Monday, 25 April 2011

The Return of the Doctor: Doctor Who, The Impossible Astronaut, review

At last we earthlings have a protector again, with the return of the Doctor, after a slightly disappointing Christmas special (a version of A Christmas Carol with some witty touches, but too much singing) and a slightly nonsensical Comic Relief skit, the foal-like Matt Smith is back on our television screens ready to do battle with intergalactic beasties and jump around as if he were made out of lots of other people's limbs that have been randomly sewn together.

The Doctor
The Doctor seems to die a lot these days; as if it were a habit he couldn't quite shake off (like smoking, or the Lottery), he managed to get shot by a mysterious spaceman within about three and a half minutes of this new episode. Although it wasn't actually the Doctor; or rather, it was a future version of the Doctor who had called Amy, Rory and the ever-annoying River Song together in America (using some rather smart Tardis-blue invitation cards. Smythsons? No doubt). This being Doctor Who, of course, the future Doctor had also invited his past self to the party, which is a rather handy trick, and next time I have a party I'll be sure to do the same.

The Silence
On the invitation card was a date as well as a place: 1969, America. The past Doctor and his companions head off there, to find that Nixon has been receiving nuisance calls from a young boy who claims that a Spaceman is after him. Naturally the FBI are involved; the Doctor, (appearing in the Oval office with an invisible Tardis, in one of the better scenes) joins in the hunt. It's a trap! we yell, even before the Doctor self-consciously does so.

Introduced in this episode were some aliens (The Silence) who looked a bit like Matt Smith himself after a night out at Coachella; no doubt because of this, their defence mechanism was to make you forget you'd seen them after your back is turned. If only Matt had the same power. No more papparrazzi! This was a very effective trick, creating the right levels of dramatic tension, although after River Song had been down into a network of tunnels, and seen a whole load of them (including one who was wearing a suit, mysteriously; where one finds a tailor in tunnels miles underground is beyond me), came back up and said there was nothing there it just made me hate her even more. Who is she? Can't she have a better catchphrase than 'sweetie'? Anyway, never mind. Oh yes, and Amy is pregnant, and River is exhibiting signs of morning sickness: who's the father? The good Doctor? Or aliens? Or has Rory been over-active? At least if it was the aliens the children would be able to kill people with blue electricity coming from their fingers, which is better than looking like Rory.
So all in all, an okayish episode to start the new series: like a foal stumbling about it provoked both pity, protectiveness and laughter.

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