Monday, April 25, 2011

Doctor Who: The Impossible Astronaut

The Impossible Astronaut

Well, the new season began and there was a lot of Moffat in it. First of all, Molly and I will be doing little mini-reviews of the episodes; probably nothing too in depth--especially with a two-part episode like this one. Anyhow, I've been very excited about the new series to begin, so I'm sure that I was a bit psyched and able overlook some of the flaws in that excitement.

But let's deal with the episode.

The Doctor summons all of his friends together via a mysterious summons for some event. Well, not all of his friends. I mean, Ace is alive and well during this time period, but I suppose once you regenerate, you get annoyed at your old self's friends. Kind of like perpetually going off to college and ditching your high school friends as you have an opportunity to redefine your personality.

Anyhow, they all gather together to watch the eleven hundred year old version of the Doctor make a few references to Amy being pregnant ("You put on a few pounds") and then get killed (point of note, by the way, his clothing stood up very well over the last 200 hundred years). An astronaut arrives and his face is never revealed to us as he kills the Doctor, then shoots him during his regeneration process to kill him fully. This time, instead of just remembering and re-thinking up a brand new healthy Doctor, Amy instead panics and cries. River takes out her six-shooter and fires at the slowly retreating astronaut and the bullets seem to have no effect (important to remember later as Amy will eventually shoot at the astronaut in the cliff-hanger).

The group then meets up with a 900 year old version of the Doctor (200 years before his was killed, by his chronological timeline). The rules of time once more become concrete and absolute since it is necessary in this story and the group realizes that they cannot tell the Doctor about what will happen. So, the Doctor makes another foreshadowing reference to Amy being pregnant ("I'm taking you home so that you and Rory and start making babies"), but ultimately they end up going to the White House to start the grand adventure laid out by the future Doctor's summons.

Well, the TARDIS becomes invisible as it lands, which is kind of odd since they've really hammered in the "perception filter" in the new series and the older series TARDIS supposedly had a chameleon circuit to help hide it (and it was malfunctioning after disguising itself as a Police Box, so that's why it has its iconic shape). Anyhow, they soon discover that there are aliens that are all around, manipulating things, but remain undetected because as soon as you look away from them, you forget that you've seen them. That is a very Moffat idea for a bad guy alien. While I like the idea and I think that it lends to some very creepy potentials, I cannot help but think that these aliens are more suited to be battling Buffy the Vampire Slayer than the Doctor.

Moffat also likes using little kids in as creepy of a manner as possible with the little girl's warnings to Nixon (a little different than, but reminiscent of "Are you my mummy?"). At the end of the episode we find that the little girl is inside of the astronaut outfit, despite not being that tall. Amy claims to be pregnant and shoots at the astronaut/little girl (again, remember River's bullets had no effect). Also, Rory and River found a control panel like that from the episode "the Lodger" and Rory may have been zapped, but it was off-screen and he's cast in later episodes, so he'll be fine.

This was a two-parter and not a lot of questions were answered. I'll have more opinions after the next episode definitely, but I did enjoy my time watching. However, with Moffat's last couple of two-parters, the first episode and second episode have been drastically different in tone, theme and feel (the season closer of series 5, the weeping angels two-parter, the library two-parter). So far only the "are you my mummy?" two-parter of his remained consistent from the first episode to the second.

I was 95% certain that Amy was pregnant before the reveal because of all of the foreshadowing (including the constant sickness and having to throw up for no reason). However, the only reason I didn't have it at 100% is that she drank some of the wine in the episode's start. If she was drinking anything other than wine, I would have been positive. But usually they avoid having pregnant characters do things like that on teevee, just like they usually avoid that stuff in real life as well. It's the avoidance of alcohol that made me guess correctly about pregnancy early in a Fringe episode as well.

As far as predictions: who knows? It's a Moffat episode. He likes to play around with personal time lines more than any other writer. My guess would be that, since the face was not shown of the astronaut who shot the Doctor, that it was not the little girl who was in the suit, but rather it was the 900 year old version of the Doctor in it who shot the 1100 year old Doctor and killed him. That would explain why the elder Doctor knew exactly what needed to be set up for everyone--because he experienced it from his younger perspective and knew exactly what he was getting into (hence his warning that it was vitally important that they Amy, River and Rory did not interfere with the meeting). Having witnessed it as his 900 year old self, he was aware of what would happen as his 1100 year old self and then would know to send out the invitations and tell Canton Delaware to bring some gasoline.  This is also foreshadowed by the Doctor trying on the astronaut helmet and talking about how cool it is. So the episode establishes him wearing part of the suit.

Episode Highs:
*The Doctor saying, "Brave heart, Canton". This is a reference to the fifth Doctor's (my Doctor's) comforting words, "Brave heart, Tegan."
*River's speech about each knowing more about the other as the other knows less about them was kind of touching. I'm actually not a big River fan, but this is actually the first bit of empathy I've had for the character.
*Yeah. Matt Smith's face does looks like one of those Easter Island statues.
*"Fish fingers and custard", followed by the Doctor's small smile at Amy's words was really nice.
*It was nice to see the 900 year old Doctor trust and like River a lot less than the 1100 year old Doctor. It builds that the 200 years that passed establishes more of their relationship (off-screen, of course).

Episode Lows:
*Amy and Rory's suggestion that the Doctor was being absurd in history to "wave to them through time" really means that the Elton Pope (from "Love and Monsters") and the LINDA really should have had a much easier time tracking down the Doctor's exploits in history.
*Cool baddies, but really much better suited fighting Buffy. Even appearance-wise, all I could think about was the baddies from "Hushed".
*I think Moffat tried to stick too much into this episode and the pacing became a little stunted to try to force the cliff-hanger. And also Moffat's two-parters from the past make me think that the next one will be a complete change of direction, pace and mood.
*Amy's pregnancy seems unnecessary. Since the reboot, the new series tends to focus more on the companions, which bums me out a little bit. But I think that the pregnancy isn't true. Beside drinking the wine, it just seems too irresponsible for Amy and Rory to want to go running around with Amy pregnant. So I'm sure that will be resolved in some way by the end of the next episode.
*I hate it when episodes make the title jokes in them. You know, like "I'm the Doctor." "The doctor who?" It annoys me. And this episode did it twice.
*Fetal alcohol Rory Jr.

Molly: (As always, I'll be transcribing what I can from Molly as she says it. We're at my computer as we do this review and I'll type her answers as she gives them. Her review will be in a Q&A format due to her age.)

Chuckie: So, what did you think about the episode of Doctor Who, "The Impossible Astronaut"?
Molly: Um, I liked about it that it was funny.

Chuckie: What was funny about it?
Molly: Everyone got letters and they all showed up and the astronaut shooted the Doctor. But I don't know why the little girl did that and then the Doctor was alive again, but you said it was a younger Doctor so he wasn't dead yet and that just didn't make any sense.

Chuckie: Yeah, time paradoxes can be like that. Was this episode scary?
Molly: Not really.

Chuckie: So what did Amy tell the Doctor at the end of the story?
Molly: You can call her Amelia.

Chuckie: Okay, what did Amelia tell the Doctor at the end of the story?
Molly: She was pregnant.

Chuckie: What do you think that will mean?
Molly: Um, she's going to have a baby. Like the other girl is pregnant. The one that was at Mike's.

Chuckie: Yeah, but I mean do you think that Amy will run around with the Doctor if she's pregnant?
Molly: No, because remember she's going to have a baby. Maybe she'll find a stroller and then she can.

Chuckie: Good point. Tell me a little about River.
Molly: She says, "Hello, Sweetie," and... (she climbs up onto her chair and leans over onto me and whispers into my ear.) ...she said in the future, she'll marry him

Chuckie: Why did you need to whisper like that?
Molly: Cause I didn't want anybody to hear it.

Chuckie: So, was this a good episode?
Molly: Um, kinda. Because there were some bad parts.

Chuckie: What was bad?
Molly: Um, that the girl that Amelia Pond shoots in the astronaut costume.

Chuckie: But overall, did you like it?
Molly: Yeah.

Chuckie: How would you rate it: Excellent, Good, Okay or Bad?
Molly: I'd rather rate is medium.

Chuckie: You're a girl after my own heart.
Molly: Thank you, Daddy.

Chuckie: Anything else you want to say about the episode?
Molly: I don't know what is going to happen next.  I want to hear all of the story now, so I didn't want it to end.

Chuckie: But we'll have to wait to next week, right?
Molly: Yeah.

So that's our review. I'm reserving my full opinion until we see how the story pans out. I liked it and there were cute and fun moments, but I do have some reservations about a couple of things, but they may be resolved with the next episode. I think Molly and I both rate it about a medium, though my opinion could raise or lower after seeing the conclusion.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Doctor Who (Mostly "the Eleventh Hour")

Doctor Who, M.D.

So, the other day, Molly told me that she was old enough to watch the new series of Doctor Who that will be starting up over Easter. I asked her if she wanted to watch some of the older episodes with me, so we did. We watched a couple of David Tennent episodes, including "The Sound of Drums" because she loves the song "Voodoo Child" which is played in it. Because of the references to the Doctor's hand being cut off, she wanted to watch the episode where that happened. So we put on "The Christmas Invasion" and she got to see that.

Anyhow, to prep her for the fact that it was going to be a different Doctor, I started to show her some Matt Smith episodes next. She's watched "The Eleventh Hour" and really liked it. I jumped ahead a bit (well, it is a show about time travel) and showed her "The Lodger" next. Mostly because I wanted to watch that episode again.

Well, she really likes the show and, despite being temporarily nervous about the crack in her own bedroom wall, she really loves it. So I am excited to watch the next season with her. I like to comment on Doctor Who, so I thought I would review the new series episodes with her when they come out. But in the meantime, I thought I'd give a go to see what she knew about the episodes she already saw and we decided to do a random review after her seeing five or so episodes between two Doctors.

I'm not going to comment much on them. I've already kind of semi-reviewed most of these before. But here's Molly's take on them.

Though one thing has dawned on me. Because of this introduction now, Matt Smith will forever be Molly's Doctor. For those who are Doctor Who fans, you know what that means.

Here's Molly's review:

Molly: (As usual, I'll be transcribing as much as I can from what she says. We were at my computer and I typed up what she was saying as she said it. Though she was very gabby during this session and it was hard to keep up. I'll go back and reformat it when we are finished. Due to her age, the review is mostly in Q&A format.)

Chuckie: So tell me about the teevee show, Doctor Who.
Molly: He's the Doctor. You might get confused because he's two boys. The one asked the girl for new food to try to see if he liked it. And the other one had his hand cut off. There's two of them because instead of dying, he doesn't die.

Chuckie: If he doesn't die, what happens to him?
Molly: He becomes a new person. Can I tell you about Amelia Pond?

Chuckie: Sure.
Molly: Amelia Pond, when she was big, she didn't see the last door. And, remember that guy that change into anything?
Chuckie: You mean Prisoner Zero?
Molly: Yeah. He was behind her. He tried to look like the Doctor and Amelia Pond and the other Doctor thought she was taking a nap, but she wasn't, Prisoner Zero made her do it so that he could change into her as little Amelia Pond and hold the fake Doctor's hand. I don't know why there were three Doctors.

Chuckie: Well, one was a fake Doctor. It was Prisoner Zero pretending to be him.
Molly: Then there were two.

Chuckie: Well, actually there have been eleven Doctors, Pixie.
Molly: In the movie, Daddy?
Chuckie: In the teevee show.
Molly: I didn't see all of the Doctors. You said there were eleven Doctors and I only saw two.

Chuckie: Want me to show you pictures of them?
Molly: Yeah. Of the ones I missed.

(On my second monitor, I go online and show her a compilation picture that has all eleven Doctors on it.)

Molly: One of them really looks like Willy Wonka.
Chuckie: Which one?
Molly: (She points to Colin Baker, the 6th Doctor.) Him.

Chuckie: Yeah, kind of,  I guess. He wasn't as fun as Willy Wonka though.
Molly: Why?

Chuckie: Because he was rude?
Molly: Like Veruca Salt?

Chuckie: I guess. But he wasn't greedy. Just rude.
Molly: But why was he rude?

Chuckie: Because he had a problem with his regeneration.
Molly: What's a 'generation?

Chuckie: When the Doctor before him was going to die, he regenerated and turned into that one. But he had problems with the regeneration, so he was unstable and that made him rude.
Molly: Oh.

Chuckie: So tell me about the Tardis.
Molly: His box?
Chuckie: Yeah.
Molly: It looks little on the outside, but on the inside it looks big. And there was water in there because the swimming pool spilled water into the library! (She was very animated with her hands as she told me that.) But I didn't know that there was a library in there, Daddy, because they never showed it.

Chuckie: Yeah, they kind of imply much more than they show. So, who is the Doctor?
Molly: He's not a human being. He's an alien. He saves people.

Chuckie: From what?
Molly: All kinds of bad things. Oh, and Daddy, remember when that bad guy talked to boys and girls who was upstairs and he said, "Could you help me?"

Chuckie: The one from the episode "the Lodger", where he lived with that guy?
Molly: Yeah. Him made them die, right?

Chuckie: Yeah.
Molly: Except those two. But why didn't they die?

Chuckie: Because they decided that they didn't want to leave. They wanted to stay there.
Molly: Oh. Because they loved each other, right?

Chuckie: Yeah. So, what does the Doctor do with the Tardis?
Molly: He goes to places that he wants to go, but sometimes he goes to places where that girl wants to go, Amelia Pond. Her.

Chuckie: So, tell me about Amy Pond.
Molly: (Corrects me.) AMELIA Pond. Can I talk about her with the Doctor too, because they're both in this part. The Doctor let Amelia Pond pick where they wanted to go. She dressed up like a police girl in a police dress, but she was really something else.

Chuckie: Yeah, we'll talk about that when you're older.
Molly: Why? She was a dancer-kisser. I already know that.

Chuckie: Wow. Okay. Fair enough. I've got to watch out for you when you get older, don't I?
Molly: Mm-hm.

Chuckie: Tell me what happened in the episode, Pixie.
Molly: Um, the crack and he said, "Hello is anybody in there? Hello, is there anybody in there?" And then the eye came and said, "Prisoner Zero".  Then Prisoner Zero barked.
Chuckie: When he was disguised as a man with a dog?
Molly: Mm-hm. He made the wrong sound.

Chuckie: So what happened at the end of the episode?
Molly: They caught Prisoner Zero and they eye aliens took him back home. And then the crystal eye was gone and he opened him hand and there was the key!

Chuckie: To what?
Molly: His blue box!

Chuckie: So, Amelia Pond was a little girl, right?
Molly: Mm-hm. And she was giving him food to eat, but he didn't know if he liked it and he would spit it out, but at least he tried it before he said he didn't like it.

Chuckie: Good point. But anyhow, if she was a little girl, then why was she bigger later?
Molly: Um, because he went through time and came back when she was bigger. But he saved the world, so it's okay.

Chuckie: So, how would you rate the Doctor Who episodes you've seen so far?
Molly: Um, thirty stars I'll take for it. Thirty-two starts actually.
Chuckie: What were the last two stars for?
Molly: I just meant thirty-two. I forgot the two before.
Chuckie: Okay. Out of how many stars?
Molly: Um, in July 26th. That's my birthday. Oh, and Daddy, it gets thirty-two moons.

Chuckie: Out of how many?
Molly: Out of my phone number. And thirty-two suns. I'm having them all the same.

Chuckie: So, who do you think would like Doctor Who?
Molly: Everybody that likes it.
Chuckie: That's a rather safe assessment.
Molly: Daddy, um, you didn't ask out of how many suns?

Chuckie: Okay. Out of how many?
Molly: Out of Japan.

Chuckie: Okay. Did you know that some of our friends watch Doctor Who?
Molly: Who?
Chuckie: Mike and Craig. And Pop Pop used to watch it a long time ago as well.
Molly: When he was little?
Chuckie: No, when Daddy was little. Pop Pop indulged him.

Chuckie: So, is there anything else that you wanted to say about Doctor Who?
Molly: I liked when the Doctor got naked and Amelia Pond watched him. I think that she liked him. But I don't think that he's much of a doctor, because he doesn't have patients. But that's just him name the Doctor.

So that's her review. Molly gave it thirty-two straight across the board this time. I'm very excited about including her in on our viewings of this upcoming season. There will be more then.