Sunday, March 31, 2013

Review - "Doctor Who: The Bells of St. John"


"The time has come," the blogger said,
"To talk of Doctor Who:
Of time - and space - and Dalek ships -
Of bow ties and the TARDIS oh so blue."

Please excuse my terrible attempt at poetry, but I was just so excited for the return of Doctor Who to our television screens, that I wanted to make this review as interesting as possible. Well, anyway - Doctor Who is back. Matt Smith has returned and he is this time accompanied once more by Jenna-Louise Coleman as the ever mysterious Clara Oswald in Steven Moffat's "The Bells of St. John."

London is under attack - the citizens just don;t know it yet. Something is uploading human beings to the wi-fi network. Luckily, Clara Oswald (Jenna-Louise Coleman) needs help with her computer and somehow ends up phoning the Doctor (Matt Smith). Once everyone's favourite Time Lord has had a change of clothes, he's off to discover what's amiss in the city.

I suppose that I should warn you now - if you have not yet seen "The Bells of St. John" then you should certainly go see it before continuing this review. Now then, onto the episode itself. "The Bells of St. John" is immensely enjoyable. Steven Moffat wonderfully creates an episode full of twists, turns, never-ending excitement and fun. That's what makes the episode so great. The whole episode is a non-stop thrill ride, from the beginning until the end. Moffat has crafted some wonderfully witty dialogue and Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman have wonderful screen chemistry together. Clara is a head-strong, independent character and she really goes toe-to-toe with the Doctor in this episode. What's more, the episodes doesn't dwell on to much back story - partially because Clara is the central mystery of the upcoming seven episodes, but also because it moves at such a brisk pace.

While Steven Moffat said that this episode would be Doctor Who's take on James Bond, I don't really see it. Sure, the episode is fun and light from end to end and features a lot of great set-pieces, but it is not Bond-esque. The scene with the Doctor and Clara aboard the crashing airplane is genuinely exciting, and seeing the Doctor on a motorbike racing through London cannot help but bring a smile to your face. In addition, there are some great villains. Miss Kislet is an interesting antagonist and the return of Richard E. Grant in a cameo as the Great Intelligence was a genuine surprise. On the negative side, the Spoonheads are something of a wasted opportunity - but do put in an interesting appearance. And the introduction of the anti-gravity motorbike really came out of nowhere, but was fun.

I keep coming back to the word fun. Quite honestly, when it comes to Doctor Who that is really what I am looking for. I am not going to critique and nitpick the way I would do with Sherlock Holmes-related media. To me, Doctor Who is pure, first-class entertainment. And "The Bells of St. John" certainly delivered, kicking off the second part of Season 7 in grand style. I therefore award this episode 3.75 stars out of 5.

Coming Next Week: "The Rings of Akhaten" (Click here for a little something to wet your appetite)

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