Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Doctor Who 7.06: The Bells of Saint John

The new episodes of Doctor Who are coming. The first aired Sunday – “The Bells of Saint John” and while it’s not quite the coma that Paul Verhoevan described, it’s definitely not Moffat’s finest hour, though let’s be honest, those have been few and far between lately.

The Bells of Saint John had me flapping about the house because it’s new Doctor Who, not because it was particularly good. Had me laughing out loud because Matt Smith is the only consistently good thing about Moffat’s run thus far. And it definitely made me want to run, because the music is still top notch.

Join me for more musing under the jump.

I really didn’t love the ‘Ponds’ and I liked Rory a damn lot more than Amy. I understand the internet is divided about Clara, but as I understand it, at least for me, it’s more about Moffat needing to make everything so ridiculously complicated than it is about bad casting or a bad character. River Song is a character that I loathe, and it’s not that she wasn’t superb in her introduction during Tennant’s run, or that the actress was terrible, it’s that Moffat is flogging a dead, chemistry-less horse. River is too complicated and very rarely interesting; her relationship with the Doctor never sparks. Amy’s relationship with Matt’s Doctor also fell flat on its face for me, so this new character played by Jenna-Louise Coleman is definitely better than what we’ve been subjected to recently...

But here’s the rub. How many times can you re-introduce a character and expect her to stick, to be believable and relatable and interesting? Oswin Oswald in the first episode of series 7 was magnificent, all the energy of other companion introduction episodes, although not the strongest plot wise, she was adorable and cheeky and clicked with Matt’s Doctor. But then she wasn’t our companion.

Next Clara Oswin Oswald, the Governess and bar maid, and I thought she was fun too. Smart, inquisitive, didn’t listen to what the Doctor said all the time. And then she wasn’t our companion either. 

What we are left with is Clara Oswald, lady of our time, and she is the least interesting of the three incarnations of this woman. 

Why Moffat? WHY CAN’T YOU JUST LEAVE HER ALONE? I don’t think she’s terrible yet by any stretch, and I am willing to give her a go, but this version is more forced, less intelligent, more childish. I just don’t see the spark as much. The banter is still there which gives me hope, though the preview for the next episode looks flat. I imagine it’s going to take some time.

The plus side is another handful of episodes of Matt Smith playing the Doctor, and what a wonderful Doctor he is. Funny, dorky and charming, he never stops being a delight to watch. Him rushing around trying to guard Clara was adorable, his new costume is great and the jokes he pulls off... explaining connecting wifi, saying that monks aren’t cool, it’s fantastic.

I am definitely not sick of him despite my sickness that the writing cannot consistently deliver solid plots and interesting companions, but we will see. The earlier portion of season 7 was pretty good in comparison to the last two years, there might be hope!

Two more points quickly. The reveal at the end about who was controlling the interface was pretty interesting. The news about the new 50th Anniversary Special is making me giddy!


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