Doctor Who Mini-Reviews: Series 5

Doctor Who Season 5 logoEdmund and I have been re-watching the Doctor Who reboot from the beginning, and I’m writing mini-reviews; I post them one season at a time. The info is cribbed from Wikipedia, and I added my scores and comments.

The scores go thus:

  1. This is embarrassing.  Go away.
  2. Weak.  I’m not going to try convincing my friends to watch the show based on this.
  3. Average for a Doctor Who episode.
  4. That was a good one!
  5. One of the best ever.

This one is for “Series 5″ of the recent collection, released in 2010 and starring Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor, Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, and Arthur Darvill as Rory Williams under the direction of Steven Moffat.

While Russell T. Davies’ speciality was having other characters tell us how wonderful the Doctor is, Moffat’s is the death speech. There are many more final sacrifices than characters… The series begins well but flags mid-season with a number of good ideas poorly executed, before Moffat brings it home with a strong finish.

No Title Score Comments Code Episodes Writer Director Original airdate
203 The Eleventh Hour 3 A little too long, and Matt Smith is clearly feeling his way around the role, but at least the characters of Amy and Rory sink their roots. Prisoner Zero is just not that scary, though. Also, we finally reach the point where I can’t stand the new version of the musical theme, and it will keep on getting worse. 1.1 1 episode (65 mins) Steven Moffat Adam Smith 3 April 2010
204 The Beast Below 3.5 Ah, “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” and false dichotomies. It would have been a pretty good episode if a few minutes had been cut; all the epiloguing was longish. Yes, we did get the analogy Amy was quite clearly making between the Star Whale and the Doctor, no need to explain it further. 1.2 1 episode Steven Moffat Andrew Gunn 10 April 2010
205 Victory of the Daleks 2 Oof. That was badly written, and I was underwhelm with both Matt Smith and Ian McNeice’s acting as the Doctor and Sir Winston Churchill respectively. Karen Gillan did a good job as Amy Pond, salvaging what she could of a crappy, crappy plot. Only the quality of the special effects set it apart from some of the worst Star Trek episodes from my youth. 1.3 1 episode Mark Gatiss Andrew Gunn 17 April 2010
206 The Time of Angels
Flesh and Stone
3/3 Nice sets, plus I like the military clerics and I’m almost always happy to see River Song. But by over-explaining and over-exposing, this two-parter kills everything that made the Weeping Angels terrifying in “Blink.” The whole “Amy must walk around with her eyes closed” thing was too long. 1.4
2 episodes Steven Moffat Adam Smith 24 April 2010
1 May 2010
207 The Vampires of Venice 3 I’m glad to see Rory join as regular cast and I love Lucian Msamati, although he has a very limited part as Guido. Once again, the episode was too long; the always seem to stretch the suspenseful part until I get right into “Bored, now.” 1.6 1 episode (50 mins) Toby Whithouse Jonny Campbell 8 May 2010
208 Amy’s Choice 2.5 I started by liking the idea of how the two realities paralleled each other (e.g., the theme of cold) but it devolved into a fairly dull flip-flop with a predictable ending. 1.7 1 episode Simon Nye Catherine Morshead 15 May 2010
209 The Hungry Earth
Cold Blood
3/3 I kind of like the Silurians. I also really enjoyed Dr. Nasreen Chaudhri. However, killing off Rory at this point felt sloppy, and bringing him back later in “The Pandorica Opens” would feel even sloppier, like Moffat couldn’t make up his mind about where the plot was going. 1.8
2 episodes Chris Chibnall Ashley Way 22 May 2010
29 May 2010
210 Vincent and the Doctor 3.5 I’m a sucker for art. The story is minimal, but it will actually be tied into the metaplot, I like that. Tony Curran was good as Vincent van Gogh. 1.10 1 episode Richard Curtis Jonny Campbell 5 June 2010
211 The Lodger 4 Not a terribly complex plot, but a nice story pretty well told. I liked Craig and Sophie a good bit, even through the predictable denouement. 1.11 1 episode Gareth Roberts Catherine Morshead 12 June 2010
212 The Pandorica Opens
The Big Bang
4/3.5 “The Pandorica Opens” gets a 5 for the pre-credit sequence, a 4 for the basic idea, a 2.5 for the nonsensical plot details, and another 4 for River Song, averaging to 4. “The Big Bang” gets a 4 for the first half in the museum, and a 3 for the interminable epilogue, death speech, and artificial happy ending, averaging to 3.5 1.12
2 episodes
(50 and 55 mins)
Steven Moffat Toby Haynes 19 June 2010
26 June 2010
213 A Christmas Carol 4.5 This Christmas special was the best to date by a long shot. Good rhythm, good use of time travel to create a non-linear plot, good visuals, Katherine Jenkins’ beautiful voice, and Michael Gambon as the Scrooge-like character. It didn’t even waste any time in repetitions. Sadly, though, no monuments were destroyed in London. Christmas special (60 mins) Steven Moffat Toby Haynes 25 December 2010

Advent Day 13: Justice

Martin Luther King Jr.

Today’s topic is “Justice.”

When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds of despair, and when our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, let us remember that there is a creative force in this universe working to pull down the gigantic mountains of evil, a power that is able to make a way out of no way and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows. Let us realize that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.
—Martin Luther King Jr., “Where do we go from here?”, 16 August 1967.