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Best of Matt Smith: The Rings of Akhaten

best-of-matt-smith-akhaten

Across the next couple of months Doctor Who TV is running a series of polls to celebrate Matt Smith’s era. We want you to cast your votes on every story and at the end we’ll be comprising a list to find the top scoring.

We continue Series 7 with The Rings of Akhaten. All you have to do is rate the story with your score out of 10, so get voting and join us again tomorrow for the next episode.

Step back in time...

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281 comments
RoweMatthew
RoweMatthew

This episode has some nice ideas and moments but there is too much fluff. It drags on and fills gaps with annoying deus ex and lazy writing. If it were a person it would be a 80 lb athlete who just lost 200lbs and has all that gross flabby skin. The good material here could make a very compelling 15 minute episode. Shame about the rest. 

DW_girl
DW_girl

7/10. A good, strong episode. The characters were used to their full potential (something rarely seen with Clara in 7B until later episodes), and the epic speech at the end was simply beautiful, generating all the right emotions to make it a pivotal point in The Doctor's development in the episodes leading up to 'The Doctor' trilogy. The character of Merry was nicely relatable, and the aliens and settings were very diverse. Also, The Long Song is easily one of Murray Gold's best. There are obvious issues though. Pacing isn't too bad, but it's not exactly brilliant. The Vigil weren't used to their full potential (unlike the rest of the aspects of the episode, but oh well, it can't all be perfect), and the obvious point is that the planet was left without a sun to orbit around at the end. I do hope someone clears this plot hole up because it is my main issue with the episode.

TheCyberDoctor is Undead
TheCyberDoctor is Undead

8/10 - Not the best episode, as it had some problems. However, this episode was very enjoyable and the speeches from the Doctor and Clara were exceptional. The CGI was amazing, some of the best of New Who. And Matt Smith was brilliant as always. Also, the music featured was fantastic, Murray Gold at his best.


Series 7 so far: TDTWATW - 7/10; AOTD - 10/10; DOAS - 8/10; ATCM - 7/10; TPOT - 7.5/10 (8); TATM - 9/10; TS - 10/10; TBOSJ - 10/10 

WhoPotterVian
WhoPotterVian

10/10- Possibly one of the most under-rated episodes of all time.

Tardis Stowaway
Tardis Stowaway

3/10


After a few rewatches, this episode gained a point. In my mind, there are big plot holes, I'm usually okay with minor ones but I could ignore these. Things didn't make sense; nothing was said to explain how they breathed, or how, and this is getting scientific here, how the loss of their sun didn't affect anything - some might say this is being a bit too pedantic, and I'm not majorly bothered over the last one but it annoys me slightly. The parasite sun was okay, but it looked like a pumpkin!

Onto the positives. There's no denying that Murray Gold produced some great music here, 'The Long Song' and 'Infinite Potential' being my favourites. There are some great lines, such as he Doctor and Clara's exchange when seeing the parasite; "I've fought bigger" "Really?" "Are you joking, it's massive?!" and the speech at the end is one of Matt's best. The opening scene with Clara's parents was, in my view, absolutely brilliant. But the rest just really didn't appeal to me.

charlylad1
charlylad1

I feel like this episode is good for doctor who fans to a certain extent, but terrible tv for the casual viewer. 

stargazer0118
stargazer0118

Flawed episode, but fun and full of heart. It's no masterpiece, IMO, but there is some real  Who magic to it, and I did like Matt's speech. 8/10.

blueboxgirl
blueboxgirl

I was dreading this one because there is so much i like about it (my kids love the long song and we sing it in the car!), but i'm afraid that i can't get past that speech. I know most people love it, and i feel i should, cause i bet on paper it rocked, but everytime i get to the ' take it all, baby!!' line i just cringe. It just went too far, for me......

TimeLordVictorious
TimeLordVictorious

On initial viewing, this episode bit the big one, but having seen it a few times since i believe this is just fantastic. i gave this story 9/10, its not quite perfect but its far from the suck that we had in season 6.

ClaraOswinOswald
ClaraOswinOswald

9/10 Very good episode. The character were great, Clara is develop and the universe is really good. The world that Neil Cross imagined is wonderful... Pay with memories is a brilliant idee, we have reference to Star Wars, Classic Who... And this episode is like a come back to the classic or the RTD's period with the pastic costum for the aliens... And the speech of The Doctor and Clara is just... Fantastic. One of my favorite episod



JamesCresswell
JamesCresswell

I don't know who wrote The Rings of Akhaten, but he/she needs to stop smoking whatever it was when they dreamt up this awful mess.

It only just passes as a Doctor Who episode, whereas the worst in my opinion still goes to The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe.

I know many rave on about the speech The Doctor gives near the end, but honestly it sounded false and forced. 

Matt Smith is a brilliant actor and made a superb Doctor. One thing he can't do though is make the shouty, tough sounding speeches. Now the quiet ones, like the one he spoke to little Amelia, brilliant. 

At the end of the day though, no one can be good at everything.


This one then unfortunately has to be rated 1/10.


 


DawnTime
DawnTime

7 from me - I actually enjoy the first 5 mins the most. I don't hate the whole episode it's Ok. I know a lot of people don't like it. Speeches are very well done too.

eddie1611
eddie1611

When I first watched this episode I hated it, I would've given it a 3 at the time but now after watching it a few more times I think it's an alright episode but it's not great, so 6/10 from me. 

The 11th Doctor
The 11th Doctor

Oh you silly humans, always looking for something to complain about. 10/10



Galactic Yo Yo
Galactic Yo Yo

So, if you asked me right now who should take over the show when Moffat leaves, my answer would be Neil Cross. “Neil Cross?” you ask, “the guy who wrote ‘Rings of Akhatan’?” And before, I might have equivocated on that and talked a lot about “Hide”. But now, I say, “Hell yeah, they guy who wrote ‘Rings of Akhatan’!” I’ve grown to really love this episode. And it’s for reasons that had nothing to do with That Speech.

This episode is one that seems to have a bad reputation, though it’s nice to see that it’s being reconsidered. I think the reason that it was received badly was because it’s a very atypical Doctor Who episode, especially for its era. Matt Smith-era Who has always been very plotty. However, one of the things that I love about this episode is how, for most of its running time, it dares to not really have a plot at all. For most episodes, this would be a weakness, but Cross turns this into a strength. He does a great job of building a real world and populating it with fascinating peoples. The culture that we see all feels genuine and lived-in. The first half of this episode plays less like a traditional narrative and more like a travelogue, allowing us to just be in this world. So often in Doctor Who, we drop in on the times when things go horribly wrong for the Doctor. We rarely get to see the Doctor and his companions just exploring the local color. But that’s what we get to do in ‘Rings’ for much of its running time, and it’s a better, more unique episode for it.

Cross also fills the episode with tons of clever ideas and funny lines, but I think the thing he does best is flesh out Clara’s character a bit. The prevailing line on Clara is that she has no personality. But that’s not quite true. It’s that she doesn’t have a consistent personality. In a manner funnily befitting for her character, there are many different Claras: Steven Moffat’s Clara, Mark Gatiss’s Clara, Neil Gaiman’s Clara, etc. However, I think Neil Cross’s Clara is the one that feels the most real.  It helps that this is the episode that spends the most time defining her character: a quieter, more compassionate companion who shares the Eleventh Doctor’s ease with children. I’m looking forward to Cross’s writing for Clara next series and hope that other writers take notes from his characterization of her.

Of course, this episode isn’t perfect. The villains are underdeveloped and the distinction between Grandfather and the Old God is unclear. (Of course, this is a plot point, but it’s still not executed as well as it could be.)  And the Doctor straining to hold up the door is probably the most ridiculous use of the sonic I’ve ever seen. However, the resolution with the leaf works well as a character moment for Clara and manages to be equal parts clever and emotionally resonant.

Which is the thing that makes me want Cross in charge of Doctor Who. One of the more astute observations of the last eight years of Who is that RTD and Steven Moffat’s flaws and strengths were complimentary. Davies was great at character development and emotional resonance, but suffered from a tendency towards overly goofy humor and weak plotting. Meanwhile, Steven Moffat’s Who is full of clever plot ideas and witty dialogue, but sorely lacking in character consistency or emotionally genuine moments. If you could find someone who could combine the better qualities of both, they’d be the ideal showrunner. And, to me, Neil Cross is that person.


Christopher Brown
Christopher Brown

6/10. I loved loved LOVED what this episode was going for and was even willing to accept the rushed set-up to the climax and I'm even okay with the leaf solution...until the FRIKKING SUN IMPLODED WITH NO NEGATIVE EFFECTS ON THE SOLAR SYSTEM. I mean honestly, that is possibly THE most laughable moment in NuWho's history - that's not just dodgy science, it's a medieval person's conception of science. Which is not to insult Neil Cross, whom I understand wrote the episode in a hurry; but rather I think it reflects the absolutely appalling writing and production standards of the season as a whole (which is especially baffling after the superlative Series 5 and Series 6, despite the latter's issues. Was everyone so burnt out from those that they just decided they needed to kill time until the 50th or something?) I do hope that this episode's poor reception doesn't discourage the team from doing more episodes like this (only better, obviously), because we really haven't had enough of them throughout the show's history.  Oh, and the sonic was crap in this episode. Time to write that thing out. 




NineTenElevenTwelve
NineTenElevenTwelve

I enjoyed this episode. It's not one of my favorites but I liked the backstory it gave Clara, the Vigil were creepy, the alien designs were cool, and Matt Smith's and Jenna Coleman's performances were fantastic. I give it a 7/10.

bobszaar
bobszaar

With the exception of the Vigil and the overuse of the Sonic, this episode is actually incredibly brilliant. It does take a few watches to really get, but the simplicity and integration of music throughout the story really make this story fantastic. 8/10 for me

AztecsDaleksAndCavemen
AztecsDaleksAndCavemen

Not an episode I would choose to watch again but it certainly has an epic nature to it


6 akha10

Balatsoukas Pavlos
Balatsoukas Pavlos

Yes, the episode of the stupid questions: "How could they breath?" "Is it a star or a planet?" If you just relax and watch this amazing show, without trying to find flaws everywhere, then you 'll probably enjoy this truly amazing episode that has everything: Clara off to explore on her own, cheeky Susan reference for the older fan, story eating aliens, a speech, cool baddies (monsters?) of all sorts, brilliant music, visual effects, the leaf... Really, what's not to like? A 10 out of 10 for this one!



grumpyoldcow
grumpyoldcow

"Something awesome", Clara answers the Doctor and away I'm whisked to the Rings of Akhaten. And I have a new favorite writer, and am thrilled to find out later he wrote "Hide" as well! My most favorite episodes of 7b. Awesome Neil Cross.

Don't know where to start about Rings. So many others have said it all so well below.Good on all of you who liked this episode and said so.

Although this is my favorite episode I can only rate it a 9/10. Points off for how confused I was the first time I saw this and didn't know where I was. Camera angles didn't help. Was I on space debris that had the singing arena place built into it, or on another planet, or what.

But, otherwise a brilliant episode. Clara and her backstory were great. Loved the alienness of the marketplace, and, our alien Doctor's fascination with it. Merry was terrific, and what a great child actress. All the dialog was great. ALL the speeches are instant classics. As much as I loved the Doctor's take my memories speech, and Matt's tremendous delivery of it, its not my favorite. What I call the 'star stuff' speech the Doctor gives Merry is my favorite, and, of course, Clara's speech of the leaf's representation of a life's infinite potential that never got lived is just top notch. But, truthfully, how can I choose. Just love them all.

My favorite scenes include the little bit where the Doctor pulls the sonic from his pocket and put it back in with a shake of his head and a 'I don't think so' look on his face at the thought of giving it up in the marketplace, Clara's, "1,000 years and that's it. Your spanner.", "shippy thing, timey-spacey", and the end, when in the TARDIS, Clara tells the Doctor about just her and there's a blink and you miss it moment when the Doctor has a sort of well, I'm not so sure you're the only Clara, look on his face. Priceless. Then Clara leaves and the Doctor watches her leave with that doubtful, suspicious look. Really well done, Matt.

This was truly a mature, sophisticated episode, so the kids had to be remembered. We get the marketplace full of aliens, the mo-ped, the Vigil, and one really scary mummy, and, and, a giant evil planet. But all these things are well crafted into the storytelling to keep the kids watching, as well as the adults.

Have to mention the music. My favorite piece turned out to be the one that played during Clara's infinite potential speech, so I was beyond thrilled when it turned out to be Matt's regeneration music. All the music was great, and I surprised myself by not minding a more musical episode at all. And that last bit as Clara leaves the TARDIS is so cinematic. I can't wait to get this soundtrack.

FWIW, I never thought of the Doctor stalking Clara, just watching her grow up, making sure, as he said, that he could continue investigating her since he knew she was the Impossible Girl. And I didn't mind the sonic use either.

"Have you locked us in?" Yep. "With a soul eating monster?" Yep. LOL

Nightmarish
Nightmarish

10/10. I don't care that the Vigil were underused, this episode is underrated. If I could I'd also add a couple more points just for Matt and Jenna at the end.

sontaran17
sontaran17

I was really not looking foward to today's poll, due to how much I love this episode, and how much hate it has gotten in the past, - because when you love an episode so much, you dont want to  see "hate" naturally. But Im actually really pleased with such a positive reception it is getting, definetley more than I thought. Rings of Akhaten is a gem, powerful, emotional, adventurous, hilarious-- Everything Doctor Who should be! Rings is definetley up there with 42, The Unicorn and the Wasp and The Beast Below as the most under-appreciated gems. I really cannot wait for Neil Cross' Season 8 episode/s , and I think it's gotten to a point where when the time eventually sadly comes (I'd hope we can put this off untill the end of Season 11) where Moffat hands on the reigns, my choice is undoubtedly Neil Cross... Or Chris Chinyyy!!! Season 7, I have to say it- THE BEST SERIES OF DOCTOR WHO!!! Continues with another 10/10!!! Season 7 so far: Widow 10, Asylum 10, Dinosaurs 9.5 (10), Mercy 9.5 (9), Power 10, Angels 10, Snowmen 10, Bells 10, Rings 10


Galax
Galax

@Galactic Yo Yo  ^ this. So much this. Neil Cross is the writerI also want to be the next showrunner !

Planet of the Deaf
Planet of the Deaf

@grumpyoldcow  I actually thought the Doctor was being a bit creepy in the way he had been watching Clara grow up, so thought it was a good bit of development of their relationship for Clara to notice this and have a go at him! It's always good for the companion to question the Doctor, and not blindly follow him

Jardi101
Jardi101

@sontaran17 I look at your scores and my immediate response is: 'Most episodes of Doctor Who are a 10 out of 10 and the ones he doesn't like as much as the others are a 9 out of 10.  I like him.'

grumpyoldcow
grumpyoldcow

Agreed, sontaran, a gem. Best of the best.

TheDreamer
TheDreamer

@Liana21  Yup, loved that too. It is everyday for him - sorry, every other day, lol. :D

sontaran17
sontaran17

@Jardi101 @sontaran17  Im doing a New Who Marathon currently, after my Classic Marathon that lasted most of 2013, and am re-rating every episode - One thing thats standing out is how strict I was with previous ratings! Over time you forget how exceptional this show is- Of course we love it, and we think its great, but I know for sure I forgot the magic that rumbles within you when watching Doctor Who, and its back now, and its just exceptional! So far I'm up to Season 4 "Midnight" and its incredible to see how much the rating have inproved! Season 1 and 2 averages both improved by around 15%, Season 3 improved by around 25% (Its now almost pretty flawless when it comes to ratings) and Season 4 is continuing to be an amazing clean 9-10 /10 Season! The lowest score so far is 7/10 which is L&M and Fear Her- because I tend to try and look at the best best of even the most horrid episodes!

Christopher Brown
Christopher Brown

@Galax @Christopher Brown @Amy the Consulting Key Ring  Yeah...the asteroids - which form an entire community - are going to drift apart. Oh, and their light source which for all we know powers those shields? It's gone. Unless their power comes from the star itself, which will probably pull the asteroids toward it until they crash into another orbiting body or burn up in the heat. Even if they can evacuate, The Doctor and Clara have just unwittingly condemned their homes to death. It's one thing for a Doctor Who episode to have bad science (I love City of Death, after all), but it's quite another when bad science is used to cover up an all around poorly thought out resolution that requires only a little bit of brainpower to put shame to. I'm no science expert, trust me, but to me increasing/encouraging scientific ignorance to cover up plot holes is just adding insult to injury. I hope I don't come across as a horrible pedant, and actually I'd like to thank you guys for challenging my problems with the episode and helping me figure out what my real issues were with the story. Who-five! :)

Galax
Galax

@Christopher Brown @Amy the Consulting Key Ring  There is absolutly no problem with science. The PLANET (not the sun) has not "power beyond our comprehension". Well, the souls eating god, yes. But let's imagine how it ends. The planet has imploded. They still have the sun of the system. So what happened ? Nothing. The asteroïdes simply drifted into space until reach another planet or being orbited around a sun.


They escaped normally. The only "problem" is with the oxygen. But we can assume since Clara and the Doctor survived, that there is still a air thanks to a shield or something.


So. In WHAT it could have improved the episode ? Am I the only one to think that some sci-fi explainations "oh we survived thanks to the air-shield" in the middle of a dark scene between the Doctor and Clara would have killed the mood at the end of the episode ? The Rings of Akhaten is not an episode who cares about that. It was not the purpose.






Christopher Brown
Christopher Brown

@Amy the Consulting Key Ring  Because gravity is a law, not something to be discarded just because a sun has powers beyond our comprehension. I can see where you're coming from, but it would have improved the episode had they at least illustrated that fact, rather than leave the episode open to barbs like mine. 

Amy is Hannibal
Amy is Hannibal

It is true (stated in the episode), and no, it isn't the same. The gas giant in question was a living thing that fed on psychic energy; how can we even begin to presume that it was operating on real-world physics?

TheDreamer
TheDreamer

And everyone I know says it's one of the best they've seen. We don't all have the same tastes... Just because there are some who don't like it, doesn't mean everyone will or should hate it. And vice versa. And just because someone's tastes run different to yours doesn't mean theirs are dreadful.

thefirstquestion
thefirstquestion

Everyone I know says this is the worst episode of doctor who they've ever seen