Time and again

The Doctor
Incarnations of a Time Lord

As a longtime “Whovian,” I enjoyed the first two episodes of the latest season of Doctor Who, “The Impossible Astronaut” and “Day of the Moon.” Not only did the cast and crew of the British science fiction franchise get to travel to the U.S. for some location shooting, but writer/producer Stephen Moffat has continued building on plot threads he began last year!

I liked the interplay between Matt Smith as the eponymous Gallifreyan, Karen Gillan as perky companion Amy Pond, and Arthur Darvill as Amy’s stalwart husband Rory. Guest stars included Alex Kingston as the glamorous and mysterious Dr. River Song and genre veterans Mark Sheppard and his father as former FBI agent Canton Everett Delaware III. Even President Nixon and Neil Armstrong figure into the story!

The heady plot of the two-part season (or series, as they call them in the U.K.) opener involves Moffat tropes including nightmarish aliens, personal secrets and perils, and of course, some romping through time and space. Who is Amy’s child? Could Dr. Song be a Time Lord? I haven’t figured out all the puzzles yet, but I look forward to episodes that balance childlike wonder at the universe and human nature with darker themes such as mortality and betrayal. Oh, and Stetsons are cool.

In sadder news for the Doctor Who franchise, Elizabeth Sladen, who played popular companion Sarah Jane Smith, recently died at 63. I met her at a genre entertainment convention and found her to be gracious and upbeat. She will be missed.

We have more Doctor Who and Torchwood: Miracle Day to look forward to, continuing the U.K.’s strong presence in genre television.

Coming soon: Boston Comic Con report, more on genre TV, and gaming observations!