Saturday, 26 December 2009

First Impressions - Doctor Who - The End of Time

This is only a first impressions post because it's the first two parts and in all honestly this will either be the best thing ever or come crashing down on itself next week. So let's get this underway.

What was good? Well first the obvious parts, David Tennant and John Simm proved that they are two of the best British actors currently and practically any scene with one or both of these actors was mesmerizing (particularly those with both). It's going to be a shame when Tennant leaves, whilst I'm sure the writing will be a lot stronger, we'll be losing one the most talented actors in the world. Depending on how next week plays out, John Simm could actually return in the Matt Smith years, but David Tennant would be relegated to the " 'X number' of Doctors" episodes, which they haven't actually done as a whole episode yet, only the short 'Time Crash' (written by Steven Moffat, so who knows).

However yes these two actors just completely dominated this episode. John Simm particularly, playing almost a complete 180 of the Master he portrayed two years ago. However he was still fantastic and next week with him being around a lot more is just even more enticing. Honestly I do hope that someone has the bright idea to create a show with these two as the lead actors. Maybe a showcase idea where they portray different characters and tell a different story every week or if they wanted series. It would be an amazing showcase for writing and these actors. Just an idea, but its something I'd love to see, especially with actors who have such incredible chemistry on screen (much like Michael Emerson and Terry O'Quinn do on Lost)

We got RTD normal set up here, whilst I wasn't as pumped as I was a year and a half ago at the end of the Stolen Earth, I honestly can't wait till next week. I will say maybe that's a good thing, this ending felt a lot less epic than last years so would apparently take less to wrap up. Yes the Time Lords are back, but this feels a lot more intimate, with only about 5 characters they could focus on next week, it's a lot better than last years massive cast of character each having to have their own beat. Plus the promise we have for next week is that David Tennant is going to die and we ALL know that's going to happen. RTD can't pussy out like with Billie Piper and Catherine Tate so we will see a proper death (as far as any Time Lord death can be 'proper'). However I feel if he were given the choice some crazy plot-hole would mean David Tennant could stick around (hell he could what with the Other Doctor existing in the parallel world).

Alright other good things? Bernard Cribbens was great but sadly didn't get as much to chew on as John Simm despite being the announced Companion for this two-parter. It is odd that John Simm's involvement was quieted for quite a while (at least as quiet as it can get in this age of spoilers) and yet he has such a massive part within these episodes. I'm glad for it, but you'd think they'd have made a bigger deal of it.

Time Lords coming back was the next logical step for RTD so not massively surprising, however turning the whole world into John Simm was. I have no clue how that will get wrapped up but still I'm intrigued. I've seen all the making of footage for this and listened to the commentary and I have to say how much of a bloody good sport John Simm was to go through so many costume changes for his scenes at the end. Plus I'm surprised to say that all the clothes actually suited him, even the women's.

It wasn't the best set up episode RTD has done, but it felt right. He doesn't have as many loose threads as he has in the past so hopefully he can pull it all together. At the moment whether it's going to more like the Series 1 end or the Series 2 end. Whilst both were great goodbyes, Series 2 suffered with the Daleks being wiped out far too easily. So I'm hoping for more of Series 1 ending, even if that was the last time we had a regeneration and I see David Tennant getting one last meaty scene to chew on as he regenerates. But I can't honestly say.

My main complaints are just normal RTDisms. Such as the stupid campy humour, such as the Silver Cloak with obligatory gay member. I'd braced myself for that because they released all those scenes to the public so it wasn't too bad. However I cannot forgive the music playing during the alien scenes. It was completely wrong and I'm upset because it really costed Murray Gold of his normally impeccable scoring. But those are just niggles and the camp bit came with the territory. However I can say John Simm camp humour I can live with, him in dresses h actually pretty cool (his dance in 'Last of the Time Lords' was pushing it though). So I think it mostly just depends on when the camp humour is used (last year taught us to never do it with the Daleks).

However the episode was quite disjointed. It darted all over the place in terms of setup and whilst I enjoyed the performances (for some reason I've found people who disliked John Simm's performance) I can't say the story was the most satisfying. As I said it worked perfectly well as set up but was definitely one of RTD weaker set up storylines. I can't believe I'm actually somewhat defending a man who's probably going to fuck up everything next week, but this episode felt like he had a lot of ideas he wanted to get down on paper in time for the second part and I hope beyond hope it works.

If I were to rate the episode so far I'd say about an 8 out of 1o. But as I said it all rests on next Friday's episode. Let's see how the joint villains of John Simm and Timothy Dalton are able to kill everyones favourite Time Lord. Hell even if it sucks I've got Series 5 to look forward to with Steven Moffat taking over as writer.

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