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Monday, 25 April 2011

TV Review

Doctor Who returned to BBC 1 on Saturday, with much hype and expectation. Steven Moffatt, the series producer, had really moved the franchise on from the David Tennant years and it felt as if the whole country was waiting with baited breathe to see how 'the silence would fall'.
Looking at Facebook afterwards, fans were impressed, so why do I feel a little unsure by the opening episode?
Technically, it was brilliant, a real triumph for the production team. Filmed in America, it had  wonderfully huge feel to it, managing to look like a big budget adventure and keep a cinematic feel. The performances were spot on too, and  the writing had some excellent moments.
But it just didn't work for me; perhaps it was the opening episode being a two-parter, with 'The Impossible Astronaut; to be concluded next week. Perhaps it was the darker tone, that made it hard to sympathise with the characters; it could have been that The Doctor was killed in the first act and it leant a sort of uneasy feel with him and his associates, if this is the story arc it may have been better to start getting in to it in episode two.I was also unsure about the Doctor, Matt Smith plays him excellently, but here he felt just a little too detached from everything. One thing that stuck with me was that if the Doctor saves the human race every time then he must have huge love and respect for them, if he does then why has he got his feet up on the desk of the President of the USA? That niggled me, I know he does not recognise authority but that's just a little lazy for me. I'm finding faults and I hate that, but for some reason I finished watching it and just thought 'oh'. I was neither excited nor disappointed. Maybe the concluding part will bring me back.

Previous Doctor David Tennant on the other hand was outstanding in last night's United, telling the story of Manchester United's ill-fated trip to Belgrade in the European Cup where seven of the team were killed in plane crash in 1958. This was brilliant drama, expertly directed and movingly played. Dougray Scott played Matt Busby with a very calm authority and you could not help but respect him. All the 'Busby Babes' were great too, with the story unfoldng through the eyes of a young Bobby Charlton, movingly played by Jack O'Connell. You didn't have to like to football to be affected by this drama, and you certainly didn't have to like Manchester United. This was just brilliant television, with a fantastic cast all at the top of their game. I would recommend that this film be played to the current squad of Manchester United to remind them the kind of history they are representing.


Glenn said...

I’m not a Who fan by any means, but pop in occasionally for reasons I don’t completely understand. Maybe it’s the Britishness of it. Maybe it’s because I was blown away by the episode ‘Blink’ from an earlier series. Maybe it’s because the sidekick is hot as. Regardless, I had a similar reaction to it. The ending was sudden. Rather than two episodes of beginning, middle, end, we had beginning, middle... and then the credits. With a two parter in a way that’s to be expected, but I think they could have handled it a bit better.

Zac said...

I think that's right, it could have been handled better, it just felt a bit lazy to me, as if they've forgotten the essence of the programme.
Each episode can't be brilliant, there are duff ones in every series, but this was the opener, it had to be good. It just wasn't.