18 of 29 people found the following review helpful
A sad disappointment,
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This review is from: Doctor Who -- The Complete Series 5 [DVD] (DVD)
I was hugely looking forward to the first season of "Doctor Who" under the helm of Steven Moffat, whose work on the series I had loved and admired. As everyone knows, Moffat had written several of the best "Who" stories of recent years, including "The Empty Child", "The Girl in the Fireplace" and "Blink". That I found myself, halfway through the season, to be thoroughly disappointed and - worse - disinterested was very much a surprise to me.
The series feels very tentative. Rather than finding his own unique voice and taking the show in a bold new direction, Moffat here plays it very safe - "The Time of Angels", for example, merely treads over old ground, and a story like "The Hungry Earth" is remarkable in its uninspired ripping-off of previous "Who" stories (it is merely a shadow of Pertwee's superb "Silurians"). Indeed, looking back at the recent RTD years, Series 5 simply feels as if it's trying to do things exactly the same ... but not quite pulling it off as well.
There is also a major issue of characterisation. Almost every secondary character here is bland and instantly forgettable, while Karen Gillan's Amy Pond is a positive catastrophe - she barely feels like a character at all, more a shrill noise perpetually shrieking out one-liners. It's a major problem, therefore, that the series is focused on her story far more than it is on the Doctor's.
A couple of episodes do stand out - Richard Curtis's "Vincent and the Doctor" is wonderful, while Gareth Roberts' "The Lodger" also deserves high praise. The finale, however, is slightly disappointing - all promises of a complex, dramatic finale tying together all threads give way, and instead are are given a daft, zany, nonsensical romp - "Night at the Museum", "Doctor Who"-style. The whole thing is light as a feather - superficially fun, but little in the way of depth.
A word on Matt Smith, however - he is indeed perfectly cast as the Doctor, and is without doubt the highlight of the season, emerging from the shadow of one of the most popular Doctors ever, and making the character his own. But he really needs better material than this, Steven ... give him something to DO!
A quick mention of the DVD set itself, too - everyone, I think, realises that this set is massively overpriced, considering there are only 13 episodes, and barely any extra features - they haven't even bothered with commentaries on each episode this time. I don't know how much longer 2Entertain can justify charging this much, compared to the prices of other 13-episode series box-sets ...