Early last week I tweeted:
In 48 hours I have seen two representations of memory and reality. One was awesome, the other was Inception.
Now, I have no desire to get into my opinions on Inception (cinematography=amazing, story=lame) but the AWESOME was the day-long Doctor Who Season 5 marathon on BBC America two saturdays ago. The network showed the entire season before premiering the season finale, and yes, I spent all day in my room watching glorious hour after glorious hour.
There could have been some awkwardness in the transition from David Tennant to Matt Smith as the Doctor, but I think that Matt Smith jumped in with enthusiasm, charm and determination. More open than Christopher Eccleston, more reserved than David Tennant, Matt Smith portrayed his Doctor with sadness, but without self-indulgence (thank you very much post-season 4 “specials”) and with necessary severity, but without harshness. Lucky for Matt Smith he has some good material. More than the performance, I really like Doctor Eleven. He is appropriately reticent with River Song (Alex Kingston) because he knows how she will die and isn’t comfortable at all with her familiarity, which I think was a wonderful avenue on which to take things; at the end of “Amy’s Choice” he tells Amy (Karen Gillan) and Rory (Arthur Darvill) that he is “The Dream Lord” but he doesn’t wait around for their sympathetic looks and reassuring pats on the back; and his gentle comfort of Amy at the end of “Vincent and The Doctor” is a wonderfully sweet close to an episode that in and of itself is an amazing response to the gross negligence that was “The Waters of Mars.”
But what is a Doctor without his companion? I am beyond in love with Amy Pond. Amy is brave, funny, forthright, loving, and refreshingly un-needy. She wants to travel with the Doctor because, well, that is what she wants to do, not because she blindly follows men about (Rose), she is being bombarded by responsibilities that are not her own (Martha) or that she hadn’t yet learned to embrace her own life (Donna). Amy loves her fiancé Rory, isn’t ashamed that she makes money as a kiss-o-gram girl, is beyond not-insecure about River and the fact that she herself will be replaced, and she genuinely just wants to see what is out there. I think all of the companions have fantastic qualities, but Amy has an infectious confidence that I have thoroughly enjoyed.
In contrast to previous season’s fixation on prophecy, inevitability and destruction, this season explored memory, choice and fortitude. Not every episode was a winner: I wasn’t terribly impressed by “They Hungry Earth” or “The Cold Below” and because “Blink” is one of my favorite episodes (S3, you are so beautiful) and therefore I think the Weeping Angels should have been left to all their single episode magnificence, but overall the stories were campy, compelling, and hopeful. “The Beast Below” was an absurd plot, but was an interesting statement about physicality and nationhood, Robot-Rory protecting the Pandorica for two thousand years (without going insane like The Doctor said he would) was a not terribly subtle but very show-appropriate way to drive home the point that our devotion to what we believe is what makes us human and what will determine our reward in the next life (and make no mistake about it, Rory being willed into re-existence in “The Big Bang” is a second life), and the whole amazing speech about how our greatest trials are our greatest achievement in “Vincent and The Doctor” brings tears to my eyes when I think about it.
A lighter touch, a bit of genuine joy, and a bowtie: what a season.
The TV Girl
P.S. How can you not be obsessed with this girl?