Trailer courtesy of Gallifreyforever97
Asylum of the Daleks
Dinosaurs on a Spaceship
A Town Called Mercy
The Power of Three
The Angels Take Manhattan
The Bells of Saint John
The Rings of Akhaten
Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS
The Crimson Horror
Nightmare in Silver
The Name of the Doctor
The decision to split Season 7 into two halves works against the show with the pacing and tone changing drastically after a mid season break for the worst. There’s a real lack of quality and creativity in some of the episodes and the decision not to have any two parters is an odd one. The stories feel like they’re wrapped up too quickly or end too abruptly and it all feels a bit lazy at times when it could have easily been rectified with spreading the story out a bit. Matt Smith is brilliant again here and with both sets of companions he does a good job but the second half of the season feels like a step back.
The first 5 episodes are well thought out and have some good pacing. The humour is good and not overbearing although it does get a little silly at times. Thankfully these moments are few and far between and we see a fitting end to companions Amy and Rory. Its at this point the show has a break and any momentum built up evaporates. When the show returns, in the place of Amy and Rory we get the “impossible girl” Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) who we see crop up several times at the start. The story this season is all about finding out who Clara is and just why she keeps popping up all over history. Its not a bad idea but it all feels so familiar and cliched. We had Rose and the heart of the Tardis, we had Donna as Doctor Donna and now we have Clara and the impossible girl. Its frustrating too as the cliched thread of having larger than life companions was refreshing when it was first introduced but now it feels tiresome.
Clara Oswald should be an intriguing character and there are times where she shines, a fusion of wit, humour and charm combine for some good chemistry with the Doctor and it does get quite flirty at times. Again, we’ve seen this numerous times before from the companions and this retreading of ideas feels like a step back and lazy writing. Combined with a lack of two part stories or ones with real substance, what we get is a season showing some real frailty and fatigue after running for 8 years.
The season finale is good though and aside from its jarring ending that abruptly stops midway through, its a good episode overall and feels more akin to the pacing and creative feel at the start of the season. As always, the set design is good and there are some episodes here that stand out but they feel more spaced out than before. Where previous seasons had one or two mediocre episodes, it feels like the reverse here. There are a few decent episodes but mostly this feels like retreading familiar territory rather than groundbreaking and revolutionary.
Overall, Season 7 is a mixed bag – more so than last year. The decision to break the show up into two significant halves rather than weaving one continuous story throughout hurts the pacing and feel of the show and it takes a while for it to pick back up again. The lack of two parters is concerning too and at times it feels as bad as its ever been since the show returned. For all its flaws, the start and end of the season are good and with the promise of a new Doctor next seasons there’s hope that its just what the show needs to pick up momentum again as this Season feels like a slump.