Monday, September 12, 2011

River Song - The Doctor Who version of Marmite

Something isn't right. I was catching up with 2 weeks of Doctor Who over the weekend. And a long with the only other episode of series six I've really enjoyed (The Doctors Wife) I found myself loving "Night Terrors" and "The Girl Who Waited". Why you might ask? Well two words for you. River Song. She wasn't in them.

When River Song (played primarily by Alex Kingston) was first introduced to the series as an experienced future companion of the Doctor in the series 4 episodes "Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead" I thought she was a fantastic character. One of Steven Moffat's coolest creations for the new show since it relaunched in 2005.
When the character was first introduced, much about her origins remained a mystery with only little bits of what could happen in the future being shared. Personally I never thought we would see her again after these two episodes with the 10th Doctor and that she was a character to forever go down in Who history as one of these great unanswered mystery's.

But alas I was wrong.

When Steven Moffat took over as the main producer of the show the first thing he did was reintroduce her. In itself not a problem BUT if I'd known he was going to spend his first two years of the show dedicating most of it to her I would of given it serious thought about not bothering to watch again.
No. I'm kidding, I was never going to stop watching the show but I just found myself turning into one of the very people that normally get on my nerves.

Now before you point out to me that River really hasn't been in that many episodes I'd ask you to look below.

The following is a list of appearances by River Song. All appearances feature her final incarnation, with other incarnations specified.

Series 4

Silence in the Library / Forest of the Dead
Journey's End - Flashback only (archive footage).

Series 5

The Time of Angels / Flesh and Stone
The Pandorica Opens / The Big Bang

Series 6

The Impossible Astronaut / Day of the Moon (appeared as River Song and as a little girl)
A Good Man Goes to War / Let's Kill Hitler (appeared as a baby, Mels and River Song)

As you can see above she has had nearly a whole season of shows dedicated to her and if you go back and watch them it becomes more and more obvious (like I've been convinced for a while now) that Moffat is just making it up as he goes a long.
I was pleased to see that I wasn't the only one who thought this as well having read that The Daily Telegraph Journalist Neil McCormick also thought that her sudden introduction as Rory and Amy's childhood friend in "Lets Kill Hitler" proved that Moffat was making it up as he went along.

River Song has outstayed her welcome in the show now.
I had so much faith when Moffat took over the show I now long for the return of Russell T Davies because at least he didn't try to come across as smug and smart in his story arcs leaving a lot of people confused and frustrated in the process.

The sooner River Song goes the better. I would say hurry up and kill her off but we already know when that happens don't we.

One last thing. I think 2000AD Artist Christ Weston sums up the show at the moment very nicely.
"Doctor Who seems to be doing its best to alienate the casual viewer and frustrate the faithful... it's convoluted and complicated, but in much the same way a toddler's scribbles can be.
It's as if the creators can't trust the viewers to stay hooked just through quality... It's like having a kid screaming, 'I know something you don't know … but I'm not telling' in your face non-stop for 45 minutes."


  1. Will have to respectfully disagree with you on this one! I've never had Marmite but I'm pretty sure River Song is better.

    I love that there is a strong female character who is every bit the Doctor's equal (if not his better at things like flying the TARDIS); even Romana was treated as just another companion despite the fact that she did better at her Time Lord A-levels.

    I'm not saying River should be a regular weekly companion; I'm just saying it's nice to have a sexy, mature, adult woman with a complex role in a TV show. I'll miss her when her arc is done.

  2. I find it funny that I found this blog after reading a post you did regarding the fact that you hated people that watched Doctor Who and then complained about it but still watched. Ahem.... I will leave you with that.