As this season of Doctor Who has now finished, I thought I might as well run down what I thought of the series and then you guys can have your say. Beware, there may be some slight spoilers, so unless you are River Song, or you don’t mind getting slight hints, don’t read.
I’d like to start off by saying I’m not a fan of the new format of splitting the series in two. Less episodes means less tension build up over the series. I miss trying to spot the little clues that they used to scatter around to hint at the final episode. And it means we seem to have lost the two parters, which are often the best episodes of the series (Empty Child/ The Doctor Dances, Impossible Planet/ The Satan Pit, Silence In The Library/ Forests Of The Dead, Time Of Angels/ Flesh and Stone; to name but a few). The stories seem to be a bit too condensed this series (i.e. from The Dalek Asylum onwards), but it has been especially noticeable in this half.
However, having said all that, I have quite enjoyed this half of the season. Journey To The Centre Of The Tardis was a very good episode, even if the ending was a bit meh, I loved all of the references to Old Who that they put in there and it was nice to see a bit more of the Tardis interior other than the control room. Hide and The Crimson Horror where probably my favourite episodes, Hide was nicely scary at some points and Diana Rigg was brilliantly nutty in The Crimson Horror. It was good to see them bring back some of the old foes, which was what really excited me about this season, and they didn’t let me down. The Ice Warrior episode was as good as should be expected from Mark Gatiss, a man who certainly knows his Who, and I love the retro redesign they’ve given the Cybermen. I’m also glad they brought back the Great Intelligence as the big bad guy, shame they couldn’t have given him some yeti, but evil snowmen and the Whisper Men will have to do. On the subject of the Whisper Men, with all of that stuff at the start of the final episode, the rhyme about them and all that, I was expecting them to be more intimidating, have more substance, but instead a good metaphor for their impact would be when Strax tries to kill one and it just goes straight through it, they were a nothing villain. However, I’m not saying that the final episode was bad in any way, it was an excellent finale for the season in my opinion, I had a veritable Whogasm at the end. It leads on to the 50th anniversary episode very nicely, they explained Clara’s role in a way that was very satisfying and didn’t give her some massive cosmic meaning like Rose, Donna or Wilf and thankfully it didn’t try to answer the big question that they had almost been threatening to answer.
However, this does lead me onto the weak links, the first two episodes of the half. The Bells Of Saint John started out good but as soon as you thought you knew what was going on it jumped to another place and left the whole episode feeling quite empty. However, it was miles better than The Rings Of Akhaten. Now, great old Who reference at the start aside, this was possibly the worst episode since the Absorbalov waddled onto our screens. Unthreatening bad guy overload. The weird masked guys could have worked out quite well as the villain, or even the henchmen to the mummified alarm clock thing, but no, we have to have another sentient sun, lots of meaningless babble and the corniest mass sing-along this side of Disney. This episode could easily have made way for any one of the other episodes to be stretched into a two parter, or it could have just been chucked completely and another episode could have been filmed instead. It’s such a shame that the only alien planet episode of this series had to be the worst.
Anyway, that’s my opinion, now lets hear yours.