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Because what the Net really needs is another person sharing his uninformed views
A kind of Alaska 
2nd-Sep-2012 03:12 pm
Tardisavatar
Doctor Who comes back for another series that'll be shown in dribs and drabs over the next six months or so, and Steven Moffat has said the 50th anniversary year won't have a big season arc like the previous few series. Although we'll have to see how true that turns out to be, since the big talking point of "Asylum of the Daleks" has been that it guest-starred Jenna-Louise Coleman, long since announced as the next companion, but not actually due to arrive on the show until this Christmas. I won't go into theories on how she's supposed to return because we'll find out soon enough. I do hope it's, somehow or other, as the same character though, as I really liked Oswin - I hope it's more timey wimey than "Martha's identical twin cousin" but at the same time I don't want a retread of the River Song "meeting out of time, and the first time he meets her she dies" theme.

I didn't know anything about Jenna-Louise Coleman before this episode so I was very pleasantly surprised by her performance - she dun more acting in this episode than Karen Gillan usually manages in a series. I like that she was sexy and flirtatious in a believable and in-control way, not just a "needs to look hot in the publicity shots" way. She didn't quite manage to get Rory to take his shirt off though, so:

One reason I hope she's back as the same character is the focus on how clever Oswin is. For the most part New-Who has avoided the bimbo companion but they've all been more street-smart than brainiacs, and we haven't seen the dynamic of a companion who can irritate the Doctor by outsmarting him since the "classic" series.

I mean, we wouldn't want a companion whose major post-TARDIS life achievement is "a spot of modelling," and who'd rather serve her husband divorce papers than think to have a conversation with him about something that's troubling her, would we?

Aside from THAT WHOLE THING, a problem I had with "Asylum of the Daleks" goes back to The Moff's claim that this series would be standalone episodes with a feature-film feel. Which the episode kind of has, yes, but it still only runs 50 minutes and I felt like a lot of stuff got rushed or wasted - most notably the desiccated corpses of The Alaska's crew, which felt like it should have been a classic Moff scary creature but which director Nick Hurran completely fluffed. And the idea of Dalek designs from throughout the series' history is a good one on the asylum planet (although if it's so inaccessible, how do the Daleks send a new one there when it goes mad?) But what are they all doing together in the Dalek Parliament? Apart from the fact that the bronze RTD-era Daleks got "completely wiped out" so many times the show had to create the New Dalek Paradigm to justify bringing the creatures back in future, different versions of Daleks shouldn't co-exist, let alone be in a Parliament together. (Since Daleks are essentially space-Nazis with a racial purity fixation, any genetic difference is to be wiped out, which is why different designs have gone to war with each other in the past.)

Still, the show's big twist (notwithstanding how it may fit into the upcoming episodes when Coleman returns) was a good one, that on a planet full of insane Daleks the damsel in distress turned out to be an insane Dalek herself. And her parting gift of wiping the Daleks' memory of the Doctor is another step towards being able to bring the Doctor back to the original weird man in a blue box. A real mixed bag of an episode then - a lot I liked, a lot I didn't, and while The Moff's still doing the work of mopping up the excesses of the RTD years, he's becoming more and more prone to complicating the series with excesses of his own.
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