Operation: Platinum Age, Part 1

New contributor Elton Townend Jones surveys Doctor Who, Series 5/Season 31…

At the close of The Hungry Earth, the Eleventh Doctor is peering down on the deliciously volcanic subterranean metropolis of Homo Reptilia. What happens next won’t be known for another week, but with five episodes to go before we can safely get back on the sofa, this seems a good time to pause and evaluate what Smith & Moffat have given us so far…

On New Year’s Day I felt great trepidation regarding the arrival of the new Doctor. My eyes were still wet with tears for David Tennant; so poor old/young Matt Smith’s first moments were never going to feel right. Something seemed to jar, but I now know that it was probably me. It wasn’t that I had anything against him – he looked like a terrific choice – I was just very worried, in that fannish way, that the ‘general public’ wouldn’t let him into their hearts. I was scared that the Golden Age of Doctor Who was over.

Doctor WHo - The Eleventh HourWhen Easter came, however, not even the most optimistic fan was expecting Smith to debut in one of the most stylish, glossy, confident and complete episodes of Doctor Who ever made. From the outset, The Eleventh Hour made it clear that we were not on the Powell Estate any more. Spooky direction and the programme’s suddenly richer colour palette ensured that Steven Moffat’s ‘fairy tale’ agenda was already in full atmospheric swing when we met seven-year-old Amelia Pond.

The new Doctor’s attitude towards the little human girl was one of uncompromising equality, setting a tone for all his relationships this season. Caitlin Blackwood’s Amelia was so good that the previously anticipated arrival of Karen Gillan’s Amy was somewhat thrown off-balance and while the latter has since proven herself to be a suitably quirky foil for Smith, I don’t think I was alone in wishing we’d seen more of the Doctor’s pairing with Amelia. Perhaps if I close my eyes and wish really hard I will?

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  1. Rick714 says:

    Ouch, after a few early missteps, you lost me completely when you said you thought Blink was over-rated.

    This has been a very good season so far, with the exception of “Victory”. Although it did have one good element, the Dalek ship interior. Low ceiling, it kind of resembled a retro basement. So it had that going for it.

  2. Carn says:

    I agree with some of this (and that Blink is overrated, it really, really is. It’s a decent tale but to rate it among the very best Who ever? No thanks, and I only started liking the angels because of the recent two parter) and for me this has been the most consistently entertaining of Doctor Who, certainly of the modern era. Oh and I liked the new theme as soon as I heard it, and now I’ve grown to absolutely love it. I was never keen on the versions used during the 9th/10th Doctor era, waaaay too overdone, but this new one is great fun and I love the rhythm. I’m a bit worried now cos we’re past the halfway point so we’ll run out of episodes soon then it’s the long wait til christmas.

  3. bluebox444 says:

    I thought this article was a little harsh on Amy’s Choice. But then again, I suppose my opinions on that episode diverge from those of a majority of Doctor Who fans. I would rank it among the best episodes. The drama and character development in it were absolutely magnificent. Amy’s “What is the point of you?” line is one of my favorite scenes in all of Doctor Who.

  1. September 7, 2010

    […] observation of Matt Smith and Steven Moffat’s first eight episodes of Doctor Who (entitled Operation Platinum Age Part 1 and Operation Platinum Age Part 2).  The purpose of the article was to evaluate the season so far, […]

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