Doctor Who: Series 6a
Saturday, June 11, 2011 at 9:00PM
Matthew Kopelke in TV & DVDs

Well, the latest series of Doctor Who has finished airing on ABC1 here in Australia, and as such I thought it was an appropriate time to reflect back on the latest batch of episodes, and see if they really stood up to scrutiny. Were these the best episodes yet produced, or were they not as enjoyable as “the good old days” when Russell T Davies and David Tennant were the big names attached to the show? I think somehow the correct answer lies somewhere in the middle. This latest series had some very enjoyable moments, and at times for me was the best series since the 2nd series in 2006. But at the same time I have to admit that there were some major elements that did disappoint me and made me wonder if perhaps the show’s best years weren’t already behind it, and that maybe, just maybe, the show needed another rest for a few years? Either way, read on for ep-by-ep reflections!

The Impossible Astronaut / The Day of the Moon: This was certainly a great opening to the new series, with the location filming in America looking particularly gorgeous. A very tense moment 10 minutes into the first episode ensured the rest of the two-parter had an extra level of gravitas, and The Silence were particularly chilling as a new monster. I also have to admit that the resolution to this particular storyline felt inspired, although part of me wonders if it wasn’t resolved as neatly as we might otherwise have thought given how untied the last couple of minutes ended up being…?

The Curse of the Black Spot: Easily the most “classic series” episode of all on offer thus far this year, the episode was enjoyable enough, but felt very lightweight and inconsequential. I did enjoy the location filming on the boat, although the “enemy” as such was very lacking in threat and menace.

The Doctor’s Wife: A wonderful and delightful episode, with a great central premise and a lovely exploration of everything from 1963 through to 2011. Although I never realised the interior of the TARDIS was borrowed from the Liberator from Blakes 7 - guess we know who the System are now, eh?

The Rebel Flesh / The Almost People: Anything with Marshall Lancaster in it gets my vote, and while the overall plot of this episode felt somewhat lightweight and lacking in consequence, the exploration of semi-racial overtones was quite interesting in part, especially given the game of Switcharound the Doctor and Flesh Doctor do. Was really annoyed that the ending took the easy way out and was so cliched, but the production values and general look of this episode really rather worked for me. And let’s be honest, the last 5 minutes of this episode were worth their weight in gold.

A Good Man Goes To War: Loved the tone and presentation of this episode, but given it’s 1/2 of the overall story it’s hard to say how effective it was. The end-of-episode revelation was a bit meh, really, and the assault on Demon’s Run did feel a bit like the annual unpacking of existing costumes…

Overall, Series 6a of Doctor Who had some serious potential, but at times wasted it on really lacklustre scripts that either never fulfilled their potential, or simply took the easy way out when it came to resolving the situation. I do like what Steven Moffatt is doing with the show, but really, a man of his calibre should be trying to push the boat out on quality storytelling, not just how much timey-wimey stuff he can shove into the script. I hate to say it, but Russell T Davies had a much better handle on the emotional levels that Doctor Who could reach. This year the stories have become so much more adult in terms of complexity, but not in terms of emotion. Having said that, Matt Smith ain’t no David Tennant, but he is very firmly The Doctor in my eyes. Arthur Darvill deserves an award as Rory, and Alex Kingston and Karen Gillan are both on top form as always. Roll on Let’s Kill Hitler, I say!

Article originally appeared on The Sunday Talk (
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