Musings on Doctor Who Season 31

Doctor Who

Now that the dust has settled a little on Season 31 of Doctor Who, I can sit back and reflect on what I loved, what I hated, and what I want to see more of next year. Certainly I think Moffat’s tenure has been a huge sucess. I’ve been less critical of this season than previous years. I’ve never been a Russell T Davies “hater” or despaired of him, but I think Moffat has done exceptional things with the show this year, that makes me hark back to watching and loving it as a child.

    What I loved

– Matt Smith’s Doctor. I wasn’t overly keen on Christopher Ecclestone’s Nine, although I think he played it very well, it just didn’t grab me. Tennant was orally fixated, manic, soppy… I think I like my Doctor’s to be more steely. Watching Matt Smith felt as good as watching Pertwee or Troughton or My Doctor, Tom Baker. Sometimes it felt even better than that. Steven Moffat wanted to give the role to an older man, he’s said that many times. I can understand completely how frustrating and wonderful it must have been for Smith to come in, audition and just nail it. I’ve called him Troughton-esque in the past, and I stand by that. Yet he is quite clearly making Eleven his own. He has shown enormous depth and managed to give us emotional performances without delving into soap opera mawkishness.

– Amy Pond. I started off with a huge crush on Karen Gillen and while I may have calmed down a bit since then, she still rocks my socks. I think she has an old Who vibe about her, very Sarah-Jane Smith at times. What she needs now is storylines that ask more of her than crying prettily and shouting. I have high hopes for Pond.

– A multi-season story arc! Praise be! All this talk of infantilising television and “it’s just a kid’s show” can sod right off. Steven Moffat this year showed you could write a whole season and put everything you needed in place for a finale without it being blatently obvious. He recognised that not tying up all the loose ends is perfectly acceptable if you know you are going to carry the audience into the next season.

– Nods to Classic Who. More of those please (see further down).

– Writers such as Richard Curtis and Simon Nye counfounding my expectations. I wasn’t expecting to like Amy’s Choice or Vincent and The Doctor and I was proved wrong.

– River Song. Whether she’s the TARDIS made flesh, the Rani, Twelfth Doctor, or none of the above, I don’t care. She’s bloody wonderful.

– Doctor Nasreen Chaudry – the wonderful Meera Syal. Can we have her back please? Can we have her as a companion please?

    What I didn’t love

– Victory of the Daleks – poor Mark Gatiss is such a Who fanboy yet his work on New Who has not been great. He was awful in The Lazarus Experiment (although piss-poor CGI didn’t help) and his episodes have not been highpoints. This one was at least better than The Idiot Lantern, and had a fab input from Amy, and Spitfires in spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace, but overall, “meh”.

– Clunky pacing. The Hungry Earth and Cold Blood suffered from very poor pacing, trying to fit too much within the 2 part framework. Suffering from a surfeit of ideas is no bad thing but frustrating to watch.

– The constant flitting around the Saturday night schedule. Pick a time and stick to it.

    What I want to see next year

– More nods to Classic Who. UNIT to return, more classic enemies, fewer Daleks and Cybermen.

– More scares. I was talking to someone earlier today about The Deadly Assassin which was a story that scared the living bejaysus out of me as a child. Ditto Planet of the Spiders. Old Who used to do a neat line in body horror (qv The Ark in Space, Revenge of the Cyberman, The Green Death). While there was a nod to this in Cold Blood, I want more. The show should be scarier at times, I grew up with those scares and shudders. The skull in the Cyberman head was a nice touch, but please, go further, our children CAN handle it!

– Mark Gatiss being kept away from the show. Unless he updates Nightshade. I bloody love Gatiss, I really do. I’m a fan of League of Gentlemen, I’m a HUGE fan of Lucifer Box, and Nightshade was a fantastic Who novel. Trouble is he just seems too starstruck writing Doctor Who for TV. It’s a real shame, but please, no more. I can’t take it.

– Amy and Rory happy. No killing off characters cheaply please. Goddammit Rory has suffered enough and I like him. Also he’s our version of Harry Sullivan. Just sayin’

– More silliness. An update of Carnival of Monsters would suit me just fine.

– Some relationships that aren’t simply hetero-normative. I don’t mean bringing Captain Jack back, and I’m not talking about Amy and River snogging in the TARDIS (although, you know, I wouldn’t complain if it did happen…), but it would be nice to see other relationships. The Daily Mail may have banged on about Russell T Davies “gay agenda” but it’s a big wide universe out there and a diverse outlook can’t be bad. Again our children can handle it, and so can we.

– On a personal level, the opportunity to visit the show whilst shooting, and interview key player. A grrl can dream…

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~ by moviegrrlreviews on June 30, 2010.

4 Responses to “Musings on Doctor Who Season 31”

  1. gotts say that that i pretty much agree with much of what you have said hear with the exception that i really liked ecclestoe’s doctor… but matt smith is fantastic. moffat wanted an older doctor and i think he got it. smith is young and yet old in the same way that people in 1920’s photos look forty not matter what their actual age is. plus he is odd, which is good.

    in an ideal world rory would have remained an auton and although i like amy pond i still think a person from the pre-industrial era would make the best companion.

    great piece

  2. …oh and re. next season i would like to see more drama – the set ups have been great but i often felt that conclusions (including most of the last episode)simply unwound in an ‘and here is the answer’ fashion that didn’t really involve much tension.

  3. Yes, yes and yes. And yes. To all of that. (And as for River and Amy snogging in the Tardis I know of a fanfic you would like……) But yes. Definitely.

    (And, surely Amy screaming/crying is a nod to old Who? 😉 )

  4. Great post. I wouldn’t actually mind seeing the Cybermen return if they were the original Mondas Cybermen and not the alternate universe ones. I think Matt Smith has at some point said he prefers the original design rather than the full armour look. How about the originals facing off against the new ones? Agree completely about Rory being our Harry Sullivan, and I love both characters. Keep him in!

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