Sunday 25 April 2010

The Time of the Angels

River Song returns, as do those Weeping Angels.

This is the first of a two-parter. Contemporary Doctor Who could do with more of these. The previous story, Victory of the Daleks demonstrates the problems of squeezing an whole Doctor Who story into one episode.

The story opens in a very James Bond style, with River Song breaking into a vault on a space ship. How she survives after exiting into the vacuum of space, I do not know. She is then picked up by the TARDIS after arranging for the Doctor to pick up a distress call 12,000 years later, a rather elaborate plan.

Things take a decidedly creepy turn as the episode continues. It has a very Aliens feel. However, it also references horror remake, The Ring. You can also feel Tomb of the Cybermen slipping in, though the Second Doctor seemed much more in control of the proceedings in that story. Here the Doctor seems genuinely fearful about the outcome. Tom Baker's line from Horror of Fang Rock about 'I've made a terrible mistake' is referenced in this episode.

Alex Kingston puts in a great performance as River Song. I am not sure I like where the writers have been going with the River Song character, though in this story hints are given that she is not being entirely honest about her identity.

One thing I noticed, River Song is much more sensible than Tegan Jovanka, removing the high heeled shoes instead of running about everywhere in them!

One thing I really don't like about this story and it seems quite common in recent Doctor Who, is a lack of imagination when it comes to sets and costumes. The Doctor and Amy visit a museum in the far-future on an asteroid which is very clearly a medieval English church. Come on, I know cardboard sets look tacky, but at least we know you production guys are trying. A cardboard set can at least look vaguely alien or futuristic, while an English church just looks like an English church. Likewise, the cleric soldiers look just like modern day troops serving in Iraq. Please can the future just look a little bit less like the present?

On the whole, this story is an huge improvement on the last one.

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