This year, they’ve been pushing Dr. Who really heavily this year, I don’t know if they’re having viewership issues or what but there has been more attempts to generate buzz then I remember from past years.
Unfortunately, the first episode of the year just wasn’t that good. In fact, it’s one of the most lackluster episodes I remember in quite some time, which is sad because the first episode should start off strong and it just didn’t.
The episode starts with Amy signing divorce papers and the Doctor being tricked by a Dalek-ized human named Darla. Amy, Rory and the Doctor are whisked away to the Dalek asylum, where they keep all the Daleks that have gone insane or unstable over the years. The Dalek Parliament has received a transmission from a human named Oswin whose ship, the Alaska, has crash-landed on Asylum and compromised the stability of the planet’s defensive shield. Now, all the millions of insane Daleks might escape and wreak havoc throughout the universe. Normally, the Daleks wouldn’t care, but this threatens them as well. They call on the Doctor to go in and deactivate the force field so the Daleks can destroy the planet.
I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan of the Daleks in the first place, it didn’t help that Russell T. Davies over-used them so badly in the first few series of the new shows, but I don’t find them to be interesting, I find them laughable. So immediately, the episode gets marked down for the return of the metal trashcans. That said though, could it possibly have been more predictable? Seriously, the second they introduced the stupid wrist-thingies that stopped the planetary defense from turning people into Daleks, I knew Oswin was a Dalek. It was bloody obvious. What could have and should have been a surprise reveal was just… blah. The whole thing was utterly hamhanded.
The whole Amy/Rory divorce thing was idiotic beyond belief, it was entirely out of character. They’ve never made a big deal out of Rory wanting kids and… um… Amy… you *HAD A DAMN KID ALREADY*! Remember River Song? Your daughter? Complete and total crap.
And further, the Daleks think hate is beautiful? See, it’s this kind of nonsense that makes me detest the Daleks. We’re supposed to think that somewhere, the Daleks have a semi-viable society where they do more than sit around all day and night throwing hate-daggers at the Doctor. Yet, it seems that’s all they do. Not only are those who hate made into heroes, but the ones who have gone insane fighting the Doctor are specially venerated. It makes the Daleks little more than two-dimensional caricatures, laughable in concept as well as execution.
This was just a bad episode all around, perhaps made worse by the fact it was written by Steven Moffat who should have known better. I’ve been generally favorable toward Moffat since he took over as show-runner, but I think he’s made some serious mistakes in how he’s handled some of the series’ better assets. The Weeping Angels, arguably the best and scariest monsters created since it returned in 2005, were amazing in their first appearance. Subsequent appearances though made them relatively laughable. River Song, a wonderful character when introduced in the Library, has become a waste of time on all levels. In both cases, this is because the characters were introduced as single-use properties and were used to great effect at near their top edge of usefulness. The Angels were scary because you didn’t know what they could do, their actions were unexpected. River Song was a mystery and made a perfect foil for the Doctor. However, in both cases, one you knew the secret, there wasn’t much left to explore. Unfortunately, they were not left to rest on their well-deserved laurels, they were brought back again and again and each time, the new stories took away from their once great memories and, because writers had to keep trying to top themselves, the new stories got more and more absurd. The same thing has happened in the new Dr. Who episodes with the Daleks and the Cybermen especially. Sure, people like them, but that’s no reason to keep shoving them into episodes willy-nilly to get your ratings up. Make the stories good, make the villains belong, give us a reason to want to see the Daleks or the Cybermen or the Sylurians or the Sontarans. “Hey, we haven’t seen them for a while” is not that reason.
I’m holding out for a much better showing of Dr. Who next week, hopefully I won’t be disappointed.