Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Doctor Who: The Girl Who Waited

I really want to make something like this for a Park production. Unfortunately, this is a work of art and cannot be replicated. Don't even try. Stop now.

The Girl Who Waited is a perfect example of the direction that new-Who has taken. It's less of a "monster-of-the-week" or "sci-fi" show and more of a "space opera." That's not bad by any means, of course. In fact, the fans in both the US and the show's native UK have been welcoming to the backstories of the Doctor, Amy, Rory, and River Song. While the show's main focus is still timey-wimey and spacey-wacey, it's nice to see three-dimensional characters and growing relationships.

Lots of tributes to the series here in both its classic and current incarnations. The title of the serial is a reference to Amy Pond's character, who as a child waited 12 years for the Doctor to arrive a second time. In one scene, Rory breaks the Mona Lisa over an android's head. This is a reference to the 1979 serial "The City Of Death." It's a story that will appeal to both classic and new-Who fans.

Technically, it shines. The cinematography and lighting are obviously great, so no coverage is necessary. What really stands out is the CGI in both the landscape and most of the characters. The Handroids, the main antagonists in the episode, were costumed actors whose faces were removed in post-production and replaced with sinister looking medical equipment. The landscape wasn't WYSIWYG; it was a mixture of tight set design and 3D. What comes out is a threatening facility with a sprawling labyrinth of halls and corridors.

Karen Gillan's older appearance was also a defining factor in this episode. Instead of using an older actress to play the part, Karen herself offered to play the part in prosthetics and aging makeup. This created a believable 60-year-old Amy Pond once it became mixed with Karen's subtle acting quirks and choices. It not only brings out the best in the show's production, it's a bright moment for Karen, who's becoming a big star with the success of the programme (alongside Matt Smith and Arthur Darvill, the latter of whom is doubtlessly the show's best male companion in years.)

This will be a memorable episode of this series, and maybe even of the Eleventh Doctor's reign. Next week: The God Complex, which involves more child nightmare shenanigans and perhaps a look into the Doctor's eventual fate... let's just hope the characters don't almost die again.

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