Its been nagging at me for a while now. Whilst I always look forward to Matt Smith episodes there is always a fear of being let down. In other reviews I have gone heavily in defence of the new doctor since I believe he should be given a chance and whilst I agreed Tennant was superb I also believe he had very little left to prove or show us and it was in danger of growing stale. I finally worked out what was bothering me after last night's episode 11.
This new Doctor Who is potentially the best ever. I will stand by that and justify it in a sec. The problem is that all the ingredients are here but it feels like they are afraid to be great so it gets reigned in. The episodes in this series, as with the last are handling childish situations in an adult manner or vice versa. On paper this seems great but the reality is we sometimes (more often than we should)end up with an episode that is neither suitable for adults or children. I am enjoying it all but I fear that some audiences are being alienated. On the other hand I sometimes think they should take the approach of Merlin which is a similar timeslot, and just forget about trying to please two types of audience and just make a really good episode even if it is for an older audience.
The issue is that in many episodes you start to feel the promise of last week's trailers is being let down (like seeing a movie trailer only to realise the best bits were in it). Then just as you start to think its lost the plot there are moments of absolute genius, moments that mean you would watch again just to feel the impact of what you just saw. Series 5 and 6 are littered with such examples ie the end of Vincent and the Doctor, Smith talking to young Amy in the Big Bang, Rory talking to old Amy through the Tardis. The acting of Smith, Gillan and Darvill along with Murray Gold's amazing score suddenly blows everything out the water. Some of the emotions being portrayed show just how brilliant these guys (and gal) are if they would just be allowed off the chain to do more with it. Smith is incredible at showing conflicting emotions, intelligence, childishness, eccentricity and compassion. Gillan has been the best in episodes 10 and 11 of series 6. At the end of episode 11 Amy was showing facial expressions that perfectly mirrored her younger self as a child (I imagine to directly reflect the innocence of the little girl the Doctor befriended). Arthur Darvill is also at his strongest in this series. Some of the recent scenes have actually been some of the most thought provoking and emotionally demanding I have ever seen in a teatime drama.
I am enjoying the longer story arc (being a fan of shows like Babylon5) and I just wish they would commit more to what they are doing. This Doctor can go down in history as the best ever if Moffat and co stop holding back. Keep the intelligent writing, the emotional integrity and the hide behind the sofa moments that define Who but dont be afraid to throw the kitchen sink in now and then. We could do with a couple of moments from the Tennant and Eccleston eras where Matt Smith gets to do a bit more action.