There’s no filmed genre more tropey, and more filled with its own iconography, than the Western. The thing is, how many great British-made westerns can you name without thinking? Even with the hive mind of the interwebs it’s something of a stumper, and the best the THT Brain Trust can come up with is an episode of the Prisoner called Living in Harmony (which is quite excellent not only as a western but just because). Doctor Who only came west like this once in The Gunfighters and it’s a story remembered more for a song than anything else.
A Town Called Mercy trades in the tropes of a spaghetti western well, replete with soaring vistas and the misunderstood loner gunmen. But the heart of the story is much more Revelation of the Daleks in its own way than anything else, and it’s also an affirmation of the Doctor at the end of David Tennant’s run.
That A Town Called Mercy still in some way feels like a western is a triumph for the production team, and although this was a story that criminally underused Amy and especially Rory, it was still Amy (and Isaac) that helped set the Doctor straight. And for that reason it tops our nascent 2012 Dynamic Ratings Table.
It’s funny the way publicity is showered more upon some episodes than others. There are lots of images this time around, whereas next week is something of a mystery guest.