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Thursday, October 02, 2014

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Doctor Who: Series 7

It's time again for Fishing in the Discount Bin, where I watch something and blog about it because, not being a sports guy, what else am I going to watch on Sunday afternoons?  It's time to tackle the current #1 sci-fi franchise in the world as I revisit Doctor Who: Series 7.  This appears in my notes at December 15, 2013.


When it comes to the DVDs in my collection, nothing induces more guilt than purchasing the Blu-Rays of Doctor Who. I mean, those ones are pricey, man. When it comes to purchasing films for my library, I tend to set the upper limit at $50. Anything more, and I walk away. But when the latest Doctor Who Blu-Ray set comes out, I think nothing of dropping the $80.

So, I guess that means, having purchased Doctor Who: Series 7, a few months ago, I should get my money's worth and do some blogging about it.

When it comes to the third series of Matt Smith's tenure as the Doctor, it really is a mixed bag. I think that has a lot to do with the sense of transition that was going on in this series. We don't get one series, but two mini-series, with the first one focusing on saying good-bye to the Ponds, and the second one bringing us the mystery of Clara Oswald.  And my key gripes with this has to do with the Clara Oswald half. 

I don't know...I just never found the mystery behind Clara to be that compelling.  Well, at the outset, it does appear to be an intriguing mystery.  Clara, or rather, different incarnations of her, have appeared to the Doctor and several times in his life, only to give the ultimate sacrifice to save him.  So how can this woman exist and die in so many different time periods?  It's not so much the set-up, but the execution. 

I'm sure there's a proper name for the TV Trope (I should pop over to TV Tropes and look it up), but back in the day on the Star Trek: Voyager message boards, they called it "Gilligan's Island Syndrome."  You know...we're all like, "In this episode, they finally get off the island," only for Gilligan to muck it up at the last minute, and they remain stuck on the island forever.  That's how the Clara mystery felt to me.  We'd always be promised revelations about her mystery, only for someone to say, "Nope.  She's just a normal person."  It was dead end after dead end after dead end, until the final episode, when they finally got around to it.

Plus, maybe it was just tough accepting the new companion.  With 2.5 solid series, Doctor Who became more than just the Doctor...it was the Doctor & Amy & Rory.  With those three forming the core dynamic of the show, the dynamic was thrown off when they left and Clara joined the crew.  We never get enough time to adjust to the new dynamic. 

Don't get me wrong, there's lots of good stuff to be had in this series.  Dinosaurs on a Spaceship is just as ridiculously fun as it sounds, and the finale for the Ponds The Angels Take Manhattan, is a heartbreaker.

And there was good stuff for the Clara half of the series, too.  Despite the critics going, "Meh," I rather enjoyed Nightmare in Silver, the second Neil Gaiman-penned episode where the Doctor and Clara fight off Cybermen in an old amusement park.  And The Crimson Horror is pretty good, too, with the Doctor and Clara and friends solving mysteries in Victorian times.

And that brings us to the true scene-stealers in Series 7.  In an early episode, the Doctor says he always wanted to have a gang, and Steven Moffat came up with a good one in the form of Madame Vastra, Jenny, and Strax.  This reptilian detective, her lesbian lover/sidekick, and their violence-prone Sontaran manservant were just all kinds of awesome when they showed up on the screen.  Hopefully, we do get to see more of them in the future, or, since we're wishing, maybe a spinoff.  Who knows?  They were just delights to see.

But that's all I have to say.  Just some rambling thoughts and comments now that I can take Doctor Who: Series 7, move it out of my "to watch" pile and over on to the "watched" shelf. 

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