Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Doctor Who - The Beast Below

Another strong episode from The Moff with a rather interesting perspective on how democracy works and how people tend to vote to forget rather than stand up for what is right.

This episode had a lot of trademarked Moff humor and was again really dark and creepy. We also had a really interesting character in Liz Ten although with the shorter story length of post 2005 Who, perhaps a bit underdeveloped.

The story also developed the character of Amy further and continued some mysteries from The Eleventh Hour.

One nice touch of continuity to the Tom Baker era was a reference to the Earth being left uninhabitable in the 29th Century by solar flares which was referring to events first related in "The Ark in Space" and "The Sontaran Experiment".

My only real complaint is that I feel the Smilers and Winders were underused and lacked impact other than just being creepy. They looked like they had the potential to be really memorable villains but instead they were not really very effective other than being scary. If the story had been longer they probably would have had the opportunity to actually do something in the episode.

Oh, and I'm not sure how the Star Whale threw them up without ejecting them into space. But other than those two things, really very solid.

MATT SMITH IS THE DOCTOR! He is very natural in this role and I can see why The Moff chose him despite his reservations about his age. He is brilliant! I think he's similar in some ways to Tennant and has a few similarities to other Doctors as well. He doesn't have as many distinctly obvious characteristics as Tennant or Eccleston did so far but its still early days. I'm sure there will be things other than "Geronimo" which will feel distinctly Smith.

Speaking of which, I heard the "Geronimo" lines have been ad-libbed by Smith since "The End of Time" with him sneaking them in even though Moffat hasn't written them in as his catchphrase.

KAREN GILLAN IS AMY POND! Okay, she doesn't have anyone else to share that honor with except her cousin (and honestly Caitlin Blackwood probably could give her a run for her money given how good she is in The Eleventh Hour) but I really like Amy. I like the air of mystery about her and I like her spunk. Right now as far as post 2005 companions go, I think I like her better than Rose, Mickey, Adam, Martha and Wilf. Captain Jack and Donna still beat her for now but she's got the edge on both of them with the cuteness factor.

Here is the second of my series of lists comparing each Doctor's stories to each other. This one is a list of favorite second adventures for each Doctor from best to last. (The 8th Doctor is done already having only had one televised adventure.)

1. The End of the World by Russell T. Davies
2. Paradise Towers by Stephen Wyatt
3. The Silurians by Malcolm Hulke
4. The Daleks by Terry Nation
5. The Ark in Space by Robert Holmes
6. The Beast Below by Steven Moffat
7. Attack of the Cybermen by Paula Moore (Paula Woolsey and Eric Saward)
8. Four to Doomsday by Terence Dudley
9. New Earth by Russell T. Davies
10. The Highlanders by Elwyn Jones and Gerry Davis

Another interesting note is how The Moff seems to be continuing a pattern set up by RTD of where and when the stories take place. "Rose", "The Christmas Invasion" and "The Eleventh Hour" are all set on present day Earth. "The End of the World", "New Earth" and "The Beast Below" all set far in the future dealing with the relocation of humanity following an apocalyptic event. Its a trend that seems to be continuing this week as well with the Doctor taking his companion to Earth's past to meet an historical figure; "The Unquiet Dead" with Charles Dickens, "Tooth and Claw" with Queen Victoria and "Victory of the Daleks" with Winston Churchill. We'll see how long this pattern continues...(Cue end theme with swirly time vortex visuals)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Doctor Who - The Eleventh Hour

This was a great beginning for The Moff's reign as new showrunner for Series Fnarg. Fast-paced but not so much so that there weren't nice character moments or that they forgot to resolve anything that wasn't intended to be part of the series story-arc. The dialog and characterization were great as always from The Moff.

Matt Smith is going to be a great Doctor. He captured the essence of the character immediately. I love all of the Doctors honestly but it nice to know we're 11 for 11.

Karen Gillan is going to be great. Its always nice to have an attractive companion but its even better to have one who is fun, spunky and an interesting character. I think she's going to be the big mystery as the series continues and we find out more about her character and the mysterious crack. Since I like her she's probably going to go all Dark Phoenix/Lyta Alexander at the end. Its what spunky redheads do.

Loved the TARDIS interior. A bit RTD era mixed with the grandeur and retro Earth tech of the McGann TARDIS. I love that it looks even bigger inside than the last one.

The crack and Prisoner Zero were really creepy which a signature of the Moff, knowing what creeps people out.

Loved the Atraxi ships. I thought they were a brilliant alien design.

I honestly can't think of a bad thing to say about it. I don't think I liked it quite as much as the other 4 Moff stories but they were some of the best Doctor Who stories of all time and its darn difficult to keep topping yourself.

Speaking of which, time for one of my favorite things, a list;

Debut stories of each Doctor in order of how much I enjoyed them:

1. Doctor Who (TV Movie) by Matthew Jacobs
2. Spearhead From Space by Robert Holmes
3. The Power of the Daleks by David Whitaker
4. The Eleventh Hour by Steven Moffat
5. Castrovalva by Christopher H. Bidmead
6. The Christmas Invasion by Russell T. Davies
7. Rose by Russell T. Davies
8. Time and the Rani by Pip Baker and Jane Baker
9. Robot by Terrance Dicks
10. An Unearthly Child by Anthony Coburn
11. The Twin Dilemma by Anthony Steven