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10 October 2012 @ 08:22 pm
The Angels Take Manhattan  
So I cried, but then I've been known to cry at Neighbours so making me cry is hardly an achievement in TV terms. Beyond that I enjoyed this a lot while, at the same time, feeling a little guilty about it.

So to get the bad parts out of the way first. It was unashamedly emotionally manipulative. The story wasn't afraid to signpost clearly, "this is where you are supposed to cry", in a way that felt a little bit like a bludgeon. Secondly, despite the fact that the story construction itself was nicely tight, it left a gaping hole at the end. Just because the Doctor can not get the TARDIS to 1930s New York, the place was not, itself, an impenetrable fortress impossible to get either in or out of - unless, I suppose, the Angels continued to hold it and prevent entry or egress, in which case the story is far more unremitingly grim than is suggested.

I liked the story itself, the plot hole of an ending aside. Obviously we'd more or less seen it before in Blink, but let's face it, Blink was really good! and The Angels Take Manhattan seemed like a much more logical follow through to the angels as established in Blink than The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone. It also turned the direction of Blink upside down. In that the Doctor is manipulating the clues to bring about his desired conclusion, in The Angels Take Manhattan he is desperately trying to avoid the clues as they force him into a particular chain of events. I like the way the two stories fit together in that way.

River was very good here as well. She's not been my favourite character in the new series by a long shot, so I was pleasantly surprised at how well she worked. I think removing the burden of mystery over her role and origins has been a good thing.

I've really enjoyed Amy and Rory as companions. I know that for a lot of people they long out-stayed their welcome, but I liked the dynamics of a husband and wife team on the TARDIS, and I liked the way we got to see their relationship evolve and deepen as their stories progressed. I liked Rory's transformation from the unwilling boyfriend dragged along and largely unwanted to someone who was as invested in travelling with the Doctor as Amy was. I liked the hints we were given that Rory and Amy really did travel with the Doctor for years - leaving aside the fact that Karen Gillan looks nothing of the sort, we have to assume that Amy is over forty by the time of this episode which gives her twenty years of travelling on and off with the Doctor. I was concerned that this episode was going to be yet another tragic companion departure and I'm glad Moffat chose to give us more of a sense of hope at the end.

Ultimately, like all of this season so far in fact, I think this story was good without being great. They've all had different strengths and flaws but ultimately I'm very happy with it all. I'll be interested to see if this will be maintained now everything has changed.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/78967.html.
parrot_knightparrot_knight on October 10th, 2012 08:15 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed this very much, though thought a two-parter would have been more satisfying. The need to expand the story and in doing so use more settings and construct a much more intricate time prison for Amy and Rory would have used up much more budget, I suspect, than The Power of Three and used up more of Steven Moffat's time than he had available, though.

I suspect everything is going to change as you say - Amy's guess that the Doctor won't be visiting Earth, or at least twenty-first century Earth, for a while, prefigures the Victorian setting of some of the forthcoming stories, I expect.
reggietate: river-doctorreggietate on October 10th, 2012 08:40 pm (UTC)
I was rather hoping we'd see more of the Universe, or at least this galaxy...

I agree about a two-parter being more satisfying, but I must admit, I did enjoy what we got.
parrot_knightparrot_knight on October 10th, 2012 08:45 pm (UTC)
I'd not noticed how far we'd reverted to the Earth and spaceships-near-Earth format of the RTD seasons here!
reggietate: river-doctorreggietate on October 10th, 2012 08:58 pm (UTC)
I know alien worlds are hard to create on a BBC budget, but I wish they'd have a go a bit more often.
parrot_knightparrot_knight on October 10th, 2012 08:59 pm (UTC)
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on October 11th, 2012 09:54 am (UTC)
IIRC Davies, at least, also worried about the ease with which an audience would identify with an alien culture.
reggietate: river-doctorreggietate on October 11th, 2012 01:24 pm (UTC)
Yes, I think that was one of the concerns initially, but frankly, I don't buy it, any more than I did the same argument being made for why Rose came from where she did (in other words, kids wouldn't identify with her if she was a country girl because everyone lives in cities). I mean, to a certain extent I could see what he was driving at, certainly at the beginning when the new show wasn't yet established in the public mind, but later, not so much.

It's not as if old!Who had never been set in the countryside or in an alien culture. I always thought one of the jobs of a companion was to provide a way for the audience to have some sympathetic identification with aliens - or 'sympathetic monsters' as they might have been portrayed in the old days.

After all, the Doctor is a time-travelling alien capable of going pretty much anywhere in the Universe, he shouldn't always be hanging round Earth! :-)
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on October 11th, 2012 02:01 pm (UTC)
I find it very hard to judge, tbh. I'm very much of the constituency that likes world-building, wierd aliens, and overt SF tropes. I'm never sure to what extent the general public is or is not put off by these things. G. certainly seems to have a much stronger preference for the "normal" preferring books about schools and friendships over books about weird happenings and strange creatures which has made me realise the extent to which my childhood reading was focussed on the latter rather than the former, and also how many of those books don't have a lot to offer beyond said weird happenings and strange creatures.

She also doesn't like books which don't have a girl as the central heroine and that set intersects much better, of course, with books about schools and friends than it does with books about strange happening and weird creatures.
reggietatereggietate on October 11th, 2012 03:18 pm (UTC)
I was a looong way from being any sort of typical little girl - I think your G. must be a lot closer to the general average, and there's nothing at all unusual or wrong in that, in fact I would guess she's very much in the majority. Then again, her tastes may change with time, or maybe she'll take an interest in heroine-centric YA later on.

Has she read 'Charlotte Sometimes?' That combines strange happenings with school and friends. I wish more modern children's books were as good as that, but they all seem to be about vampires these days...
louisedennislouisedennis on October 11th, 2012 03:27 pm (UTC)
We read her Charlotte Sometimes and she wasn't terribly impressed, though she stuck with it to the end - tbh I think we may have tried her a bit early on that, either that or it isn't good read-out-loud fodder, she got bored in the descriptive passages. B. is successfully reading her a lot of Andre Norton's children's output, and she also enjoys a lot of Anime (again there are a lot of schoolgirl heroines in Anime and B. chooses carefully) but it is clear in the library that she gravitates towards books with pictures of school children on the front rather than pictures of dragons. I think at heart the problem is that the presence of dragons do not, in her mind, compensate for the lack of a decent heroine.

At the moment I'm working my way through Noel Streatfield with her so we've not done much magical stuff recently.
reggietatereggietate on October 11th, 2012 03:54 pm (UTC)
Her age may have a good deal to do with it. Streatfield's books are great fun, and probably the right sort of age range, certainly for bedtime reading aloud. Once she gets a bit older and starts reading for herself, there'll be plenty of classics waiting for her.

When she's a few years older (say around 12) I'd recommend 'The House in Norham Gardens', A Stitch in Time' and 'Going Back', all by Penelope Lively. And if you can get your hands on it, 'Cold Christmas' by Nina Beachcroft.
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on October 11th, 2012 09:54 am (UTC)
It could definitely have used a more intricate prison, presumably something tied to Amy and/or Rory in person rather than a date and location. I'm not sure that would have filled up a whole extra episode though.
reggietate: river-doctorreggietate on October 10th, 2012 08:48 pm (UTC)
I really enjoyed it, and I might possibly have shed one or two tears, though I didn't really blub properly. I thought Amy and Rory's exit was pretty well handled on the whole, and I was pleased they got to live and be together even if it meant losing the Doctor.

I decided not to worry too much about the plot holes and just enjoy the atmosphere and action.

I don't think I shall miss A and R too much, even though I liked them. I'm hoping Oswin will not have too much of a connection with Earth/family, and just enjoy wandering at random with the Doctor. I want alien planets and the Doctor getting into trouble away from humans a bit more.
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on October 11th, 2012 09:56 am (UTC)
Hard to say. I think companions with ties has helped the series gain a level of continuity and development for the characters that was difficult in classic Who. But it would be nice to have a continuity tied to something other than the here and now.
daniel_saunders: Eleventh Doctordaniel_saunders on October 10th, 2012 11:21 pm (UTC)
I never thought of you as a Neighbours viewer!
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on October 11th, 2012 09:58 am (UTC)
Watched it religiously from age about 15-18, got hooked because it started just as children's telly finished on a week night. University and more restricted access to TV cured the habit though.
daniel_saunders: Eleventh Doctordaniel_saunders on October 11th, 2012 01:52 pm (UTC)
Ah, I thought you meant currently!
louisedennislouisedennis on October 11th, 2012 01:54 pm (UTC)
Ah no! My tolerance for soap operas has lowered considerably. I find even The Archers dull and irritating these days.
daniel_saunders: Marxistdaniel_saunders on October 11th, 2012 02:00 pm (UTC)
I thought the whole point of The Archers was to be dull and irritating...
Megs: Doctor/River: Hellodqbunny on October 11th, 2012 06:51 am (UTC)
Amy and Rory's departure I was pretty satisfied with, and I actually didn't cry. It made my husband cry though. All my feels were with the Doctor and River. So much potential broken open there. They were the ones who had the plot threads dangling at the very end. I am very, very glad that for once the Doctor wasn't alone when he lost a companion.
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on October 11th, 2012 10:00 am (UTC)
I really liked what they were doing with the Doctor and River's relationship here. I think Iike River a lot better when she isn't being flirty and mysterious and I like that Moffat is letting us grow to understand that relationship slowly.