UPDATE - 12:00 PM CST USA / 6:00 PM UK 04/23/2011
THE TALKBACK / DISCUSSION BELOW
MAY NOW BE A
Merrick once more...
——> REGARDING SPOILERS!! <————
Good Morning everyone...
While my broad-stroke critique/mini-review of the episodes contains very little SPOILERy information, we're looking forward to WHOvians near and far conversing about tonight's premiere via the Talkback below.
Accordingly, I'd expect a significant amount of SPOILAGE to start rolling in 'round late morning/early afternoon U.S. time (today, Saturday April 23) - which is natural as the debut will broadcast in the U.K. a number of hours before it appears here in the U.S. on BBC America.
So, as far as this Talkback goes...
U.K. readers? As soon as the show begins, have at it!
Readers from U.S. and other territories? If you wanna stay virginal regarding the new Season/Series premiere of DOCTOR WHO until you've seen it for yourself...you may wish to tread very carefully herein after mid-morning U.S. time, as SPOILERS may well be afoot and we won't be doing anything to discourage them after the premiere hits in the U.K.
So there you have it. Enjoy the show...
....with a few random thoughts on "The Impossible Astronaut" and "Day of the Moon", the two part premiere of DOCTOR WHO's newest Season/Series which debuts on BBC (UK) and BBC America tomorrow, April 23.
I'll make every effort to avoid SPOILERS here, and as such it's nearly impossible to evaluate these episodes to any substantive degree. If you're looking for a ton of detail on these particular shows, check back with AICN in coming days - and/or hopefully Talkbacks for this little article will morph into readers' assessments of the new episodes as they air.
Until then, a few fleeting details may well have crept into this piece out of necessity, but there's nothing ruinous here, I assure you.
This two part installment opens (at least) two months (Amy / Rory time) after the adventures of THE BIG BANG and THE PANDORICA OPENS - the time-spanning, mind-bending, universe upheaving saga which brought last Season/Series to a dazzling, 'WTF?' close. The delivery of a number of TARDIS-blue invitations draws characters together to witness a confounding, shocking, and deeply personal event - which sets not only this two parter into motion, but clearly portends the 'game changing' heaviness WHO overlord Steven Moffat has been teasing for some time.
From very early on, there's a sense of unnerving fate hanging over Matt Smith's Doctor, a tense and tragically flavored uncertainty looming over The Doctor and River Song (The Doctor's long-time antagonist...or is she his love?...or is she him?...or is she...?) Amy and Rory seem to be back on their seesaw here, despite the upbeat nature of their reunion last year. Indeed, even the entire human race takes a kick in the balls...again...and this time the crisis nicely evokes a beloved John Carpenter genre favorite.
In short, there's clearly going to be a great deal happening this Season/Series - both conceptually and in terms of character. These introductory installments hint that the occasional raw, emotional charge DOCTOR WHO has brilliantly utilized in targeted story arcs and specific episodes since its 2005 return may now be amplified and sustained over the coming months. We might be in for a helluva ride here, and quite possibly a mighty punch in the gut.
All returning cast members are at the top of their game, each consistently nailing that potentially elusive mixture of deep affection and undying dysfunctionality. There's never a moment were you doubt these people are the characters they're presenting to us - or that they're interacting in any way which isn't genuine. No small accomplishment in this genre, or in TV and film in general. Such matters on WHO feel...so delightfully, brilliantly...easy and natural.
Mark Sheppard (Romo Lampkin from BATTLESTAR GALACTICA - you may've also seen him in DOLLHOUSE, SUPERNATURAL, and WAREHOUSE 13) guests as Canton Everett Delaware III, a dismissed FBI agent dragged back into the fold to investigate haunting and mysterious phone calls being received by Richard Nixon (teaser HERE). Not surprisingly, he immediately becomes intertwined with our Doctor and his companions - he's a great presence on this show and I hope we see more of him on DW in the future. Composer Murray Gold is back as well - his soaring and passionate score for last season/series ranking high amongst the best TV music you'll ever hear. His score for these two installments re-use many established themes from Season/Series 5, but also incorporates a few fresh movements and variations if you listen carefully. Another great CD in the making I should think.
At times, "The Impossible Astronaut" - while very much acting as a set-up for ideas that will arc through this Season/Series - also seems to be serving as a Cliff's Notes re-introduction to these characters and the overall concept they inhabit. I'm assuming this is intended to prime new viewers, or refresh the memories of causal observers. Either way, and despite this, "Impossible Astronaut" is considerably spunkier than its successor, "Day of the Moon" - which is more somber in tone, delves more deeply into the emotions of these people, and nicely illustrates the profundity of the circumstances with which they're grappling. While the ep is generally heavier in vibe, River Song does have what is perhaps her best action/smart-ass sequence to date. You'll know it when you'll see it. It's a little bit Indy Jones, and a lot of fun.
So, Season/Series 6 seems off to an excellent start, and promises to offer a flavor of DOCTOR (that sounds wrong) unlike any we've experienced before (that does too). And I hope it holds course. DOCTOR WHO, on the whole, is some of the most daring storytelling on television at the moment. In terms of how tales are approached, the narrative chances taken with both concept and structure, the curve-balls The Powers That Be are willing to throw at the people populating these stories, the emotional and comedic truths Moffat and Co. mine from often ludicrous ideas or circumstance, and their pervasive willingness to push decades-old conceits beyond expected limitations.
I'm so glad to have The Doctor back, and can't wait to see where it goes from here.
Side note: BBC America will air the entirety of last season/series- which introduced this current cast and Matt Smith as The Doctor - starting early tomorrow morning. This is leading into Season/Series 6's debut tomorrow night, and includes the freaky CHRISTMAS CAROL (holiday special) guest starring Michael Gambon (Dumbledore) and the super-hot Katherine Jenkins. If you haven't been watching DW but have been thinking about jumping in, this may be a good time. Or, if you wanna test the waters more carefully before committing, within the next few weeks I'll be posting the list of eps which got me hooked on the show - which I'm sure will spark lively debate amongst Talkbackers.
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