Feb 16, 2012

[TV] The New Doctor Who - Series 6

Having Steven Moffat at the helm of the current Doctor Who franchise has proven to be a rather interesting adventure of its own. I think one of the bigger things he's brought to the show, especially with how the fifth season had developed, is a greater sense of continuity in the episodes and thus a much stronger meta-plot tying all the episodes together. While Russell T. Davis had his fair share of larger story arcs, he tended to rely more on very, very subtle clues that felt closer to Easter Eggs quite frankly. Moffat tends to be a bit flashier and instead buries additional levels of meaning beneath what is just on the surface.

I enjoyed his approach to the franchise last time around and when this season started to film, I have to admit that I was pretty excited. Now that Moffat had been able to lay out his groundwork so to speak, things could only get better, right? Well, I suppose that's something each viewer has to fully appreciate for himself / herself in order to get through things.

I have to admit that Moffat definitely likes to have fun, which is something that is very woven into the overall Doctor Who mythos over the years. And while Davies had a tendency to go a bit more over-the-top at times, Moffat has his share of eccentric quirks and deviations that sometimes pushes things.

But that's all part of the fun of Doctor Who, after all. It's still largely a serious show but it certainly has a generous amount of humor thrown in for good measure. And that's not a bad thing.

Doctor Who is a BBC science fiction television series that started all the way back in 1963. The current version Doctor Who continues from a 2005 revival with Steven Moffat now acting as the current head writer and executive producer.

The season started with a surprise reunion of all the Doctor's (current) friends, or perhaps better termed as companions. Amy (Karen Gillian), Rory (Arthur Darvill) and even the enigmatic River Song (Alex Kingston) all received blue envelopes containing invites to a certain event. And this event, as difficult as it is to believe, is the death of the Doctor (Matt Smith) himself. But the letters were part of a series of 4 such messages, with the last one having been given to a different iteration of the Doctor by his future self. And thus the adventures begin.

This season certainly had a lot going for it, chief among them (at least for me) the episode The Doctor's Wife, written by THE Neil Gaiman himself. It was certainly a delightful tale that more or less stands alone and does well to open the Doctor Who universe to both old and new viewers. Another episode that stood out for me was The Girl Who Waited, as written by Tom MacRae. The story is a fairly complex one with Amy being separate from the Doctor and Rory by an unusual differential in time streams thus she continues to age at a faster rate than the rest of them.

River Song (Doctor Who)
Image via Wikipedia
This season also marks a critical event in Doctor Who history - finally revealing the truth behind River Song. We first met her all the way back in the season 4 episode Silence in the Library. And we've seen her come back and back and back again over the years with very little revealed about who she really is and what role she plays in the Doctor's larger life. And the answer - all I can say that it's more than fulfilling and it certainly explains a lot of what has happened in the show over the years. Excellent, excellent resolution.

If anything, I'm not entirely sure how I felt about The Flesh introduced in The Rebel Flesh / The Almost People, however I do respect their role in the overall plot.

I can understand how viewers may find Moffat's style a bit more heavy-handed in how it directs us to certain lines of through and plot angles. His overall meta-plot is one that really steers a lot of the action from episode to episode and at times it feels like all they do is obsess about the meta-plot, which could be good and bad at the same time. Some may feel it stifles the creativity past seasons have managed by allowing more free-form storytelling. But on the other hand, it's nice to feel like we're constantly moving forward towards a final goal.

This may boil down to a matter of opinion, but from my perspective I'll admit that enjoyed the ride from start to finish. The show really has developed an amazing dynamic between its primary cast and it is a shame that news has broken out that the Ponds will eventually leave the show perhaps in the next season.

Still, Doctor Who: Season 6 is a stellar program and it continues to justify why this show has gone on for as long as it has. Thus it deserves 4.5 creepy doll-faced aliens out of a possible 5.

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