The new series of Doctor Who has begun on the BBC. I love a good bit of it, so I felt this year the blog could let me share my thoughts about each week’s episode in the new running feature, Doctor Who Review. This week I’ll look at the opening two-parter, The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon. This is the first year that a series started on a double, and so it was a gamble to whether it would draw people into the show if there was a proper conclusion in the first week. Luckily it’s done better than ever, with each week providing a great cliffhanger (but more on that later).
The story opens with the Doctor summoning his companions in a funny little scene, but one thing did occur to me. If you hadn’t seen the show before this doesn’t really explain who any of them are. It wasn’t a problem for me, or for probably anyone who’s reading this, but there was a lot of action going on, but not much explanation, so for existing fans it was a fantastic opening, but I don’t think it’d win any new fans. But except for this little problem the set up for the story is brilliant. The Doctor explains they have to go to 1969, and then is killed by a spaceman. So immediately you want to know what happens there and after a past version of him turns up, how they will save the one who dies. It’s a very effective hook. And from there the proper story begins.
I’m not going to go into detail about the plot. If you don’t know the story then go and watch it. Don’t come here for it. I’m just going to say the things I liked and I thought worked and the things that didn’t. Number one of course, being the new monsters, The Silence. I love the concept behind them. If you can’t remember them if you aren’t looking at them, they can be right behind you and you would never know. Very creepy. I’m glad they didn’t make them speak too much, because a being called the Silence would be slightly ruined by being chatty. They had a nice look as well, based on the grey aliens everyone thinks of when talking about abductions, a common side-effect being memory loss, clearly an inspiration for this alien.
The story itself seemed a bit rushed. One minute they’re at the White House, then the warehouse, then Area 51, then NASA, then an orphanage then back to the warehouse and it’s over. And that’s it. But I don’t think it was because it was disjointed it was due to the lack of conclusion. They never find out who the girl is, or why she’s important. They never find out what the Silence’s plan was. They never find out why the Silence have a Tardis. Or how the Doctor survives from the first part. Or how Amy is pregnant/non pregnant. And so on. And I know that there’s a plan and they’ll come back to all these things, but I really didn’t like the Doctor just going off on an adventure instead of trying to find out what was going on. He’s always seemed to be the kind of guy who’d want to get to the bottom of things, and not just leave them until later. Maybe that’s just me but that bugged me. Once thing I did like was the resolution to the story, the TV message with The Silence. It wasn’t a very Doctor Who style thing ordering people’s deaths but it was a lot cleverer than I thought it might be.
It wasn’t a perfect story, but it was still great fun. All the cast gave a good performance and the show looked fantastic with all the filming from the US. And the cliffhanger with the little girl? Got me hooked. Who is she? Amy's daughter? A timelord definately. Or is she? Can't wait. It’s looking like we’ve got a very interesting series on it’s way.