The Time of Angels

I’m having trouble writing reviews these days. I blame twitter. My brain is obsessed with crafting tiny tiny groups of words, and not large sprawling ramblings on the nature of television.

So, I need a new paradigm, not unlike those fat-arse Daleks from last week, who I will completely and totally write about very soon. And it is this; I’m no longer making any pretense of reviewing Doctor Who. It always feels pat and frankly, I don’t feel I’m exactly an impartial observer. Instead, I’ll just witter about it for any number of words until I feel I’ve wittered enough.

So, now that that’s clear…

Half way through Moffat’s two-part story, I was struck by a revelation. Doctor Who should be made up entirely of part ones. Screw part twos. They’re never as good as the promise an intriguing part one can create. Certainly screw the standalone stories, which while entertaining, never have that lovely feeling of world-building that you get when the story has a little room to breathe.

This is a silly suggestion, and if anyone had listened to it then we wouldn’t have gotten ‘Flesh and Stone’, in which it became apparent that whatever these cracks in time are up to, they’re not your Davies’ teensy little story elements at all. It’s suddenly become clear that Moffat is setting up a long, intriguing game for the season, and that several things that I had assumed would be throwaway ‘arcs’ are in fact going to get developed over the course of the season. THIS IS EXCITING. It’s not just the obvious things, like the crack in time becoming part of the plot. Go back and look at the scene where the Doctor asks Amy to trust him. Ooooh. Interesting, isn’t it?

Actually, even if it wasn’t interesting, it’s also awesome. A Doctor-slut I may be, and these words may be meaningless, but allow me to declare them anyway: Matt Smith is my favourite Doctor. That crazy, crazy face. That severeness next to that kindness. Possibly I’m still a little emotional after finally watching Slumdog Millionaire, but I got a serious lump in my throat somewhere around “If I always told you the truth, I wouldn’t need you to trust me.” This story was filmed before any other part of season five/thirty-one/one, and so I was kind of expecting Matt Smith and Karen Gillan to be a bit more awkward and still finding their feet. This is in no way the case. They’re a joy to watch together.

I’m less excited by River Song. I don’t know why. I’m sure one day I’ll be persuaded to like her a lot. At the moment she’s just a little too smug and a little too affected to pull me in. I’m not sure if it’s the writing or Alex Kingston, or me, for that matter. Still, Moffat clearly has a plan for her, and promises in this week’s Doctor Who Confidential that rather than vague hints, her entire story will be told. Which does make me a little more interested; I had somewhat assumed that this just wasn’t going to happen.

I’m not completely sure why I still watch Doctor Who Confidential. It’s fine sometimes, but other times they’ll go on about a particular special effect for five whole minutes. Sometimes they’ll even do a montage! And I do miss the previous main character. This Moffat feller is funny enough but sometimes I do kind of wish Davies would pop up again and say “Hurrah”.

And now, an aside on shoes…

There were close ups of shoes this week. I’m not normally a big one for shoes, but these ones excited me and I’ll tell you why. Because it’s just cool to build up suspense by showing us Amy walking in the mud. And it’s shots like this that HD actually really benefits (oh yes, I am not only a Doctor slut but also an HD slut, so don’t go believing me here either). It’s more immersive than any special effect. That said; they could have put a bit more effort into finding the sort of obstacle that would trip up the indefatigable Amy Pond. One perfectly straight root? Couldn’t it have been higher on one side than the other? At least she didn’t twist her ankle, I suppose.

In any case, I loved this story. It’s got a few issues, most notably the way the Angels lose a lot of their scary, their fun ‘send people back in time’ mojo, and kind of become irrelevant to the plot. But the characters are great, the jokes are good, and the hints as to the rest of the season are just too exciting for a fanboy such as myself to ignore.

Tom Charman Mastodon