TV Series | Science Fiction | BBC America Rating: Dig It!
Within the first 10 minutes of “The Impossible Astronaut,” the season six premiere of the revival of the British sci-fi classic “Doctor Who,” you will be horrified, confused and heartbroken; just as the show’s producers planned it. Avoiding spoilers, it’s fair to say that claiming “what happens will change everything” might actually be a correct use of the cliché. The premiere is a dark, absorbing episode; a set-up for what one can only hope will be an equally dark and generally mind-blowing season.
It begins with the time-traveling Doctor (Matt Smith) summoning his current companions — Amy Pond (Karen Gillan), Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill) and River Song (Alex Kingston) — to a remote location in present-day Utah, and eventually leading them into the office of President Richard Nixon in the year 1969. To say more would ruin many wonderful moments, involving new antagonists, new allies and an astronaut suit. The aforementioned antagonists for the season are the Silence — a terrifying breed of creatures who can wipe the memory of anyone who sees them, managing to exist without anyone’s knowledge for what could be millennia.
Steven Moffat, the showrunner for “Doctor Who” since season five, has once again reminded his audience that he is not afraid to do anything to create a rich, funny and challenging story. His creative fingerprints are all over the episode — the witticisms, the complex moralities and even the monsters that are most powerful when they cannot be seen. The actors are all on top of their game, especially Smith, who continues to portray the tragic weariness and the comic youthfulness of the Doctor with equal gravitas. “Doctor Who” is back, with all the adventurous tales and pulse-pounding thrills one could hope for; neither newcomers nor long-time fans should miss it.
“Doctor Who” airs 9 p.m. Saturdays on BBC America.