Just Finished Doctor Who Series 6.0 (2011)

Well, that was quite the half season, wasn’t it? My initial reaction to hearing that the sixth season of Doctor Who was split in two halves was negative, but the positive aspect that I wasn’t taking into account was that it would mean I would get the episodes in my hands a lot faster (we don’t get BBC America or torrent, so we wait for them to pop up on Netflix). I also discovered that seven episodes are a lot easier to take in and absorb than twice that which is good when doing so in a fairly short period of time. Something I’ve talked about before when watching seasons like this is that, in our zeal to finish them, we miss some of the details. And even if we don’t miss the details, it becomes information overload at times. We watched the fifth season–and all the seasons of Doctor Who post-relaunch, really–that way and I’ll be honest, I wasn’t exactly sure who some of the callback characters were by the end of this half of this season.

My other concern with watch a half season of a series was that it would end on a cliffhanger and we’d be waiting however long to see the next one. Halfway through the last episode of the second disc, I asked a buddy about torrents, but I wound up not downloading them. I can’t stand watching shows on my computer when I’ve got a perfectly good TV sitting right there. Anyway, this fear of getting something less-than what I’m used to proved to not be an issue.

I think these might be the seven best consecutive episodes that I can remember. Some basic plot spoilers follow. “The Impossible Astronaut” was a pretty gigantic mindbonk that set up the rest of the season. That carried directly over into “Day Of The Moon” which not only went back to the 60s, but also utilized the brilliantly designed Silence who can only be remembered when they’re seen. As soon as you turn away, they disappear from your memory. Awesome idea. “The Curse Of The Black Spot” combined pirates and aliens in such a way that I want to see a spin-off of those dudes flying through space. “The Doctor’s Wife” was a brilliant episode written by one of my all time favorite writers Neil Gaiman that took the TARDIS’ consciousness and placed it inside a human being. It was great hearing their shared history from the point of view of the TARDIS. I think this might be one of my favorite episodes of the show as a whole and I thought that even before I remembered Gaiman’s involvement.

The fifth and sixth episodes comprised a two-parter called “The Rebel Flesh” and “The Almost People.” This pair featured a group of scientists who used doppelgangers to physically do the things that they couldn’t do. As it turned out the ‘gangers were actually gaining sentience which lead to a pretty awesome series of moments reminiscent of those in The Thing where you don’t know who you’re talking to or who to trust (at least as a viewer). And that ending! Gah! Crazytown!

All of which brings us to the “A Good Man Goes To War.” Wow. Usually episodes this good and packed with awesome are two or even three parters and come at the end of a long season. This one comes right in the middle and stands out as quite the tentpole. By bringing back those characters from previous seasons (or were they all just from 5, my memory sucks) and pitting them all against an actual army of enemies with such high stakes (double high stakes, really), the writers really upped the ante and presented a quality hour of television that is also pretty high up on my “faves” list. Even better? It presumably leads into something bigger and hopefully better by the end of the actual season. Oh and they didn’t even rely on the Cybermen or Daleks too much. Bonus points there. Plus those final two reveals are just bonkers. Even with so much goodness, my favorite part of the season has to be the awesomification of Rory Pond. I don’t remember a whole lot about him from the previous season other than he was jealous of the Doctor (who wouldn’t be) and seemed like kind of a wimp. But then he did that whole Last Centurion thing, so that’s pretty great, right? They really built off that this season, developing him as a husband and potential father, leading him on a Taken-esque streak of badassness that was written and performed perfectly. I’d face those stupid Cybermen too if anyone tried to get between me and my family. Maybe that’s why I liked Rory a lot more this season, he went from being just a boyfriend to a husband. I can relate to that and I can’t wait to see what Rory does to those who get in his way with the second half of the season. Oh, and the Doctor too, I guess.

Just Finished: Doctor Who Season 2 (2006)

After burning through season one in two days, I’m sure it’s no surprise that we made our way through the second in four or five (stupid work gets in the way). Everyone said that the second season was a lot better, but I’m not so sure, they’re both at a pretty high level in my mind. I guess now everyone who’s caught up is getting used to the idea of a new Doctor, but I’m still kind of swooning for Christopher Eccleston. Don’t get me wrong, I like David Tennant’s take on the Doc a lot, I guess that just comes with the Doctor Who territory.

Overall, I thought this was a really solid season, that retained all the elements I liked from the first season (heart, doing well with limited resources and genuinely creepy villains). There was one episode that stuck out though that I didn’t really like: “Fear Her.” It just didn’t make any sense to me. Why did the little girl have to draw the people to make them disappear? She’s not that good of an artist, so who’s to say she’s not making every little kid with brown hair disappearing? How does drawing a picture of the world count? In a series that usually makes a lot of sense, this episode just seemed kind of slapped together. Also, exactly how many of these episodes are about humanity letting some alien race trick them into complacency? There’s been a ton so far.

Aside from that though, good stuff all around. I liked the Torchwood “mystery” throughout the season, though I already knew what it was. To be honest, I still have no idea how Rose is the big bad wolf or whatever from the first season. I get that she has a connection to the Doctor, but how does that translate into her being a wolf? If anyone understands, please let me know. Anyway, I’m looking forward to also checking out the Torchwood show.

Mickey had a really good arc this season too. I’m glad they did something with him instead of just letting him sit around and bitch. Which brings me to the two part finale “Army Of Ghosts” and “Doomsday.” Man, that was a crazy ass couple of episodes. Cyberman AND Daleks? Nice! The way he took them out seemed a little easy (especially with millions of Daleks popping out of that prison, but how could you not get a little choked up when Rose disappeared into the other dimension with her not-dad or later when the Doctor ran out of time to say “I love you.” Good stuff. I’ll miss Billie Pipers hotness and spirit, but I’m glad she got a relatively happy ending (though Em didn’t like it and cried a little).

A few questions for established Who fans. Does anyone else think that the two-parters tend to drag? It seems so to me with a few exceptions. Also, has a time-traveling Doctor ever run into a past version of himself? I know there have been episodes with past Doctors meeting up somehow, but is it theoretically possible that, say, Tennant could travel to a time when his past self in the form of say, the guy with the girl hair and scarf is also at? Just curious.