/ TV

Silence of the Astronauts

What better time to talk about Doctor Who’s sixth season than when we’re getting remarkably close to its seventh? I know, right? I’m the man on the scene. But I can’t let it slide. I somehow managed to write nothing about Doctor Who in 2011, and that just seems wrong.

Perhaps I was off my game from the beginning. When I watched the season six premiere episode, ‘The Impossible Astronaut’, I had just flown for 20 hours from Rome to Singapore to Melbourne. I was jet-lagged, I was tired, probably quite smelly, and forthree weeks I had the irritating knowledge that I was missing episodes of Doctor Who. This gets to you,[1] so I needed to watch them as soon as we arrived. So I did, and I was confused.

At the time, I put it down to the jet-lag, but as it’s turned out, I don’t think that was the whole problem. After the neat, clever, awesome season five,[2] I was kind of assuming I’d see something similar this year. Watching 'Astronaut’ made it clear pretty quickly that this year wouldn’t be like that… for better or for worse.

There’s some awesome, crazy, all-over-the-place stuff in this story. But frustratingly, there was so much other awesome stuff that was somehow completely missing. Every time some fascinating plot element was introduced and then suddenly skipped, it made me grumpy. The Doctor’s been locked up by the US Government! But yeah, it’s all done now and he’s been rescued. The others are on the run from the SilenceNO WAIT that bit’s over.

I feel kind of silly complaining. I’ve always loved stories, music and anything else that tries to throw everything but the kitchen sink into one package. And yet this story just made me feel like none of it was getting the attention it deserved. A series of cool moments wrapped together so tightly that other perfectly cool moments were obscured.

It looked fantastic though. And I kind of liked the conclusion, even if it was kind of disturbingly aggressive. Love the Silence in this story, too. Menacing, well-designed, and not yet pointlessly[3] recast as a religion instead of an awesome race of monsters.

More to come. Less whingy, even. Maybe. Probably shorter.


  1. It does not, in fact, get to you, but it seemed funnier to claim that it did. ↩︎

  2. Silurians aside. Two episodes of Chibnail in season seven I hear. Well, I’m sure they’ll be marvellous. ↩︎

  3. I’m aware that there may later turn out to be a point and I will look like a fool. ↩︎