Doctor Who

Season 6 Episode 1

The Impossible Astronaut (1)

Aired Saturday 8:00 PM Apr 23, 2011 on BBC America

Episode Fan Reviews (15)

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out of 10
428 votes
  • The Impossible Astronaut

    The Impossible Astronaut was a pretty great episode of Doctor Who. I really enjoyed watching though it was tough to pick up on every thing the first time watching it. The story was interesting and suspenseful. I liked the character and plot development along with the various characters. The acting was awesome and the guest cast was amazing as usual. It was great learning more about River and her relationship with The Doctor. Amy tells The Doctor an amazing secret. The ending was interesting and I certainly look forward to watching what happens next!!!!!!!!!
  • Sorry, but the 11th Doctor just isn't working for me

    Sorry, but the 11th Doctor just isn't working for me.

    We are supposed to believe that the Doctor is some sort of irrepressible free spirit, the life of the party. But the 11th Doctor's relentless exuberance feels totally forced. He reminds me of a stand up comic whose routine is bombing and who is fighting flop sweat.

    The 9th and 10th Doctors were far better cast than the 11th. They more or less pulled it off. The 11th Doctor's forced joviality however, rings hollow and grates on my nerves.

    By contrast, other cast members have been able to pull off the devil may care schtick successfully. Alex Kingston is entirely believable as River Song/Melody Pond, a "woman who runs with the wolves."

    If it weren't for the strong plot-themes, I would have rated this and other episodes far lower than I did.

    A character who fails dismally in his attempt to be suave and debonaire can work extremely well. But only if his self-delusion is made the focus of the humor. Two examples are Jacques Clouseau in the Pink Panther and Maxwell Smart in Get Smart.

    Since this was not the case with the 11th Doctor, it can only be considered a major failure in casting and acting.
  • A Rating of 9.2!?! Seriously?

    Now, it's a;ways been hard for me to review the first episode of a two parter, but this is different. The begging started out fairly well, with you-know-what happening (no spoilers). They should have let that be the basis of the episode instead of shoving it into a completely different storyline. This episode feels like it has two parts, as if they ran out of room and had to fill up the space. I know it's not true but it feels like it.

    This season is the reason why premieres should be one episode and finales should be two! The plot for this two parter is decent but in the first, everything is too stretched out! The finale would have been great but they crammed everything into 50 minutes! But I'm not going to talk about the finale. Not now.

    If you ask me, the Silence were unnecessary and felt like a rip-off of the Weeping Angels. Which is sad, because Steven Moffat wrote that one too! Steven Moffat is a brilliant writer but, I hope his episodes in Season 7 are more impressive, and that they DON'T make the premiere a two parter.
  • The best series opener ever!


    I really enjoyed this episode which was full of surprises. First we've got the doctor's death. I was really wondering what the rest of the episode would be like after seeing the doctor die. But it turns out that it was a future version and the present version soon appears. Just who is the astronaut?

    Canton 3 was a good character and he was a good addition to the crew.The silence were new enemies where you couldn't remember them if you looked away. My favourite scene was when Joy was killed by the silent.

    Overall, this episode was funny, surprising, entertaining and just fantastic. One of my favourite episodes of this show ever!

  • Dr Who or X-Files?

    It sure starts off with a bang (no pun intended... or was that 3 bangs?), but I felt something was amiss when I heard Amy's narrative over the opening credits. Wha'? No one narrates over that epic cool opening sound that's like fingers on an electronic chalkboard, no one! Not even Rose! Not even Sarah Jane! And they were the best companions ever!

    I love an episode of Dr Who where, like the doctor, you're tapping your chin contemplatively with your sonic screwdriver and musing: there's something I'm missing... but there were so many loose ends to this episode, and so many WTFs. Then there was the flirting and sexual tension between the Doctor and River Song. Then there was Amy's incredulous admission (no spoilers) - which, by the way, felt like a shark-jumping moment to me. Pretty soon it dawned on me: I'm watching the Doctor and companions in an X-files episode. Somehow, they've broken the parallel universe barrier, but instead of finding Rose, they found Mulder and Scully (or their parents, anyway). Roll end credits and lo! and behold, produced in part by BBC America. Figures. No wonder it didn't feel like a proper episode of Doctor Who. No wonder it felt like another Americanized sci-fi show with too many embedded plot twists. I'm going to keep an open mind about the conclusion, but I hope BBC America steps off and we see more of what made this series so stellar thus far. Steven Moffat is a great writer, but other than elements of the story, it didn't really feel like ~his~ episode.
  • OH MY GOD!!!

    A bit unexpected, but the Doctor had been traveling for two years with Mr and Mrs Pond and left them for two months. Hard to believe they ajusted back into normal life. River's back, too. And she still kills the Doctor's hats with a gun. The Doctor is fatally wounded by an unknown astronaunt and killed during regeneration, wow. He even knew who it was!? His past self is put on a mission to rewrite this fate with River, Amy and Rory. Despite the Doctor's best attempts to do something right with the TARDIS, River corrects his mistakes and manages to help gain the trust of Nixon in solving he mysteriois phone calls he receives from a little girl. The Silence appear in their true forms, but what? They look like those generic grey aleins from old movies.
  • I really liked this episode and thought it was an epic opening episode to an epic series. "I like stetsons now, stetsons are cool."

    This was a really good episode and I thought it was cool that they filmed a few episodes in the US. We're also getting closer to finding out River Song's secret identity as each episode travels further back into her personal timeline. Although we had to wait a year, it was definitely worth it to resolve the main plot of Series 5, The Silence. I think The Silence make an excellent addition to Doctor Who's long list of mysterious and amazing villains. I was really shocked at the start when the Doctor was suddenly and unexpectedly shot by the nameless astronaut but it made the Doctor's return even more exciting. I'm glad that they decided to begin the series with a two-parter as the episode's plot was so amazing and complex to fit into one episode. I have no doubt the entire series will have the same high quality and look forward to the mid-series finale.
  • Best Moffat Who so far. Nice...

    Oh, I called it. I called it so much. I said "if Moffat is clever he'll retcon the whole time loop plot device out of existance" and here we go, all of a sudden nobody is allowed to interfere with their own history again and things get tense again. No more cheating.

    Of course there will be cheating, won't it? At some point history will have to change, but the acknowledgement is already a good thing.

    Now, the episode itself, regardless of the narrative tweaking, was actually very impressive. The team makes the best of their "we're going to America" fund and get some gorgeous images that really help broaden the scope of the action. The comedy continues to ring true (perhaps the one area in which this Doctor has never faltered), the monsters are creepy and the plot is mysterious and confusing without seeming random. There's clearly something big at work and there is clearly an internal logic running it. We just can't figure it out yet. The drama, though, is what sells this. Smith has played his stuff a bit too flippant before. He's been funny, but despite his glimpses of seriousness he's rarely dealt with serious situations in a weighty manner. Here he kind of sells it because the script allows him to do so.

    And everything builds up to a pretty great cliffhanger, too. Which is the only part that worries me a little. Last year's cliffhangers were all very cool, but the payoffs were rarely as interesting. We'll see how this one works. And, hopefully, we get to fix that mess at the beginning of the episode while still enforcing the "no timey-wimey deus ex machinas" rule. Fingers crossed.
  • wow

    That was superb. An opener that twisted, turned and down right entertained from start to finish. Who'd have thought that 6 series in New Who was still fresh and exciting? DW is a show that you can practically do anything with, and Steven Moffat is definately pusing the boundaries!
    I expected the episode to open all formulamatic. The Doctor, Amy and Rory traveling together go to Utah and meet up with River. River's all secretive and they help out the President, the Doctor saves the day and on they go. But that was RTD's Who. And while I loved RTD, who made me love DW in the first place, Moffat is on another level all together. What I didn't expect is that the Doctor actually dies!!
    Instead of formula, Moffat just shocks us straight away. The Doctor deliberatley goes to his death and then summons his younger self, not to save himself but to do something... else. We get a nice little reminder in the TARDIS of the Doctor's distrust of the still mysterious River Song, of his feelings for Amy and how there is still a triangle between them and Rory. Then we whizz off to the White House, and it only gets better.

    I love Mark A. Sheppard. He was fantastic as Crowley in Supernatural and he excells here. Matt Smith of course owns the part of the Doctor. His performance, coupled with Moffat's writing, has awakened a love for DW that I thought had actually gone. This even beats the Eleventh Hour, which up till now was my favourite Who episode. A special mention for the Silence as well. No more predictable Daleks! The Silence are a brilliant creation and incredibly spooky. I bet alot of kids were scared of them!! This episode twisted, turned, shocked and raised a million questions that we all want answered. As a series opener, its a masterpiece that I haven't yet seen in Who. Truley brilliant.
  • Best. Moffat. So. Far!

    What a fantastic piece of TV! I just don't know how to put it into words, but it was just brilliant. It looked like a movie and had a wonderful air of mystery about it. The aliens are amazingly scary and that bathroom scene will go down in history as one of Who's scariest ever scenes.

    Can't wait to see what happens next week. I have no idea what is going to happen. It's not your typical "ahhh we're surrounded by baddies" cliffhanger: it's more of a "we're not sure what's going on" cliffhanger (in a good way!). ha ha!
  • Awesome start!

    "The Impossible Astronaut"

    Grade: A*

    So, what a fantastic start to Season Six! The Doctor is killed by a spaceman from the lake after being blasted by his gun and prevented from regenerating. Amy, Rory, and River cry about his demise, but decide to meet up with where the envelope told them at a diner. Unexpectedly, they find The Doctor already there. The Doctor doesn't realise that his other self has died, so the others don't tell him. They go to the White House in 1969 and discover President Nixon is there and they get surrounded by agents. The Doctor tells them they can help them work out who the voice is on the recorder that's been haunting him. Amy, Rory, and River think it's the Spaceman and whilst Amy goes to the Bathroom she discovers an alien called The Silence, in which only people can remember them when they see them. Amy tries to counter this by taking a photo of it on her phone. After finding the location of the girl, they go to the building and discover a control room. The Silence are slowly creeping in on them and the episode ends with the Spaceman revealling to be the little girl and Amy reaching out for the gun and firing at the Spaceman.
  • phwoarr!!! bow ties sure are cool!

    what i love about show is its incredible ability to keep the viewer guessing....but never guessing correctly. After all the trailers, sneak peeks, behind the scenes footage and so on, doctor who still manages to lay down an opener that sends your stetson flying 10 feet off your head. Your left on the edge of your seat, not only wondering what the hell is going on but gagging for more. The impossible astronaut started the series off with a bang big enough to blow a hole in the fabric of reality itself (not actually of course, but you were left pretty gob smacked). An intense and spooky adventure with a cool and quirky backdrop. Nothing beats an invisible tardis and mind-suppressing aliens. 10/10
  • Written by Steven Moffat & Directed by Toby Haynes, 'The Impossible Astronaut' seems to bring back the excitement that was lacking in most of last season.

    After a FABULOUS Christmas special, and what seemed like a long wait, the latest season of Doctor Who begins! In this latest installment we find the good Doctor ( played by Matt Smith ) reuniting with his last seasons companions, Amy Pond & Her husband Rory Williams. After getting a mysterious letter in the mail, our companions along with the equally mysterious River Song (played by Alex Kingston) met up with THE DOCTOR in America present day. After some soda pop some wine and cheese, the Episode jumps into gear with a shocker! Bringing too light a mystery that the companions must solve with the help of River song. A mystery that they can not tell the Doctor about, even though the details might save him from certain death! After jumping to 1969 and meeting the then President of the United States Richard Nixon , our team is join by Canton a ex FBI agent ( played by Mark Sheppard, yeah you know him, Firefly, Medium, Battlestar Galactica, and Supernatural to name a few shows he's been on! ) to unravel yet another mystery!

    This episode will surely keep you glued to your seat. Hopefully the sense of adventure, mystery and wide-eyed excitement will carry on thru out the entire season! I have my fingers crossed.

    -Good Stuff!

    Samuraikuroi USA
  • Mysterious envelopes reunite Amy, Rory and River Song with the Doctor, in Utah in the 1960s shortly before the moon landing. But when the Doctor's future is endangered, they find themselves dealing with a new sinister enemy. A spectacular opening to s6...

    It's here at last. New series 6 of (new) 'Doctor Who'. What a wait. I'm a hardcore lifelong fan, and did feel the BBC were badly overhyping this new series (especially bearing in mind they wouldn't even touch the show for almost 15 years), so was worried that what we actually got would be a bad anticlimax. Thankfully, things open with a terrific episode – and, although it was popular with many, personally for me makes up for the dull, damp squib that was 'A Christmas Carol'.

    Things open with a fitting In Memory caption for Elisabeth Sladen (who died earlier in the week), which I appreciated; though was slightly disappointed they didn't also acknowledge Nicholas Courtney (the Brigadier) who died a few weeks ago.

    Anyway, the episode itself... Wow. So much I love about this.

    Matt Smith is by now firmly in the role (well, he was from the off). Although I've covered it previously and it's not to go into here, as wonderful as David Tennant / the Russell T. Davies era was, I didn't feel it was perfect, and love the Smith era of 'Doctor Who' infinitely more. I feel a real bond with the Doctor that I haven't felt for many years, with his quirkiness, his deep (sometimes dark side) one minute, and his almost child-like qualities the next.

    And that shines through in much of 'The Impossible Astronaut'. I felt it was the same Doctor we have known since 1963, and, both due to writing and Smith's delivery, felt much of the 11th Doctor's lines could just have easily have come from say, Sylvester McCoy (in a good way), Colin Baker, or even the God-like Tom Baker himself.

    The American setting worked perfectly, and this episode felt just… "special". The enemies, who wipe themselves from enemies minds, are wonderful, and a return to the genuinely scary "monsters" that the show thrives on.
    (By the way, the woman in the washroom who wondered if it was a mask from 'Star Trek'... nice touch, but for some reason, I always liked to pretend that 'Who' and 'Star Trek' shared the same universe. That's just personal preference).

    Karen Gillan was great as always; River Song seems to be coming back every two weeks – she's interesting, though a little irritating with all her "sweety"s and such. As for Rory... Arthur Darvill plays the role perfectly, but, as I've commented on previous reviews, I feel he's very much a spare wheel, and almost hampers Amy's (far more interesting and likable) character. I hope they come up with something worthwhile for him this series or give him a merciful sendoff.

    Other than very minor tweaks that could have been made here and there in the middle, I found this episode to be perfect. I can't wait for next week's conclusion, which looks set to be equally impressive. I seldom give it to modern 'Who' but I give 'The Impossible Astronaut' 10 out of 10.
  • A good start to the sixth season, though a bit confusing in places.

    after the terrible "a christmas carol" it's good to see doctor who is back on form with this episode, viewers are most likely shocked when the doctor is killed in the first five minutes of the episode! only to find him suddenly pop up again a few scenes later. It's not made entirely clear what is going on, it seems some aliens are popping up in the oval office, and there's also this little girl in a spacesuit crying for help. it's rather strange since she was scared of the astronaut but at the end of the episode it turns out she is the astronaut. will they be able to prevent the doctor's death in his future, I guess we'll have to tune in next week to find out.