Saturday, September 01, 2012

"Doctor...Who?": Asylum of the Daleks

Tonight marked the return of Doctor Who, and the first time I've watched a regular season show at the same time as most of the other fans! (There were a few who had the privilege of watching a sneak preview last weekend, but I unfortunately missed the preview in Toronto when I had to deal with a moving emergency and made an unscheduled trip from Toronto to London, Ont to Toronto again... there's nothing like getting a text when you're in Guelph saying, "I've got you a ticket to the screening!" GROAN.)

Anyway, here was the scene in my house just before it started:

Me to husband, who was a DW fan long before I was, having grown up watching Tom Baker and several other Doctors, who was very excited about the reboot in 2005, and who watched part of S1 with me until I became a little too ravenous and started moving ahead without him, and he never actually picked up the series again (?!): "Will you please watch the season 7 premiere of Doctor Who with me?"
Husband: But I haven't watched, like, any of the other seasons.
Me: Please?
Him: Sure...

10 minutes later...
Me: OK, I'm waiting for you to come because it's 10 minutes in and we haven't started watching and I'm getting antsy.
Him: Nah, let it run a little and then we can click through the commercials.

5 minutes later, considering a repeat of what I did in S1:
Me: Seriously, come down NOW or I'm watching without you.
Him: OK, OK, fine...

One hour later:
Him: Wow, I'll keep watching with you if every episode is that good!


That episode was amazing. I have to watch it again to truly take it all in, but while the "who loves the other person more?" question is become a little overdone in the Amy/Rory relationship, I still liked it in this one and it made me happy. (I haven't actually blogged on seasons 5 or 6 yet, and I really should catch up on my writing on them, but the short version is, I LOVE RORY and I don't really like Amy that much... I hope this doesn't make me truly hated, but the guy stood next to her for two thousand bloody years and she moans and gripes and whines when he doesn't do the dishes or something, like COME ON. I've always felt like the Doctor wanted her with Rory more than she wanted to be with Rory, but let's move on...)

Daleks were amazing, as they usually are. I love their wit and snark, and that lovely moment of Rory being as dunderheaded as he usually is, where the one Dalek wakes up and says, "Eggs... eggs...." and Rory's picking up the sphere and asking if he's looking for this was hilarious. Both my husband and I were saying, "Eggs...!" long before the Dalek started to.

We figured out that Oswin was a Dalek pretty early on, but I thought she was still a human, like that first cloaked one we see where the Doctor tells her she's a trap and doesn't even know it (the foreshadowing of what Oswin would eventually be). We certainly didn't expect her to be a faint consciousness holding on by a thread inside the tin can that is the Dalek machine, and that was devastating. What a wonderful, sad, and beautiful moment, where the Doctor looks at her and says, "You're a Dalek," and while she can't remember much else, she knows she really doesn't want to be a Dalek. As with many Moffat scripts, he inserts an annoying reminder throughout that actually has meaning, and in this case it's the Doctor constantly asking where she was getting her milk from to make that soufflé. Turns out, it was an important question: There was no milk. Because there is no soufflé.

Everyone was amazing in this episode — Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill — as the show moved from funny to frightening (the corpses coming to life!) to heartbreaking. Doctor Who has returned with a bang, and even though the Daleks no longer remember their "Predator," there's no mistaking that the Eleventh Doctor is referring to himself when asked how much trouble they're in, and he responds, "How much trouble, Mr. Pond? On a scale of 1 to 10... ELEVEN."



Carlton Jenke said...

Awesome!! And love the surprise introduction of Oswin - she's Jenna-Louise Coleman, the new companion-to-be. Didn't see that one coming! And leaves the question of how do they get from here to there?

Colleen/redeem147 said...

Well, Moffat did say she'd be an unusual companion.

Notice how many times they said "Doctor Who?" (as a proper question, not a name). I think that final battle mentioned last year (darkness will fall) is directly tied to the Daleks remembering the answer.

Cynthea said...

The new companion?! Cool!

Sagacious Penguin said...

The sheer amount of Dr. Who is really intimidating from the newbie POV... Is it acceptable to just start at some mid-point? Is there a particularly good "gateway" season?

In other news, I JUST started watching Buffy, which is irrelevant to this post, but relevant more to this blog than perhaps any other site on the web. Gonna enjoy going through the old 'rewatch' posts...

Tom Speelman said...

@Sagacious Penguin: There are a couple good entry points. Either Season 1 from 2005 with Chris Eccleston or Season 5, which was Matt Smith's first. I would start from Season 5 though because then you can catch up to this season faster.

Now then, just watched it and SO AWESOME! Just everything was SO GOOD!!! Moffat's still got it.

Nikki Stafford said...

Sagacious: If you're looking at the entirety of Doctor Who, from 1963 onwards, then yes, it's overwhelming. But the New Series isn't as big a commitment as you'd think: There are 6 full seasons out, and each one is 12 or 13 episodes. That's about 3 seasons of a network show. I'd start with Eccleston (season 1, 2005) and go forward. Eccleston's series blends with Tennant's, seasons 2, 3, and 4, but I find Matt Smith's arc stands on its own in many ways. So you could also start with season 5, where we got a new Doctor and new companion. (But I'm a big fan of Tennant, and Catherine Tate as the companion in S4, so I'd suggest S1, but it's up to you!) ;)

Nikki Stafford said...

Ah, looks like Tom and I just said pretty much the same thing! Sorry for repeating you, Tom. :)

Colleen/redeem147 said...

I started with Hartnell in 1965, but Doctor Who is a series that reinvents itself with every new regeneration. I'd say start with whatever Doctor tickles your fancy and then go forward and backward from there. It is about time travel after all.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Fixing my comment.

If I were just starting out myself I would probably choose Eccleston in S1 of the new series. Though I myself started in the late 70s early 80s with Tom Baker, followed by Davison, and then went back and watched Hartnell, Troughton, and Pertwee. I did not watch Colin Baker or Sylvester McCoy until well later because they were not imported by the local PBS stations.

If you want to get into old who I still would probably start with new who and go backward but when you do decide to look at the older material you really can start anywhere because of the reinvention of the show and the time travel. Anywhere, that is, so long as you are not mid serial.