Doctor Who 33.03 The Curse of the Black Spot (2011) – 4/10 science fiction adventure TV review

Cast / crew
Matt Smith: The Doctor
Karen Gillan: Amy Pond
Arthur Darvill: Rory Williams
Writer: Steve Thompson
Producer: Marcus Wilson
Director: Jeremy Webb
Hugh Bonneville: Henry Avery
Lily Cole: The Siren

Doctor Who 33.03 Curse of the Black Spot, The (2011)

The Doctor and his crew respond to a distress signal from a pirate ship where a siren has been abducting seamen with even the smallest injury.

4/10

Taking inspiration from the title of the Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and the mermaids of On Stranger Tides, this shows that even the Doctor is not beyond the curse that pirates usually bring to all entertainment they touch, i.e., they destroy them. Despite a quality turn from Hugh Bonneville, this is easily a contender for the worst Doctor Who episode of the modern era thanks to a completely broken plot and too many actors welling up or bursting into tears unjustifiably. As we are not involved emotionally, that’s just comes across as over-acting as does Murray Gold’s music which is completely over-the-top for a disinterested audience.

This Doctor Who episode contains unpleasant scenes.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Links

This blog is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk.

Doctor Who 33.01 The Impossible Astronaut / Day of the Moon (2011) – 8/10 science fiction adventure TV review

Cast / crew
Matt Smith: The Doctor
Karen Gillan: Amy Pond
Arthur Darvill: Rory Williams
Writer: Steven Moffat
Producer: Marcus Wilson
Director: Toby Haynes
Alex Kingston: River Song
Mark Sheppard: Canton Delaware
Marnix Van Den Broeke: The Silent
Stuart Milligan: President Richard Nixon
Sydney Wade: Little Girl
Frances Barber: Eye Patch Lady

Doctor Who 33.01,02 Impossible Astronaut, The / Day of the Moon (2011)

Amy, Rory, River Song, and former FBI agent Canton Delaware are all called to Utah, America by messages contained in dark blue envelopes. When they arrive, it’s not a huge surprise that it is the Doctor that called them but an unexpected astronaut and the belated arrival of another invitee will be.

8/10

While I suppose we should be grateful that this isn’t an end-of-the-world plot for a change, it certainly feels like it’s getting too serious in it’s urge to have high stakes. Nevertheless, it’s a joy to have Matt Smith back as the Doctor (asking President Nixon for a fez!) and we’ve got River Song back making absolutely no sense as usual, Amy Pond and Rory the Roman providing stronger support than ever and yet more impressively designed man-in-a-literal-suit monsters. This is also an uncommonly good-looking episode with an opening sequence utilising some spectacular American scenery, nicely photographed and well used by the director. That said, he does bungle the entrance of the Doctor (he’s lying on an Edsel wearing a Stetson; Stetson’s are cool) by giving it less time in the scene than the travelogue shots of the scenery. The second part is stronger, more intriguing, more fun and more brilliant than the first with the importance of Neil Armstrong’s ankle revealed and a great final visual hook that, along with the plethora of other questions we’d forgotten had been raised over these two weeks, will hopefully be resolved later this year.

This Doctor Who episode contains one scene of strong fantasy violence, gun violence, unpleasant scenes.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Links

Doctor Who – A Christmas Carol (2010) – 6/10 science fiction adventure TV review

Cast / crew
Matt Smith: The Doctor
Karen Gillan: Amy Pond
Arthur Darvill: Rory Williams
Writer: Steven Moffat
Producer: Sanne Wohlenberg
Director: Toby Haynes
Michael Gambon: Kazran / Elliot Sardick
Katherine Jenkins: Abigail

Doctor Who xmas 2010 Christmas Carol, A (2010)

Amy and Rory are on their honeymoon but their spaceship gets into serious trouble and needs to land. However, the controller of the planet below, Kazran Sardick, doesn’t care and won’t let them land just because he can. The Doctor attempts to change his heart before the 4003 people on the spaceship crash to their death.

6/10

Adaptations of Dicken’s A Christmas Carol always have the same gigantic problem: why does Scrooge change? Invariably, it’s just not convincing that he has a change of heart and it always happens too quickly. Christmas Past and Present don’t get it done but Christmas Future does just like that. It a problem that Moffat’s adaptation here suffers from. Michael Gambon’s character is all over the place emotionally, he doesn’t appear to grow or change over the course of the story but simply blub or not depending on whether the writer told him to. Still, there are compensations. Matt Smith’s Doctor is still a hoot, an effervescent whirlwind of hair and fashion advice, the flying fish are cool and the climax works emotionally.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Links

Doctor Who 32.03 Victory of the Daleks (2010, Science Fiction Adventure) – 6/10 TV review

Cast / crew
Matt Smith: The Doctor
Karen Gillan: Amy Pond
Writer: Mark Gatiss
Producer: Peter Bennett
Director: Andrew Gunn
Ian McNeice: Churchill
Creator Daleks: Terry Nation
Executive Producer: Steven Moffat

Doctor Who 32.03 Victory of the Daleks (2010)

A call from Winston Churchill brings the Doctor and Amy to World War II London but he has a shock in store when he unveils his secret weapon: a Dalek.

6/10

It’s fun to see a Dalek wearing a Union Flag and fighting alongside Winston Churchill in World War II and Matt Smith again manages to segue between fun and fury far more neatly than David Tennant ever did (and he wields a mean jammy-dodger) but Mark Gatiss’ script is largely unconvincing. Essentially, the Doctor keeps asking the Daleks what the plot is and they keep telling him. It builds to a typically weighty moral dilemma (save the Earth or save the rest of the Universe) but it has no impact and no emotional resonance.

This Doctor Who episode contains bad language and unpleasant scenes, violence.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Links

Doctor Who 32.04,05 The Time of Angels / Flesh and Stone (2010, Science Fiction Adventure) – 7/10 TV review

Cast / crew
Matt Smith: The Doctor
Karen Gillan: Amy Pond
Writer: Steven Moffat
Producer: Tracie Simpson
Director: Adam Smith
Executive Producer: Steven Moffat

Doctor Who 32.04,05 Time of Angels, The / Flesh and Stone (2010)

The Doctor gets a inter-time call from River Song who is trying to stop a spaceship transporting a Weeping Angel.

7/10

I always like it when a writer includes something that is significant that we, the audience, don’t realise is significant until it’s pointed out to us; at which point we wonder why we didn’t register it ourselves. Steven Moffat delivers that here (SPOILER the alien planet we’re on this week has aliens with two heads) and it one of a number of quality pieces of business through the double episode. There is a great gag regarding the noise the TARDIS makes when it arrives somewhere (SPOILER the Doctor keep leaving the brakes on). The cliffhanger for the first part is also brilliantly written as the Doctor points out the one thing you should never, ever put in a trap and, remarkably, Moffat comes up with an equally brilliant escape (SPOILER "Jump!") as the start of the second part. Like The Doctor himself, I’m not too sure about the 21st-century sexuality that pops up at the end. Sadly, it’s a sign of the times.

This Doctor Who episode contains adult dialogue and unpleasant and scary scenes.

Links

Doctor Who 32.02 The Beast Below (2010, Science Fiction Adventure) – 9/10 TV review

Cast / crew
Matt Smith: The Doctor
Karen Gillan: Amy Pond
Writer: Steven Moffat
Producer: Peter Bennett
Director: Andrew Gunn
Sophie Okonedo: Liz 10
Executive Producer: Steven Moffat

Doctor Who 32.02 Beast Below, The (2010)

Over 1,000 years in the future, the entire UK has had to construct and board a giant spaceship to leave Earth and find a new home. The Doctor and Amy Pond visit but the Doctor is intrigued by a silently crying child and something that isn’t happening when he puts a glass of water on the floor.

9/10

This is a thrilling, imaginative, visually striking and, critically, tremendously fun adventure for The Doctor. Writer Steven Moffat continually subverts the audience in a way that is enticing and delightful (with the exception of a maguffin video message from Amy Pond) and Matt Smith absolutely knocks the Doctor out of the park. So far, he is managing, better than David Tennant before him, to balance the jolly adventuring with the heavy emotional baggage ("Just me now. Bad day.") and resigned almost-rage at having to always make tremendously difficult decisions. Tennant always flipped a switch between the two and his jolly Doctor and action Doctor always felt like two separate people. Matt Smith is successfully keeping both in the same character. Director Andrew Gunn also does a good job and supplies a striking visual of The Doctor holding Amy Pond by the foot floating outside the TARDIS.

This Doctor Who episode contains mild unpleasant and scary scenes.

Links