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Doctor Who 6×01 “The Impossible Astronaut” Review


I have always claimed that I am not a true Doctor Who fan. I say this because (I’m seriously opening myself up to crazy negative comments here but oh well) I only really enjoy the Steven Moffat/Matt Smith Era.

Everything that came before in NuWho couldn’t quite balance the ridiculousness and the necessary human drama to be interesting or heart-wrenching.

That all changed in series five of the show, when the Doctor regenerated into his youngest form to date. It became a show that could be ridiculous, yet warm, comic, and bombastic, all at the same time. While there were some missteps along the way, I think it’s definitely the golden age of the reinvigorated Doctor Who of the new millennium. Now, sadly, Smith’s tenure as Eleven is coming to an end. So, I figured there was no better way to ring in a new beginning than by reviewing the entirety of Smith’s run on the show (save for the final, gasp, last two episodes.)

Since series 6 features an overarching plot about trying to change a fixed point in time, I figured it would be best to take a look back at these episodes by picking a moment from each episode that I would like to change. To be fair, I’ll also choose a moment from each episode that I wouldn’t change for any reason whatsoever, even if some nefarious character was holding a gun to my future nonexistent spawn’s head.

Doctor Who 6×01 “The Impossible Astronaut”

River Song, Rory, The Doctor and Amy are reunited in the Utah desert.

What I Wish I Could Change: The Pacing

This episode is amazing just the way it is, so it’s really hard to think of anything I’d want to do to edit it. However, if I’m really hard pressed to find something, I would have to go with the pacing.

While it’s great even with the pacing as is, the way the first half of this two-parter is set up, it feels like a two-parter in and of itself. What does this mean? That together, the season premiere episodes form a three parter? A quarter-parter?

In simpler terms: the way it is now, the Doctor’s death and the stuff with the president almost feel like two complete episodes by themselves. The only thing really linking them is the U.S. setting.

What I Would Never Change: Amy in the Bathroom

Wow, I could not have worded that worse.

Anyway, you’ve gotta love the great scene where Amy confronts one of the Silence in the bathroom of the White House. That scene is simultaneously horrifying and hilarious, courtesy of that poor secretary who keeps forgetting the alien, thinking it’s some dud in a mask, and then repeating the process. Things go form funny-scary to just plain scary right around the time she’s blown the fuck up.

Right here is a perfect encapsulation of what exactly it is about these creatures that make the most terrifying on the show.