Rings of Akhaten

Doctor Who: The Rings of Akhaten (BBC1)

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Contains spoilers

The audience reaction to last week’s season opener appears to have been largely positive albeit with a sizeable churlish minority carping away in the background. If that’s true then the reaction to the second episode of the eight-episode half-season could be said to be the mirror image: largely negative, but with an enthusiastic minority singing its praises.

The good stuff first: this was an episode which sought to reestablish just how awesome travelling in space and time would actually be, by offering us genuine spectacle. The visualisation of the eponymous orbiting rings was really quite spectacular, and the market place scenes that followed were a very pleasing and effective evocation of a Mos Eisley-esque meeting place of dozens of alien creatures and cultures. There was a wonderfully lyrical idea of non-monetary currency (bartering by way of items of sentimental importance to the bearer rather than useless bits of paper and metal discs) and a lovely sense of a real occasion taking place when the 11-year-old Queen of Years takes centre stage at an eons-old religious ceremony. Read the rest of this entry »