Doctor Who: Series 6, Episode 1 - The Impossible Astronaut

Published April 26, 2011

Doctor Who Spoiler

It’s back! It’s back, it’s back, it’s back.

And boy is it confusing.

The first time I watched this, I missed at least 15 minutes off the start which didn’t exactly help matters. A second viewing was essential, even if I had already planned to do so to lend a hand with this blog.

As with most science fiction series, those involved have spent the off-season suggesting that the new series will be much darker than the first. Boring. Everyone says that. I was far more interested in Steven Moffat’s teaser that this two-part opener was like having the big series finale at the start.

Intriguing, and certainly very brave.

The standard softer opening - fish fingers and custard - is always there to help those who have not watched before ease into this new and exciting world. To turn that on it’s head is almost LOST-like, and, I will repeat, brave.

Doctor Who series 6 episode 1

So, to the story. It begins with a mish-mash of scenes. “It’s like he’s being deliberately ridiculous.” Why couldn’t he just pick them up from their house, instead of making them get a bus into the middle of nowhere? Weird.

Either way, within minutes the gang are all back together, enjoying a moment in a diner and a gloriously sunny picnic, before it all kicks off. Is it just me or is it hard to keep track of four distinct characters? Amy, Rory, River and The Doctor. It just feels like too many, all so loud and strong and defiant, leaving no time to remember what is great about each. Amy’s fiestiness (the legs), Rory’s simple bravery (the nose), River’s all-knowing equality (Mrs Robinson). I want more from the characters, and the more characters there are, the less time there is.

Of all the characters to be killed off, it should have been obvious that it was The Doctor, but I found that part less shocking and more curious. We know he isn’t really dead, he’s filmed a whole series worth. They can’t really have signed up Matt Smith for another 200 years of filming. It’ll be that timey-wimey stuff, so I’m just curious how it will all work out.

The astronaut and the 60s and Canton Delaware the Third is all fun and turning up in the White House is great. Considering the somewhat depressing start to the show, the pace picks up as we gallop towards the cliffhanger. Good moments such as the Doctor remembering he doesn’t like wine, River subtly flying the TARDIS, Canton’s quip to The President. It also allows for the best line of the show:

“I’m being extremely clever up here and there’s no one standing around being impressed. What’s the point in having you all?”

The big bad aliens are yet another great invention though - one of those simple things like monsters under the bed, or something in the shadows. This time, things you forget as soon as you look away. Spooky.

I have to say, I’m disappointed that Amy’s gun-shooting antics were what they were. In the trailer, it seemed far more important, far more ground-breaking. In the end, it’s just a bit confusing. A child in an astronaut suit, what Canton has to do with it all, why Amy has to be pregnant (don’t make me rant about that sort of thing again, please Moffat).

Overriding any sense of disappointment, though, I just can’t wait for the next episode. If you’ve watched this once and were left confused, I highly recommend a second viewing to make it all alright again.

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