REVIEW: Doctor Who – The Hungry Earth

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This was a creepy episode. There’s just something about a mysterious little town, a graveyard and something running around in the dark that makes for a fun show. Spoilers to follow.

It was great to see another classic villain return in the new series. The Silurians aren’t top tier like Daleks and Cybermen, but they have a history going all the way back to Doctor #3 in 1970 and this was a perfect way to reintroduce them. All the pieces fit together nicely and the conflict being based on unintended harm made for a better story here than an invasion or anything directly hostile. Of course, before the episode finishes it’s clear that there may be some hostile intent yet to be revealed.

I liked seeing Amy removed from the central action to allow The Doctor and Rory to interact more directly. In fact, Rory actually had a much larger part in this episode than any other this season and I actually have a lot more interest in the character because of it.

I always enjoy when a “to be continued” takes me by surprise. The idea that The Doctor has to convince his enemies (and his allies) to see the best in humanity really drives the story into part two next week. I’ll reserve judgement on the episode until everything wraps, but this was a good part one of two.

More on Doctor Who 2010:
Amy’s Choice / Cold Blood


REVIEW: Doctor Who – Amy’s Choice

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This was a truly weird episode. The preview had me thinking I might not like it so much, but my doubts were quickly erased as the episode got underway. Spoilers ahead.

The central conflict of the story pitted The Doctor, Amy and Rory against a mysterious entity calling himself the “Dreamlord,” who challenged them to determine whether they were in a dream or reality. How exactly were they to do this? Well, they would be presented with two threats one real, one a dream. All they had to do was die in the correct one and they’d be free. Of course, if they died in the wrong one they’d simply die.

The title of the episode is really used nicely as it’s a simple reference to letting the next destination be “Amy’s choice” and it’s also the center point of the episode. It’s put on her to choose which reality is the true one and she reaffirms her choice in Rory as the man she loves. There are some great twists as the story progresses, particularly with regard to the “Dreamlord’s” true identity.

The story works really well as a stand alone episode with the new cast. While it doesn’t necessarily advance the major plot of this season, it makes great strides in telling us more about who these characters really are both in terms of how they view themselves and each other. Also, the threat of the TARDIS falling into a star that burns cold and everything around them freezing really struck a chord with me. I just love frozen stuff.

More on Doctor Who 2010:
The Vampires of Venice / The Hungry Earth


REVIEW: Doctor Who – The Vampires of Venice

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I knew from the opening of the episode that I just wasn’t going to like this one. It’s a perfectly fine episode, but after the excitement of the last two weeks I couldn’t help but be disappointed. Spoilers ahead.

Crashing Rory’s bachelor party was intentionally awkward, but it really only led to a few sight gags like a custom made “Amy + Rory” t-shirt showing up in the 16th century Venice. The whole concept of the trip as a date for the young couple just didn’t really thrill me.

The Sisters of the Water from planet Saturnyne were not very compelling enemies. I know there’s a vampire craze going on, but I was a little disappointed to see it reach Doctor Who. At least the show had it’s own take on the creatures, so I suppose it’s better than introducing actual vampires. Either way, it still felt like there was a creepiness that was absent from the episode.

Some interesting parallels were drawn between The Doctor and the Sisters’ leader, Rosanna, as the last hope of their kind. The connection extends to her people and the Timelords, and it seems like lasting damage may have been done from The Doctor witnessing the extinction of another species.

The highlight of the episode comes when we hear the silence that’s threatening the universe for the first time. It’s interesting that it happened just after Amy stepped into the TARDIS away from her “boys.” The mystery surrounding her deepens here, but this episode sets the low point for the season this far.

More on Doctor Who 2010:
Flesh and Stone / Amy’s Choice


REVIEW: Doctor Who – Flesh and Stone

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Flesh and Stone, the second part of what is quickly becoming one of my favorite Doctor Who stories of all time, aired this Saturday on BBC America. The follow up to The Time of Angels was fantastic. 

Spoilers to follow.

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REVIEW: Doctor Who – The Time of Angels

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I find Doctor Who most enjoyable when it’s mysterious, full of accidental occurrences, and designed to frighten children (and you can include Angie in that). The Time of Angels has all of this going for it along with the added bonus that it’s part one of a two-part story. Spoilers to follow.

The action centers around one of the most fascinating of the recent additions to The Doctor’s rogues gallery, the Weeping Angels. First introduced in the episode Blink a few years ago, it seemed like it would be difficult to top some of the madness the Angels bring, but the inclusion of the mysterious River Song set the stage for a fantastic episode. From the dynamic and cleverly constructed opening to the seemingly inescapable conclusion, this is the type of episode that should make anyone love this show.

The mystery of River Song deepens as we see that she and The Doctor keep meeting in the “wrong order,” which is especially tragic as viewers saw her demise during her first appearance in the episodes Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead. While she was known as Professor River Song at that time, this River Song is actually a criminal trying to earn a pardon and is thrilled to know she’ll one day receive such a prestigious title.

We learn a great deal about the Weeping Angels from an ancient book about the creatures that is the only writing of its kind. Any image of an Angel becomes an Angel because of their unique nature in the timestream, and this threat includes any mental image. It’s also made clear that staring into the eyes of an Angel can give it influence over the mind of the observer. If the Angels weren’t creepy enough, these concepts add a whole new level of scary.

The inclusion of the military squadron of “clerics” as River’s escort while on work release made for a great dynamic and makes for a great commentary on the future of organized religion. There is a fun twist about the nature of the crash that brought everyone to the planet leaving them all in the gravest of danger.

The return of two of the most intriguing concepts from producer Steven Moffat required an exceptionally strong story and this one does not disappoint. It’s clear that there’s a larger story framework in place that is being masterfully revealed over the course of several seasons. Can’t wait to see what’s in store next week.

More on Doctor Who 2010:
Victory of the Daleks / Flesh and Stone