Doctor Who Season Six Premiere Review: A Monster-of-the-Week, Hide-in-a-Tunnel Adventure

by David Chute
April 27, 2011 10:06 AM
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Thompson on Hollywood

Decades-long Doctor Who fan David Chute eagerly anticipated the Season Six premiere starring Matt Smith and Alex Kingston (trailer below), and made me and a pal watch it with him. I applaud his review, excerpted:
Vastly shinier production values aside, this was a Monster of the Week, hide-in-a-tunnel adventure, a 1970s scarf and curls throwback. Monument Valley was little more than a handsome backdrop; no organic connection that I could see with the events that unfolded there. The aliens' trick of making you forget them the second you looked away mimicked without improving upon the Weeping Angels of the great Blink episode, which moved when you looked away. (Moffatt recycling Moffatt.)

These days, when there are so many other things one can find to do with any given 43 minutes of one's time, it seems fair to demand a little more nutritional value.

Justified, for instance, is having an amazing season this year, with plots centering on (but by no means confined to) a meth-dealing Ma Barker-style mountain gangster matriarch with three evil sons. The viewing party's complaint about one episode was that it was almost too complicated, with too many interwoven sub-plots to comfortably keep track of. That's what I think in the business world is called a high class problem.

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  • lisa lee | April 30, 2011 4:11 AMReply

    Boring. I had long awaited this season's premiere. It was messy, disconnected, scattered, etc. Trite repeats of the Doctors death. But the opening of the Doctor peeking out half naked under a billowing skirt? Totally gross. For 5 years there has been sweet romance and /or sexual tension which worked just fine, and was interesting or left open questions and possibilities. The long standing joke about an affair of Queen Bess was funny, as the reference to Marilyn Monroe, and the heartbreaking episode w Madame Pompadour. PLEASE keep it classy!

  • DavidC | April 28, 2011 11:20 AMReply

    Speaking of whom:

  • Mark | April 28, 2011 10:54 AMReply

    It's Doctor Who, not Dr. Who. Moffat is the most talented and creative person in British television. There was more nutritional value in The Impossible Astronaut than the entire filmographies of Michael Bay and JJ Abrams put together. The hilarious reveal of The Doctor in the diner had me in hysterics, as did The Doctor's entrance in the Oval Office. Imaginative, amusing and entertaining, Doctor Who is the best show on television. David Chute is welcome to Justified, but he'd be advised to keep watching this season of Who, Gaiman's episode will no doubt tickle his decades-long fanboy fancy.

  • David Chute | April 28, 2011 4:38 AMReply

    Although I love Steven Moffett's other current BBC show, "Sherlock," featuring the very Who-like Holmes of Benedict Cumberbatch, I would rate higher as British TV writer/producers both Paul Abbott (creator of the original "Shameless" and the great "State of Play") and Russell T. Davies (creator of the original "Queer as Folk" and the great "Bob and Rose"). So I think you can see where this is going. Davies was the showrunner who revived and revitalized "Doctor Who" after a 16-year hiatus, and I experienced the romance and melodrama of the seasons Davies produced, especially the four with David Tennant as the Doctor, as an upgrade -- acknowledging that a couple of the best episodes, including "Blink," were written by Moffett. Others seem to have found these elements of Davies' approach irksome or even oppressive. They have welcomed Moffett's decison to sideline those concerns in favor of suspense and scares and time travel trickery and high-energy Boy's Own Paper adventure. Don't misunderstand: I'm still enjoying the show. The best Moffett episodes last season were great fun. This one just didn't work for me.

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