Just a note, this review won't contain any spoilers. This I vow. So series Fnarg has been and gone, Matt Smith has become the most predictable "surprise success" of TV history and before everyone else who has the same idea gets around to it, I thought I'd do a review of the series as a whole. First up, the cast and characters. My first impression of Matt Smith and Karen Gillan was that while he was a very good actor, she was better suited to her role. By the end of the series, my opinion had done a u-turn: Matt Smith inhabits the role more thoroughly after one season than David Tennant did after four. His portrayal of the Doctor owes a lot more to past incarnations, and the result is a level of consistent, enjoyable, believable characterisation that we haven't seen in a long time. Amy Pond, meanwhile, is left without solid characterisation and Karen Gillan...is far from a bad actress, but if there's a dodgy line that could go either way, she will make it painful. Supporting cast wise, there's just River Song and Rory. River remains a stillborn character, a living abortion of forced chemistry, awkwardly-misaimed attempts at sex appeal and grating smugness disguised as female empowerment, but she does have a genuinely good rapport with Amy. Rory...has his moments, but his actor isn't good enough to be sharing the camera with the two leads. The writing has improved overall, with better plots and better dialogue. I've seen complaints that the Story Arc of this season is too unsubtle (and, "Torchwood Torchwood Torchwood! In conclusion: Torchwood!" and "Shit, the episode's halfway through and we haven't mentioned Mr. Saxon yet, give him a ring" was subtle?), but what it actually does is incorporate the arc into the plots of individual episodes. It works better in some episodes than in others, but it's a much-needed shake up of the formula. The most important element it brings back, though, is imagination. Ideas. The aliens are alien, not furries, the plots are more intriguing and better resolved. This season reminds us at long last what Doctor Who has to offer that other franchises don't. It's not great; there are still lots of dud episodes and good episodes that nosedive, but it's an improvement and it gives me hope.
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