I’ve fallen well behind in reviewing this series of Doctor Who. My plan now is that, rather than rush to catch up on Cold War, Hide, Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS, The Crimson Horror, Nightmare in Silver and The Name of the Doctor, I’ll let them digest for a month or two, then watch them all again and write my reviews then.
But I did just want to get my thoughts down on the climactic moment of The Name of the Doctor before I read anyone else’s. So read on if you’ve seen the episode; and if not, then be aware that SPOILERS FOLLOW!
Here’s the real reason that Doctor Who is, by a huge margin, the best thing on television. Even a rather forgettable episode like The Rings of Akhaten can provoke such different reviews as (in chronological order) Millennium’s, Andrew Whickey’s, mine and Andrew Rilstone’s.
There’s lots to like in The Rings of Ahkaten, starting with the decidedly Star Wars cantina-ish marketplace full of outlandish aliens all getting along perfectly well together. It feels sort of like a place, rather than a set. (my wife and I both spotted the cantina homage immediately, and it’s since been confirmed.)
But on the other hand …
And so we’re under way with the second half of Series 7 — which really feels like Series 8, as it’s separated by the best part of a year from the first half, and has a new companion replacing the much-loved Amy and Rory. (In fact, we were under way a bit more than two weeks ago, but I’ve been insanely busy and not in a position to blog about the series until now.)
The first of the new episodes of Doctor Who is on tomorrow night. (In some quarters, these eight episodes are being called Series 8, but the BBC seems to consider them to constitute the second half of Series 7.) In preparation for this, I re-watched the 2012 Christmas species, The Snowmen, with the family. How did it hold up?
My wife points out that, just as the abstract noun corresponding to the adjective “strong” is “strength” and the abstract noun corresponding to”long” is “length”, so the abstract noun corresponding to “wrong” should be “wrength”.
So instead of referring to “the profound wrongness of the Daleks’ being on the side of the allies in WWII” in my Victory of the Daleks review, I should have said the wrength of the Daleks’ being on our side.
She also points out that the heroine of The Hunger Games should have been Katth Everdeen.
This year’s Doctor Who series was very short: just five episodes (of the usual 45 minutes each, which is about equivalent to one hour of advert-infested American TV). I’ve been too busy to write about each episode separately this year, but as the last episode has just finished, now is a good time to look back over all of them.
It’s taken five months, but tonight we finally all sat down and watched Doctor Who‘s 2012 Christmas special again. So I can finally expand on my extremely brief initial remarks.
Unfortunately, this is going to be a very tedious excuse for a review, because once again, I’m going to be overwhelmingly positive. I was very disappointed by the final episode of Series 6, and remarked that “Next up will be the Christmas special — a presumably stand-alone story in which I hope we will see that Moffat has not misplaced his mojo”. And indeed we did.
Utterly, utterly brilliant. I laughed, I cried. Simultaneously, at times.
How rare is it that a long-awaited Christmas special lives up, or even exceeds, expectation? Rare. But tonight: yes. Moffat pulled it off last year, and now he’s done it again.
That’s all, for now. Just needed to get that out of my system.
A wise man wrote:
[The bombast in the novels of Sir Walter Scott] will always be stirring to anyone who approaches it, as he should approach all literature, as a little child. We could easily excuse the contemporary critic for not admiring melodramas and adventure stories, and Punch and Judy, if he would admit that it was a slight deficiency in his artistic sensibilities. Beyond all question, it marks a lack of literary instinct to be unable to simplify one’s mind at the first signal of the advance of romance. “You do me wrong”, said Brian de Bois-Guilbert to Rebecca. “Many a law, many a commandment have I broken, but my word, never”. “Die”, cries Balfour of Burley to the villain in Old Mortality. “Die, hoping nothing, believing nothing–” “And fearing nothing”, replies the other. This is the old and honourable fine art of bragging, as it was practised by the great worthies of antiquity. The man who cannot appreciate it goes along with the man who cannot appreciate beef or claret or a game with children or a brass band. They are afraid of making fools of themselves, and are unaware that that transformation has already been triumphantly effected.
– G. K. Chesterton, Twelve Types: The Position of Sir Walter Scott
I am confident that Chesterton, if he lived today, would be a big fan of both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Doctor Who. And he would be right to be.