Note: The Time of Angels // Steven Moffat //
Broadcast and reception
"The Time of Angels" was first broadcast on BBC One on Saturday, 24 April 2010 from 6:20 p.m. to 7:05 p.m. In the United States it was shown on sister station BBC America on 8 May 2010. In the UK, preliminary overnight viewing figures showed that 6.8 million viewers watched the episode, which made it second for the night behind Britain's Got Talent. This was also the second highest overnight figure for a fourth episode over the last five series, "The Girl in the Fireplace" taking the top position. When final consolidated ratings were calculated, another 1.81 million timeshifted viewers were added, bringing the total up to 8.59 million, the highest viewing figure for the series since "The Eleventh Hour". This made it the fifth most watched programme on BBC One and the 12th most watched across all UK TV channels for the week ending 25 April 2010. It was also given an Appreciation Index of 87, the highest for the fifth series so far at its time of broadcast.
A Region 2 DVD and Blu-ray containing "The Time of Angels" together with the following episodes "Flesh and Stone" and "The Vampires of Venice" was released on 5 July 2010. It was re-released as part of the complete series five DVD on 8 November 2010.
During the cliffhanger ending of the first broadcast of "The Time of Angels", an animated graphic was shown in some regions, showing Graham Norton revealing a banner trailing his show Over the Rainbow. According to the BBC, the overlay graphic was run 20 seconds too early. The BBC apologised after receiving over five thousand complaints. The incident received attention on Twitter, with SFX magazine reporting that it had "caused a minor Twitter earthquake", citing tweets from Charlie Brooker, Matthew Graham and Simon Pegg. The incident was lampooned on Brooker's panel game You Have Been Watching, where he described it as "a travesty". BBC drama writer and co-creator of Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes Matthew Graham criticised the BBC for "cheapen[ing]" itself and mentioned he wrote emails to "a few interested parties".
The episode received widespread acclaim from television critics. Daniel Martin, writing for The Guardian called it "an astonishing achievement" and "absolutely bloody terrifying". He praised the way Moffat handled River Song's story, as well as for making it an "intricate romp jammed with ideas that make a truly cinematic piece of drama". Gavin Fuller's review for The Daily Telegraph praised the suspense and "the revelation that all the statues were Angels" which he called "genuinely shocking". Though he commented it "took a while to get going", once it did he thought it had turned into the "first genuine chiller" of the series. He wrote that the "only real disappointment" was the "inference that the TARDIS doesn't really have to make its celebrated 'vworp, vworp' noise on landing", asking "How can you do that to us long-time fans, Steven Moffat – that sound is part of the warp and weft of the programme!".
Patrick Mulkern, writing for the Radio Times, described the episode as "simply superb television" and claimed that "Matt Smith really is shaping up to be the best Doctor since Tom Baker", praising him for being "simultaneously intense and subtle". He thought it started out with "arguably the most impressive opener to any Doctor Who yet" and also praised Amy for being "cheerfully free of the emotional baggage that mired her predecessors" so far. Matt Wales of IGN gave the episode a 10 out of 10 rating, calling it "huge, silly, scary, gorgeous, gripping and – most importantly – fun". Although he wrote it "never quite matched the relentless tension of 'Blink'", he commented that it was "flawlessly paced and, when it mattered, genuinely scary". Unlike Fuller, he praised the TARDIS "vworp vworp" joke, asking "Who could possibly not love the sheer audacity in suggesting the TARDIS's iconic whirring noise was the result of the Doctor leaving the brakes on for the last 45 years?"
SFX magazine reviewer Dave Golder gave the episode five out of five stars, praising it for being "superbly paced, the changes in tone happening gradually and organically". He also commended the directing and sound effects. Keith Phipps of The A.V. Club gave the episode a grade of A-, praising the scary atmosphere and the development of the Weeping Angels. He commented that he was a little "fuzzy" on the Doctor and River Song's relationship, but he expected that he was supposed to be.