Sunday 24 April 2011

The Impossible Astronaut

* Spoiler Alert!*

That was tedious.

I knew that it was going to be a chore watching the opener of the new Doctor Who series and it certainly was. From the first few minutes, you know what you are going to get. The Doctor apparently dies and will inevitably survive in the end somehow, we have lots of fast paced action, some great lines that we forget instantly because they are coming in thick and fast, lots of surreal 'Yet in the loo' stuff, lots of mystery about River Song and Amy standing around getting emotional.

Killing off the Doctor is just a boring thing to do because you know that they are not going to end the show or replace it with Doctor River Song and Friends. Having the Doctor apparently killed just creates a big countdown to the explanation of how he will manage to come back.

The non-sequential time travel approach is something that had not been done much in the show's past, but it is starting to get old now. The heavy use of non-sequential meetings actually becomes problematic because it raises the question of why this had not happened more before, even in the Davies era. Having the Doctor age 200 years in one incarnation may also raise potential continuity problems for the show in the future.

If you thought Churchill was not used very well in Victory of the Daleks, hang your head in amazement at how President Nixon is given about five minutes screen time and about ten lines. If they are going to stick an interesting historical figure in a story, they should at least given him the chance to deliver some good dialogue, but of course the lightning-paced format does not lend itself to that. So maybe they just ditch these attempts at historical settings.

Like RT Davies, Moffat is still stuck with a jumbled up notion of 'Yetis in the loo.' He even sticks one of his new aliens in the toilet. An astronaut in a lake and aliens wearing suits. These are things that have been slipped in because the production team think they look cool. Actually, aliens in suits just look stupid. This kind of visual spectacle writing is what leads to ridiculous plots like Invasion of the Dinosaurs.

Matt Smith was okay in the last series with its tendency to go for lighter stories, but in something this dark, his Doctor does not quite work. Karen Gillan gives a good performance, but her character is uninteresting and has never been properly developed. Rory does not seem to know what he is doing in the story.

It seems to be left to Alex Kingston to redeem The Impossible Astronaut. She gives an absolutely breathtaking performance. It is just unfortunate that the mystery of her identity is getting so tiring. If it turns out to be a disappointment, a lot of fans are going to be really annoyed.

This story was just so boring.

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