Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: Looking Back

2012 has been a big enough year for Doctor Who. We've had the departure of the Ponds, the dawn of a new companion, the return of River Song, prequels, and much more.

The Ponds
We first heard the news that Amy and Rory would be leaving late last year. There was massive speculation as to how they would leave until it was announced that their final story would feature the Weeping Angels. At that point, most of the rumors turned to them being displaced back in time. The rumors turned out to be true, but with the twist of them jumping off a building first. I think no amount of rumors or time could have prepared us for the ending. If you didn't cry, you're not human.

The New Companion
The rumors of the new companion started out around January with rumors that Sofia Myles would play the new companion. Moffat was apparently trying to mislead us, as it turned out the new companion was to be played by Jenna-Louise Coleman. After that, there were no official announcements about her, only filming reports that seemed to indicate her name was Clara. The next we heard of her was her appearance in Asylum of the Daleks, which turned out to be the best-kept secret in all of Doctor Who since David Tennant's appearance in Series 7.2. After that, rumors were flying left and right about her character Oswin Oswald and whether she was the same character that would appear at Christmas. There were also rumors of Clara being a ghost, based on filming reports of the Doctor saying he's going to find Clara at the funeral scene and reports that Clara would die in the Christmas Special. When at long last the Christmas Special came, it raised more questions than it answered. Instead of us asking why there were two women who looked so much alike at different points in time, we're now asking why there are three and why they all have the same name. Not only that, but we're also asking why two of them died and whether she's going to die in every episode (as some fans have speculated).

River Song
River Song's appearance in The Angels Take Manhattan was a nice addition to the episode. The Ponds' last episode really wouldn't have worked without their daughter present. The episode wouldn't have been as heartbreaking if she wasn't there losing her parents. Also, I liked the touch of the same monster being present when Amy met River for the first and last times. Then there was the part where River had been pardoned. You could see the look on the Doctor's face when he heard this and realized that she was now free to roam the universe and would eventually find her way to the Library.

2012 marked the return of the prequels. We started out with the excellent five-part Pond Life in August, written by Chris Chibnall. It's arguably the best television short story Doctor Who has ever attempted. Prequel to Asylum of the Daleks provided essential backstory to the episode, unlike Prequel to A Town Called Mercy and most of the prequels from Series 6, which either were unnecessary scenes or contained information already in the episode. The Great Detective and Vastra Investigates serve to set the tone of the characters in The Snowmen, with the Doctor being retired and Vastra, Jenny, & Strax assisting Scotland Yard.

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