I posted this in the group "Who is The Doctor" with only one response so I thought I would post it here to give it a bit more visability.

 

Well, seeing as no one else has taken it upon themselves to start a discussion on the subject and my bud, Lee Houston Jr. and I used to chat about this on cbgxtra in the olden days, I thought I would continue the tradition here to discuss the new episodes the week after they have been shown. That is if no one is opposed to the idea. No, well then we will continue. Also try to keep in mind that possibly not everyone HAS seen any given new episode so try and avoid an abundance of spoilers

 

The Impossible Astronaut

 

I have to say that in season 5, I was NOT Matt Smith's biggest supporter and the vibe of the show altogether was a bit too kiddified for my tastes but this episode really changed that HOWEVER, one thing that did bother me was at the VERY beginning. I really appreciated the BBCWales and BBCAmerica (It's new co-producer) for taking the time to remember the late Elisabeth Sladen at the top of the show but why didn't Nicolas Courtney get the same acknowledgment? I realize possibly an oversight and maybe they will give him a memorial at the beginning of the second episode. Some might see that as nitpicking but I think the man earned it.

 

The intro to the show as well has changed with an introductory monologue done by Amy, which while a nice touch for the newer viewer I am still not sure about. Especially keeping in mind that the rumour mill (maybe it has been confirmed, I don't know) that she will be leaving by the end of the season. Also Arthur (Rory) Darvill has gotten a credit in the show's opening, I wonder how long it will be before Alex Kingston gets one as well. Speaking of our favourite Dr. Song, she seems to have a real thing against head wear. In "The Big Bang" she vapourizes The Doctor's fez and in this she shoots his stetson off his head. If she had been around after the regeneration from the first to second Doctor, I would have hated to see what would have happened to his stovepipe hat.

 

One of the biggest cheers I have to give this episode is the performance and the depth that it gave to River Song. Sure, there was the usual "Spoilers", "Hello sweetie" and "The worse day of my life" but beyond that there is a scene between her and Rory which really gives a melancholy to the relationship between River and The Doctor and you get the feeling that on some level when she met the Tenth, she knew it was all over. On a lighter note, we also see the return of The Doctor turning one switch to have The TARDIS one thing which it doesn't and then River flicks another to have it do what he really wanted it to do.

 

Again, on the side of the pluses, we see the return of the amazement that the new characters have when they experience The TARDIS for the first time, such as Richard Nixon gobsmacked when he sees The TARDIS dematerialize and Canton Delaware III going through a BELIEVABLE shock with the "bigger on the inside". I think to some extent the viewers, and through this the writers, have become a bit jaded with the wonders of the old Type 40 and every once in a while you need that WTF moment to remind of just how amazing the whole thing is.

 

NOW THIS MIGHT BE A BIT SPOILERY SO YOU MIGHT WANT TO LOOK AWAY FROM THIS NEXT PARAGRAPH

We have in this story a new alien life form but something somewhat familiar in a sense. A race that you forget if you are not looking at them (Maybe they should team up with the Weeping Angels ;) who have technology we have seen before. Rory and River Song by the end of this episode have found a command center of sorts and looking back, the technology is a re-use of the deck of the ship from the episode "The Lodger". Maybe they are connected, maybe not. Have to wait to see part 2 of the season opener to find out I guess.

SPOILERY BIT OVER

 

Just one or two final observations here: A) Is it just me or is Amy's accent getting thicker? and B) I really wish they wouldn't age The Doctor with the age of the show. As the main action of the show goes on we find out he hasn't been with Amy and Rory for six months and when he later states his age, he is 909. I know he has companions he likes to travel with but seriously, based on this, he has gone through his tenth life in the 4 years we saw him on the TV? I would have maybe left it open and added a few years if for no other reason than to give the novel writers something to work with. At this rate, I don't think he will make 920. But then again, which of us will ;) Mind you it does kind of explain WHY he is a bit gun shy about walking in to a trap having just regenerated about 18 months ago in his own timeline.

 

Anyways, those are my thoughts. Discuss.

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I still think he lies about his age.  The Seventh Doctor claimed "953" and the Third Doctor claimed "thousands of years".
Definitely possible but why? Vanity? I find that a bit difficult to believe (Well, maybe the Sixth I could see doing that). I can't see it to psychologically protect his companions. If you tell them you are 909, then that you are 1200. If you can stretch to one likely you can cope with the other. BTW, thanks for the response in the original posting Baron :)
Maybe he's crossed over and re-written his own timeline so often, that his age has changed.
When you can regenerate and you travel back and forth in time...what does age really mean, anyway?
True, regeneration is a factor but at the same time, I realize I can't speak for the character, but personally if I were him, I would like more than 3 years out of a regeneration if he is telling the truth. Time travel for him exists but he has his own personal timeline. If we use the same logic since the series started, that means Billy Hartnell was about 850 before he regenerated. I like the gaps as I mentioned to give the novel writers and such a chance to create with fewer restrictions. I don't want to get the continuity so tight we know what The Doctor had for lunch last Friday ;)
The show’s new opening voiceover coupled with this episode’s ton of expository dialogue gives one the impression that there’s a concentrated effort to “dumb down” the show for new viewers. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, per se, but a lot of it was ham-fistedly obvious. OTOH, the biggest mistake fans of shows such as Firefly make is to try to “keep it to themselves”; the producers of Doctor Who, anyway, are trying to inclusive by bringing new viewers up to speed as quickly as possible.

I think the bit with the hats is going to become this Doctor’s trademark (not just getting them shot off, but the line “Fezzes/Stetsons/? Are cool”).

I think the “melancholy” scene with River Song was designed to give her an air of mystery for new viewers. Because I know how it’s going to turn out for her, the scene fell flat with me.

I liked the bit about the Doctor’s aging. It gives “wiggle room” for comics, novels and other “untold tales.” I think Timelords age differently than other lifeforms. Every time he mentions his age it seems to advance a few hundred years, but at least it progresses at a (somewhat) consistent rate.

I like to new aliens, but they are somewhat reminiscent of the Weeping Angels. The Impossible Astronaut, too, reminded me somewhat of the Empty Child.

I’ve never done this before (in fact, I’ve yet to re-watch any episode from the previous season), but I may just watch part one a second time before I watch part two.
I think Chip from the Two Minute TImelord podcast gave a good defense for BBC America's attempts at making the Doctor more accessible for American audiences. They have made a effort unlike any previous to promote the show to american, ads are everywhere, and it would have been stupid for them not to try to enfold the people who haven't have the oportunity to see Season 5, let alone any of the previous New Who seasons.


I am thirlled with the day-date release effort, and I love Moffat's take on the Doctor. I love all the questions raised in this episode, the red herrings (no Amy is not pregnant...)...oops...got to get on a plane....finish this later.
And this new episode was the highest rated show EVER on BBC America.
I think Chip from the Two Minute TImelord podcast gave a good defense for BBC America's attempts at making the Doctor more accessible for American audiences. They have made a effort unlike any previous to promote the show to american, ads are everywhere, and it would have been stupid for them not to try to enfold the people who haven't have the oportunity to see Season 5, let alone any of the previous New Who seasons.

I agree completely. A good friend of mine (who used to post here as Kevlar57) will be watching the (new) show for the first time starting with this episode. He's a big sci-fi/gamer geek, but didn't like the original show at all. I'm curious to hear his reaction. There really was a lot in this episode for a new viewer to absorb.

Hey Jeff! Glad to see you are taking the lead on this. Personally, given the "Who Is The Doctor?" forum here, I was waiting to see if there was already an established protocol for reviewing seasons before I began a thread like this. But this is all yours. Enjoy!

Anyway...

I think Amy's monologue at the opening credits was a one shot to bring viewers up to date. But we'll know for sure with episode 6.2: "Day of the Moon".

The age of the "current" (given what happened) Doctor being a couple of years off from The Christmas Carol is no big deal, for the reasons everyone else stated. The bigger gap stated at the beginning of the episode was necessary, given what went on.

I am starting to accept Matt Smith as the Doctor too. I just wish they would get past what (to me) has been portrayed as post-regeneration problems and officially establish what personality quirks (if any) this persona has.

As to the actual adventure....

So far so good. I'm still wondering how they will resolve the Doctor's "death", although I have a few ideas in regards to who is actually within that astronaut suit.

<!dlihc nrobnu s'ymA ro ;wohemos ,flesmih rotcoD eht rehtie gnikniht m'I>

 

Not sure why it was different for you up in Canada John, but down here in America, the brief acknowledgement to Elisabeth Sladen's passing was inbetween the scenes from next week and the closing credits. I do agree with both not liking how brief it was, and no mention of Nicholas Courtney's passing. Was any mention of it ever made on the BBC beyond the Doctor Who website there?

Will there be a behind the scenes special on filming in America after part 2 airs in Canada? There is one scheduled here on BBCAmerica after "Day of the Moon" airs Saturday night.

The tribute in the UK was on CBBC that night.

The Impossible Astronaut isn't on Australian TV until Saturday night, so I'll come back then and see what you all thought of it.

 

John - We tend to only use the Main Forum for most discussions, as conversations get neglected in the dedicated discussion groups.  Which you are probably finding out for yourself.

 

Good to see you settling in here, John!

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