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Not Bad...Could Have Been Better
on November 13, 2014
Season 6 of Doctor Who is an interesting beast.
It boasts some of the greatest spectacles in the show's history. The acting by Matt Smith is superb as he plays a very caring doctor with a dark side. He has so many fabulous scenes in nearly every episode. He's a delight to watch. Neil Gaiman turned in one of the best high concept stories into Doctor Who history with "The Doctor's Wife." We also finally began to unwrap the mystery of River Song.
Yet, it was also a series whose most spectacular plot-related episodes fizzled in their second half or didn't make sense. The first few minutes of "A Good Man Goes to War" and the first twenty minutes of, "The Wedding of River Song" are hugely entertaining until the writing heads south. The series is also marked with the worst two part story since the Daleks went to Manhattan in Series 3 and turned depression era transients into pigs with, "The Rebel Fles" and "The Almost People." Series 6 also contained, the singly most offensive concept in Who history with, "The God Complex."
The writing of many episodes seemed lazy. Continuity, not continuity within the whole of Doctor Who history or the new series, but continuity within a single season seemed to be a challenge. The new first rule of, "The Doctor Lies" offered the writers a chance to build up conflicts, trick the audience in the most amateurish way, and pass it off as a twist ending, and render pointless much of the emotional journey of the characters. The writing was the show's most inconsistent this season. The overall plot arch seemed very similar to the prior story with an alliance being formed against the Doctor by people who believe the Doctor is dangerous.
This isn't to say there's not a lot to enjoy in this series. There is. Despite some logic problems, in addition to "The Doctor's Wife" the opening story is pretty fun. Many of the stories not related to the plot arch are enjoyable, "Curse of the Black Spot" is a nice little adventure yarn, "Night Terrors" is heart warming and a great concept, While "Closing Time" doesn't quite measure up to "The Lodger," it's still a nice story with some great emotional moments for Matt Smith. Despite its problems, I found, "Let's Kill Hitler" a fun story with a nice mix of comedy and emotion.
Even some of the poorer episodes of the series had some solid moments. While I found the premise for, "The Girl Who Waited" to have some logical problems, Karen Gillian turned in her best performance of the season. The little tribute to the Brigadier and (Nicholas Courtney who played him) in "The Wedding of River Song" was moving and touching. While the Davies era seem to consistently portray abusive and absent fathers, this series featured not one, but three stories that hinged on father's building relationships with children.
That said, the writing makes this the weakest season of New Who so far, but even that's not terrible compared to what else is on television these days. Overall, this wasn't but could have been much better.