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Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Made of Oswin (Review: 'Doctor Who' 33.1, "Asylum of the Daleks")

Either Steven Moffat is going timey-wimey again or Jenna-Louise Coleman is playing two roles in Season 33….


The opener of Season 33/7, the third Matt Smith season, sees the Doctor, Amy and Rory kidnapped by the Daleks. They are sent to the Asylum of the Daleks, where a junior entertainments manager of a Starliner is marooned and the craziest Daleks of all can be found…


Title Sequence


We’ve got a minor update to the title sequence, with a new and improved logo, along with a different title font. I like this one – the old logo was a bit too chunky.




Nothing here was really standout noticeable. This is good, because one shouldn’t generally notice the music at the expense of everything else.




This is Steven Moffat’s first Dalek story (they’ve featured in small roles in a couple of his others) and he delivers a great one. A twisty tale full of emotion, drama and soufflés, the Moff certainly knows how to write them. I’d imagine some of the scenes will cause nightmares, but that’s common place for his ones. The ending, which effectively resets a lot of things and deals with a big problem that had been an issue for a while.


The 50-minute duration was just the right length for this story as well, but it did take a little long for things to get started. I also liked the subtle call-backs, along with the Amy/Rory developments.


Direction and staging


A very well directed and dressed tale with a lot of atmospheric scenes and memorable sets. I don’t know how many Daleks they actually used for this, but it seems like a lot, even discounting all the CGI ones.


No ropey effects either, which is always a good thing.


The regulars


·         The Doctor – Matt Smith is comfortably at home in this role, demonstrating his Doctor is a well-rounded character with bravery, smarts and a certain style that sets him apart from the others, while clearly being the Time Lord.

Amy – It’s a shame that Karen Gillan is going soon, as Amy was great in this episode, demonstrating the reasons why the Doctor recruited her on board as well. I liked the “Scotland” line.

Rory – Also a shame about Arthur Darvill, who is also leaving. His subtle and restrained performance, along with his clear love for Amy, made this one of his best performance.


The guest cast


Dropping Jenna-Louise Coleman into this nearly four months early was a surprise that wasn’t leaked and I’m glad it wasn’t as well. Her Oswin was intelligent, witty and flirty. I hope her as yet officially unnamed companion character is like this or just as good. Mind you, I don’t like her name. Oswin just doesn’t sound right for her.


The rest of the guest cast were pretty good, most notably the Dalek agent at the beginning.


The Daleks


I think that the Daleks demonstrated a suitably strong degree of menace and for once their plot, along with the requirement for the Doctor, was actually logical. The new Dalek methods of operation (don’t know why they’ve not used the Nanocloud on anyone else, though) are suitably chilling and their actions with one of the guest cast are the stuff of nightmares. Something notable happens here, but even that isn’t a huge dent on this.




A highly enjoyable season opener, with some great atmosphere. It just falls short of a 9 due to minor flaws, mostly at the beginning. There have been better stories all in all, but not a huge number.


Roll on the rest of the run!




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