Thoughts on three shows (sans spoilers):
The only comment in my notes about the first episode back after the break, "Hell-o," was this:
Eh. Not really enjoying it much. Not sure I want to keep watching.
But I decided to go another episode, even though I was deeply dubious due to not actually liking Madonna. And rather to my surprise, I quite enjoyed the Madonna episode.
The show continues to be deeply flawed in all sorts of ways, including several really unfortunate political aspects. (They keep trying on gender, orientation, race, and disability issues, but they also keep fumbling those issues.) But that episode made me laugh, and I generally enjoy the songs even though I now notice the Autotuning (thanks to whoever it was among y'all who complained about it a few months ago), and I guess I'll keep watching, at least for now.
For much of the first ten episodes of this show, what kept me watching was wanting to know the answers to the central mysteries. What caused the FlashForward? Is the future immutable, or is there no fate but what we make? But although I like several of the characters, and I liked some of the episodes reasonably well, most of the time the show wasn't doing much for me.
Then there was a long hiatus, and when the show came back, there was a two-part episode that some people loved but that I didn't like much (it focused almost entirely on one of the two characters I find least interesting and most annoying), and then there was another episode that was only okay. So that took us up through episode 13.
And then the first third or so of episode 14 didn't do much for me, and there was some problematic race stuff (on a show that I think is usually remarkably-good-for-TV with characters of color). But then suddenly the episode got really good. The last two-thirds of "Better Angels" was probably my favorite episode of the series up to that point.
And then came "Queen Sacrifice," which was also full of cool stuff, neat surprises, and fun moments, although a certain revelation at the end, about one of my favorite characters, was distressing if true.
I neglected to take notes on "Let No Man Put Asunder," but I think I liked it. And then the latest episode: "Garden of Forking Paths." Not only a Borges reference, but fast-paced and tense, featuring lots of revelations and significant plot developments. Not brilliant, but good.
So suddenly I'm really liking this show.
And I've seen articles that suggest that the change of showrunners happened after the filming of the 13th episode. (I didn't figure this out 'til after watching this latest episode.) So now I'm wondering if that did in fact make a big difference to my enjoyment of the show.
Anyway, there are only five episodes left before the end of season 1 (the number of episodes has wandered all over, according to various reports: 13 to 22 to 25 to 24 to 23 and now 22 again), so I'm definitely gonna watch the rest of the season. They've recently added some hooks that could allow for the story to continue past the flashforward date of April 29 if it turns out to be popular enough to renew; I find myself suddenly hoping that'll happen.
Kam and I just watched the first of the new Dr. Who episodes tonight. Good stuff.
And it's indubitably a Steven Moffat episode. Equal parts silly entertaining whimsy and spooky scarifying of everyday stuff, plus time travel, plus a kid; trademark Moffat. He wrote several of my favorite episodes of the revived series so far; I'll miss Davies, but I can imagine that I may end up liking Moffat's reign even better.
I had my doubts about the new Doctor, as I've had my doubts about the last two. Smith is certainly much better than I had feared, but I haven't entirely warmed to him yet; I like him well enough so far, but he has neither Eccleston's wounded deep sadness with manic tendencies nor Tennant's mix of effervescence, looks, silly hair, and occasional moments of gravitas.
The new companion, however, is a delight. I'm very pleased. I said to Kam after the episode, "That makes three great companions in a row!" and then remembered that I was forgetting about Donna. Oh, well, three out of four ain't bad.
Anyway. Definitely looking forward to seeing more of this show, as always. I was pretty disappointed with most of the Tennant specials over the past year; I'm hoping that Moffat and his colleagues will set the show back on its feet. Off to a good start so far.