Log in

No account? Create an account
18 March 2016 @ 08:28 pm
NuWho Rewatch: The Name of the Doctor  
I liked The Name of the Doctor better than I did when I first saw it (though I didn't dislike it then). Part of that is expectation management. I wasn't expecting much of the Great Intelligence. I wasn't expecting an appearance from the yeti. I knew that the name of the Doctor was largely misdirection and I knew that we would be seeing River again.

All that made it easier to enjoy the set up on Trenzalore and the idea that the Doctor's death is a complex and valuable space-time event. I enjoyed the interactions between River and Clara who could easily have been set up as rivals. On the other hand I have less patience with the Paternoster Gang, particularly Strax, than I once had.

I still think it's a shame that the Great Intelligence (which scared me witless in the novelisations as a child) and had a good origin story in The Snowmen (albeit one with the typical flaws of a Moffat Christmas episode) had a pretty weak arc in the rest of the season culminating with it committing suicide at the Doctor, apparently in a fit of pique. I'd have loved to see it get a modern story with a similar vibe to The Abominable Snowmen and The Web of Fear with their creeping sense of events spiralling out of control and the continual doubts over who may have been suberted by the enemy. Sadly, I think its modern appearances are largely forgettable. The Silence and the Weeping Angels are both creepier and more effective and they really shouldn't have been.

The Impossible Girl arc is more coherent than River's story and all the business with cracks in the wall, the Silence, Trenzalore, etc. and so more satisfying. On the other hand, I do think it essentially robbed Clara of any real character development. She becomes a lot more interesting after this was out of the way. I think several episodes in this half season suffered from the millstone of the arc and some aspects of it, e.g., the Tardis' antipathy towards her are never adequately explained.

However, for a story burdened with a number of ongoing elements I'm less fond of, The Name of the Doctor comes out of it all pretty well. It isn't as good as the strongest stories in season 7 of Doctor Who, but it is better than the weaker stories which is no mean feat for a season finale (even if this is a finale that, by circumstance, is the first in a sequence of three specials). It makes a good job of the hand it has been dealt, but I'm glad that Moffat has since moved on to less intricate over-arching plots.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/187346.html.
daniel_saunders: Leekleydaniel_saunders on March 19th, 2016 08:10 pm (UTC)
I finished my Matt Smith re-watch a bit ahead of you (not going on to Capaldi yet, though). I was actually more disappointed with The Name of the Doctor this time around, despite finding the season as a whole better than I remembered. I'm not entirely sure why. It just seemed a bit plot-lite. The Whispermen were creepy, but didn't really do anything and nor did the Intelligence, really. It did have a good atmosphere, at least, and set things up for The Time of the Doctor, giving that story a bit more weight than it would otherwise have had. But I feel very liittle actually happened.
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on March 20th, 2016 11:27 am (UTC)
It must be said, when I came to write this, I found I had surprisingly little to say about it. It has some nice bits, nothing is particularly bad, it works well within the various ongoing arcs, there are worse season finales, but it's hard to get particularly enthused about either.