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)


Fer said...

Good point about the Space Whale not barfing them into space, I hadn't thought of that. And I also hadn't realized that he tied it directly in with "Ark in Space." I should have known, of course the Moff knows his Who history!

And I agree, the more I thought about this story the more I felt it could have really benefited from being a two parter.

As to Matt Smith's Doctor not being very developed yet, I felt exactly the same about Tennant in "New Earth."

greatplaidmoose said...

Good point about Tennant not being very established in New Earth yet. And to make matters even more confusing he spends part of that time possessed by Cassandra so he's acting like her instead!