Doctor Who Series 5 Flashback: Steven Moffat's Triumphant First Season

The BBC finally released a compilation video of series 5 of Doctor Who, Steven Moffat's debut season as showrunner. Overall, it's a triumphant start, continuing the success and popularity of his predecessor Russell T. Davies' run and putting his own stamp on it. Moffat's first season demonstrated how the same show can become a completely new show with a new showrunner and cast. It's a fascinating exercise that only Doctor Who was designed for. The show was just starting to hit global phenomenon status with the previous seasons starring David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor hitting big in the US. Matt Smith was a total unknown when he was cast as the Eleventh Doctor and the show proved that the role was a star-making machine, transforming not only Smith into a household name but also Karen Gillan.

Doctor Who: Best of Series 5 Video Recalls Moffat's Triumphant First Season
Doctor Who series 5 still, BBC America

Gillan played Amy Pond, who became the second most popular companion on the new show after Billie Piper's Rose Tyler. Female fans loved Amy's sassy, bossy personality, which was different from Rose's working-class earnestness. Arthur Darvill completed the show's triumvirate in the season's second half as Rory, Amy's childhood friend and love interest who took the sexual tension out of the Doctor-companion relationship, though there was the misjudged moment in the 2nd episode where Amy tried to have sex with the Doctor, which was the most overtly risqué the show ever got, beyond the flirtatious banter between the Doctor and River Song throughout the series.

But it was Smith who embodied Moffat's agenda for Doctor Who. Cast for his ability to seem like an old man in a young man's body, Smith Moffat reasserts the show's appeal to children by having the Doctor meet a young Amy Pond at the start of his new regeneration and has him act goofy with food, culminating with fish fingers and custard. Moffat also subtly shifts the show's tone towards more of a fairy tale in this season with the Doctor functioning effectively as not just Amy's magical imaginary friend but also the wizard. Death and resurrection is the dominant theme for the season as Amy loses and regains both Rory and later completes the reboot of the universe by wishing the Doctor back into existence. It's one of the best self-contained seasons of the show in New Doctor Who and the least cluttered by past continuity. It's a perfect entry point for new viewers.

Doctor Who Series 5 can be streamed in the US on HBO Max.

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About Adi Tantimedh

Adi Tantimedh is a filmmaker, screenwriter and novelist. He wrote radio plays for the BBC Radio, “JLA: Age of Wonder” for DC Comics, “Blackshirt” for Moonstone Books, and “La Muse” for Big Head Press. Most recently, he wrote “Her Nightly Embrace”, “Her Beautiful Monster” and “Her Fugitive Heart”, a trilogy of novels featuring a British-Indian private eye published by Atria Books, a division Simon & Schuster.
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