Wednesday, 30 June 2010

"The Doctor in the TARDIS doesn't know!"


I was worried. Were you worried? I was. I mean I had trust in Stephen Moffat, he had written some of the best episodes of New Who. Then they released that first dodgy picture of Matt Smith. And that first look at his outfit didn't inspire confidence. A Bow tie? Nonsense. Finally I sat down to watch the new series and, my God, they had messed with the theme tune.

Five minutes and one portion of fish fingers with custard later and I was sold. Now we come to the finale, the traditional final two parter that wraps up the series. Back when Who was under Russell T. Davies, the finales were a bit maligned. All wrapped up a bit too easy with a fair amount of deux ex machina thrown in to get himself out of overwrought cliffhangers, so some say.

How does Moffat hold up? Well, in The Pandorica Opens, he shows that he can write a good cliffhanger. The final reveal of the true nature of The Pandorica itself was a great twist, very cleverly foreshadowed. Moffat nicely wracks up the tension, throwing in a ton of space ships and one of the great monologues from the Doctor. The final scene as well was a stand out moment. All of the Doctor's enemies in one room, an exploding TARDIS and the death of a companion.

The fact that all of these things are sorted out in the first five minutes of the next episode is a very Russell T. Davies trait. Here however it is carried out with such a flair that it doesn't matter. The structure of the first half of The Big Bang is an absolute joy, folding back in on itself, throwing in a lot of laughs at the same time.

All this is, let's be honest, due to the tour de force that has been Matt Smith's Doctor. That stiff first image has been blown away replaced by a whirling dervish of arms that has proved definitively that bow ties are cool. He captures the age and weight of the Doctor as well as the mischievous side. You see this in one of the final scenes of The Big Bang, telling his story to young Amy Pond. It's a great little scene that says a lot about the Doctor but also ties together the series as a whole, linking it back to the first shot of the first episode.

The last two episodes capture what has been so good about Moffat's Who as a whole. The great characters, the finely honed structure, the snappy dialog. Whilst not all the ends were tied up (I suspect that will be the focus of the next series) it was a great finale to a great great series.

I'm even starting to like the new music.

Phil Doyle is one of the creators of and co-host of the sonicsring.compodcast. His real job is in insurance which he hopes won't be forever. He also has every issue of the 1990s Midnight Sons crossover and does not feel guilty about it.

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