A little bout of time sickness.

13Jul11

This whole post will have spoilers for the Matt Smith run of Doctor Who, in case you haven’t watched it.

Off and on for the last few weeks, I’ve been trying to unbox my feelings on the latest season of Doctor Who. Now that the show is on hiatus, it seems like it’s appropriate to take stock and figure out if I like it. I say that because the first two episodes did not grab me like I’d hoped, so there’s been a bit of “I guess I’ll keep up with it” since then. I feel this obligation because when Rory died in Matt Smith’s first season, I was not happy with the fact that the first potential male companion in a while was killed. So I abandoned the show for a while, then finally (grudgingly) caught back up. I’m glad I did watch it all, but I don’t regret leaving it; Rory’s death was something of a boneheaded move, in my opinion, even if he eventually got better (the healing power of plastic!). Still, this leaves me with the thought that I should just soldier through for now.

So what do I think of the current season so far? Well….on the whole, it’s not that good. There are good parts, mind you-Neil Gaiman’s episode was pretty good, for example. It wasn’t that new of an idea (The Doctor loves his TARDIS! How….easy to see!), but it was done well, and avoided some of the Gaiman tropes that I’ve come to dread seeing again. But while it’s unfair to actually judge the whole season when there are still 6 episodes to go, many of the episodes so far have not been good. The first episode opens with a scene that basically goes “The Doctor will get out of this somehow, you know it, and so we’re really just jerking around other characters.” Then the second episode drops very heavy hints that something terrible is done to Amy, which is promptly shoved into the background for the next three episodes (with only one thing on the Doctor’s part to keep hinting at it), until suddenly there’s a big reveal that Amy isn’t really Amy! And the real Amy is about to have a baby against her will! It’s so shocking, what will happen?

Well, if you’re me, what happens is you immediately think “This is horrifying. Just godawful stuff is being done to two characters I really like.” I feel sympathy for them, yes, but more importantly, I really start to look at the creators and directors with a jaundiced eye. And it all goes back to Rory’s death in the last season. That didn’t anger me because someone I liked died (though that would have angered me if it was the only reason, I have to be honest there); it angered me because it felt cheap. He came in with a target on his back, because he was the person stopping Amy from just being with the Doctor, and that meant killing him off just felt…inevitable. It doesn’t matter what happened afterward-now every time Rory is put in danger, my thought is not “Will he die,” but “Oh, God, do it again or stop jerking us around, you assholes!”

The season cliffhanger doesn’t solve these problems, either. If anything, it makes them bigger. Because now that this terrible thing has been done to Amy and Rory (more Amy, but let’s not forget that Rory had his wife abducted and raped without his knowledge), and it was because they were with the Doctor, why would they stay in the TARDIS? I can think of possible reasons, but the most sensible course of action would seem to be the both of them saying they’re going home, and if they ever see a blue box for the rest of their lives, they’ll do their damnedest to drag the Doctor out of it and beat him senseless, thank you very much.

I’ll admit, this reaction may be a bit too strong. After all, the reveal that River Song is their daughter could be seen as a sign of hope, that at least their child becomes an adult, that she’s not turned into some kind of weapon against the Doctor. But I’m not sure I care too much at this point. I’m still going to watch the last 6 episodes, and I’ll probably keep watching into the next season as well. But I still have a bad taste in my mouth, and I dearly hope that Episode 8 will wash some of that out.

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