• TheSoundoftheAsylum

    Great article Adam. I may not agree with everything you say, but that is to be expected. I still believe that your writing skills are brilliant. You truly know how to express your views and opinions in the form of words. You are already an amazing writer and I look forward to seeing you improve even further.

    • TimeyWimey

      I’m a bit confused. I thought this article would be a collaboration between him and yourself.
      Nonetheless, it was brilliantly written. However much I disagreed with a lot of it.

      • TimeyWimey

        Wow. I just liked my own comment. I didn’t know I could do that. I may do it again.

      • TheSoundoftheAsylum

        @JamesBowman:disqus is doing the reviews for Cult Fix as well. This is his own reviews. The one he’s doing with me is a special set of reviews for Doctor Who TV. I have completed my part of the review, so me and Doctor Who TV are just waiting for The Stranger to send his in and then it can be published. Hopefully it will be on the site tomorrow.

        • TimeyWimey

          Can’t wait. :D

  • TardisBoy

    A very interesting and detailed review The Stranger.

    I have to disagree with your thoughts on Oswin Oswald. I don’t think her character was unsympathetic in the slightest, the scene where she discovers she is a Dalek, and is shouting at the Doctor “I am human!!!” was truly heart-braking. I also found her much more likeable then River Song.

    But apart from a few more disagreements, I cannot deny that you have written a brilliant review, your ability to express your views and opinions in such a detailed, professional manor reaffirms my view that you are a fantastic writer. I look forward to reading the rest of your reviews on series 7, in particular ATCM ;)

    Marvellous job!!!! XD

    • TimeyWimey

      I agree in regards to Oswin. I nearly teared in her last scene. She was a very sympathetic character. Despite the slightly cringey bit:
      ‘Take off your shirt’, ‘Why?’ ‘Does there have to be a reason?!”
      I also had the same reaction when Amy was staring at the Doctor strip in ‘The Eleventh Hour’. I think that’s just me then.
      But I loved her character in general. ‘Run you clever boy’.
      She was funny, sharp, and very likeable. And I loved her obsession with ‘Carmen’. Sophisticated..?
      I can’t wait to see the return of Souffle Girl.

  • AmyPondIsAwesome

    I disagree with almost all of this but it still well written and a good review.

  • Marvellous review. If I could write half as well as you, I’d be very happy indeed. You convey your thoughts in such a reasoned and coherent manner, that it’s difficult to disagree with you, at all. However, I do, on just a one or two of your points.

    I share your concern regarding the character of Oswin (assuming she is to return as the same person), but not for the same reasons. There are certain similarities she shares with River Song, of that there is no doubt, but I believe that’s merely what’s on the surface. Below that, she has a far more charming and likeable air about her; she blends with The Doctor as opposed to clashing with him; or showing him up; I think their intellect bounces off each other perfectly; a meeting of the minds, if you like.

    Unlike you, my worry stems from the revelation of her conversion in to one of Skaro’s finest. If this is to be the companion of series seven’s second half, then presumably it will be earlier in her timeline (as far as I’m aware, there’s no changing her back in to a human), which will simply be a case of Moffat pressing the repeat button; with the undoubted parallels between her tale and River Song’s: The Doctor’s first meeting with her concludes with her suffering a terrible fate, and, consequently, he becomes a significant part of her past, all the time aware of her eventual demise.

    We’ve seen this once already, and the unfortunate deterioration of what once was a hugely attracting and engaging character – I don’t wish to see a rehash, and the inevitable ruination of another could-have-been-great companion.

    That’s my brief thoughts on Jenna-Louise Coleman’s potential in the show’s future, and my main concern as things stand. I’ve already said it, but I’ll say it again; great review. It was always going to be anyway, with your well known writing prowess and ability to dissect any given episode so well.

    Well done, then. The first of many, and I look forward to the rest of them.

    • TheStranger

      That means a lot coming from you. Thank you.

      Speaking of companions, I actually preferred River from the beginning than I did with Jenna’s character. I respect your opinion entirely concerning her character – as I said in the review, she does have a certain screen presence and I found her as an actress to be charming. I like your description of the meeting of minds, and I hope the companion-figure is as intelligent, resourceful and quick-thinking, more than a match for the Doctor. But she came across as too eager, if you know what I mean. I found the character’s personality superficial and unsympathetic, probably because she was hardly any different from the female protagonists of late Moffat appears to prefer writing: exactly as I described in the review. I wasn’t emotionally invested in the character’s personality, regardless of the merits of the performance. She started off as delightful (“I made a souffle, but it was too beautiful to live”) but I quickly began to hate the flirtatiousness and the showing-off. I expected to be amazed: I wasn’t, not for the most part.

      Just out of curiosity, what was the other point you disagreed with? I’m guessing it’s the Daleks forgetting the Doctor’s identity? The way I saw it, the episode built up the Doctor returning to the light from the shadows against his will, which could see him being forced into hiding if the Silence discovered he was still alive because of the Daleks. It could be the Daleks were unconvinced he was dead and sought to draw him out by appealing to his sympathies (the woman’s plight) – of course, the prequel yesterday raises questions of its own, so it might not be the case. I liked the idea one series saw him entering the shadows, the next he’s being ‘resurrected’ from the dead, leading to his inevitable (and final?) confrontation with the Silence.

      • It’s not a bother. Writing of this calibre is rare and deserves appreciation.

        Oh, I agree with you on that completely. I was greatly captivated by Jenna’s performance, as I’ve already said, but it still didn’t quite measure up to the enigma of River Song, in her first appearance.

        I can see where you’re coming from; in regards to the obvious similarities between the two characters, and watching the episode back, it does begin to become apparent that all the flair bears a striking resemblance to many of River Song’s most recently developed and prominent traits. Considering it’s only been one episode, it’s not a serious worry at the moment, and I honestly believe Jenna is able to carry it off with less annoyance, but should it become as dominant a trait in many more, then I’ve no doubt I’ll share your grievance.

        The other point I disagreed with, was indeed on the subject of him being erased from their minds. However, I don’t disagree strongly enough to actually have built upon the point, and just forgot to correct myself. I’m not as blatantly against the idea, but I am somewhat concerned about its eventual outcome, and it’s undoubtedly severe effect on the interaction between these two; whose equal disdain for each other has spawned many of the show’s absolute best moments throughout, and is the basis for many of the most supreme stories told over the last half a century (almost). I’m also at odds with how it was done; due to the sheer simplicity of how it was executed and its minimal, throwaway referral.

  • The Eleventh Hour

    Great review. I agree with nearly all of what you’ve said.

  • Esterath MkII

    Disagree mostly. I loved the episode. BLOODY AMAZING! Moffat knows how to write Daleks, this episode gave me a Terry Nation vibe.

  • The Questor

    Terrific review. Thoroughly enjoyable read – with some interesting points for me and other’s to chew on. So here’s my thoughts on Asylum of the Daleks and points superbly conveyed in your review.

    First of all, I was fascinated by the opening. The ‘hellish setting’ of the red skies, with the rather tall and intimating Dalek statue. Opened this episode up quite nicely, and helped to create that extravagant blockbuster feel that was conveyed all throughout the episode.

    Secondly, and I`m still at the beginning, the silhouette of the Doctor emerging into the light as if he was emerging ‘back from the dead’ was something that I never noticed, so thanks for spotting and describing that. It really does help to show that the Doctor, and Doctor Who for that matter, is back. And no better place to do it on than that scary planet called Skaro.

    Now, onto the action in the episode. Like you, I was slightly disappointed with the ‘Classic’ Daleks, and in particular the Special Weapons Dalek. There was definitely an opportunity, and a huge one of that, for these Daleks – that new fans haven’t seen before – to have some action. But all we saw was the backside of the SWD, and not a lot of the others. Quite disappointing, as I doubt they`ll have the opportunity to return again. It’s a missed opportunity. However, I did find the setting of the Asylum to be very fitting. Dark, gloomy and compact. It helped to convey how the Doctor, Amy and Rory are hemmed in by them. And last point on the Daleks, when you see the fat skittled ‘Paradigm’ Daleks beside the RTD era Daleks in the Parliement, you realise how bad they are. They look horrendous beside them.

    Now, onto Clara/Oswin. I found her character, in some ways, to be alike to River Song. But, she wasn’t psychotic, and she felt young and fresh. Not akin to River, who I refer to now as the ‘series 6 convoluted catastrophe’. I quite liked River in series 4 and 5, and she was quite flirtatious then. Anyways, if that was indeed Clara, then I feel her and the Doctor would work well together. As long as she doesn’t get all loved up with him, which would be a catastrophic mistake in my eyes. Her character has the confidence and swagger, and I feel she could work really well with the Doctor. She is quite clever too, and that’s a good thing.

    Now, onto the ending. I was very surprised by it. The moment when the Doctor enters her ‘cage’ and you see his face. The camera slowly turns, and you see a Dalek chained up. A fantastic moment in Doctor Who, and my favourite moment in this episode.

    So there you. Excellent well written article. High standard stuff. Well done TheStranger..

    Overall I`ll give this episode an…. 8/10.

  • Pdurston

    A fantastic and well detailed review TheStranger, conveying your thoughts on Series 7’s opener in such a eloquent and clear manner like you always manage to do. It has a lot of good points; some I agree with, some I disagree with but generally a very good response to it.

    After seeing Asylum of the Daleks three times now, I can safely say that it is one of my favourite episodes from Steven Moffat and I believe it’s a vast improvement from what he produced last time. All my confidence in him as a writer had diminished after the mess of Series 6 but the recent opener has given me a little bit more faith in him that I’ve lacked lately. If Moffat can give us more quality episodes like Asylum for the rest of this series (those hopefully being theThe Angels Take Manhattan and the Christmas Special), then we’re in for a treat that people like me and you didn’t get from the other half of Series 6. It’s being consistent that Moffat has the task of achieving properly for S7. He can win me back if he gets the rest of it spot on.

    AotD has got it off to a terrific start though. A brilliant Dalek episode that’s well worth watching a few times to really appreciate it fully. One of the biggest negatives that I had of though was the lack of classic Daleks which we were promised in getting. I feel short changed from that, after all the “every Dalek known to man” statement that we were going to see which we didn’t. A wasted oppurtunity there. Even the Special Weapons Dalek could have been utilised to its full potential but it wasn’t. Different variants could have presented more to the story. It would have added more nostalgia to the story.

    The marginalisation of the classic Daleks was bad, as there was so much built around having them in the new series, but were where they? It’s a large factor that dissapoints me, but it doesn’t really affect my appreciation of the story however. It’s just something that could have elevated the story to something even better.

    There is one thing that I will disagree with though and that’s your assessment of Oswin Oswald and how you compare her character traits to River Song’s. She’s similar in some respects, but her type of character works a lot more better as opposed to River’s. She’s clever, charming and seems a hell of a lot more likeable too.

    Jenna Loiuse – Coleman brought something to the role that felt natural and refreshing. She worked well with the Doctor and managed to blend in with him perfectly, unlike River who tries to upstage him in every oppurtunity she can find. The rapport between them felt good and it showed the signs that if they can be like that when they’re not sharing the same space, then imagine what they will be like alongside each other as companions? This is why I’m adamant that although Oswin does have small shades of River Song to her, she will bring something unique to the role that will feel much more enjoyable.

    But I am slightly anxious as to what her arc is going be. I hope it’s not another convoluted, catastrophic mess like River Song’s was. One that doesn’t revolve around another messed up timeline; it’s bad enough that we had that last time. I’m counting on Moffat to give us a lighter, more manageable arc to her. I don’t want her potential to be under the weight of an a incoherent story arc, just like it was to River. Fingers crossed eh?

    So, I loved the episode, loved the new companion and most importantly, loved your review! Can’t wait for your next review on Dinosaurs on a Spaceship. It will be very interesting to read your thoughts on that one. It’s the episode I’m least looking forward to in this series. :/

    • TheStranger

      Thanks. That means a lot coming from you.

      I agree that it had a fantastic opening but it did begin to falter around the middle and I’m angry about the ending, but I explained my views about how that could have been developed instead.

      I’ve watched the episode three times and while I appreciate the story for its atmosphere but I found it lacklustre; it can’t compare with ‘The Impossible Astronaut’ as far as opening episodes go. In terms of Dalek stories, I still find ‘Dalek’ scarier. It’s curious how a single Dalek can still be more terrifying than hundreds: how one single, loyal soldier with enough firepower to destroy every life-form on the planet, that feigned pity to appeal to Rose’s sympathies, that was bold enough to confront the Doctor face-to-face about his violent tendencies, still champions in terms of the ‘fear factor’. I do think it’s the concept behind the single Dalek that makes it scary: it’s alone, it can’t be stopped, the ‘patriotic’ soldier fighting to the death, all the while mutating into something it despises.

      My issue with Oswin’s character is that it simply covers the recent tread of Moffat’s female protagonists of late: she’s feisty, she flirts, and she outsmarts the Doctor. I am hoping she retains her cleverness and charm, as I found Jenna to have great scene presence, however. I was honestly expecting someone quite different. Compare her with River’s introduction: there the flirty elements were downplayed, instead focusing on the character’s resourcefulness, intelligence and loyalty to the Doctor, showing her to be humble, yet independent. While the more redeeming features of Oswin’s character were present, I could have done without the flirtatiousness and showing-off. I found River actually more appealing in her introduction. I was genuinely absorbed in the enigma in the character, so if an element of mysteriousness had been a feature of Oswin (perhaps of the Lorna Bucket vein?; hinting at a knowledge of the Doctor from her past) I might have liked the character.

      Again, thank you for the praise.

  • Stormegeddon, Dark Lord of All

    While your review was written well and had some good points…I disagree with almost everything you said.

    Moffat said he was putting the Who back into Doctor Who. This ties right in with that. The Doctor was supposed to stay in the shadows and by making the daleks forget it makes that possible. I mean if the Doctor emerged form the shadows and the Daleks knew the Silence would for sure come again to try and kill the Doctor.

    I also feel that the Daleks were properly scary again. They have got human slaves now and that idea just sent shills down my spine. While the episode might not have been filed with classic daleks I think that almost every point in this episode is a nod to the classic series and the classic daleks. We have Daleks using humans as slave, that was used in the classic series and then them destroying the Asylum to cleanse it, basically committing mass murder of their own species was a very scary thought.

    Oswin I thought was a great addition to the episode and the dalek thing was shocking, and I believe it is setting up the Series7 story arc.

    All in all, even though I disagreed with you. The review was very well written.


  • Ghost of Christmas Present

    I loved your review of things, and the way you depict at the story is unbelievable. It takes great talent. For me Moffat wrote a very good strong and clean episode, it was thorough and entertaining, as I enjoyed every bit of it. However: reading this article hasn’t hindered my thoughts about it, but it has opened up the question to how it could have been improved furthermore. Moreover, it has not just opened up the question, but it has – in itself – already answered with a clear and detailed explanation. Fantastic review I must say, I’m always impressed by TheStranger’s writing. I personally did not mind the Daleks data banks being wiped of all knowledge of the Doctor, because now it gives Moffat and future writers the chance to restart the flame of the two enemies. Only now, they can burn the flame much brighter. The Daleks hated the Doctor because he destroyed them in the Time War. He ended it. He committed genocide and also tried to halt their even existence. Now, there’s a chance to create another reason, which maybe more severe. The Daleks have always been intent on destroying their most feared enemy, now what will they do? Considering that they now do not have an enemy to fear, will they turn on themselves? Could this be Moffat writing the start of the Dalek Civil War? Again…
    Oswin for me wasn’t like River. River is a gun wielding woman who acts before she thinks, she’s flirtatious but full on. Oswin seems to be flirtatious but a lot more reserved, her intellect is almost cute, as she is sweet and charming. I did feel very sorry for her when it was revealed to us of her true identity… Mostly because of the flashback scenes of her being converted. It was quite a distressing flashback of her crying out “I am human!” which made me feel so sorry for her, as she wept tears, fighting back against the machine which held her.
    The “Doctor Who” – yes – did leave us no better off than in the finale, but I myself think that Moffat wanted to focus on Oswin first and then hint at what might be to come further on in the series.
    The classic era Daleks weren’t used which was a shame, as in the Asylum scene with Rory running, only the RTD era Daleks were attempting to “EXTERMINATE” him, when we could clearly see a Special Weapons Dalek sitting quietly in the corner doing nothing. I find that if it had been used, Rory’s escape scene would have been way more dramatic, as (more than likely) after the door slams shut on him, saving him from the Dalek threat, I would have thought it better to have the door blown off by a blast from the SW Dalek.
    Amy and Rory’s scene was touching, and I liked it. Yes, it was short, but addressed the issue well enough for me to accept it. Like you though, I feel that the issue is not completely sorted, and should be addressed furthermore throughout the next 4 episodes until the finale in The Angels Take Manhattan.

  • Kovarian

    “an opportunity to explore how she sought an adventurous life again,
    unable to endure the tedium of routine married life, an element, I feel,
    consistent with the character’s development.” ……..this was Rose (except she wasn’t married but just engaged with Mickey), we’ve already had this story, and was very boring to be honest. No need at all to have it again.

    “My hope is that the companion-figure has a markedly different
    personality from Oswin: a more reserved, sweet and compassionate
    individual who embodies the Doctor’s conscience as he ventures into his
    dark days,” … this was boring-Rose, NOT AGAIN thanks!! The beauty of Oswin is not her being sexy it’s her being a genius.

    …so, it’s pretty obvious you miss old days and I so disagree with you. There’s a new relationship between the Doctor and the Daleks just started, new characters and new developments in the Ponds life… how cool is that?!

    Also, you can’t help to see the new companion in a River Song light, as many are doing, and I sincerely think it’s a big, a very big mistake. Mr Moffat is not the one that rewrites the same plot.

    Not that much of a review, sorry.

  • Froggo Zijgeb

    “She is quite clever too, and that’s a good thing” The Questor. Basic:ly• sheez a restoration of Zoe Herriot.