June 05, 2011

Darkly sexy adventures in time and space



On Saturday we reached the midway point in the current series of Doctor Who with the revelatory A Good Man Goes To War. A series first in the form of a mid-season finale. So what have you made of it so far?

This series was launched with a fanfare reserved for a Hollywood blockbuster! One of the leads was going to die in the opening episode and much was made of BBC America ramping up the series' success across the Atlantic.

Unsurprisingly, but no less audacious, it would be the Doctor, himself, who would die. The funeral pyre poignantly evoked Darth Vader's at the end of Return of the Jedi and the Star Wars homages didn't end there. How will programme showrunner Steven Moffat explain this timey-wimey twist without being trite?

Moffat and his creative team have consolidated series 5's Grimm fairytale aesthetic and cemented a preference for episodic storytelling that some viewers may take issue with. Personally, I'd be delighted if Moffat's masterplan is predicated on a single story arc, which he began during Russell T Davies era with Silence in the Library.

Unlike previous series, which were punctuated by sparse brilliance, the current series is much more consistent despite a spectacular misstep, following the opening two-parter, with the prophetically entitled The Curse of the Black Spot. It didn't plummet to the depths of the risible Fear Her from series 2, but series 5 raised the bar.

Amy Pond's pregnancy, masked by a Flesh avatar (spectacularly revealed @PureHokum's directorial debut The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People), and River Song's secret was deftly handled, and I haven't even touched on Neil Gaiman's majestic The Doctor's Wife. The TARDIS given corporeal form replete with some of the most moving scenes in the long-running series' history and there were TARDIS corridors for the win. Yes, I cried during the 'goodbye'...

If we're to assume, the risky notion, that Matt Smith's tenure will last for at least three series, then this is the second act where it all goes to hell.

I, for one, am gleefully following Matt's rise as the Doctor and, if River Song is to be believed, fall. The Autumn can't come soon enough and with it cold, long, nights...

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