Hush Reviews 'Doctor Who: Asylum of The Daleks'
Finally Series Seven of the worlds longest running science fiction series Doctor Who returned to our screens last night - hit the jump to read my review *WARNING - CONTAINS SPOILERS*
After a hit and miss sixth series (in my opinion) Doctor Who returned to our screens last night with an almighty bang - as possibly the best opener of the new run.
For those of you who have been following Pond Life, the five minisodes released by the BBC this week, we had seen Rory and Amy babysitting an Ood and The Doctor finally returning - but to an empty Pond house. It seems our intrepid companions were having difficulties of their own and have started living separate lives. And the series opens with the Ponds very much continuing to live their own lives, signing divorce papers.
But it isn't long until The Doctor, Amy and Rory are back together, and back in trouble. Unfortunately for them, they happen to be in the Parliament of The Daleks. Kidnapped, our heroes are not so much requested as ordered by The Daleks to pay a short visit to a planet they use as an asylum to stop the more deranged Daleks, where regular Daleks fear to tread.
And they are not alone, as new companion Jenna-Louise Coleman is on hand to help the trio navigate their way through the asylum and, hopefully, rescue her from a world of souffles and Beethoven.
But, of course, it doesn't quite work out as she - or The Doctor - anticipated and sets up more questions for the rest of the series, especially regarding her survival and meeting of The Doctor - since she is a Dalek. And a dead one at that by the episodes end.
As a life long Doctor Who fan I can not fault this episode and the series has really opened on a high. I was lucky enough to meet Matt Smith recently (recording the Christmas Special episode directly outside my work) and I asked him what would make this series so special in comparison to the previous two series he had worked on. His reply was 'It's like each episode is one mini movie' - and he wasn't wrong.
The Daleks actually seemed menacing for the first time since their return in 2005 and they felt like a genuine threat to The Doctor and his companions. In fact, my only grumble for the whole episode is they were not in it enough - but that's a pretty picky thing to mention. For those of you who are hardcore fans, you should have seen various Daleks from various series - including a few very old school models dating back to the Hartnell/Troughton eras. Ok, so this negates all the Daleks being destroyed, but who cares - wibbly wobbly timey wimey.
Although the real stars of the episode were Rory and Amy. This episode was very much an exploration of their relationship and for the first time we really see how much Amy loves Rory, which has been visited in previous episodes (when Amy 'kills herself' in the dream realm rather than living without Rory) and Rory only really sees this for the first time in this episode. It's touching, and both Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill managed to steal the show from Smith - not an easy job. Rory's encounter with The Daleks asking for 'eggs' was fantastic, especially his sudden realisation that The Dalek waas just having difficulty saying 'Exterminate'.
Jenna-Louise Coleman was also spot on, which I would imagine is a relief for the fans, who are probably, like me, dreading the departure of Rory and Amy. She is a strong character and delivered her lines with a sweet/sassy attitude that was truly fantastic (although the chin comments wore thin pretty quickly). Although her 'death' in the episode does leave some unanswered questions how she will be introduced on Christmas Day - I guess only time will tell.
The real nice touch at the end was The Daleks all forgetting who The Doctor is, all chanting 'Doctor Who?' in unison. I won't lie, this sent a shiver down my spine and I am seriously intrigued to see how this plays out.
The effects were spot on and you can see how much has been spent on them in comparison to the Tennant/Eccleston era. The script was strong, emotional and fast paced, with humor, emotion and pretty scary at points - exactly what Doctor Who should be.
Now I am one who tends to pick out the flaws and issues with an episode, and having watched it for a third time now, I can only say this was epic. In size, in story, in acting and in effects. If you're not sure about Doctor Who, then now is the time to jump on board with the TARDIS crew. I only hope this continues through the series.
I would give this episode nine out of ten stars, only slightly falling short of episodes such as The Doctor's Wife and Blink - it is certainly better than series six's opener and returns to a grass roots approach for The Doctor.
So roll on next week with episode two 'Dinosaurs on a spaceship'!
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