Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"The Impossible Astronaut", Doctor Who Series 6 Episode 1

Welcome back to a new series of Doctor Who! "The Impossible Astronaut" has finally hit our TV screens here in the US, and for once, we aren't waiting weeks, months or even years after the story is shown in the UK before we get a chance to see it. Thank you, thank you, thank you BBC and BBC America!

Now, a little prologue before we get into the episode. Matt Smith. He is ... well, he is the Doctor. Like Peter Davison, he faces the daunting task of following an immensely popular actor in the role. Like Peter, people are still a little unsure about him, even after a full season. Personally, I like him. He is fresh and even just a little edgy. He hasn't really shown any "doctor quirks" other than saying things are cool. There are times when he seems to be trying to channel David Tenant (grabbing his head in confusion when he is trying to figure something out). Gone are the days of the Doctor who knows it all (pretty much all of the classic Doctors and Christopher Eccelston ... rarely did they NOT know something or show so much angst while figuring something out). Instead of doing the "squeaky voice" (Peter Davison and David Tenant), he does a deep, dusky voice from time to time. Mostly, he acts like the Doctor should act: strong sense of right and wrong, and a desire to correct problems and injustices. So before you can say "regeneration", lets strap in and check out "The Impossible Astronaut" again.

The opening scene is, well, strange. a naked doctor hiding under a victorian lady's skirt, a story being researched by Amy and Rory, showing up in a Laurel and Hardy movie ... personally I think that is a little over the top. But what has happened in between? Why are Amy and Rory no longer traveling with the Doctor? They left with him at the end of "The Big Bang", and they were still sort of with him during "A Christmas Carol", so why are they home and living the quiet life? How much time has passed? Then the invitation arrives.

Seeing River Song get her invitation begs the question ... are prisons in the future like hotels or something?

Ok, the little introductory monologue by Amy? lose it guys. When have we EVER needed that? I mean, sure, it would be nice for someone tuning in for the first time, but most people who watch for the first time are doing so usually in the company of a long-time viewer.

The Doctor dies! Wow ... holy crap! A death and funeral pyre are the last things I expected to see ten minutes into the episode, especially the Doctor's death and funeral pyre.

Then, Amy, Rory and River meet the younger Doctor in the cafe. I don't blame River for being mad and slapping him, and now here we are with a younger Doctor (200 years younger, anyways ... when you are dealing with the Doctor, it's all relative). Like River, there is a day in my future that scares me, but for different reasons ... but more on that some other post.

The TARDIS trip to Washington DC in 1969 gives us a little glimpse into the personality of Matt Smith's Doctor. He is petulant, and quite frankly a little childish, somewhat like early Peter Davison, but more intense. The introduction of Canton Everett Delaware III, the younger version, as a G-man. The TARDIS has a stealth mode and a cloaking device. Interesting. The Doctor seems to understand that River knows how to operate the TARDIS better than he does, but like any other male with a basic type A personality, he won't admit it.

For once, the Doctor has a hard time convincing the people in authority to trust him. Then the aliens start showing up ... apparently they are protected by a limited perception filter. Unless you are looking right at them, you not only can't see them, you forget them. The aliens can apparently able to conduct and manipulate electricity. The alien wants the Doctor to be told about his future death. Not sure why, but hey, it is Doctor Who ... it will eventually make sense.

In Florida, they discover a ship identical to the one in last season's "The Lodger." The question is, are the aliens in this episode the same ones that are absent from "The Lodger"? So many questions!

Of course, of all the cliffhangers to have, the astronaut arriving right after Amy tells the Doctor she is pregnant. She shoots the astronaut, who turns out to be the little girl. However, remembering "The Lodger" the ship would project a hologram of someone who needs help in order to tempt people into the ship to test their compatibility, so I would surmise that something similar is happening here too. I guess we will find out next week, now won't we?

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