(c) BBC Worldwide
This post was worrying me, because I could only write it yesterday, due to the fact I only saw it Tuesday. That may sound mental to some of you, but in order to avoid my usual problem of forgetting about blogs I start (this has been my third wordpress…) I decided I’d plan everything and write loads of my posts in advance, so I’ve currently got posts scheduled for mid September. So in order to combat this, I saved a post with the title, tags and category ready for me to jump into. But it looks like I’ve made it! Unless this is the only part you’re seeing in which case I admit, I wrote this bit over two weeks ago and I haven’t really been doing much worrying at all…
When I first saw the title for this episode, which is the first in the seventh series of doctor who (or the 33rd season if you’re picky), I admit I squealed a little bit. Not because it sounds particularly enthusing but because it sounds so-classic who. Looking back we’ve had episodes like the evil of the daleks, death to the daleks, genesis of the daleks, resurrection of the daleks among many others. I realise this is probably deliberate. After all, Steven Moffat clearly thinks ahead and prior to seeing the episode I was informed by doctor who magazine that it would be featuring every dalek ever from 1963 to their last appearance (not counting S6(32)’s The Wedding of River Song) in Series 5 (31)’s The Victory of the Daleks (as I wrote that, the relevance of that title also dawned on me, considering it introduced a new generation of daleks and… am I reading too far into this?). So I was very much expecting a lot from this episode. Of course I always expect a lot from Doctor Who but this is a big one – a series opener, so it’s got to be good, right?
And absolutely it was! As the title suggests there was a bit of a classic who theme going on with one particular setting and there really was a hell of a lot of daleks. Quick warning – I’ve given a synopsis below so if you don’t want to know what happens (and this is all massive surprises and thrills removed) skip the next paragraph.
Photo (c) Abby Speakman
In the episode, the doctor finds himself caught by the daleks and told he must help them destroy the asylum of the daleks, the planet where they keep all the daleks who are too insane or too battle-scarred to carry on, well being daleks I suppose. This is because a ship has crash landed on it’s surface, and as the predator of the daleks the doctor must help kill them by going down to the planet and taking off the forcefield so they can blow it up. With a little help from friends old and new the doctor attempts his mission and there are a lot of surprises along the way.
It has previously been said by the producers that their aim for this season was big movie-style episodes, and if this is anything to go by then we are in for a treat of a season! It was certainly the funniest episode in Matt Smith’s era, but also one of the saddest at the same time. (I’ve honestly never cried in an episode before, but I did in this) It had fabulous effects (again… that one particular setting….) and fabulous acting, not just from Mr Smith, but I would say Karen Gillan really shone through.
I know a lot of people aren’t massive fans of Steven’s writing but I think he’s always been fabulous and nearly every episode I loved from Russell T Davies’ era was written by Steven (Blink, Girl in the Fireplace….). But this… He really has outdone himself.
Although I will admit, I wasn’t that happy with series 6. While some episodes blew me away, other’s left me very disappointed and I wasn’t wholly keen on the season opener(although unlike others, I was a massive fan of the arc). But as Moffat said in the Q+A after, being a fan of doctor who is watching even the bad episodes, but I don’t see how any of the episodes in this series can be bad if they’re anything like this one. It’s probably inevitable that the series has a few episodes that aren’t as good as the others – but I’m certainly a fan of the no-two-parters thing, and I think that’s really going to help give them a movie feel.
Matt Smith. Photo (c) Abby Speakman
One final point here – I am so glad they gave the Daleks a break for one season, because I really think its helped to bring them back stronger than ever. Doctor Who could never be Doctor Who without the Daleks of course, but if they were the villain for every episode, you’d get a bit bored, and that’s kind of what their use in s1-5 felt like to me.
Now is the word dalek looking funny to anyone else right now? Dalek Dalek Dalek. Nope, just me? Ahh, maybe read over this post again like I just did and then you’ll be sick of the word…
My blog about the day can be viewed here