I sometimes wonder about my critical faculties: do they occasionally just cease to function? Go on strike? Rebel?
Cloud will frequently comment that I am remarkably unobservant for someone who originally studied as an art historian, let alone someone deepily addicted to visual culture in its many forms. It's as if I can be both capable of spotting little details at fifty paces as well as missing the bleeding obvious straight in front of my nose. Equally, my ability - even dedication - to enjoying certain things even when they may seem patently obviously pants on closer inspection (and very much declared thus by those around me) has an almost legendary reputation. I, after all, was possibly one of the only people semi-behind the sofa defending the dalek two-parter from last year's NewWho S3. By Helen Raynor. Even though on reflection it undoubtedly constituted a weak link in an otherwise admirable season.
Anyway, this is all by way of leading to some initial thoughts about 'The Sontaran Strategem'.
You know what: I really rather enjoyed it. And this was despite knowing that Helen Raynor was back on scripting duties. I was even excited by the cliffhanger ending (cliffhanger endings, even/especially when they seem to give us a Doctor and/or earth-in-peril have always been a bit rubbish but you know what, you go with it!)*
Okay, there were too many moments when you wanted to send everyone concerned with presenting/ directing/ scripting the character of Martha back to the school for even getting basic characterisation and performance functional let alone consistent to the development over last season and through her Torchwood experiences. And yes the Sontarans are as much amusing as they are scary (they always were potato-headed shorties). And yes Murray Gold doesn't know when to let go of a syrupy theme (Donna seeing lovely gramps) and the director/script writers reinforce this by unncessary flashblacks... but ... but...
It's no good. I enjoyed it. I'm as a pissed as hell that next week I won't get to see the ep until the Monday night (events and scheduling of a family get-together beyond my control but with a delightful and more than wonderful substitution on the cards). Sigh. Maybe by then everyone will have had their fill of ranting about how 'bad' it was. Already Anna and Marie are at best ambivalent and bored (and both, unnervingly, cross with Tennant's performance as the Doctor -- I'm more with those commenting at Marie's that actually Tennant was more back on form this week). And Donna continues to impress, which has to be worth something. I'm just going to have to resign myself to being ever so slightly less critically minded than others are - or would prefer me to be. Call it my inner child combined with adult delight: I just can't not enjoy it as much as I can.
Let's review the story, flawed as it is, properly after I see the second ep in this two-parter.
* Yes, I know. Smash the bloody windows...