Television: Doctor Who and the Impossible Astronaut

"The Impossible Astronaut" starring Matt SmithFor the next seven Sundays, I will be writing about the Series 6 episodes of Doctor Who as I watch them.

Now, for those of you who are not familiar with Doctor Who, here’s how Neil Gaiman talks about the series:

“…look, there’s a blue box. It’s bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. It can go anywhere in time and space and sometimes even where it’s meant to go. And when it turns up, there’s a bloke in it called The Doctor and there will be stuff wrong and he will do his best to sort it out and he will probably succeed ’cause he’s awesome. Now sit down, shut up, and watch ‘Blink‘.”

No one could have put it any better.

Now, the first episode of the newest season had just aired in the UK and the US, it’s called The Impossible Astronaut for reasons that I cannot say. Not because I’m scared of spoiler-phobes who will probably kill me if I say anything about it, but rather because I’m not actually sure what’s so impossible about the titular astronaut.

Now, the episode begins with married couple Amy and Rory in 2011, two months after having gotten back from their honeymoon, and enjoying a normal life in, I’m guessing, Leadworth. They get a mysterious summons that takes them to Utah–and finds the Doctor waiting for them. But, spoilers, the Doctor they meet is not the same Doctor who saved their lives in A Christmas Carol. He’s older. Much older. 200 years older.

The Impossible Astronaut starts out with the TARDIS crew being a happy bunch. And rightly so. They deserve to be happy after the events of Series 5. And then something happens that rips your heart out. But before you can recover, the episode is already taking you to the next twist. And you really can’t say anything about this episode without spoiling something. Seriously.

But things have changed inside the TARDIS. Amy, Rory and River are now sharing a secret that they must never ever tell the Doctor. And then there’s the new monster. The Silence. It’s not as scary as it was reported to be. Or at least, that’s what I was thinking while watching the episode. And then the episode ended. And I started thinking, since we don’t remember the Silence as soon as we turn away, what if it’s right behind you? Right now even.

Matt Smith, Eleventh, is my first doctor. Even though my first Doctor Who episode was Blink, and I’ve since seen the episodes since the series was restarted in 2005. And I have to say, I continue to love the childish exuberance that Eleventh brings to the show. Tenth and Ninth were fun in their own ways, but I wouldn’t want to be part of their journeys. Well, yes, actually. But there’s always a fear of  when he leaves you. Or when you leave him. Because it seems inevitable that you’re going to part ways with that Doctor. That’s not the case with Eleventh. Because even when you’re not with him, you feel as if he’s just right beside you.

The Doctor makes people better. That is true with Ninth and Tenth. With Eleventh, he just doesn’t make you better–he also makes you want to embrace life. And this is exactly what makes The Impossible Astronaut such a sad episode. Because, I feel, that after the events that had happened here… Well, everything will change.

Now, where can I find a TARDIS that will take me to next week? So I can watch the next episode already!

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7 thoughts on “Television: Doctor Who and the Impossible Astronaut

  1. Great write up Jace. I was floored by the first few minutes of TIA and already The Silence are becoming the scariest I’ve seen so far. I started with Nine and while I call him MY Doctor, it’s hard to pinpoint now who my favorite is.

    I’ll say this though (well Moffat said it already). Out of them all, Eleven is the best at being old. He shows his age despite not looking it so well. I saw it first during The Big Bang and again when he guested on The Sarah Jane Adventures (RIP Lis Sladen).

    • Thanks, Chino!
      The Silence is different from previous Moffat monsters that they become scarier as time progresses. At the moment of first exposure, they’re kind of like any other Doctor Who villain–until you look away. And then you wonder.

      And I agree: Eleventh is amazing at playing the old guy–and at such a young age! He gives the doctor this sort-of quiet that you usually see on really old people, or war-torn veterans.

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  3. Im bit surprise that Doctor Who has a fan (or even more) from the Philippines. I had the chance to live in the UK for almost 5.5 years and I never hooked with the tv series (with 3 different lead stars). I dont know but Im not impressed with the production or maybe the whole concept of the story. Interesting review though…

    • Aaron (Guy Gone Geek) is also a Doctor Who fan. 😀 If you recall the shirt he was wearing during the last meet-up, it plays off the premise of Doctor Who’s “Blink” episode.

      I think the era of the Ninth Doctor (Christopher Ecclestion) is an acquired taste. With its financially-handicapped special effects, the reboot of Doctor Who really drew people in with its stories–not its production value. And I mean no disrespect to the production team as I’m sure they did their best with the budget they had.

      Why don’t you give Doctor Who another try? 🙂 Watch “Blink” and see if you’re still not intrigued.

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