Sunday, April 24, 2011

Doctor Who - The Impossible Astronaut Review

**Mild Spoilers**

Every season opener I eagerly look forward to and most of the time I am let down.  It is hard to live up to expectations of course but surely Steven Moffat can break this pattern of sub par openers for the series.  Well, almost.

I absolutely love Steven Moffat’s work on Doctor Who but last season, his first as producer, was not quite what I had hoped.  Sure, he delivered some intelligent high brow sci-fi but he managed to keep so many of the elements that I disliked in the first few seasons of the new series.  Still, I have to give him a thumbs up but at no point did he deliver another “The Empty Child” or “The Girl in the Fireplace.”

I has very high expectations for “The Impossible Astronaut” and right away I saw many things I like about Moffat.  He has the creepy child voice over the phone and unexplainable and even surreal imagery like the astronaut coming out of the lake. Almost 2001: A Space Odyssey like.  He has presented to us a new alien that is well designed and nightmarish.  He also has thrown in so many events that are attached to questions and wrapped them all around a complex time travel format.

Despite all this the complexity , it is getting too commonplace and perhaps boring at times.  Since you have so many things going on and deaths and other odd events, you know that time travel will reset everything.  Relying on time travel to fix everything all the time is getting to me even though I usually love how Moffat handles it.  Moffat is using time travel like how Russell T. Davies over used the sonic screwdriver.

Moffat has also expanded on Russell T. Davies’s need to put the Doctor on a giant pedestal by continuing to make him a sex symbol of all magnitudes.  The scene of the Doctor posing for the artist is not a funny scene and it did absolutely nothing to move the story forward. It was just there for a cheap thrill to appeal to the masses. Hardy har har.

With more River Song questions and throwaway lines that will continue to be referenced throughout the season and you have a very busy first episode that is no doubt being dissected to death on the forums.  “What does this mean?” What does that mean?”  “Could that be Sontaran?”  “Is there a Cyberman in the space suit?” etc.  Thankfully the writers of this show tee off on all this speculation and thrive on throwing in red herrings and the smallest details from photos on the fridge, clown paintings on the wall to subtle looks from characters.  It creates an illusion that the series is much more complex and that the viewer is more involved in the story by making them think they see something that is actually not even there or there, but blatantly obvious to everyone.

Going back to the story, as said before, Moffat has a good concept with The Silent and has so far handled the whole America trip fairly well.  Spooky imagery and very dramatic moments, especially in the TARDIS, are all pushing this episode to a better score.  One thing I have total confidence in is Moffat’s ability to explain everything unexplainable and finish the story with a satisfying conclusion.

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