Friday, 31 August 2012

Matt Smith's Best Doctor Who Episodes

As the new series of Doctor Who starring Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill starts TOMORROW (!) I thought I would celebrate the occasion by having a quick run-through of the trio's five best episodes so far.

A Christmas Carol

By a way, my favourite Who Christmas Special ever. Moffat utilises his liking for signature a timey-wimey plot but imbues this one (based wholeheartedly on Dicken's classic story) with an extra warm glow and emotional heart that is sometimes sidelined by his complex storytelling. Michael Gambon is, of course, excellent as the Scrooge-like Kazran Sardick and Smith again proves he knows he's own role intimately.

The Time of Angels/ Flesh and Stone

This really is a cracking Doctor Who Two-parter. Not only does it feature the perennially scary Weeping Angels, it sees the return of River Song, her first reappearance at the time. There's some fab ideas (the Angel in Amy's eye, the time cracks, the great reveal about the statues) and its full of action but action centred on the characters - the very best kind.

The Girl Who Waited

This is an episode that really doesn't get praised enough. Yes, its 'low-budget' episode of last year but, seriously, who cares? Doctor Who has a long tradition of putting the strength of its writing and acting before everything else and this episode demonstrates that better then any other. Also, it's completely focused on the superb  Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill as Amy and Rory which is always a good thing.

The Doctor's Wife

The writer of this episode, Neil Gaiman, is my favourite author so I was always going to love it. To me, its so good because it takes perhaps the most familiar thing in Doctor Who and shows it in a completely new light; namely, making the TARDIS a woman. It's quirky, funny and at the end, almost heartbreaking. Also, Gaiman uses continuity references not in a solely-for-the-fans sort of way but so that it feels spectacular that the show has such a long history. Magic.

 A Good Man Goes to War

TGMGTW really has everything a finale should have. The stakes are raised to the highest for all involved and the thrills never stop. However, it not only works in an adrenalin-pumping sense but is stuffed full of memorable supporting characters (Silurian Madame Vastra, Sontaran Nurse Strax, Cowardly Dorium ETC) and is an excellent culmination of the themes running through the past six years of Doctor Who: the juxtaposition of the Doctor as an eccentric bumbler and also a great warrior. Technically, this is a two-parter with Let's Kill Hitler but I haven't included that here as, although it has the best title EVER, I don't think it quite lives up to 'Good Man''s heights.

So that's your lot. It was a incredibly hard task whittling the list down to these five as the Smith/Moffat Era is full of amazing episodes. I love the Smith/Moffat Era; the Smith/Moffat era is cool! The genius 'The God Complex', the surreal 'Amy's Choice' and the two hilarious episodes starring James Corden all came very close but those above just pipped them. The fact that I've not numbered them shows how difficult it was to sort out these five. However, what little I know of the five episodes to come (being a fan who dislikes spoilers) suggests that I may have to seriously rethink this list in the near-future.

On a final note, remember to watch Steven Moffat's Asylum of the Daleks on BBC One 7.20. OR. YOU. WILL. BE. EXTER-MINATED!

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