The Half-Time Score

We’ll be bringing you our verdict on series 5 as a whole very soon. But here are our half-time thoughts on the first half of the series, as polled mid-way through.

What are your overall impressions so far?

Aled: Good, I’ve enjoyed all the episodes, and there’s been a decent mix of Moffat scariness and general Doctor Who bonkers-ness. I like the continuity of the cracks in time appearing in most episodes, though whether they’re good or not will depend on the finale.

Swithun: It’s doing ok- started slowly and had the Victory of Merchandise, but the last two episodes [Vampires of Venice and Amy’s Choice] have seen an increase in quality. Let’s hope some more innovative ideas in the second half of the season.

Peter: Not the seismic shift in tone I’d been expecting; despite a welcome increase in the more overt fantasy elements, the show often seems reluctant to leave its comfort zone and Moffat seems to deliberately ape RTD’s style at times. But we’ve also been offered tantalising glimpses of something fresh and different and I hope we see more progress in this direction as the series continues. Most importantly, Moffat has made the show interesting again! Hoorah!

What do you think of the Eleventh Doctor (and Matt Smith) so far?

Swithun: Far quirkier and far less patronising than David “everyone is brilliant, even the sentient version of Ebola” Tennant.

Aled: I think he’s brilliant, the only people generally who don’t like him are women who fancied David Tennant. I accepted him as the Doctor from within the first 5 minutes, which can’t have been easy given how used we were to Tennant. He has captured the Doctor’s qualities (alien, genius, adventurer) and rolled them all into a new, slightly confused, personality which I enjoy watching – he also has great one-liners!

What do you think of Amy Pond (and Karen Gillan) so far?

Swithun: Definitely got legs but will her character? She’s a far more interesting character with Rory around; obviously an accomplished actress though with all the whale love at the end of The Beast Below the Walrus of Love may have felt left out.

Aled: I liked her history with the Doctor, but I wish it had played into the story more. Amy seems to have faded to the background a little more of late and is generally a damsel in distress for Rory and the Doctor to squabble about. Hopefully she’ll take more of a stride, especially as her wedding day draws near.

On that note I really like the introduction of Rory, who can’t compare to the Doctor yet is ‘Amy’s Choice’. I think he could have had more of a chance to shine, being willing to lay down his life to protect Amy rather than getting into comical fights or randomly killed but he’s still a great addition and the dynamic works well.

What’s your favourite moment so far?

Aled: Fish Custard, the Doctor’s interaction with the child Amy was inspired, a chance for the Doctor to be completely ridiculous with someone who would accept a ridiculous man.

Swithun: The line about democracy in the Beast Below- something like you forget the previous five years and then vote.
Peter: Matt Smith is a revelation! Karen Gillan is fantastic and I absolutely love the new Tardis interior – take your pick of the three!

What’s your least favourite moment so far?

Swithun: Any scene with River Song- she is awful! And when the Dream Lord turned out to be Space Coke.

Aled: The absolute desecration of the Weeping Angels in ‘Flesh and Stone’.

Peter: Victory of the Daleks – definitive proof that a capable writer and talented cast can take a gem of an idea and reduce it to a vapid, over-wrought toy commercial. So disappointing it bordered on outright betrayal.

How does it compare to the RTD era?

Swithun: It’s very difficult to tell. It’s probably better than RTD’s last two seasons but worse than the first two. I prefer the aesthetic although it has a too rose tinted view of reality. The characterisation beyond MS and KG is poorer than RTD’s used to be; even companion 1b Rory is an off the Forbidden Planet shelf character.

Aled: It’s different in a good way, though still a little to early to say better I think. It is darker in tone, and perhaps colour pallet, though still as humorous as ever – I think the next ‘bigger than ever’ finale will show how much it has really changed.