Friday, 11 July 2014

Doctor Who: Step Back in Time - Series Five

As the début of Peter Capaldi's Twelfth Doctor materialises ever closer, we continue our retrospective on the past series of modern Doctor Who. This time, we've reached a new decade and it's time for a new Doctor. So as the clock will soon strike Twelve, let's look back at Eleven's first - and finest? - hour.

Starring: Matt Smith (the Doctor) and Karen Gillan (Amy Pond) with Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams) and Alex Kingston (River Song).
Produced by: Tracie Simpson, Peter Bennett and Patrick Schweitzer 
Executive Produced by: Steven Moffat, Beth Willis and Piers Wenger

Best Episodes 

The Eleventh Hour by Steven Moffat
Having the unenviable task of regenerating the series when it had never been more popular, Moffat pulls a blinder of an episode which not only introduces us to the twinkling talents of Matt Smith and Karen Gillan but also serves as a blueprint for the new incarnation of the show; fast-paced and as funny as it is clever. In just one hour, Doctor Who proved that you can better the best. 

Amy's Choice by Simon Nye
Amongst the wealth of terrific episodes in Matt Smith's début series, this quirky curio is oft-forgotten. Trapped by the enigmatic Dream Lord, the Doctor, Amy and Rory have to choose between dream and reality.In short, it has everything you could ever want from the show; an inventive premise, lots of heart in the form of Amy's declaration of love for her boyfriend and a corker of a villain. Truly, the Doctor Who episode from my dreams.  

The Pandorica Opens/ The Big Bang by Steven Moffat
Simply Doctor Who's most thrilling finale. Never before - or, arguably, since - had a single story been packed full of so many strong ideas. With the universe blown up by the TARDIS, the Pandorica, Rory brought back to life, the stone Dalek ETC, these episodes glut their audience on the magnificent amount of imagination on show. It may leave answers hanging but it certainly makes for a satisfying climax to the series. A big bang indeed. 


For only the third time in Doctor Who history (after numbers Three and Nine), the new Doctor was accompanied on his fourth-dimensional travels with a new companion. This time around the companion came in the form of Amelia 'Amy' Pond, an orphan girl who's known the Doctor all her life. As such, Amy's relationship with the Doctor differs as to her he is her imaginary friend brought to life, due to her never really growing up, while the Doctor still sees her as the seven year old he once met. Also, Amy is perhaps unique in having an ulterior motive to joining the Doctor aboard the TARDIS. She wanted to run away from something, something terrifying. Her wedding.
Superficially similar to Mickey Smith from Series One and Two, Rory Williams is Amy's under-appreciated boyfriend/fiancé who later on joins them on their travels. In Rory's case, however, unlike Rose who automatically chose the Doctor, Amy has trouble deciding between her two 'boys.' Although she does eventually decide and Amy and Rory become Mr and Mrs Pond. And, yes, it does work like that.
Series Five also saw one-off character River Song become a recurring character and exceedingly important person in the Doctor's life. Is that the cloister bell in the TARDIS I hear? Or is it wedding bells?

Story Arc

In strict contrast to the growing trend of the RTD era of lighter story arcs, Series Five employed the biggest yet with the developing threat of the Time Cracks. Rather than simply acting as Easter eggs for the audience to spot (although that element is present), the Cracks feature prominently in several episodes in the run-up to the finale, namely in the series opener when one is found in Amy's bedroom wall and in 'Flesh and Stone' where it is actually key to the climax of the episode. Doctor Who was clearly evolving. No longer just a series of independent stories, this series could be seen as both that and one longer story.
What's more, for a first on the show, several plot points are left unresolved in the series finale, leaving them as ongoing questions asked for the next few years of the show. This was a Doctor Who more ambitious and audacious than ever before, aiming to keep its viewers on the edge of the sofa when they weren't hiding behind it. In many ways, this series was a taster for what was to come, with many greater changes just around the corner. After this cracking series of some of the best-told Doctor Who stories ever and an exceptionally talented central cast, the show had once again proved that change was not only necessary it was welcome. Geronimo!

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