Friday, February 24, 2017

Doctor Who Season 9 Review

Doctor Who (2005-)
Season 9 - 12 episodes (2015)
Rent Doctor Who, Season 9 on Amazon Video; Free with a Prime Membership
Created by: Sydney Newman
Head writer/ Executive producer: Steven Moffat
Starring: Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Maisie Williams
Rated: TV-PG

My rating is simple, Watch It, It Depends, Skip it. Read my previous TV reviews!

A Time Lord known as the Doctor and his companion travel through time and space in a blue police box known as the Tardis.

This season didn't grab me like previous seasons, or even Capaldi's first season. It's too concerned with creating a sprawling overarching narrative without developing the stand alone episodes. While the overarching story is definitely solid, this season is more serialized than procedural. It captures what many fans want in a modern series, but I like when the show hops around genres. With four two-part episodes we got fewer stories.
This season explores death and loss and the Doctor. From the first episode we begin unlocking the Doctor's background. This season is very much an analysis. It's a dark and brooding season where even stand alone stories tie into the main narrative.
This season is driving to a purpose and every episode builds to that point. It's a focus unlike previous seasons and while I think many will rank this season very high, I liked the freedom exhibited in earlier seasons where each episode was its own distinct adventure.
Watch it.

Of the 12 episodes three of them were official two parters, and the last two episodes might as well be a two parter.
This season is an integrated experience. It certainly has a cohesiveness, but I miss the one off episodes that didn't have to adhere to an overarching narrative.

This season has some neat moments, and the story as a whole works really well, but there aren't any episodes I'm likely to hold up by themselves. While Heaven Sent is definitely worth mentioning, it's experimental nature makes it a neat one off, but not something I'd watch again for fun. It's a piece of the overall puzzle that is this season.
The season starts heavy with a two parter that explores the Doctor's compassion. It shows off how creepy the show can be in the first couple of scenes with hands rising out of the earth on a war torn planet, an eyeball implanted in each hand. It's a great first impression. The first episode ends on a cliff hanger that you know can't be right. Clara and that Tardis aren't going anywhere.

The third and fourth episodes are another two part pair with space ghosts whispering unknown phrases. The ghosts weren't as scary as they should have been. It delves into time travel paradoxes and explores the main themes of this season. The Doctor can do anything but has to follow the rules. While he follows the rules here, it's a bit of foreshadowing to later in the season when the Doctor wants to break the rules. What happens when the Doctor can't play hero and save the day?
Maisie Williams cameos in quite a few episodes. We first see her in episode five where she helps her viking village overcome advanced warriors with the Doctor's help. The end of this episode is very strong, and it draws parallels to the Doctor. Living forever can be a sad state of being.

Episodes seven and eight fall to my least favorites of the season despite tackling strong themes. It's timely, but just didn't come together.

Episode ten sets up the final episodes with episode eleven focusing entirely on the Doctor, he's the only character the entire time. This episode covers thousands of years and runs right into the final episode with revelations about why the Doctor left Gallifrey and details about the hybrid he fears.

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