Doctor Who has returned! For those not in the know, the umpteenth season of Doctor Who began airing on BBC America last Saturday. The good news is the episode was really good. The bad news is I feel like I have seen it before.
I wasn't all together pleased with last season (remind yourself of why I was disappointed here). After all the hype and expectation surrounding Steven Moffat's take over of the show, last season left me feeling kind of cold. Sure things got better at the end, and Matt Smith and the last moments of the season finale (where Amy "remembers" the Doctor back to life) were awesome, but overall I felt very ho-hum about the whole thing.
Last Saturday's premiere episode had a lot of things going for it. The entire production moved to America and we got some very cool shots of the Doctor and his companions (including River Song) frolicking in the Southwest, as well as Matt Smith adorably proclaiming that Stetsons are cool. Yes, yes they are. Oh, and remember that part where the DOCTOR GOT SHOT AND DIED. Like, for realsies. First he got shot. Then he started regenerating. Then he got SHOT AGAIN AND DIED. Yikes. I'm not sure how they're going to get themselves out of that one. But at least it was completely surprising and unexpected. Unfortunately, that was kind of the last thing about the episode that was.
Look, there's no doubt that Steven Moffat is a brilliant writer. I think fans of the news series of Doctor Who would almost universally list his episodes as their favorites. The Girl in the Fireplace, the Doctor Dances, Blink...these are genius. But I'm getting the impression he is beginning to run out of tricks and has been dipping into the same well a bit too often. The Impossible Astronaut featured a creepy child's voice (The Empty Child), a silent alien enemy that messes with your mind and sight (Blink), a lumbering astronaut (Silence in the Library), and frankly, a derivative episode title (The Impossible Planet).
Was it entertaining? Hell yes. Did it have me on the edge of my seat? Absolutely. Was it scary? Affirmative. But did it feel fresh? Eh. I'm excited to see part 2 on Saturday night and anything that puts Mark Sheppard on my tv is ok by me, but again, I can't help but feel a teeny bit let down. I'm hoping things will take a more surprising turn with second episode, and maybe Moffat can break away from his standard plot devices soon. And there's always the Neil Gaiman episode to look forward to...
Doctor Who airs on BBC America Saturdays at 9:00pm EST (they are also rerunning The Impossible Astronaut at 8:00 this Saturday in case you missed it).