I wasn’t all that excited about the entrance of Matt Smith as The Doctor in series five. I felt like I’d tried really hard to like him and Amy but something just wasn’t true. I can’t put my finger on what it was and if I had to say definitively what it was I’d have to say it was because he was new. When the Christmas special aired, I was excited to see it. I really thought it was well done. It made me misty-eyed and it was a classic tale of A Christmas Carol done up Time Lord style.
Enter series six. Given that I had a mediocre view of Smith’s run as a Doctor so far I’m not sure why I was super pumped-up about it’s return. My excitement was rewarded with a series premiere that I loved so much that I gave it an enthusiastic 5 out of 5 stars! It felt like we were getting something special this season. Doctor Who started off shooting in the U.S. and viewers got to see parts of the country that many of us have never been to. It gave the show a grand and expensive feeling. The visuals weren’t the only thing that was grand about this season, the story rivaled some of the heavy story weaving of Babylon 5!
This season addresses who River Song is.
We start off with the Doctor getting shot by a person rising out of a lake in a space suit. Not only is the Doctor shot but he is killed in the middle of his regeneration cycle so it means that he is dead for real. The Doctor pops up again in a diner and the others keep from him that they saw him die. After that we are taken to Richard Nixon’s white house back in 1969. President Nixon is getting strange phone calls from a child. The Silence is also running around being creepy but got their arses handed to them by humankind. Since we can’t see The Silence, I wonder if there are a bunch of rotting corpses laying around that we want to clean up but don’t because we forget to clean them up after we turn away. While dealing with The Silence we run into the little girl that was making the phone call to President Nixon. She is bizarre, trapped in the same space suit that the person who killed the Doctor was wearing and was possibly in distress but it doesn’t matter because she gets shot by Amy. (Way to show that American spirit Amy!) Creepy Astronaut Girl somehow escapes the suit and regenerates in a back alley. Yeah. WTF right?!
Amy and Mark Sheppard launch an investigation that leads them to an orphanage. While trying to avoid The Silence, Amy sees herself in a picture with the little Creepy Astronaut Girl. It seems as if a lady with an eye-patch keeps sliding open a door too look at Amy but no one sees it but her.
Then there was the pirate episode…
Neil Gaiman got to write a story for Doctor Who and it had to be one of the best episodes that I’d ever seen. We actually got to meet the TARDIS in human form. The Doctor got to talk with her and hang out all while trying to battle an invisible sentient yet crazy asteroid… or something. Not only was the story top notch but the scenery was absolutely gorgeous. While a TARDIS graveyard/ junkyard shouldn’t be a beautiful sight, it was. We also get to see the TARDIS say hello to the Doctor for the first time. It is a simple enough idea but imagine if you could personify the Enterprise, Serenity, the Millenium Falcon, a Klingon Bird of Prey or the Death Star. We also find out that the name of the TARDIS is Sexy.
The ganger episodes initially seemed like throwaway episodes until it was revealed in the second part that Amy was a ganger and had been since the trip to the U.S. The less jaded fans like myself oooooh-ed and awwww-ed wondering about the implications and what it meant in the grand scheme of the story. I re-watched the entire series six after that episode. I found Amy saying things that were weird and wearing the same lumberjack flannel shirt since she was replaced.
In ‘A Good Man Goes to War’, most of the answers were jam packed into an hour of non-stop action. Rory grew bigger balls and confronted the Cybermen in a Roman Centurion costume. It sounds ridiculous on paper but was stunning to watch. The Doctor blew up some Cyberman ships for the hell of it. Rory went to get River Song but she was being weird and declined. Amy gave birth to a baby girl who was snatched from her bosom by Eye-patch Lady. Eye-patch Lady was planning a grand scheme to lure the Doctor to the location to… I dunno, yell at him for being a weapon. There were fat skinny gay married Anglican soldiers. There were headless monks. There were Silurians. There was a Sontoran nurse who could produce magnificent amounts of lactic fluid. There was big blue guy. Each of the characters had a story and each of them participated in a way to reach the ultimate reveal of the episode which is that River Song is Amy and Rory’s child. Geekgasms all around. There were some fans who like to ruin Christmas and kick puppies so of course they hated the ending. I LOVED it. I also love the way series six has been serialized. I feel much more engaged and loyal to the Doctor’s story. One-off bottle episodes are fine but the story telling in series six feel much more thought out. It feels like the people involved with the story respect the viewers. It in turn makes me respect the show and look forward to faithfully returning when the second part of series six airs.
Doctor Who airs Saturdays at 9/8 C on BBC America.
Watch the #doctorwho trailer for Part II of Season 6, returning late summer 2011! http://t.co/zsctodw.