New season, new Doctor, new show runner, new companions… lots of change this year. How’d it turn out? (as with the reviews of previous years, I’m going to try to keep this spoiler free)
First, a bit of history… 2009 saw the end of David Tennant’s incredibly popular run as the Doctor with a series of specials rather than a true season. Russell T Davies, the man who brought the show back in 2005, left with Tennant, turning the show over to new show runner Steven Moffatt for the last scene of “The End of Time, Part 2” – which was also the first scene with new Doctor Matt Smith.
I’m a big fan of David Tennant’s Doctor. I consider him, in fact, to be the best Doctor ever. I didn’t think it was possible for anyone to unseat Tom Baker, but Tennant just edged him out, I think. Tennant dug into that role with everything he had and owned it. When he took over from the Christopher Eccleston incarnation, I was initially skeptical (Eccleston did a stupendous job, after all), but Tennant won me over very quickly, and never let me down. His performance was infectious, even when the writing wasn’t.
Now that Matt Smith has taken over for Tennant and he has a full season under his belt, I can say that I like Smith quite a bit, but he took longer to grow on me, and I’m not as strongly engaged with his performance as I was with Tennant’s (or possibly with Eccleston’s for that matter, but that’ll take more thought). Smith, however, has the advantage of much tighter writing under Moffatt than Eccleston and Tennant had under Davies. Davies had great vision for the show and awesome ideas, but his writing wasn’t always as good as it should have been in the details. Davies concentrated heavily on emotions and his scripts frequently rode on strong waves of feelings. To his credit, he made that work to great effect. However Moffatts’ scripts, while certainly not devoid of emotions by any stretch, are more consistent and attentive to plot.
One thing that Moffatt has done that I really appreciate is to lose the Doctor-Companion unrequited love story as a constant element. I even like how he did that. It looked like he might be toying with keeping it for a while, but by the finale there is no doubt that he had planned the whole season to address it specifically as something he was getting rid of. Moving forward now with the companion team in place just fills me with excitement for next year.Â They’ve earned their places andÂ I think this could be the strongest set of companions we’ve had in a very long time.
Oddly, though, the one “companion” I thought I would be the most excited about is the one I now hope won’t get a regular spot on the crew. River Song is an interesting character, but I’m afraid she may end up being too complex. If she remains a recurring, but not regular character it could be okay. Not sure if I could take her full time, though.
The season long arc of the crack in time was well played straight through to the finale. All the pieces were laid out from the beginning and played out in the end consistently. This is possibly the best finale of the new era. It wasn’t quite the soul-wrenching melodrama of previous finales, but it was just as big – bigger, really, in that the whole of existence was at stake – and left me with excitement for next year in a way that previous years didn’t manage. It felt solid and focused on growth and progression, rather than chaotic and focused on loss.
- The Eleventh Hour (more for setup of the series arc than anything)
- The weeping angels 2-parter
- Amy’s Choice
- The Silurian 2-parter
- The finale 2-parter
My favorite line of the finale: “Fezzes are cool…” (though I don’t think we’ll be seeing quite the same resurgence in Fez sales that has been seen in bow tie sales this year).
So what do you think? Did Matt Smith bring the goods? Best season ever? Barely hanging on? How do you feel about Amy and Rory? I’d love to hear your thoughts.