Over seven days I am watching and reflecting on one Doctor Who story every day.
Asylum of the Daleks ・The Angels Take Manhatten
The Snowmen ・The Name of the Doctor
By Steven Moffat
This seventh season of the revived Doctor Who series departs from the previous two seasons’ idea of an strong underlying storyline, in favour of more stand-alone episodes. Despite this, there is still a building story which culminates in the cliffhanger ending of the last episode of the season: The Name of the Doctor, which will be wrapped up in the 50th anniversary special entitled The Day of the Doctor; which I have yet to see. (I wasn’t able to get tickets to the cinematic simulcast on November 23, instead I was able to get tickets to the wider market release, on November 25th. Between November 23 (today) and November 25, I will turn off all social media and avoid as much references to Doctor Who as I can – I do NOT want to any spoilers.
This season also is somewhat unique in that it is very strongly and clearly divided into two distinct segments, both of which have completely different story lines. The first half wraps up the Amy/Rory story, ending, somewhat tragically, with their departure from the show.
This was a very sad ending to that chapter of Doctor Who for me, since Amy and Rory were two of my favourite characters of all time.
At the start of the season, we were introduced to a new character, the somewhat enigmatic Oswin, a strong character with a feisty personality; who likes soufflés. Given where she’s trapped, she has lots of time to perfect her technique.
Halfway through the season, once the tears from the departure of Amy and Rory, the Doctor travels to Victorian England for the Christmas Special, entitled The Snowmen. This episode features a brand new title sequence and new interior for the TARDIS. This episode features what is, in my opinion, one of the most amazing camera sequences ever – in one long take, the camera encircles the TARDIS from the outside, and then, without a single cut, follows Clara as she walks in through the door of the TARDIS to the main room. This scene is so seamless it really does convey the impression that the TARDIS is bigger on the inside than the outside.
However, special effects wizardry aside, the second half of this season in particular, is, I feel, quite weak. It culminates with a very strong ending in The Name of the Doctor, but this season also features what is, I believe, some of the worst episodes of Doctor Who ever: Dinosaurs on a Spaceship and The Rings of Akhaten. The latter of these two episodes reminds me too much of the weakest points of Classic Doctor Who, only with a larger budget. The former has one thing going for it – you get exactly what you’re told you’re going to get: Dinosaurs. On a spaceship.
I think Season Seven is definitely weaker than Season Six. I’m hoping that the Day of the Doctor make up for the shortcomings I felt over the course of the year; and hey, I get to see The Day of the Doctor on the big screen, and in 3D, which is going to be the first time I’ve experienced Doctor Who on the big screen.
I hope it’s good, and I hope that the BBC can revitalize the series (again) when the Doctor regenerates on Christmas Day.