It may have something to do with that odd tradition they have in the USA of completely shutting down all decent television programs for a block of about four months in the summer and the result that my DVR is being seriously under-used at the moment, but I'm really getting into the latest series of the new Doctor Who.
I've been an unabashed fan boy of Doctor Who since I was small enough to effectively hide behind our rather brown, early-eighties sofa in Edinburgh watching Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy do their turns as the Gallifreyan time lord. I'm pretty sure it was the seed of my life long addiction to science fiction books and so-called telefantasy TV shows.
When the series came back a few years ago, I was desperately excited. That excitement carried me through most of the first two series. Even though to be frank, some of the storylines and episodes were pretty poor, with the odd gem here and there (Dalek, Father's Day, The Empty Child, The Parting of the Ways, New Earth, School Reunion, The Girl in the Fireplace, and Love & Monsters).
I don't know what changed in the third series. Certainly, the Doctor has a new companion in the form of Martha Jones (played with wonderful enthusiasm by Freema Agyeman). But the episodes in series three seem to be consistently better than the previous two series. The episodes have that creeping, mysterious fun and fear in exactly the combination that was common in the golden days of the old Doctor Who.
In common with one of my other favorite episodes with the new Doctor, Love & Monsters, this episode doesn't actually feature the Doctor and his companion much at all (they're stuck in 1969, having been transported there by the statues while the TARDIS remains in the present day). Thanks in great part to the fine acting of guest actress Carey Mulligan as Sally Sparrow, the episode remains riveting (not to mention sofa-hidingly scary. I actually yelled out in fear at one point, which isn't something I'm taken to do on a regular basis).
And last week we had seriously spooky scarecrows... This new series just keeps getting better :)