Sunday, June 1, 2014

Doctor Who Series 7 ~ a television show review

Head Writer: Steven Moffat
Main Cast: Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill, Jenna Louise-Coleman
Composer: Murray Gold (his music is pure gold)

The first time I watched series 7, I actually didn't like it very much. The first few and last few episodes were very good, but the middle episodes seemed more like fillers that didn't go with the theme of the latter episodes (the "Impossible Girl" theme - which was fantastic, by the way). However, after a second viewing, I like the middle episodes a lot better.

My Thoughts on the Season

The Christmas special "The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe" did an interesting spin on a story of a family during the war with a play on the 'wardrobe-leading-to-another-world' theme of Narnia. The episode focuses on the importance of family - and, most especially, the strength of a mother. This one is probably one of my favourite of Moffat's Christmas specials (after "The Snowmen").

Run. Run, you clever boy... and remember me. 
- "Asylum of the Daleks"

The Doctor, Amy, and Rory imprisoned by Daleks
In "Asylum of the Daleks", the Doctor, Amy, and Rory are captured by Daleks (who, for those of you who don't know, are the fiercest enemies of the Doctor), who have a favour to ask of the Doctor. Along the way, they meet a genius girl who is trapped in a crash-landed space ship, Oswin Oswald. This episode is very good ... and is the beginning of the "Impossible Girl" theme. However, the Amy/Rory divorce theme of this episode was not only unappreciated by me, but doesn't even really make sense when compared to other Amy and Rory episodes before and after "Asylum of the Daleks".

We'd been at war for nine years. A war that had already decimated half of our planet. Our task was to bring peace. And we did. We built an army that routed the enemy and ended the war in less than a week. Do you want me to repent? To beg forgiveness for saving millions of lives? 
- "A Town Called Mercy"

Then there are three filler episodes as we abruptly leave Oswin (which, I suppose works with how the last episode ended, but doesn't work as well with the season in its entirety). "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" is a fun one (in which we get introduced to Rory's dad Brian), but I think it's one of the weaker ones. I like "A Town Called Mercy" (a Western with big questions of morality - meaning in the way that it deals with villains who are low on morality, not that the episode is low on morality) and "The Power of Three" (in which we see Brian again and see the Doctor saving London and coping with Earth life simultaneously) better. However, these three episodes are still more of filler episodes before we come to the next big climactic one.

Do one more thing for me. There's a little girl waiting in a garden. She's going to wait a long while, so she's going to need a lot of hope. Go to her. Tell her a story. Tell her that if she's patient, the days are coming that she'll never forget. Tell her she'll go to see and fight pirates. She'll fall in love with a man who'll wait two thousand years to keep her safe. Tell her she'll give hope to the greatest painter who ever lived. And save a whale in outer space. Tell her, this is the story of Amelia Pond. And this is how it ends.  
- "The Angels Take Manhattan"

Together...or not at all.
"The Angels Take Manhattan" is one of my favourite episodes. It's got the creepy Weeping Angels, beautiful moments between Rory and Amy (and River and the Doctor), and it has an ending that is as much of a tear-jerker as the Christmas specials in which the Doctor gets killed off (I haven't been so emotionally affected after watching this episode since the Tenth Doctor's death - and I was almost hysterical after THAT episode).

There's a man called The Doctor. He lives on a cloud in the sky. And all he does, all day every day, is to stop all the children in the world ever having bad dreams. 
- "The Snowmen"

In the Christmas special "The Snowmen", the Doctor has vowed never to interfere in human affairs again after his devastating loss of Amy and Rory. But something is about to convince him otherwise. We meet a girl who looks exactly like Oswin. Except that her name is Clara and she is a governess in Victorian London. Mystery abounds, the "Impossible Girl" theme REALLY starts, and Moffat genius follows. And we meet the Paternoster Gang again. This episode is one of Moffat's finest.

Things get a little less exciting again in "The Bells of St. John". However, Moffat is still on track with the "Impossible Girl" as we meet ANOTHER Clara. The Doctor is just as mystified as we are. I personally enjoyed this episode, but not everyone seems to think so. Looking back, that line "I don't know where I am!" ties in incredibly well with "The Name of the Doctor" later on.

I walked away from the last great Time War. I marked the passing of the Time Lords. I saw the birth of the universe and watched as time ran out, moment by moment, until nothing remained. No time, no space. Just me! I walked in universes where the laws of physics were devised by the mind of a madman! And I watched universes freeze and creation burn! I have seen things you wouldn't believe! I have lost things you will never understand! And I know things, secrets that must never be told, knowledge that must never be spoken! Knowledge that will make parasite gods blaze!  
- "The Rings of Akhaten"

One of "The Rings of Akhaten"'s glorious moments.
"The Rings of Akhaten". What can I say? I have heard one review describe this episode as a "yawnfest", but I heartily disagree. I think it is one of the best episodes of this entire season.

Lots of filler episodes. "Cold War" ... "Hide" ... "Journey to the Center of the Tardis" ... "The Crimson Horror" ... "Nightmare in Silver".  I think that "The Crimson Horror" and "Nightmare in Silver" are quite good, and "Hide" isn't bad, but for the most part, these five episodes don't add much to the season. "Cold War" is probably my least favourite episode of the whole Doctor Who reboot.

The Doctor has a secret he will take to the grave. It has been discovered. 
- "The Name of the Doctor"

"The Name of the Doctor" is undeniably the best episode of this season (excluding the Fiftieth Anniversary). I think it is a perfect resolution to the "Impossible Girl" as well as to the "Question that Must Never Be Answered" theme that began last season. It brings in elements from "The Snowmen" (including the Paternoster Gang) and is SO. DARN. QUOTABLE.

I've had many faces, many lives. But I don't admit to all of them. There's one life I've tried very hard to forget. 
- "The Day of the Doctor"

Great men are forged in fire. It is the privilege of lesser men to light the flame. 
- "The Day of the Doctor"

Ten, the War Doctor, Clara, Eleven
The Fiftieth Anniversary, "The Day of the Doctor", was everything that it should be - from the incorporation of previous characters and symbols to an exciting adventure with THREE Doctors to the resolution of the tragedy of Gallifrey to a nod to the fans from Moffat with a young scientist-fan of the Doctor. Very quotable, very funny, very emotional, and very epic. I found the first half with the Zygons pointless on my first viewing, but I realized how it really glued the events of the episode together on my second viewing. And man, it was good to see David Tennant (the Tenth Doctor) again!!

I have a new destination. My journey is the same as yours, the same as anyone's. It's taken me so many years, so many lifetimes, but at last I know where I'm going. Where I've always been going. Home. The long way around. 
- "The Day of the Doctor"

.....And then it all goes down with "The Time of the Doctor". I was very unimpressed with this episode. Not only did most of the plot seem to undo the magical cohesiveness of "The Day of the Doctor", but there was a whole mess of previous villains thrown in this episode that didn't even have a purpose in the episode (such as the Weeping Angels). Also, a good portion of this episode was inappropriate and anti-Catholic (I only watched a small portion of the beginning and was informed about the rest by my dad because I just couldn't take any more of it). It all begins when we see the parts of the Doctor not hidden behind the Tardis console...naked. He claims that it is because he is "going to church". The "Papal Mainframe" is a huge jab against the Catholic church - with a "nun" who "appreciates the Doctor's nudity", old villains being turned into "priests", and a fully-decorated room with a bed that looks exactly like an altar.

Goodbye to Eleven
However, the ending of the episode is good. If you're looking for a part when to start watching, scroll in until you see Clara with an old Doctor (who has been in the town of Christmas for 2000 years). While the gift to the Doctor of another set of regenerations leads to an epic victory against Daleks, I do find it a little tacky to make sure that the show can continue on for another good long portion of time. I'd rather that the show ended well than went on and got worse... and, honestly, I wouldn't put it past Moffat to ruin Doctor Who after this episode.

HOWEVER, the death of 11 and regeneration into 12 is brilliantly done - with Murray Gold's incredible music tying this episode with "The Rings of Akhaten" and an appearance of a companion very dear to Eleven's heart. But really, these ending scenes in which the Doctor first has a sad scene, then regenerates into his new form, and then the episode ends with a funny moment are love/hate relationships for me because I always feel bad for laughing right after a beloved Doctor has left us.

And what do YOU think about Capaldi?

We all change when you think about it. We're all different all through our lives. And that's okay, that's good. You've got to keeping moving. As long as you remember all the people that you used to be. I will not forget one line of this, not one day. I swear. I will always remember when the Doctor was me. 
- "The Time of the Doctor"


At times, I didn't think this season was going to be very good, but it redeemed itself in the end. I'm looking forward to the Peter Capaldi era, albeit a little cautiously after "The Time of the Doctor".

My Top Five Episodes
#1. "The Day of the Doctor"
#2. "The Name of the Doctor"
#3. "The Rings of Akhaten"
#4. "The Angels Take Manhatten"
#5. "The Snowmen"

Alyianna's Rating: 9.5 out of 10

More Pictures!!

"The Bells of St. John"

"A Town Called Mercy"

"The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe"

"The Name of the Doctor"

"Nightmare in Silver"

"The Snowmen"

"The Day of the Doctor"


James The Movie Reviewer said...

I did not know you watched Doctor Who! It is my favorite TV series actually. :)I do agree though that this season was great, but not the most consistent in terms of quality. However, I absolutely loved The Day of the Doctor! Great review, I enjoyed it. :)


Alyianna Baggins said...

Thank you, James. Actually, I have posted several Doctor Who reviews on here already! If you go to the labels on the side, you should be able to see the other ones - that is, if you're interested. :)

- Anna

James The Movie Reviewer said...

I guess I missed those posts. :/ I will have to check them out! :)


Alyianna Baggins said...

That sounds like a good idea to me! :)

Anonymous said...

I'm glad that I found this. I just saw The Time of the Doctor for the first time and I wanted to see another Catholic's thoughts on it. I can't agree more; the Church of the Papal Mainframe is a complete insult to Catholicism. I hate that they had to shove this anti-Catholic rubbish into the most important episode of the season.
But, overall, I thought the season was decent. The Day of the Doctor, The Rings of Arkhaten, Journey to the Center of the TARDIS, and The Power of Three are my favorites. Nightmare in Silver would have been a great two-parter, but they crammed it into a rushed standalone episode. I enjoyed Matt Smith's split-personality scenes though.

Alyianna Baggins said...

I'm happy to find another Catholic who agrees with me about the "The Time of the Doctor". I will be doing more reviews on Doctor Who when Series 8 starts in late August. :)

Yes, I really liked Season 7. I'm not sure where it goes in my list of favourite seasons, but I quite liked it, especially on my second watch.

Anonymous said...

I too wrote a review of the series (sans season 8, for more reasons than the obvious one), which you can find in the link to my blog.

Alyianna Baggins said...

Fantastic! I will check out your review right now. :D

- Anna B.