The Change That Was Desperately Needed,
This review is from: Doctor Who - Series 5, Volume 1 [DVD] (DVD)
There's no denying the influence and impact that Russell T Davies and David Tennant had on Doctor Who, the level of success it has enjoyed since its revival is incredible and could hardly have been predicted when they first announced its return. However like all things, eventually things run the risk of becoming stale and losing much of its impact and whilst David Tennant never lacked playing the Doctor, the shows formula and writing was becoming a little repetitive and 'Stolen Earth/Journey's End' was, for me, a general low point about for the whole series but still managed to show signs of greatness. The Specials were equally uninspiring.
This first set of the fifth series held out a lot of hope for the rest of the new series with an absolute triumph in 'Eleventh Hour' followed by the unusual and slightly more anti-climactic 'Beast Below' and the forgettable 'Victory of the Daleks'. All change is hard and it seems that for many, especially those who fell for Doctor Who under Tennant, that this new series won't measure up. If that's the case they should pack up shop and stick to the earlier dvd's because they will not like Moffat/Smith Doctor Who and should simply leave the rest of us to it instead of muttering the same unhelpful nonsense of 'Bring Back Tennant'. It's annoying because it's disrespectful to new Doctor, Matt Smith who admittedly does struggle to assert his presence initially; not helped by a massive departure in terms of style; a more clownish, clumsy, English professor. It's different but for me again, different in a good way as it feels fresh and Moffat's writing offers not just a change of maturity but also in the relationship between Doctor and Companion.
In 'Eleventh Hour' the relationship between the Doctor and new companion Amy Pond is depicted, from Amy's perspective, as a fairytale come to life, in fact the whole fifth and sixth series has played on this and relied on this even though at it's worst it becamse slightly repetitive. Karen Gillan is a quirky and feisty new companion who enjoys great chemistry with Matt Smith. Many critics indeed noted that Gillan may be too sexy for the role and the character a bit too much for children. I disagreed on this point and in fact find Amy the most relatable companion since Rose Tyler in series one.
'Eleventh Hour' is the highlight episode of the set; funny, moving and exciting with a visual style to suggest a more darker edge than before; it had a feel about it similar to way the show felt back under Eccelston who was the darkest Doctor of them all. 'The Beast Below' is a strange one because it doesn't have the fast paced thrills of the opener but it isn't a predictable monster mystery either with a few decent twists along the way. It doesn't feel as satisfying as maybe it could but it does seem to be the one episode of the fifth season that seems better and better the more times you see it. 'Victory of the Daleks' finally draws a line under the increasingly tedious last Daleks in the universe yet always another one somewhere element. The new Dalek designs are interesting but sadly this episode still has a lot of the cheesy and silliness that I very much dislike and it doesn't do much to aide the Daleks weakened image in recent years. But each episode is well acted and there are plus points to each one, especially the first two.