Doctor Who Series 6 Episode 1 – The Impossible Astronaut Review

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What’s It About?

Parted from the Doctor for Two Months, Amy and Rory receive a summons to Utah alonf with River Song. There they witness an event that catapults them on a mission to save a little girl from a mysterious Space Man…

Review It

Well… Opening the series with a two parter strikes me as something that it’s odd hasn’t been done before. The pre-titles segment feels somewhat off kilter to me, as last time we saw the TARDIS crew, they were off on more adventures following Christmas. Seeing the Time Lord having a few adventures alone, having left the Ponds (come one – we all know Rory’s a Pond now!) to some semblance of normality was quite pleasing. Not that I have any wish to see the back of them, but I always like to imagine each incarnation of the Time Lord living for longer than we see on screen. Which is why references to his age irritate me slightly…

The remainder of the episode is marvellous stuff. The trigger for the adventure is superb and makes for some heart-stopping moments including a beautifully shot dusk-light lake-side scene that frankly would have made a magnificent wallpaper. Kudos to director Toby Haynes for the framing of that shot in particular. Matt Smith pulls off his lines with his usual finesse and there’s definitely a feeling of the old man coming through – “Don’t try and play games with me.”.

And what of the villains of the piece. In a word: CREEPY. What struck me in particular about the design of “The Silent” was how they evoked both the baddies in the Buffy episode Hush and the classic “Roswell Alien” design – pale flesh, large eyes and a bulbous cranium – while remaining a striking design in their own right. And the concept of forgetting about them as soon as you look away … How are children meant to sleep now?!?!? Genius stuff.

River’s dialogue with Rory towards the end of the episode was one of those quiet character pieces that work so well in New Who. “One day I’ll look into his eyes and he won’t recognise me. My Doctor. And I think that it will kill me.” A nice foreshadowing – though she’s intimating and emotional death rather than an actual one …

And the niggles?

As mentioned above, the opener threw me for – I’d have liked a bit more exposition on why the Doctor was on his own and more than a passing reference to “two months ago” from the Ponds. However, I can see how Rory and Amy would have wanted a bit of alone time to produce a mini-pond. I’d call it Duck….

In summary:

Fantastic opener – An over-funny opening is followed by the beginnings of a proper mystery for the Doctor and company. I can’t help but feel this is the kind of episode people expected when Moffat took the helm and it seems the tone is set for this series. The Silence are a fantastic creation – they look scary, sound creepy … and you can’t even remember them as soon as you look away … Magic! I have much eagerness for Day of the Moon next week!

Rate It: 4 / 5.
Dry Slaps: 0.5 Slightly off-kilter opening for me but I quickly got over it.
Reviewer: WedgeDoc

Addendum: On a slightly sadder note, I watched the CBBC channel’s tribute to Elizabeth Sladen and was more affected by it than I thought I should be really. I’ll be honest, the news of her death at an age younger than my parents shocked me as I was unaware she had the illness that took her from the world. Travel broadens the mind, Sarah Jane. God Speed on the longest journey…

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