Doctor Who reviews aren’t easy to write under the best of circumstances (you usually either run over your word-count or run out of superlatives..) but this is an especially difficult one to pen because the plot developments come so thick and fast that not mentioning them seems unnatural. But I won’t, because all fans should be allowed to watch this excellent series six opener without preconception. It’s bloody great..
Scary, inventive, witty (standard) and brilliantly ambitious, the Doctor Who team have delivered once more. But this introduction is a yarn which asks questions and provides few solutions. Moffat has clearly decided to mix the usual madcap action with some slow-burning and devious plot-arcs – and he certainly doesn’t wait very long before blowing the whole saga wide-open. There are at least three game-changing revelations in the first 90 minutes of series six that I counted, and such is the pace of this frenetic opening that I may have missed a couple.
One thing I can say is that anyone who feared that Moffat’s second season would not be able to live up to his first will have their concerns dispelled rather quickly. Both The Impossible Astronaut and Day of the Moon open in dramatic fashion but thankfully there’s also a lot of cold-hard entertainment for us to get our teeth into as well.
The Silents are plenty menacing as villains, but the idea behind them is darker still… *Bites tongue* …and we get some great sequences including gun-toting Americans and a scene in The Oval Office. “Will I be remembered as a President Doctor?” – “Errmmm.. they’ll certainly never forget you Mr *****”. It’s also good to see all four characters receiving a similar amount of screen-time and sharing the plot burden (having said that there’s no shortage of weight..) Yet it is the diversity of these twists that will leave Doctor Who fans even more enamoured with the whole show. A couple of moments here are genuinely heart-breaking – and we’re not just talking about one person here – which is a great change of pace.
And speaking of pace, as ever there’s plenty of it. Setting the whole thing in 1969 is an obvious but inspired choice (“It’s a video phone.. whatever that is..”) and some of the time-travelling threads introduced here are truly mind-bending. Prepare your brains for a feast – Moffat has taken the Doctor to another level..