Television Review: Doctor Who Season Seven

Just a forewarning if this is your first time to my blog, but I’m a huge Doctor Who fan and therefore, my review is going to be fairly biased. I’m not overly critical of things that I love for the sake of loving them as they are in context. For example, I quite enjoy Xena: Warrior Princess even though I’m aware of the campy issues and historical inaccuracies. To me Doctor Who will always be fantastic, and I will enjoy every single episode for some reason or another, even if that particular episode isn’t the greatest piece of television history. I have hereby disclaimed my biases and if you want to point them out to me later, such wording will be redundant as to possibly receive a return comment of “Pshaw.” You are hereby notified.

Asylum of the Daleks

A lot happens in the season opening of Doctor Who, in such a grand and epic way that it felt more like watching a television special or movie. Of course it is very special television to me. ::happyface:: The show opens with each of the three main characters discovering the Daleks have made human hybrids whereby a normal looking human suddenly has a Dalek eye stalk thing coming out of his or her forehead. Rory and Amy have just signed divorce papers when this happens to them and they are transported to a spaceship where the Doctor also arrives after having been caught in a trap, on purpose, by a woman who was weeping about her daughter’s disappearance. Below the Dalek spaceship is a floating Dalek Asylum where the worst of the Daleks are kept and the Dalek Prime Minister wants the Doctor to release the force field, but if he does other space travelers will blow it up. Then the Dalek computer system is hacked by Oswin (played by Jenna-Louise Coleman) a scientific and technology genius. She crashed onto the asylum planet a year earlier and has been holed up unable to escape making horrible looking souffles to pass the time, and she asks the Doctor for help. Whereupon many adventures begin and you can read a more detailed review here, but I’m keeping this spoiler free.

I loved the feel of this episode. The Doctor is very clever and witty and I feel I need to go back and rewatch this episode to really catch everything now that I know the ending. Which took me very much by surprise even though in retrospect it should not have. I wasn’t too happy with the Rory and Amy are getting divorced, and lo, the Doctor fixes everything. Because come on, that isn’t even a spoiler, we all knew that would happen the minute the got in the same gravitational pull as the Doctor. Honestly, if I had not watched the minisodes I would have been even more annoyed because it would have come out of no where and gone no where. It seemed an added bit of emotional tugging that was unnecessary. I really enjoyed Jenna-Louise Coleman’s part, she played it all very perfectly. It was a brilliant piece of writing that made everyone love the actor, and with her set as the new companion next year and also set to hate her, this was no small feat. The question of course is whether or not she plays the same character as a companion, and I think there is room for argument on both sides and we’ll just have to wait and see. (I don’t expect comments to be spoiler free, but please indicate if you are going into detail about spoilery events regarding this episode). All in all a very satisfactory and epic beginning to the season.

Dinosaurs on a Spaceship

The show opens with Queen Nefertiti trying to get her mac on with the Doctor and it only gets crazier and funnier as the show progresses. The Doctor recruits a gang on this next mission, because he’s never had a posse before. And they are cool now of course. Other than Queen Nefertiti he also enlists the help of a big-game hunter John Riddell (played by Rupert Graves from Sherlock), Rory and Amy, and incidentally Rory’s father who happens to be in their home when the Doctor swoops in and sweeps them off their feet and the ladder Rory’s dad is standing on to change a light bulb. As both Amy and Rory and holding the ladder there is definitely a joke in there somewhere about how many Ponds does it take to change a light bulb, but I’m just not that clever. Rory’s dad’s, Brian, played by Mark Williams (of Harry Potter fame), was a great character to add to the mix and I really loved his little bits.  The Doctor requires a gang because the ISA (Indian Space Agency) is concerned about an object hurtling towards earth (in our very distant future) and they want to blow it to pieces. Of course the Doctor wants to explore it before and make sure nobody would get hurt if they did send missiles to destroy it, so he takes off with his gang with only six hours to figure out what is what. The gang gets separated because someone else is controlling the ship and teleporting people around.

As mentioned before I’m a huge fan of campy shows and so I quite enjoyed this little romp from The Doctor and his friends. The ticking tock ploy has gotten a little over used on Doctor Who, but unfortunately it is still quite effective and I know it will be used in future episodes, so I try not to get overly annoyed by it as a ploy. I liked all the teleporting around and had things figured out quite before The Doctor did in fact, or maybe at the same time, that dude is quite clever. I’d liked to believe that in the future earthlings are more prone to exploration and excitement for new things than just destroying something because it is new and unreachable via normal communications, but I also believe people are basically evil and selfish and I want to punch people all the time as I try to walk around Chicago and get tussled about by the stupids. So my warring beliefs make accepting that people will still want to blow up anything they doing understand in the future easy enough. You can read a longer (with spoilers) review here.

A Town Called Mercy

It is just Rory and Amy this time who aid the Doctor as he embarks on a new adventure this time in a Stetson in a town that has electricity a decade ahead of its time. A bounty hunter is killing off specific people and his next one called The Doctor. The bounty hunter is stalking a town waiting for the alien doctor to step across the boundary lines so he can kill the doctor. Our Doctor becomes the sheriff in a mean twist of fate and sets about figuring out what really happened, and who was in the right or the wrong and who showed be showed mercy. Much is made about redemption and right past wrongs and the episode is definitely heavier than its predecessor. The Doctor contemplates what it means to be imprisoned by the weight of past souls that he was unable to help or indirectly harmed. Will the Doctor be too empathetic to make a wise decision?

This episode seemed more classic Doctor Who to me than the previous one. The Doctor arrives with his companions  teaches a lesson, learns a lesson, and leaves with everything pretty OK, but not perfect. I was pleased to see Ben Browder on screen again, I’ve seen him pop up in different geeky shows over the last couple of years, and as I sorely wish Farscape was still around I’m happy to see him again. Maybe I need to rewatch that show! Amy and Rory seem to have outgrown the Doctor and I think the writers are doing this on purpose to show that the Ponds leaving the show/Doctor adventures behind is a good thing for them. Plus, new companions can be exciting! I say lets learn from the Doctors inevitable curiosity and just be happy to see great story lines played out in the future. Read a longer and spoilery review here.

This was the episode I decided to do my Doctor Who workout, which seemed like a brilliant plan at the time. I discovered, however, that it was a very uneven evening of exercise with some of the commands committed several times and some none at all. In fact I had to reduce the number on several of the items just to get through the episode. In the end I looked over what I had done and filled in on some of the items I missed out on because I felt it wasn’t the most thorough of movements. But it was a fun idea even if it did make watching the show a tad hard. I think I’d rather saving exercise time for a time I’m not trying to watch Doctor Who.

17 thoughts on “Television Review: Doctor Who Season Seven

  1. A great write-up. To my surprise Dinosaurs on a Spaceship has been the story I’ve enjoyed most so far this season but I’m definitely looking forward to the next two.

    I do agree that it definitely feels like they’re trying to wean us off Rory and Amy this year! 🙂

  2. Just a correction: In Dinosaurs on A Spaceship, the ship was going to be blown up because it was going to crash into the Earth. The Indian Space Agency honchos didn’t want to blow up the spaceship, which is why they were working with the Doctor.
    Other than that, great overviews of an awesome season.

  3. Great review 🙂

    I liked Asylum of the Daleks best and kinda felt things went downhill from there.

    ***Ssshh! Spioilers!! Dalek / Companion Spoiler Alert*** Regarding the Doctor’s new companion, I wondered if maybe – in a future episode – he would try and prevent her being captured by the Daleks in the first place, thereby becoming his companion instead of a Dalek. A friend raised a good point though – maybe his companion is actually an ancestor or descendant of Oswin because apparently her name will be Clara. I will not be amused if Oswin is a completely separate, unrelated character!

    I totally agree about Rory & Amy’s impending divorce… even with the minisodes, it still seemed completely leftfield. You have to remember that Rory waited 2,000 years for her and the crap about Amy not being able to have children – hello, she *did* have Melody at least – was a bit of a cop out. Amy would never have said that. I strongly and sincerely believe that Amy would fight, tooth and nail, to save that marriage. Her “giving Rory up” so he could be free to have children with someone out is… well… bollocks LOL

    I wasn’t overly keen on Dinosaurs at first… although I have conditioned my 6 six year old son to say “Dinosaurs! On a spaceship!” like the Doctor… but I watched it again recently and it wasn’t too bad. Pretty lightweight but a nice stand-alone.

    Mercy was… as someone else said… basically a Star Trek The Next Gen episode in a Doctor Who universe. I saw this as it aired in England (yay!) but I was actually falling asleep during it. Amy and Rory did almost nothing but act as the Doctor’s conscience and I wasn’t very impressed with the episode as a whole. I haven’t had a chance to rewatch it though so maybe it will be better the second time around…

    …of course, the Power Of Three has since aired but I’ll comment on that another time…

    …and we have the big one this weekend… oh please Mr Moffat, don’t let me down…

  4. Nice write-up, do you have anything coming for “Power of Three”?

    I loved “Asylum” up until the last minute or so, and found “Dinosaurs” quite reminiscent of “classic” Who, with a pretty good mix of camp and sci-fi, but really found “Mercy” to be the best episode of the season so far. “Power of Three” continued the winning streak, and now I can’t wait for “Angels Take Manhattan”. Myself, I’ve grown tired of the Ponds (and the heavy foreshadowing of their leaving), but as much as I think the show will benefit from the new blood of a new companion, I don’t know how I’ll last until Christmas!

  5. Reblogged this on theswitz and commented:
    Hey, just read a really good write-up on Season Seven (so far) of Doctor Who. Actually, the entire Absurdly Nerdly blog is really good. Give ‘er a read if you get the chance. Lots of Doctor Who and other assorted thoughts.

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