Three of the best so far! Judging by the ‘Marmite’ reception that this series has recieved, I know that this review won’t be popular with everyone. Oh well, here goes anyway. These three episodes, including the later episodes of Amy’s Choice and Vincent and The Doctor, were my three favourites of the series – and why? Because in two of the three episodes the scariest Who enemies of the modern revamp are back – Move over Daleks – The Weeping Angels are back!Episode 1: The Time of Angels; The Bazantium space ship has crashed to earth and the returning River Song (reprised by the fantastic Alex Kingston)and her army of Soldiers need the Doctors help. Trapped in the cargo hold of the Bazanthium is the last of the Weeping Angels. When Amy is left inside the control room, she is given one instruction by the Doctor – Don’t Blink – but little does Amy know that not blinking at all could leave her in even deadlier peril. As the trapped crew search desperatly for a way out, they realise that their only hope is through the terrifying Maze of the Dead. With the trapped Angel causing havoc, the Doctor suddenly realises that the simple stone statues that surround them are not the long-dead population of the planet – they are The Weeping Angels themselves! Hemmed in and surrounded by a terrifying maze of decaying Angels, how will the Doctor and his companions survive this terrifying ordeal? The Doctors spine-tingling “One thing that you should never put in a trap” speech at the end of this episode was the moment that Matt Smith officially became the 11th Doctor for me and was only hampered by that bloody animated Graham Norton dancing across the screen! Agggggh! (And No – I was not one of the hundreds of people who complained to the BBC about it either)Episode 2: Flesh and Stone: Still trapped inside the Maze of the Dead and with half his team wiped out by the Angels, The Doctor is determined to get the remaining crew out alive – only it now seems that the Angels have possessed Amy’s mind. Can the Doctor save Amy’s mind from the evil of the Angels and get everyone else alive? And exactly what secret is the myserious River Song hiding from the Doctor?Episode 3: Vampires in Venice: The Doctor returns to earth to pick up Rory, hoping that having her fiance onboard will quell any of Amy’s future romantic notions towards himself. Deciding to take the two lovebirds on a date to Venice, their well-intended trip doesn’t turn out to be the romantic date that the Doctor had hoped. The House of Calvierri is recruiting beautiful girls into their ‘school’ – but they never come out again. Infilterating the school by using Amy as a potential ‘student’, the Doctor soon realises what is really happening behind the walls of Calvierri castle. The Countess is turning the girls into vampire-fish. Determined to restore her home planet Saturnine, which she claims fell into the ‘crack in time’, the Countess is planning on flooding Venice and returning her ‘daugters’ to the 10,000 ‘sons’ she has waiting in the water. The Doctor must stop her from turning the Earth into Saturnine Mark II but will Rory and Amy prove more of a hinderance than a help? And what is the meaning of the Silence that the Countess claims she saw through the Crack?In my opinion these episodes are three of the strongest (and scariest) stories of the season. I am so glad to see the Weeping Angels make their triumphant return, and in just as scary circumstances (even though they still scare the bejesus out of me!) All in all, I loved these episode and I think they really showcased the acting talents of the two main stars. Matt and Karen may not be liked or accepted by everyone, but in my opinion they have done themselves proud with these three spine-tingling stories. I will definitly be buying these episodes to watch again and again in comfort – And without Graham Norton in attendance!
Since it returned in 2005, each new series of Doctor Who has re-introduced us to some classic villains whether it be the Autons, Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans, Master or Silurians. The return of these villains has been a mixed bag mostly because of either design (Cybermen) or story (Daleks, Silurians) but none of them have been as well recieved as the Weeping Angels. The Angels made such an incredible impression in ‘Blink’ that the two part story on this set, ‘Time of Angels’ and ‘Flesh and Stone’ is arguably the most anticipated return of a recurring monster ever. It is also fitting that their creator and writer, Steven Moffat develops them further and takes them to even more terrifying heights. Now I have never been scared of a Doctor Who monster, even as a child when I watched the classic series on VHS, but even I admit that the Angels get to me.Following a stunning opening and two mixed but generally solid efforts, the fifth series of Doctor Who really kicks itself into high gear with the epic ‘Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone’ double. This doesn’t mean that anything should be taken away from the also impressive ‘Vampires in Venice’, but the Angel two parter is the kick starter to developing the arc of the whole the series and beyond. The visuals are great and the angels themselves are given some new powers in a show stealing scene where Amy Pond finds herself at the mercy of a Weeping Angel recording. One example yes but a prime one of just how simplistic yet effective these monsters are. More crucially however is the return of Alex Kingston’s River Song, another Moffat creation, who is a mysterious recurring character that has more importance to the Doctor than arguably any character who’s ever appeared in the show (classic and new) before. More of her background is revealed to keep her intriguing but the bulk is saved till later. Many dislike River Song, I however find her a great character who enjoys great chemistry, like Gillan, with Matt Smith’s Doctor.’Flesh and Stone’ is a more complex part 2 than the first and the twist development in the episode is a major departure from previous series’ where the overriding threat would only manifest in the finale. This twist does add greater menace but at times you can argue whether it takes too much attention away from the Angels themselves, regardless however, there are some great moments featuring them still in this episode. The divisive Amy Pond also strikes again here and has the critics complaining about the new direction with this companion in a rather daring scene (for Doctor Who standards) that fleshes out the rebellious nature of her character and resolves the question of the wedding dress at the end of the first episode of the series. This takes you right into ‘Vampires in Venice’.The main problem, at times, with the relationship between Amy Pond and Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill), established in ‘Vampires in Venice’, is that the writers seem to retread old ground with them in later episodes, but intially it is a bold and new departure from previous series to have two companions in a relationship and in the Tardis together for a significant amount of time. Darvill I find more charming than the feisty Gillan and his development more satisfying as the character gains more confidence in the presence of the charismatic Smith. Visually impressive again with a nice little Doctor Who take on vampires. It doesn’t boast a major plot enhancement the same way the the last 2 episodes did but from a character perspective it is one of the best of the series by focusing on the ‘love triangle’ that runs for a few episodes. It’s not Twilight so don’t panic in this regard, the actors are too talented and dialogue quirky and funny to be so predictable but ‘Vampires in Venice’ in general is just plain old entertainment.It’s a great set for Doctor Who, the best arguably since series 4 volume 3 with the Library double and ‘Midnight’.
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