DOCTOR WHO 7.5: “The Angels Take Manhattan”

As the Doctor has noted, Amelia Pond is not just any companion – to get all meta about it, she is the ultimate Steven Moffat character, so her send-off could not be just any old story; it has to be a classic. Rest easy, Amy, because Moffat has penned an absorbing tale of love and loss that will break both of the hearts of DOCTOR WHO fans the world over.

But it’s the good kind of heartbreak. The sort you’re talking about when you say It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. The DOCTOR WHO universe is infinitely richer for having known Amelia Pond, and so are we fans. This send-off was everything I hoped it would be — clever, dramatic, nostalgic, poetic and final. And also totally heartbreaking.
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DOCTOR WHO Series 6 Part 2 Promo Image

It looks like Matt Smith will get his wish for the Doctor to don a long coat – at least in the promotional poster for the second half of series six of DOCTOR WHO!

The image betrays little about what’s actually going to happen, but offers some tantalizing hints. Of course the Silents and the Astronaut will be back, and it wouldn’t be an 11th Doctor story without Amy (Karen Gillan). But is Rory (Arthur Darvill) there merely so he can be killed again – this time in a desert? The pyramid makes me wonder if we will we see a story in which River Song (Alex Kingston) becomes the archeologist she was when the 10th Doctor (David Tennant) met her in “Silence in the Library” — and quickly dismissed her with the classic line, “I’m a time-traveler; I point and laugh at archeologists.”

And what about that pyramid? I think we’ve all heard the rumors about a Cybermen story set in Egypt featuring echoes of “Tomb of the Cybermen.” Perhaps River’s expedition uncovers a group of slumbering metal monsters, and thus we get the return of the “proper” Cybermen from Mondas? I hope so! But then again, perhaps the ancient monolith has something to do with the Silents.

But whatever the secrets of the second half, I trust we will get answers to all the dire questions set up by “The Impossible Astronaut.”

The second half of season six begins when DOCTOR WHO returns on Aug. 27 with the intriguingly titled tale, “Let’s Kill Hitler.” (Yes, that Hitler…)

DOCTOR WHO 6.7 (32.7): A Good Man Goes to War

For the midseason finale of DOCTOR WHO, show-runner Steven Moffat returned to the idea of the Doctor as larger-than-life symbol; an icon known throughout the universe – for better or worse. In Moffat’s mind, the Time Lord is more than just a Gallifreyan who goes around meddling in the business of others; he stands for Something. To fans of the show here on Earth, the Doctor is the ultimate hero, but out there, in the universe at large, he is force of nature open to interpretation. The Daleks call him “Ka Faraq Gatri,” the Draconians refer to him as “Karshtakavaar,” and many other races know him simply as “the Oncoming Storm.” This is one of those stories that could tip balance of his memory.

In last season’s big two-part finale, “The Pandorica Opens” and “The Big Bang,” we saw the Doctor branded a goblin and trickster by his enemies – everyone from the Daleks to the Cybermen to the Sontarans and Zygons. Moffat hits that theme again in this story, as Col. Manton’s speech echoes the talk of the Time Lord as a malevolent figure. Meanwhile, the mysterious River Song is concerned with the Doctor’s legacy as a Force for Good. She suggests that the concept of a “doctor” as a wise man and a healer comes from the Time Lord; but “doctor” also means “great warrior” to some cultures. She was concerned that his legend has the potential to go either way – and he is right now at the crossroads, the tipping point where his legacy will be determined. He is already a hobgoblin to the would-be conquerors of the universe – the question is, can he still be a savior to the downtrodden masses, or will he be seduced by his own power and influence?
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DOCTOR WHO 6.1 (32.1): The Impossible Astronaut

The beginning of the new season felt like the end of one — and not just because the Doctor was killed less than 10 minutes out of the gate! The episode had so many reveals (and a guest appearance by River Song) and such a grand scale that it felt like the sort of thing that is normally reserved for a season-capper; the kind of show that leaves a lingering impression to lure viewers back next season. But in “The Impossible Astronaut,” all that effort was directed at making people tune in for the rest of the season.

But did we see what we thought we saw? (Or is that, “are seeing”?) As fans learned last season, executive producer Steven Moffat is not the least bit afraid to revisit an entire season, shake it around, and cast it in a different light. In this case, it looks like he’s going to circle back at some point, rather than have the Doctor directly backtrack through the stories, as in Series 5’s “The Big Bang.” I suspect the identity of the person in the spacesuit will be a long time coming — though I don’t think I can bear to wait until No. 13. (My initial guess? It’s Amy. Having the Doctor say, “My life in your hands, Amelia Pond,” is just too larded with portent. Moffat doesn’t waste words.)
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My DOCTOR WHO Series 6 wish list

It’s the eve of the premiere of Series 6 of the revived DOCTOR WHO (Season 32 as far as I’m concerned) and I could not be more excited! The 11th Doctor! Amy! River Song! The Silence! I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve… To while away the time until “The Impossible Astronaut” airs, I thought I’d share a few wacky ideas from my wish list of Stuff I’d Like to See on the show this season. I have no inside information; just some crazy dreams…

Series 6 once again stars Matt Smith as the 11th Doctor, Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, and Arthur Darvill as Rory Pond (It’s true, he really did take her name when they married!) And this is what I would like to see happen:

-Matt Smith really cuts loose! In his first series as the Doctor, Matt successfully took over the role and made me (almost) forget about David Tennant. Now, in his second season, I am looking for Matt to make the character his own. He’s got the look; he’s got the persona nailed; all he needs to do is run with it! Each Doctor evolves over time, and I cannot wait to see what fresh spins Matt puts on the iconic Time Lord.
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BBC America has a different DOCTOR WHO trailer!

BBC America has seen BBC One’s DOCTOR WHO series 6 trailer and raised it – by including a lot of snippets from Episode 1, “The Impossible Astronaut.” This trailer kicks ass. Not that the BBC One trailer doesn’t, but the BBCA clipfest gives Whovians a little more from the opening story. Of course there are clips from the other episodes in the first half of the season – and most of them are different from the snippets in the BBC One trailer…

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DOCTOR WHO Series 6: First Teaser Trailer

After looking back at the DOCTOR WHO Christmas special in the last entry, let’s indulge in a little bit of hope for the future by taking a peek at the Series 6 (That’s Season 32 for the purists!) teaser trailer that capped “A Christmas Carol.” Let’s take a look at what awaits us in Spring 2011…

At first glance, this clip seems rather low-key, which is not a bad thing, because the stories look interesting. It might be because Matt Smith looks relatively restrained as the Doctor. The season looks to have a strong Amy (Karen Gillan) element, but Rory (Arthur Darvill) is not too well-represented. I was surprised to see the Ood back, and I don’t think anyone expected a naked River Song (Alex Kingston). But we will examine the trailer in detail at a later date.

My two favorite quotes from the clip: “I wear a Stetson now. Stetsons are cool.” And the dread-filled: “My life in your hands, Amelia Pond.”

DOCTOR WHO 5.13 (31.13): The Big Bang

In “The Big Bang,” Steven Moffat did his best to deliver the most bang for a DOCTOR WHO fan’s buck with a massive finale, and he mostly succeed by delivering an epic tale of love and loss and regeneration (but not Regeneration); a wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey tale of the Girl Who Didn’t Make Sense, and the Boy Who Waited.

Let’s face it, this was a pretty great story, but one marred by a key flaw. Moffat loves to manipulate the timestream in his stories, and usually he is very clever about it. (Or, in the case of the spoof “The Curse of the Fatal Death,” downright hilarious.) But this time he messed up. Oh, the story gets by in the heat of the moment because all the sound and running hither and yon masks the mistake; it almost works. Almost. Which is a shame, because “The Big Bang” is otherwise very entertaining, and rivals “Doomsday” as the best of the grand gesture season finales, but it falls short because the mistake kept nagging at me. And I’m not even talking about the Pandorica itself being used as the ultimate deus ex machina… or should that be machina ex machina?
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DOCTOR WHO 5.12 (31.12): The Pandorica Opens

“The Pandorica Opens” was the…er, opening salvo in the two-part finale of DOCTOR WHO, marking the culmination of Matt Smith’s first season as the Doctor, and the story served as a brassy, boastful shot-across-the-bow to viewers, warning them that this story was going to pull out all the stops.

After previous show-runner Russell T Davies completed his tenure by successively having Davros threaten to destroy all of reality and a combination of the Master and the Time Lords bring about the end of Time itself, it probably seemed like there was no way to escalate the threat behind a new season. And, in a way, that view was correct; but while the threat could not be ratcheted up any more, new show-runner Steven Moffat chose to, in effect, move sideways and boost the jeopardy. In this story, the suspense comes from the Doctor being threatened in a very personal way while the Universe was cracking and Time itself was being rewritten. The Pandorica was opening, and almost all the alien species ever featured in the series were coming to the party, from Autons to Zygons: “Everything that ever hated you is coming here tonight,” River Song warned him. “You can’t win this; you can’t even fight it.”
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DOCTOR WHO 5.5 (31.5): Flesh and Stone

While last week’s episode, “The Time of Angels,” was arguably River Song’s story, the second chapter of this big DOCTOR WHO tale, “Flesh and Stone,” was clearly all about Amy. Once again, we saw the Doctor refracted through the important women in his life: his current companion and his future…what, exactly?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, the Doctor came up with a cunning plan to get out of last week’s cliff-hanger (He maneuvered it so everyone was able to fall up to the Byzantium using the ship’s artificial gravity. Great. What really made this episode for me was the touching scene between the Doctor and Amy when he left her in the clearing so he and River could go find the primary flight deck.
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