Russell T. Davies was a fantastic show runner; he brought back the show from the dead. And he introduced a whole new generation to Whoniverse and I’m eternally grateful for that. His two doctors – Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant – were like previous Doctors, brilliant in the role. So, Steven Moffat and Matt Smith had a tough act to follow when they were made show runner and the Doctor respectively. And did they succeed? Well, read on to see what I think…
EPISODE ONE: The Eleventh Hour by Steven Moffat
Considering that Russell T. Davies practically used up most of the budget on the 2009 Specials, the massive behind-the-scenes change up with the production team and cast, I think that ‘The Eleventh Hour’ was absolutely brilliant! Matt Smith was phenomenal in his first outing as the Doctor, he had me from “Can I have an Apple?” he was fantastic in this episode. Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill were also introduced as Amy Pond and Rory Williams respectively. And although not as good as Smith, they were still good considering the episode focused on the newly regenerated Doctor. Steven Moffat, I salute you for this episode because this is without a doubt my favourite series opener to date.
EPISODE TWO: The Beast Below by Steven Moffat
I’ve got to say, this episode is probably my least favourite of Series 5. As it was a Steven Moffat episode, I was unimpressed. Considering that Moffat had blew me away with episodes like ‘The Empty Child’, ‘The Girl in the Fireplace’ and ‘Blink’, I was really disappointed with ‘The Beast Below’. Matt Smith was once again, brilliant as the Doctor and so was Karen Gillan as Amy. But about three quarters of the way through the episode, I was checking my watch because I have to admit…I was bored. I don’t hate the episode, I just dislike it.
EPISODE THREE: Victory of the Daleks by Mark Gatiss
Although I’m not a big fan of ‘Victory of the Daleks’, I can’t see why people dislike this episode. The only problem I have with the episode is the spitfires in space. Because I don’t accept that we could send them into space in a matter of minutes…during World War Two. I just think it could have worked better as a two-parter. But overall I really enjoyed the episode. I thought the cast was great, Matt Smith and Karen Gillan were on top form, Ian McNeice was perfectly cast as Churchill and Bill Paterson was great as Bracewell. The effects were also great, although I don’t like the idea behind the scene, I fought the spitfire fight in Space was spectacular. I think Mark Gatiss is great at setting the tone of episodes set in the past, the only time I’ve never felt like I’m in a certain time period in a Gatiss episode is ‘Cold War’ and that’s only because it wasn’t mentioned a lot. And no, I don’t have a problem with the Power Ranger Daleks (but I do prefer the Time War Daleks).
EPISODES FOUR & FIVE: The Time of Angels/ Flesh and Stone by Steven Moffat
I think I speak for almost everyone who enjoyed ‘Blink’ and ‘Silence in the Library’, when I say that I was really looking forward to this two-parter. I was looking forward to it for three reasons. 1, it was written by Steven Moffat. 2, it featured River Song and 3, the enemy of the story was the Weeping Angels. And did it live up to the hype? Not really. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy it but it’s not as strong as I wanted it to be. On one hand I think it was a great reintroduction to River Song but on the other hand, it kind of ruined the angels for me. The acting all around was fantastic, so was the setting. And I completely understand why the Weeping Angels could snap people’s necks, because there’s more than one way to kill someone. That’s just another way for the Angels to kill someone. But I don’t like how we saw the angels move. But the one thing I hate about ‘Flesh and Stone’ is Amy – she tried to seduce the Doctor on her wedding night. That is one of the reasons Amy isn’t my favourite companion.
EPISODE SIX: The Vampires of Venice by Toby Whithouse
I don’t know if I’m in the minority here but I really enjoyed ‘The Vampires of Venice’. I seem to enjoy every Toby Whithouse episode. Although it’s not my favourite episode of Series 5, I have to say how I feel about this episode. Matt Smith was on top form as the Doctor, Karen Gillan was great and this is the episode which I took a liking to Rory. I thought the fight between Rory and Francesco was hilarious, I think this episode has a lot of great humour (there is certainly a joke aimed for adults/teenagers). I loved the acting in this episode by the guest cast; I loved Helen McCrory as Rosanna Calvierri. I thought she was a great character – she just wanted to save her race from extinction albeit at the cost of another species.
EPISODE SEVEN: Amy’s Choice by Simon Nye
Like I said in my Series 4 Retrospective, the Doctor works best in situations which he’s never been before and there is not one episode of Doctor Who where the Doctor and his companions are trapped in a dream realm. There isn’t any that I know of in any sort of media. The Doctor and his companions where certainly pushed in this episode especially Amy, she had to choose what world was real - either the TARDIS or Leadworth. And the great thing is – she’s not just picking between the worlds, she’s picking the Doctor or Rory. And that’s something that I loved in this episode. The Dream Lord was a great villain in this episode; Toby Jones was perfectly cast in the episode.
EPISODES EIGHT & NINE: The Hungry Earth/ Cold Blood by Chris Chibnall
Right lets get the elephant out of the room here, yes, this episode is literally a modern take on ‘The Silurians’ but does that mean that its bad? No, I happen to think this is a great two-parter. Sure, I would have preferred a less humanised version of the Silurians because lets face it, although the production team use great prosthetics for the Silurians, I can honestly say that to me…they aren’t the Silurians, I just think that the classic look is more iconic. Anyway apart from that, I really enjoyed the episode. Unlike some episodes in New Who, this episode seemed more…grown up. Sure it has its moments of fun but it was kind of dark, such as Ambrose killing Alaya and Rory being erased from existence. Chris Chibnall, I salute you for writing this great two-parter.
EPISODE TEN: Vincent and the Doctor by Richard Curtis
Okay, I know some people who hate this episode. But I love ‘Vincent and the Doctor’, it isn’t afraid to delve into the mind of (in my opinion) the greatest artist who ever lived, as well as give us a dark and realistic portrayal on how the world used to view mental illness. Matt Smith is as wonderful as ever in the episode but the shining performance is by Tony Curran. His performance is as beautiful as the paintings by Van Goth himself. Although I love ‘Tooth and Claw’ and ‘The Fires of Pompeii’, this is without a doubt in the world, the best historical episode in Doctor Who History.
EPISODE ELEVEN: The Lodger by Gareth Roberts
Like ‘Love and Monsters’ and ‘Midnight’ before it, ‘The Lodger’ finds itself in the category of “low-budget episodes” which has become a tradition in the show since it returned in 2005. These low-budget episodes have been either hit or miss in my opinion and unfortunately in my opinion, ‘The Lodger’ falls into the latter category. I can definitely say that it isn’t as bad as ‘Love and Monsters’, but at same time I don’t enjoy it. I can’t say it’s unoriginal, because the Doctor has never before had to act human for a period of time. One of the only reasons, I watch this sometimes is because of Matt Smith; he was brilliant in the episode. I’m all for love in Doctor Who, but when it saves the day like in ‘The Lodger’ and ‘Closing Time’ it just makes me cringe.
EPISODES TWELVE & THIRTEEN: The Pandorica Opens/ The Big Bang by Steven Moffat
I know I’m in the minority here but I love this two-parter, I think this is Steven Moffat’s greatest episode to date. What makes this two-parter easily the best series finale since the show came back is the sense of scale. And not in the RTD style (but I do love his style), where a huge alien invasion automatically means it’s amazing. I mean amazing in the way that every episode in Series Five has been building up to this finale in some way, shape or form. Sure in the RTD era, we had recurring themes throughout the series, but they were just sprinkles of the arc in a few episodes. In Series 5, something from the arc appeared in every episode. ‘The Pandorica Opens’ and ‘The Big Bang’ takes characters, threats, concepts and a whole lot more. Yet it seems to be an epic confrontation between the Doctor and his enemies in the first part, whereas in ‘The Big Bang’ it turns out to be so much more than that. This finale proves that to be epic, a story doesn’t have to be a massive invasion; it can be a personal story about characters we have grown to love over a portion of time. The great thing about this two-parter is that it could have failed so hard, yet it didn’t thanks to the great production team in BBC Wales.
At the beginning of this article I asked whether or not Smith and Moffat could successfully take over after RTD and Tennant left. And I’m certain you know my answer to that question now that you’ve read this article. If not it’s a definite yes by the standards of Series 5. Overall I really enjoyed Series 5, with the exception of ‘The Beast Below’ and ‘The Lodger’; I think every episode was brilliant. So now that I have wrote this article detailing my views on the episodes, I have put my order of preference below and I would like to know what you guys thought on my article and more importantly what you thought on Series 5.
1, The Pandorica Opens/ The Big Bang
2, Vincent and the Doctor
3, Amy’s Choice
4, The Eleventh Hour
5, The Hungry Earth/ Cold Blood
6, The Vampires of Venice
7, The Time of Angels/ Flesh and Stone
8, Victory of the Daleks
9, The Lodger
10, The Beast Below
I just thought I’d ask that if you disagree with any of my sentiments please don’t bash me as this is my opinion. I would not bash you if I disagreed with your thoughts. So by all means disagree if you want, but please no bashing. Anyway thanks for reading my article, Series 6 will be coming soon.