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The Story So Far - The Titfield Thunderbolt — LiveJournal
Heisenberg might have stayed here
The Story So Far
altariel observed that I hadn't been posting on this season's Doctor Who. So here are my THORTS.

I'm enjoying the season, but not finding it spectacular. There's no doubt that Steven Moffat has brought a continuously higher baseline to the season, but as a consequence there haven't been any really outstanding stories, and I've felt a bit "meh" at some points where I would (perhaps unreasonably) have hoped for something a bit better.

I certainly had doubts about Matt Smith, but I find I'm enjoying his Doctor very much now. He is rather Troughton-esque. Maybe it's the bow tie; maybe it's the "When I say run, run!" moments, although I don't think that phrase has been used verbatim yet.

I'm ambivalent about Amy; her dress code makes me think of Leela somewhat, but without the charm. I found her part at the end of Flesh and Stone very unsatisfying, and I have filed it under "ironic ways to show RTD that many things he did with the show were awful". But we can move on, and now that Rory is tagging along, though, they do remind me somewhat of Ben and Polly: uneasy together with the Doctor, but perhaps also somewhat uneasy between themselves.

Indeed, a major theme that emerges for me in this season is that it feels like there are a lot of re-treads, with Moffat essentially re-hashing stories laid in earlier seasons. The Eleventh Hour shares its theme rather blatantly with Smith and Jones; The Beast Below invites comparison with the New Earth stories; Victory of the Daleks revisits World War II; and so on. But there's also some nods to classic Who as well: solar flares, for example, were cited several times in the classic series as spaceships were sent out from Earth. This week's The Hungry Earth felt very similar to one of Chris Chibnall's Torchwood episodes, with its claustrophobically small cast; but also felt very similar to The Silurians and Inferno for obvious reasons.

I suppose that giving the Daleks to the Third Reich would have been the obvious thing to do, so Mark Gatiss deserves credit for turning that idea on its head; I suppose it was a more classic Dalek story, with an utterly implausible trap being set for the Doctor to fall into (so much for removing emotions; they always seem utterly intent on vengeance). The return of the Angels was a bit disappointing - again I found this reminiscent initially of The Impossible Planet and later of Nightmare of Eden - though it did enigmatically add to the story of River Song, and, indeed, provided one of my favourite moments of the season so far: "it's Old High Gallifreyan". My other favourite moment - the library card with a photograph of William Hartnell, of course (it doesn't matter that I doubt anyone have photo library cards in the 1960s).

It's clear there is a story arc, though as yet it's rather unclear to me what it might be. Clues: the crack in time, "Time can be rewritten", "the last of my race". I have the feeling River Song will be back before the season is out - I suppose the finale would be a distinct possibility as she's obviously intended to be a significant character.


2 comments or Leave a comment
richie73 From: richie73 Date: May 26th, 2010 08:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Based on what Prisoner Zero said, my best guess concerning the nature of the overall story arc is that the Lord President's plan in The End of Time had been at least partially set in motion, causing an ongoing destruction of time and space itself.
altariel From: altariel Date: May 28th, 2010 03:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
I really like that insight about Amy and Rory being like Polly and Ben. Particularly as there's clearly one with more investment in the romance than the other.

it feels like there are a lot of re-treads, with Moffat essentially re-hashing stories laid in earlier seasons

I guess it's a difficult one for a new showrunner to judge: how far to move a show away from what's been a winning formula, whilst at the same time taking it in a new and distinctive direction.
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