Sunday, 12 May 2013

Doctor Who - 2013 Series Review

I was going to hold off on this until the end of the series - but considering next week's might actually be awesome (though I should never get too carried away with the trailers), I felt it would be better to do this now. Then I can give a whole review to the finale next week, saying it was awesome, or what a let down it was.

It's difficult from now, seven weeks from the first episode of 2013, to look back and say "oh yeah that was good because of this" but I'm going to do it anyway. There will probably be spoilers, and there will definitely be moaning - but not necessarily about The Rings of Akhaten.

Oh and at the end of each review I'll post a Tweet I tweeted after the episode broadcast, summing up my views, and possibly seeing if they've changed.

Don't even ask me what the correct production codes are for the episodes - but this is definitely NOT Series 8.

The Bells of Saint John was an "urban thriller" with an evil villain, iPads, technology, laptops, nice little character moments, and a James Bond-esque theme. Or at least, that's what I dreamed. I was looking forward to the episode so much and I was so disappointed. The first fifteen minutes = fan film. I could film all those scenes with Clara in her house. It all felt too ordinary, too safe, too nice. The kids (I'll get to them later) felt too useless, and Jenna-Louise Coleman was written really, really poorly. She didn't have a character! She acted perfectly with what she had, but she had mediocre companion questions that every writer who has any sense should try and avoid. Clara also has no reason to go with the Doctor from her perspective. It's dangerous introducing a character three times, and since the other two have done it so well, I'm even more disappointed with this one. It was like Steven Moffat thought this Clara wouldn't need an introduction - wrong. She needed a character as she is the one we follow this series, and instead we're presented with quite a straightforward character (who doesn't know computers?!) who doesn't fit. Oh and the villain was disappointing (her reaction when facing Doctor-Spoonhead was bad) and the promise of technology and urban-ness in the story just didn't pay off.  If I hadn't have expected so much - perhaps I wouldn't have been as disappointed by it.
TWEET:  Well that was good. Apparently the only person on the planet who thought it was a little bit... slow though...

So yeah, there are singing kids - but I honestly don't see the problem with this. Ok, so it's a "nice" episode, with lots of stuff for the kids in it - but it's not a kids episode that turns out to be appalling (like a certain Series 6 pirate episode). I haven't rewatched this, to be fair, but perhaps since the review slated it I wasn't expecting much. Maybe that's why I enjoyed it. But I honestly did, and felt that Neil Cross made an effort with Clara, even if it was down conventional companion roots.
TWEET:  I actually loved that. Inventive, emotional, beautifully written, passionate and touching. Amazing.

I can't even remember the right order for these episodes. I think this was next. It was wasn't it? Good. Well this was... interesting. It was a nice twist for the Ice Warriors to get out of their suit (even though they're a bit more spindly than I'd have imagined) and it was a good attempt at a setting, with good supporting cast. So there we go then - this episode was good - not much more, not much less. The setting wasn't greatly realised I didn't think (I expected it to be a lot more claustrophobic than it was, and the pink lighting didn't help), plus the scene with Clara falling underwater was strange and badly edited... But aside from that - it was good.
TWEET:  Cold War much better second time around. Still missing something (possibly the development of Clara), but good overall.

#7.9 HIDE
Ahh now this one was good - properly good. It combined horror, timey wimey stuff, a scary forest, an awesome monster, a well written and well acted Clara (Neil Cross definitely gets her better than other writers) and the supporting cast were really good as well. Even their love storyline wasn't too bad at all. The whole thing was really enjoyable - it's just a shame the last minute was there. If the "aliens in love" story had been threaded through, fine, but again, it was a stuck on addition, that reduced what was a really good episode to something a bit less good. It just didn't work, and the reusing of clips towards the ending felt strange. But aside from that, it was very good. Oh and Clara vs The TARDIS, and the trip back through time with the Doctor taking photos - absolutely yes.
TWEET:  Loved it! I mean love saved the day again, pretty much, meh, but overall awesome!

Let's not mention the Brothers. This was a really good episode, I thought. I didn't expect to see much of the TARDIS, and so I wasn't disappointed when we didn't see much. The time creaturey things were very clever, the action was very good, and I like the look of the TARDIS corridors, even though they're lacking roundels. So yeah, a very good effort - with a resolution (although it was just a reset, but hey, the TV Movie did that too) that was built in! Oh what do you mean I need to mention the Brothers? Oh. Um. Well they. Weren't so great. And what was with that stupid subplot of someone pretending to be a robot? Silly.
TWEET:  Enjoyed #DoctorWho. Good to see Clara being properly developed, and good to see glimpses of more of the TARDIS.

The Crimson 'Orrro, cos that's what they're callin' it, (don't worry I'm not writing the whole review like that) wasn't... great. It was good, just as Cold War was, but again it seemed to be lacking something. In many ways it felt more like a proper Doctor Who story than other ones this series, but again, it's the ending that let it down. There were good moments, with Jenny/the Doctor, odd moments, with Strax and the TomTom (oh dear), and bad moments, with basically: the ending. It was too quickly resolved! Again! There's no action to resolve things any more! Though a chair is better than a sonic screwdriver, I guess. The whole subplot with Ada and the acting from Diana Rigg and daughter was awesome, and the general build up to the episode was good - it's just it did decline in quality and build up to a rushed ending once again.
TWEET: Clearly the only person on the planet who didn't enjoy it that much.. Again. #doctorwho #sorry

Well I liked it. A lot more than a lot of people, it seems - I don't really know what was wrong. Characters underused? Maybe, but they're only there cos they're needed, and they were acted well. Bad Cybermen? No. Perhaps a little too robotic, but they have a presence and so are haunting, rather than perhaps scary. The children? Actually less annoying than I thought they were going to be. The Doctor and Clara? Matt Smith's been written really well all series and his acting's been perfect - and this showcased that. Clara became a proper character at last, hooray! So yeah, I really enjoyed that.
TWEET: Well I loved it.

So - there we have it, my brief reviews of the series so far. Potential but not always realised, good moments scattered amongst disappointment - and perhaps an indication we're heading to a finale that might be really good. I'm looking forward to the finale a lot more than I was because.. [SPOILERS  BELOW]

See you next week.

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