Damn. Steven Moffat. Just damn. When I think the show can’t get any better, you’re simple response has to be (at least in your own head while we carry on this imaginary dialogue), “Oh, Don Saas. You ain’t seen nothing yet.” I am quickly coming to the conclusion that the Steven Moffat years of this show are going to end up defining the creative apex of “popcorn” television. I’ve been giving this season an “A” for every single disc, but that obviously doesn’t mean I think the show is as artistically significant as Mad Men, Breaking Bad, or Game of Thrones. Instead, it means that for a show which purports to be a children’s show and is concerned more about stand-alone adventures than serialized storytelling, it is the best at this form that I can think of. The only other program I’ve watched which has done non-serious TV this well was Buffy the Vampire Slayer but Buffy often suffered from a general absence of Joss Whedon’s presence in the series (in later seasons, he would write at most two or three episodes of 22). Even the episodes from this season that Moffat didn’t write have his thumbprint all over them, and I am continually astounded by how superior this season of the show has been not just to past seasons of Doctor Who but by all “popcorn” sci-fi shows before.

The disc begins with Amy and Rory trying to get the Doctor’s attention after he had been AWOL for several months (looking for Melody Pond). Amy and Rory created a crop circle as a sign for the Doctor to arrive. Just as he arrives and has to tell Amy that he still hasn’t found Melody, Amy’s friend Mel shows up with the cops hot on her heels (because she stole a car). She points a gun at the Doctor and demands he take her anywhere in the universe, specifically they should go back in time and kill Hitler. Apparently, her entire life, Amy has told Mel about the Doctor and time travel. Mel doesn’t understand that whole “fixed point in time business” though and she thinks the Doctor should be able to go back and change whatever he pleases. This has gotten her into trouble her whole life. When Mel gets in the TARDIS, she shoots the console and the TARDIS crashes into the office of none other than the Fuhrer himself in 1938. However, besides the whole time paradox at play, things are complicated because an alien race who go back in time and punish criminals who would have otherwise escaped justice or executing their own plot to erase Hitler (though they realize a little too late that they’re 7 years early). Hitler tries to shoot the body double they’re using (they use a body as a transport/base of operations called the Tesselecta) and instead he hits Mel. Rory punches out Hitler (cause he’s the greatest companion EVER!). As they try to comfort their dying friend, her arms suddenly start glowing like she’s a Time Lord. We learn that Mel’s name is Melody (Rory and Amy named their daughter after her) and suddenly Mel regenerates into River Song because she was in fact a regenerated form of Melody Pond. She poisons the Doctor although by the episode’s end, she uses every last one of her regenerations in order to save the Doctor’s life when she realizes who she really is and what she’s meant to become. It was all very timey-wimey.

The other two episodes were stand-alone (“Let’s Kill Hitler” is technically the second part of “A Good Man Goes to War” but the two are pretty self-contained considering they aired months apart). In the disc’s second episode, a young boy who is scared of everything manages to send a distress signal that cuts across time and space to find the Doctor in the TARDIS to tell the Doctor to “save him from the monsters.” When the Doctor shows up, it is quickly apparent that the monsters this boy fears aren’t just a figment of his terrified imagination but something much more real. When the other residents of the apartment complex start disappearing and being chased by terrifying wooden dolls, time is running out for the Doctor to make the boy face his fears. In the last episode, Amy, Rory, and the Doctor attempt to visit the second most beautiful planet in the universe (because the Doctor says its too cliche to visit the most beautiful planet). However, it’s under a quarantine that would kill the Doctor in a day if he stayed. Amy gets separated from the Doctor and Rory and enters a room that is another time stream than the one Rory and the Doctor are experiencing. The two men try to use the TARDIS to reach Amy’s time stream but when they find her, it’s been 36 years. When the Doctor finds a way to bring Amy into the current timeline (before she had to wait 36 years by herself being chased by killer robots), Rory must choose which version of his wife to save in order to not create a time paradox.

“Let’s Kill Hitler” was (like every single Steven Moffat episode I can think of) simply brilliant. I mean, Jesus, this guy is good. I knew that they weren’t going to have an actual episode that was entirely about the group trying to kill Hitler, and the way that they certainly subverted every single possible direction you thought the episode could go in was brilliant. Also, Alex Kingston was a force of nature in this episode. I love River song, and Alex Kingston has a lot to do with that. And she was as brilliant to watch in this as James Marston was in early episodes of Buffy as Spike. The plotting was wonderfully paced and it was great how many questions were finally answered in this episode. Between this and “A Good Man Goes to War” I finally feel like I know what I need to know about River. I just want to see her romance with the Doctor in full bloom now. “Night Terrors” was a wonderfully terrifying episode of Doctor Who. It’s an old joke that you watch Doctor Who from behind your couch and episodes like “Night Terrors” (which wound up being about fear itself, which creates the most frightening TV in the first place) was certainly one of those episodes. Those dolls were almost as scary as the Silence. “The Girl Who Waited” was great if for no other reason than Arthur Darvill. He’s without question my favorite Companion by leagues, and Arthur Darvill’s comic timing and dramatic chops are pretty much unparalleled in the entire cast of the new series.

I can’t believe I only have one disc of this season left. I’m actually kind of sad. Once I finish that disc (which should be at some point this week I imagine), I will only have the Christmas special to watch (which I believe is a Chronicles of Narnia parody akin to the last one which was based around A Christmas Carol) and I will finally be completely caught up with Doctor Who. This means that I’ll actually get to watch the new episodes as they air which will be awesome. I’ll finally be able to be a part of the Doctor Who conversation as its happening rather than years and years behind everyone else. I’m excited. I write a blog now. Blogs are cool.

Final Score: A