Sunday, October 9, 2011

TV Series Review: Doctor Who (season six part two)

And here's the current Doctor Who review! Again, this is the second part of the sixth season so you need really need to see the first part and I would recommend watching season five since that's a good place for a new viewer to start (there are multiple good places to start in DW but season six is not one of them). Other than that, there's not much I can say to introduce this show that's not a spoiler, this season has been heavily structured around a central plot arc, although it does still have some episodic episodes, and I'm a little torn because I wanted a more central plot focused season but this didn't quite seem to work.

Doctor Who

Summary: Following the game-changing revelation at the end of the first half, the Doctor is traveling across the universe trying to find Melody Pond and after a summer of waiting Amy and Rory are tired of waiting, meet up with him again and join up. But another big revelation is just around the corner which changes everything again and the Doctor is becoming more and more worried about his impending death from the very first episode. 

The Good: Overall I like what Moffat is doing to the Doctor, Russel T. Davis made him into a larger than life character (one who was occasionally declaring himself as a god by the end) but Moffat seems to be bringing him back down to just "a mad man in a box." This season had two episodes that were both very good at doing this, The Girl Who Waited and The God Complex, which were both excellent episodes on their own and I thought were among the best of the combined season. The Girl Who Waited really let Karen Gillian (Amy) show off her acting chops (I'll admit, Amy is sometimes such a static role that I was wondering how good an actor she is, this episode removed all doubts in my mind) and Closing Time was a really good episodic episode that did what it needed to, provide a quick chance for everyone to catch their breath and then move into the final episode.

The Bad: The final episode was both convoluted and too simple, complicated in execution and simple in result is probably the best way to put it. I feel that there was a better way to tell this story so I did feel a bit disappointed with the final episode. I also wish that Night Terrors had been kept in the first half of the story like it was supposed to and either had that push A Good Man Goes to War back one episode or nixed The Curse of the Black Spot (the episode it switched with) entirely and put in a different episode which showed the characters dealing with the big twist of Let's Kill Hitler. I feel like that revelation was dealt with partially but really needed more screen time, perhaps not a full episode but at least a full scene which it never got. I do believe that this season actually could have been better if they weren't constrained by the 13 episode limit/requirement (especially with the mid-season split*) but that's a part of the series that the writers know from the start so it's their job to make it work one way or another, not to leave someone like me wishing they had more or less episodes to do it in.

The Audio: No changes have been made to the opening theme and I feel like I'm starting to notice the background music for this series more and more, there are a few tracks from it I would love to own but have no idea how to find. Other than that there's not much to talk about, it's silly to talk about voice acting instead of regular acting for a live action series, and there was some creepy children chanting but that did it's job well also.

The Visuals: It's rather obvious that a good chunk of the budget was spent on CGI in the final episode but a lot of the imagery still felt awkward and obvious, I would have liked it to have been toned down a bit to make it look better. The rest of the series, both CGI and traditional sets, were good and I thought that the settings for some of the episodes (such as The Girl Who Waited and The God Complex) were really well done. So all and in all this season looked pretty good and I, like pretty much every other fan, love the Doctor's new green jacket, such a nice cut.

I didn't like this season as much as I hoped to which made me sad but I hardly think it was the worst thing ever (good lord, the last time I saw so many passionate people trying to explain why a show is the best/worst thing ever was all the debates that people had over my summer reading book my freshman year of college, even in the anime fandom I've never seen arguments this vehement and often). I'm a little hesitant about the Christmas Special since I generally don't like those as much (also, I'm agnostic, it's strange to see a tv episode focused solely around a holiday that I don't have a religious connection to any more) but I've seen a few production pictures for it which did make me a bit excited for it. Until then, back to the Classic Who! 

*which reminds me, if the reason for the split was Sherlock, which I know they started filming back in April, then why isn't it out yet? The BBC recently made some budget cuts but I'm suspecting they've had budget issues for a while and that's the real reason this season was split and why next years is delayed.

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