For years, I listened while friends bragged about the British fandom that is Doctor Who. It’s not something that appeals to my cinematic tastes. At least not until this recent “turning point.” Recently, I did take a second look. Now starting with the “new doctor,” Matt Smith (can I just say, he’s adorable!), I give Doctor Who, series five a fighting chance.
Doctor Who, Series Five (2009) BBC Review
Regenerated and ready to assume his role as “The Doctor” is the eleventh Doctor (Smith). Where he comes from rarely anyone knows, and what he does, no one really knows. On this particular night, he appears at the doorstep of young Amelia Pond. In their brief time together, he becomes fond of the inquisitive girl. A girl who has a crack in her wall and hears voices whispering “prisoner zero” has escaped. Unable to stay for the unstable nature of his TARDIS flying box, the Doctor leaves Amelia awaiting his promised return. That was ten years ago. When he finally makes it back to earth, the feisty red-head who lives in little Amelia Pond’s home is quite grown-up, and Amy (Karen Gillan) is bitter over their pseudo adventures.
She had to have therapy as a result, and live in a world where everyone disbelieves her childhood encounter. Without the time to make it up to Amy, the Doctor has bigger problems when realizing that Prisoner Zero is living in Amy’s house these many years. Now with the help of Amy’s devoted boyfriend, Rory (Arthur Darvill), the trio have exactly eleven minutes to save earth.
To be completely honest, I don’t know exactly what I think of Doctor Who. It’s quirky, wacky, and unusual and yet, there’s something insanely, crazily charismatic about its premise. One I am not entirely sure I “get” even after eleven episodes. Watching the first episode, my initial reaction fell somewhere in the middle of the fun scale. In short, it didn’t “sell” me on the foundation of its hype, so I didn’t bother watching a second installment for a good three months. Little did I ever expect to be as addicted to this piece of British sci-fi after a second episode, which I adore. For some reason I skipped over what immediately followed the first episode to “Victory of the Darleks,” and then I was completely under its spell.
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Written by Sherlock show runner, Steven Moffat, this collection is clever beyond words. What the special effects lack, the stories make up for partially because of the interlocking episodes that cumulate in a brilliant finale. It’s in the finale when everything comes full circle that, seriously left me breathless. How it all came about left no doubt as to there being cleverness in oddities. Some of the best episodes were “The Lodger,” (the Doctor being a “normal bloke” …yeah that won’t fly); purely for its emotional impact, “Amy’s Choice,” and “The Vampires of Venice.”
Then there is the cast. New to the series in its fifth year, Matt Smith and Karen Gillan were absolute magic. In Matt, I fell for a guy who’s quite literally out-of-this-world crazy but still “human,” and compassionate. Like so many other characters who get a bad rap as being selfish, I refuse to see this Doctor as “that” person. He shouldn’t be fit into a box because a: he doesn’t deserve that and b: he does care about his friends. Time and again that is proven and it bothers me when good characters are pegged otherwise.
Then let’s not forget the joy that is Amy Pond. This girl is an exceptional companion and it’s not hard to like her wit and “ho-hum” attitude as she sees more than one wonder of the world. (I grow to like her so well, she’s like the best friend who can coax us to do something insane.) Additionally there’s Rory whose pure love of Amy is like sunshine. As I remember this fifth series, I’m weighing over its biggest surprise, and I don’t think “quirkiness” is the winner. To my surprise, I think it’s the series poignancy. The writers know how to have the best kind of fun, and still impart nuggets of wisdom. All of this leaves morsels of his identity everywhere even in the shroud of mystery that is, The Doctor.
Perhaps this is the reason why the blue box is “bigger on the inside.” Because there is so much more than meets the eye in the life of The Doctor. All I know is, he can visit anytime. I wouldn’t mind in the least.
You can find Doctor Who, series five digitally on Amazon Video