Doctor Who Series Seven, Part Two REVIEW

Doctor Who Series Seven, Part Two DVD review.

Doctor Who Series Seven, Part Two
Release Date: 20 May 2013
2013 | PG | 405 minutes | £24.99 (DVD)/£29.99 (Blu-ray)
Distributor: BBC Worldwide
Showrunner: Steven Moffat
Cast: Matt Smith, Jenna-Louise Coleman, Neve McIntosh, Richard E Grant, Catrin Stewart, Dan Starkey

The pay-off was stunning. Suddenly, in “The Name Of The Doctor” the audacity and elegance of the masterplan emerged in all its glory from the foggy haze of missed opportunities, half-formed ideas, and frustratingly flawed genius that had preceded it.

The problem with this “Impossible Girl” half-season is how difficult it was to care about that central mystery. It seems only Steven Moffat knew what was going on, while the other writers were working from a Post-It note reading, “She’s called Clara”. While Jenna-Louise Coleman is certainly charismatic, the blank-canvas inconsistency of her character from week to week meant it was difficult to warm to her. By the time of her big sacrifice in “The Name Of The Doctor” she feels more like a plot device than a character.

That wouldn’t have been a problem if the individual stories had soared. This is the 50th anniversary year – you’d hope they’d all be classics. Sadly it’s the creakiest run of episodes since 1988.

There is plenty to enjoy. The Victorian wit, wonder and whimsy of “The Snowmen” and “The Crimson Horror”. “Cold War”, with its Ice Warrior-on-a-submarine plot, is a solid old-school Who adventure. “Hide”, a spooky, clever ghost story that’s actually a love story. But there’s an overall feeling of listlessness, as if the show’s playing things safe (and cheap) rather than pushing boundaries.

“The Rings Of Akhaten”, though full of great ideas, is virtually plotless, filling the void with cheesy alien singalongs and some embarrassingly poor FX. “Journey To The Centre Of The TARDIS” is criminally dull and makes the TARDIS feel smaller on the inside. And whoever decided we needed kids on board the TARDIS for “Nightmare In Silver” should hang their heads in shame. They near ruined the episode and brought precisely zilch to the show.

Thankfully “The Name Of The Doctor” is everything we could have hoped for from an overture to the 50th anniversary special: a wonderful, spectacular-looking, twisty-turny nostalgia-fest. Phew. The show’s still got it.

Extras:

Lots of stuff that’s already been on the internet already, basically: prequels to “The Snowmen”, “The Bells Of Saint John” and “Name”, plus the Cut-Down Confidential for “The Snowmen”. Hopefully the complete season seven box set will have some proper extras whenever it finally arrives.

Dave Golder twitter.com/DaveGolder

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