Yes: Daleks and happiness.
Not, I will admit, a combination that happens often. But on Saturday night, it did.
I liked Asylum of the Daleks. I haven't got round to my habitual re-watching on iPlayer with the subtitles on, but my impression (quite a distinct impression, at that) after the initial screening of the Season 33 / New Series 7 opener was a positive one.
As might have been hinted in previous posts on this blog, I was less than ecstatic with the way Doctor Who Season 32 / New Series 6 turned out. As time has moved on, and the first two Matt Smith seasons have become more and more a matter of hindsight, my liking for 31/5 has remained undiminished, but my dissatisfaction with 32/6 has become increasingly definite. Not to say it was without its moments - I thought The Doctor's Wife was mostly very good, and The Girl Who Waited was excellent (pleased to hear rumours that Tom MacRae has written another script, for the second half of 33/7) - but the season had some pretty naff episodes, and on the whole, I thought it was badly structured.
And then, there was the massive wait for the new season. All those months without Who.
But it was worth the wait. I think the fundamental problem with Moffat's episodes for 32/6 was that he was so busy trying to string together his massive River-centric arc that he forgot to make sure each individual story was satisfying in its own right. Some of them, in my opinion, definitely weren't, with the main culprits being A Good Man Goes to War and The Wedding of River Song. I was therefore relieved when he announced a few months back that 33/7 would be a lot less arc- and cliffhanger-driven, with each episode being more of a standalone adventure - and that's exactly what Asylum of the Daleks turned out to be. Yes, it sets up some big questions for the rest of the season, but the story hangs together in and of itself, and I came away feeling that I had seen a proper, complete story, rather than only the first bit of something. It manages to be as intriguing as last year's opener The Impossible Astronaut, but without also being as frustrating.
Mixed feelings on the revised title sequence, but that's a minor thing. The point is that the episode itself works. I would rank it as Moffat's best script for the show since 31/5 finale The Pandorica Opens / The Big Bang, and - possibly - the best of the eight DW season opener episodes I've seen.
In my opinion, RTD was at his best during his first season, and at his worst during his second, with the third and fourth recovering somewhat. Moffat's first two seasons followed the same pattern, and if Asylum is anything to go by, then it looks like he might be following the third-season-recovery pattern too.
Which is why, for me at least, Daleks and happiness have coincided.
- The Colclough