Wednesday, December 15, 2010

TV Series Review: Doctor Who (Nu Who Season 5)

It appears that the BBC shows their new Doctor Who episodes in late spring/early summer which is perfect for me because I can then take advantage of my dad's BBC America HD channel (as opposed to scouring the internet for the first four seasons, wish I'd known earlier they were on Netflix). And this was actually a good season for my dad/brother to see first since it's the beginning of the 11th Doctor, the awesome Matt Smith who, while not David Tennat* is still amazing and wonderfully quickly. And the new companion Amy is interesting too so I guess I'd better get to the review!
Summary: The Doctor has a new body (and not a girl's as he feared) and he's ready to go off and explore the universe some more, preferably with someone else of course. He's rather interested in this one young girl named Amelia Pond but is having a bit more trouble than usual keeping his times straight (while Amy is having a bit of trouble remembering that she's supposed to get married to a man she truly does love named Rory). So, adventures are had, new and old characters appear, and the world is in danger nearly every episode and it's because of aliens in nearly every episode, sounds like the older seasons to me!

The Good: I really like Matt Smith as the Doctor and, while I don't have favorites by the way, I love the quirky yet smart character he has given the Doctor. Took me a little longer to like Amy, I ended up liking River Song amazingly enough and loved Rory almost immediately (those get a mention since they were in multiple episodes, the single episode people in Vincent and The Lodger were also great). Lots of good actors actually, I suppose it's easier to get good actors since DW is so well known in the UK (especially when you compare it to sci-fi shows in the US). And I felt happy at the end of most of the episodes, I had sat down to watch something interesting and walked away feeling entertained, then again I am apparently entertained by people running around in a towel while brandishing electric toothbrushes so the standard might be low here.
The Bad: It must be a requirement that, to be a Doctor Who writer, you must make the characters do stupid things now and then when there are more logical solutions at hand. The one that annoyed me is rather spoilery (has to do with a character death) and there are other moments where it's not logical, contradicts itself, or over-dramatic. It's true that some of the stuff could be explained either as fridge logic but sometimes it feels like people are looking to justify something that just doesn't make sense.
The Special Effects/Settings: Considering that DW used to have a super low budget (I honestly have no idea if that's still true but I suspect not) I'm pretty impressed that they travel somewhere new for almost every episode, even if half of every season takes place on Earth. The effects themselves are a bit of an acquired taste but there's nothing wrong with the sets or outfits (I was intitally thrown by how different the TARDIS looked inside and I ended up liking it more after someone pointed out that it's trying to invoke a retro/steamy look).
The Music: Took a little while to get used to the changed opening theme but the music worked well throughout the series and the times it wasn't used were used to great effect as well.

*So, fangirls/fanboys, quit your whining!