Oh boy. This was a tough one. We finished it this evening, plowing through it in record time really. I wish I could say it was because I sat through some riveting television but in reality, this season felt like a means to an end for me. Something I had to watch before I could get to what's really got me curious in this series.
I've never made a secret of how I feel about Matt Smith. I don't mind him as an actor. I've seen him in some things I liked but for me, something seemed off about him as the Doctor. I firmly believe he was short changed by coming on the tail of David Tennant and the writing certainly took a downturn. For the most part, I can say that this felt like the weakest set of episodes I've seen yet.
I had fun several times. Karen Gillan was magical. Arthur Darvill quickly won me over and became a favorite of the show. Matt Smith, taken all on his own without comparisons, did a great job on several occasions. I enjoyed his quirkiness, some of the strange things he did but there are some that just felt...wrong. Off.
John Grisham is a curmudgeon of a writer, but he once said don't bother to write a novel when you're under thirty. You haven't lived enough for anyone to be interested in what you have to say. I think that's rubbish for the most part but there's something to be said about bringing experience to what you're doing.
Matt Smith was twenty-six years old when he took the mantel of the Doctor. He only finished school in 2005 then got the role of the Doctor in 2008. They revealed his involvement the following year. Throughout this season, I felt like he didn't have anything to draw on for some of the angst I expected with one exception:
At the end of the season, when he's talking to Amy as she sleeps, I felt his age then. I don't know how he did it then because most of the series, he feels like someone who isn't really qualified to be hopping around time. The quirkiness became too childish for me I suppose.
There's one stand out episode with Vincent Van Gough and that was so stunning, it could've been in any of the previous seasons. All around, stunning. I loved it. Everyone got to shine in it and they were all incredible. It was, by far, my favorite part of the season.
I stand by Amy and Rory being amazing though. They also helped elevate things. If the Doctor hadn't been quite so arrogant (there's a great article explaining how he's been afflicted with the Captain Kirk syndrome thanks to Moffat's writing), and had I not been forced to endure River Song's utter and constant smugness, I think the whole season would've been a lot better.
All this said, I admit that I liked David Tennant's Doctor the best. I miss him. He elevated the worst writing of his season to be tolerable (with the exception of the last episode of Season 3 which was just pretty much terrible). I don't think it was fair for Matt Smith to come after him even with incredible companions.
Speaking of which, I need to talk about the fact that this season really does work hard to erase the stuff in the past. I feel like a few more references would've made the universe a little less empty. That's probably the heart of what I thought of Season 5: it just felt empty.
Retouching on River Song for just a moment, her 'spoilers' and swagger aside, when she killed the Dalek at the end of the season, that was pretty amazing. I wish that Moffat wouldn't have made someone quite so flawless (making her a prisoner for killing a good man she won't talk about doesn't count as a flaw, it counts as nonsense drama).
Anyway, Season 5 Doctor Who. Rating: 2.75 out of 5.
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