Thursday, 24 July 2014

Doctor Who: Step Back in Time - Series Six

With Peter Capaldi materialising on our screens in just under a month, it's time to up our game of this run-down through the previous series of our favourite bigger-on-the-inside programme. Earlier this month, we covered Matt Smith's first foray into the TARDIS in Series Five and now - anyone good at maths out there? - we come to Series Six. So join us as we sing Melody's Song...

Starring: Matt Smith (the Doctor), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams) with Alex Kingston (River Song).
Produced by: Sanne Wohlenberg, Marcus Wilson and Denise Paul
Executive Produced by: Steven Moffat, Beth Willis and Piers Wenger

Best Episodes

The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon by Steven Moffat
No other Doctor Who series opener sets up the episodes ahead quite as well as this one. In a year full of twists and turns and complex plots that keep you at the edge of your seat, this two-parter delivers a unique take on the classic extraterrestrial incursion ('we're not fighting an alien invasion, we are leading a revolution'). some terrific monsters and a Doctor Who explanation of a famous historical event. When, just ten minutes into the new series the main character dies, you know you're in for a quite a ride. 

The God Complex by Toby Whithouse
In a series full of gems, this thrilling, slightly surreal offering from Being Human creator Mr Whithouse is often unfairly overlooked. With a spellbinding premise - a creepy hotel with a different horror in each room - and an interesting collection of supporting characters - Rita is one of the best companions-who-never-was - as well finding time to look at the relationship between the Doctor and Amy, this is one of the bravest and most accomplished of its year. In fact, in a near-quote from the episode itself, praise it. 

Closing Time by Gareth Roberts
I've spoken before on Mr Roberts' reliability to produce the funniest Doctor Who episode of the year every time but here, a sequel to his tremendous The Lodger, he outdoes himself, creating possibly the most outright hilarious Who story ever told. Even if the Cybermen are underused, Matt Smith and James Corden simply crackle with comic chemistry and the humorous set pieces and one liners never let up. An episode to please the Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All, in all of us. 

For more on my other favourite episode of Series Six, see here


For the first time in the modern series, the regular cast of Series Six were exactly the same as the previous year. And the growing familiarity between the Doctor and his companions, arguably to a level not seen since the Tenth Doctor and Rose, shines through as surely never before had the TARDIS Team felt so much like a family unit. There's Mum and Dad and their two kids. However, here's a question for you, which is which? 
With Series Six, Rory is promoted to full-time companion and, now that Mr and Mrs Pond have tied the knot, there is a greater emphasis on the love story of Amy and Rory, and how it is stronger than their, in particular Amy's, ties to the Doctor. In the reverse, a character who's ties to the Doctor increase this series is River Song. Previously their timey-wimey relationship had been rather strained but over the course of the series it burgeons into a fully-fledged romance. Despite the reveal that River was raised a perfect assassin for the Doctor. Well, what other kind of woman was the Doctor going to fall for?
Our four heroes begin the series as a group of friends but end it as a pair of married couples travelling through time and space (though only occasionally with River - one psychopath per TARDIS, unfortunately). However, every story has to end sometime...

 Story Arc

While Series Five introduced us to the story arc of the series being, rather than a few peppered references, like a rolling stone, building and building until it got to the finale, Series Six takes this one further. If Series Five was a rolling stone then the overall arc of Series Six is a boulder crashing down a mountain. Doctor Who was more of a serial show than ever before, with plots interweaving all over the place (and time).
In content, this series revolved around the Doctor discovering the mythic Silence who had been mentioned throughout the previous year and their new plot to ensure the Doctor dies. And at the centre of all this, as hinted above, is River Song - who it is not only revealed as an agent of the Silence but also the daughter of Amy and Rory. This marks the evolution of the story arc revolving around the main heroes to actually being about the heroes themselves (the mystery of Clara in the next series continues this).
Series Six, then, combines the show's classic story-a-week philosophy with modern television's penchant for ongoing storylines. As such, the result was a winner and overseas interest for the show increased, laying the path for Doctor Who's 50th anniversary which turned out to be an international extravaganza. In short, Series Six sees Doctor Who bigger, brighter and boulder than ever before.

Next Month: Series Seven - Putting the Who Back in Doctor Who

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