Doctor Who Season 32 (Matt Smith, 2011)
DVD Extras (box sets only) include:
No doubt regular readers will have noted my rants on how predictable the stories had become, in the sense that you could just look at where they fell within the season and easily predict what would happen and what the quality of the story would be. Well, by the time the first episode of this season was over, I knew the mould had been broken but good. There should be more two-parters in modern Who, 'cause that's when the characters get room to breathe and stretch, and good stuff can really happen and develop. Right on.
Sadly, they reverted to one of the older problems this year: the stupid spoiler ads for the next episode were once more idiotically embedded into the end credits again. ARRGGHH!! Last season was so smart in finally leaving them off. Really, no one who buys the DVD's needs those there. Chop them off in the edit, and bury them on the last disc, I'm begging you.
Christmas ExtrasThis box set begins with the one-hour 2010 holiday episode "A Christmas Carol", which you can read more about from the link to our individual Buyers' Guide Review. It is also sold separately, and there remains an advantage to buying it separately for music fans, as you will get a 57 minute feature covering the "Doctor Who at the Proms" 2010 concert. This feature was NOT included in the season 32 (series 6) box set, which is a bit bizarre. Still, the box set is a better package altogether, not least because as usual the season is better than the Christmas Special; no surprise there.
Separate HalvesI had no idea that half of the season had been delayed until autumn for first broadcast until I saw the end credits of the last story of the first half, since I prefer waiting for the full season DVD box set to come out each November rather than trying to figure out what bizarre times of the year some Canadian station will broadcast it, just to get chopped up episodes full of ads. Interesting. If half-seasons do work better for ratings, perhaps it says something sad about either audience attention spans, or the predictability of television episodes in general.
At any rate, let's hope this split wasn't the only reason that the first half of the season decided to break the season template so successfully. In fact, it feels like Steven Moffat has written a modern Star Trek style of half-season cliffhanger / next half-season opener to bridge the two halves of the season - a kind of disguised two-parter. In fact it probably parallels Deep Space Nine most closely, where such things were often disguised by different titles and separate locations. Then again, it could be just dismissed as two separate installments of the larger River Song saga that just happen to have no other episodes in between. Though I had considered calling this a two-parter, not least because it would provide more wiggle room to avoid the horrid on-screen titles, I think it is better to acknowledge that these are two very different stories altogether. And I like them both.
When all is said and done, the mini-opener for the second half is probably the best episode of the second half of the season. I just wish it had a good enough title that I could proudly hold it up and point to it without sounding like a racist moron to anyone that hasn't actually seen it.
In the end, we ended up with fewer two-parters than before. I think this season can just about get away with it though, since every River Song episode is working as another chapter of a longer saga, and some of the between-story cliffhangers have been such plot-twisting shockers.
Time, Memory, and the Mysteries of Steven MoffatSo.... we come to the end of another Steven Moffat season... and we still don't have a clue to the logic behind some of last year's key events which are the lynchpin of all the temporal mechanics and ultimate credibility for last year's stories. This is not a good thing to use to create long-term suspenseful questions. This year's stories have also handled time quite badly, and we still don't have enough answers to be able to say that we've been watching science fiction instead of fairy tale fantasy.
Perhaps the additional scenes and Moffat's own interviews say it best though, as I suspected last year. Moffat's real concern is with untrustworthy memories, which is cool, and worthy of exploration, and I'm right there for it. Blaming alternate memories on the idea of time re-writing isn't going to cut it though - best to reveal that as a red herring one day.
I'll give you the theory that I'd believe. All versions of time occur, and a person's doubles in each separate branch of time live out their experiences. Normally, they each only remember the one version that they've experienced. Their common soul remembers ALL of the different possible outcomes as having happened. Presently, not too many of us humans know how to communicate with our souls on purpose, but if memories from your double's life bled through the common interface of the soul, you would start to "remember" multiple versions of events, and multiple versions of your lives. Maybe some of that is going on here. I'll easily buy that, especially if a person gets to see something of each different parallel/branching universe, as Amy often does. I just think it's a totally unnecessary hang-up to think that one version ceases to exist if you witness or create or move into one of the other versions. Wiser minds know they all continue to co-exist, and you can avoid trick questions and make better choices when you know it.
This season has become available on DVD and Blu-ray.
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