Matt Smith is my favorite Doctor. I was initially skeptical, but the 11th actor to play the iconic character won me over last season, one of the best seasons of television I’ve ever watched: the intricate storylines, the moral ambiguity, and the grand emotions—I think I wept at the climax of, I dunno, every episode?—provoked by the cast through its strong rapport. Smith may not be history’s greatest Doctor. But I’ve begun to think of him as my Doctor.
So, as great as the series and its cast has gotten, why did showrunner Steven Moffat risk throwing away all the goodwill he’s accrued by opening the new season this weekend with a fucking Daleks episode—by featuring the classic villain that’s aged the worst? (Daleks debuted in 1963.) Of course, with Moffat at the helm, it was no ordinary Daleks episode: they enlisted the Doctor, their archnemesis, to “save” them, and the story was mostly set on the Dalek’s “asylum planet”—where all the broken and crazy tin boxes have been sent to rust away into oblivion.
A beautiful lady had also crashlanded there, one who listens to Bizet when not tormenting the Daleks from her cockpit; it was a clever psych-out from Moffat: we know this is supposed to be Amy Pond’s last season, and this spunky, attractive character was looking like a replacement companion… until it turned out she was a Dalek who thought she was a human. It was classic-Moffat tragedy, but still: last season opened with a terrifying new villain, THE DEATH OF THE DOCTOR, and a trip to the White House featuring Richard Nixon. Compared to last year, Season Seven’s off to an inauspicious start.
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