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The Snowmen (2012)

The new TARDIS interior is pretty sexy. The actress playing the new companion is much more talented than Karen Gillan. The new theme is pretty awesome minus the unnecessary and distracting electricity sounds.

the rest of it?

the strengths of the episode were typical Moffat-era strengths - dialogue and flow overall were pretty awesome. creating a character that is shrouded in mystery is another good one, and the Clara Oswin story shows a great deal of promise. The snowmen plot wasn't extraordinary but it was still pretty fun and had a lot of neat elements to it. Matt Smith continues to shine in his portrayal of the Doctor and now he has someone to match him, and i enjoy Vastra and her crew. i found myself immersed in the episode well enough, the snowmen were pretty properly creepy, and nothing about the plot development, reveal, and resolve felt out of the blue or out of place.

the weaknesses of the episode were typical Moffat-era weaknesses - the first is his inability to create a convincing retrograde, partially because the full retrograde is shown "offscreen" as it were, and it seems like all it takes is a Rusty-era "reset button" to make everything normal again. At the beginning of series seven, Amy and Rory were about to divorce - a pretty implausible circumstance we're supposed to swallow with the big "...and time passed" banner - and it only took a scant manipulation by the Doctor to make everything suddenly all right again. Here, the Doctor is *somewhat* plausibly but mostly still implausibly distancing himself from the world through a very similar "...and time passed" banner, and yet it didn't seem to really take much for him to put himself in the fray again, completely devaluing any ability to believe that there was a time period of any sort that he could have distanced himself and said, "i don't care." i'm not sure where this desire to have the characters take a step backward only to then put them in the same place that they were before comes from, but i wish it would stop.

the second weakness is that, as i said, the Clara Oswin story shows a great deal of promise. But the Amy Pond story also showed a great deal of promise and it was a major disappointment until she was no longer a mystery (she improved greatly in series 6 because her mystery was no longer the focus). The Madame Kavarian and the Silence story showed a great deal of promise and ended up being a major disappointment. The Doctor's death at the beginning of series 6 showed a great deal of promise and ended up being a disappointment. The River Song story... you get the idea.

and i guess i'm afraid that Moffat will mess up this story too. Maybe not; there's something about this one that feels different than the others, feels like it will be more sensible. But i'm not getting my hopes up about it.

That said, the reality is that the weakness of Moffat's long game doesn't really detract from my enjoyment of the episodes in the same way that Rusty's long game did in almost all instances, and that makes the new series pretty successful to me. I can still go back and watch a lot of series 5-6-7 and enjoy it. there aren't many episodes of 1-2-3-4 that i can go back and enjoy. they exist, but in far less frequency. i think that's a reflection less of them being better as them just being more to my own personal taste, because what the hell do i know other than my own preferences.

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March 2017