Doctor Who: Asylum of the Daleks, BBC One | TV reviews, news & interviews
Doctor Who: Asylum of the Daleks, BBC One
Steven Moffat's promised 'weekly blockbusters' get off to a dramatic start that is anything but obvious
As everybody but the most casual of viewers knows, the titular character in a certain long-running BBC sci-fi series is not “Doctor Who” but merely “The Doctor”. Yet Steven Moffat - showrunner and second most talented writer to come out of Paisley - seems to be having a bit of a love affair with those two words. As the credits roll on Asylum of the Daleks it’s those two words that echo from, well, whatever every Dalek uses to speak; their kind having forgotten the man they called their Predator thanks to a well-timed piece of computer hackery the likes of Julian Assange would kill for.
As an ending, it echoes where we last - Christmas special notwithstanding - saw the Doctor (Matt Smith, pictured below right): presumed dead, the words of Dorium ringing in his ears: silence must fall when the question is asked. The unfortunate Dorium, now little more than a blue head in a box in some forgotten storage facility, called “Doctor who?” at the hooded, retreating figure, which makes one wonder...
Well, nothing. Moffat has claimed that this year - or part-year - leading up to what we have been promised will feature the heartbreaking departure of companions the Ponds (played by Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill) will be a series of “blockbusters”: no tangled story arcs, no tales dragged too thin over dreary two-parters. And yet this idea of the power of memory, carried over from last season, seemed to crop up at several strategic points over the course of this first episode - a classic case of Moffat misdirection? Or me reading too much into it?
As a stand-alone mini-movie, Asylum of the Daleks got off to a great start. We had epic visuals - whether it was the interior of the Dalek Parliament populated with what the producers have claimed to be every Dalek in existence, or just Gillan fresh off the plane from 1960s New York furthering her modelling career with the aid of a hairdryer-as-wind-machine. We had the central love story, narrow escapes and at its heart a trite little easy-to-tie-up story of a damsel in distress needing rescued. And what a damsel - Oswin is, or so she claims, whatever is the word for “total screaming genius that sounds modest and a tiny bit sexy”. Jenna Louise Coleman played her smart and funny, and ...
Yes. That Jenna Louise Coleman. The same one who, we were told, will show up in the Christmas special as the Doctor’s new companion; a character who, depending on which reports you read, may or may not be named “Clara Oswin”.
Subscribe to theartsdesk.com
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.
To take an annual subscription now simply click here.
And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?
Fascinating revelations about the rich culture of America's little-known peoples
New dating game in which contestants compete in their birthday suits
Drunkenness and debauchery with Oliver Reed in Saddam Hussein's Iraq
The artist who destroys things in order to create new ones
Joseph Conrad swamped in melodrama and turgid music
Glossy, superficial and cartoonish – you may be hunting for the remote
Not comedy, not documentary and offering some very poor advice
Flashes of promise, but mixed results for Channel 4's inconsistent CV
The Victorian fairy tale that influenced social reform
Variation on cop buddy drama unfolds on the clean streets of Montreal
Penelope Wilton sells sex toys in the foundation myth of Ann Summers
Dr Freud takes his turn in the psychiatrist's chair