur Darvill is likeable as Rory Williams, and I've always found Alex Kingston fascinating since her early days on ER, so I was predisposed to enjoy her tenure as River Song. I was hooked.

After that, I watched most of the fifth season in a semi-random order (thanks, BBCA reruns!), interspersed with David Tennant episodes. He, too, was a likeable Doctor, although I found myself enjoying Matt Smith much more.

The seventh season is the first that I have watched as it unfolded, so for the first time I'm seeing the current exploits of the Doctor in much the same order as the rest of my friends. I've enjoyed the addition of Rory's Dad to the mix, but I haven't felt like the series was really going anywhere this season. Perhaps I'm spoiled by the fact that the sixth season seemed to be building to a dramatic conclusion that was preplanned before the first episode began, but this season has seemed to be the television equivalent of treading water. They knew that Amy and Rory were leaving, they had to get us to that point, but for the most part they did nothing other than create episodes that reminded us what a good team the Doctor, Amy, and Rory made.

I would have had no problem with Amy and Rory had they remained a part of the show, but once it was decided they were going, I was ready for them to go so that we could move on to the next phase of the Doctor's experiences. In some ways, the heavy emphasis on those characters has actually limited the scripts and has taken attention away from the Doctor himself, so I'm glad that it's timem for something new.

I would be even happier if I knew that this was the last Weeping Angels episode. I loved the concept when it was first introduced, thought it was overplayed after that, but was totally bored with them by the time this episode began; my lack of appreciation for them was made even worse by the fact that (as with the Daleks in the first episode of this season) they gained new abilities that were never hinted in earlier appearances. It creates the feeling that Stephen Moffatt is just winging it as he's going along, tossing in whatever will advance his plot with no consideration of what has come before.

So now Amy and Rory are gone (although like every other Doctor Who fan who watches the show regularly, I thought of a dozen different ways they could return), the first half of season seven is complete, and we're ready to get to the point where we should have been at the beginning of the season: a new companion for the Doctor, complete with new challenges and new shared experiences. Let's get on with it, then...

No comments: