Aw yeah! Doctor Who is back! I’ve been so excited about this I could barely contain myself, and needless to say – expectations were and are high. We’re basically looking at a brand new show, as is usually the case when the Doctor regenerates and a different creative team takes over. Right off the bat, we’re met with a new logo and a new a variation of the theme (neither of which are that great, to be quite honest). So what does the show have in store for us? With this essentially being a brand new pilot, is it enticing enough keep ahold of the viewer throughout the show and leave them wanting for more?
To find out the answer to that question, click behind the jump!
Long Answer: My god, that was even more than I ever could have imagined. Doctor Who has always been an interesting mix of comedy, sci-fi, action, and drama, and most recently this has relied heavily on the particular portrayal of the Doctor. Christopher Eccleston was a bit of a darker Doctor, David Tennant was definitely the dramatic Doctor (“I’m sorry… I’m so sorry”), and now we have Matt Smith. What is Matt Smith? Matt Smith is the hyperactive comedic Doctor – or at least, he is for now.
In the first episode of the new show, the Doctor (having previously damaged his TARDIS during his regeneration) crash lands in the backyard of a young Scottish girl named Amelia Pond. Together, they investigate a crack in her wall which is revealed to be a crack in time and space which looks over a prison. Unfortunately for said prison, “Prisoner Zero” has escaped. Nevertheless, the Doctor fixes the crack and returns to his TARDIS, promising to take Amelia with him after he fixes it – five minutes tops! When he returns, though, it’s been 12 years, Amelia is now Amy, and she’s not very happy with him. She was convinced she had made him up as an imaginary friend, and now that he’s real she’s furious. On top of that – Patient Zero? Yeah, he’s been living in her house for 12 years too.
What follows is our first look at Smith’s version of the Doctor and a really good entry into the Doctor Who mythos. First let’s focus on Smith’s performance: I’m not familiar with him as an actor at all, but it’s always hard to move from Doctor to Doctor. I didn’t believe Tennant would be better than Eccleston, but now I barely remember Eccleston’s season. I imagined Smith wouldn’t be better than Tennant, but I am already a huge fan of his version of the character. Smith brings a fresh energy to the show, and as much as part of me feels that this might be an “appeal to the younger audience move,” it doesn’t feel like any sort of slight towards the fans which a lot of people were afraid of. We’ve only had one episode to judge from, but Smith already proved to me he is a good successor to Tennant’s epic run as the Doctor.
I also love the way the show incorporated all of it’s new styles in. A new TARDIS, a new screwdriver, and a new suit – and it all makes sense within the context of the show as to why! It was a real treat to watch the Doctor really grow to learn about his new body and new form, considering the last time we saw the Doctor transform he spent a large majority of his first episode asleep/recovering from an attack. Matt Smith pieced his clothes together from items found “on site,” as well as gave us a believable excuse to everything changing. Oh, and there was of course that little Doctor montage at the end of the episode as Smith showed his authority to the new aliens.
And how about Karen Gillan? She may not be as verbose as Kieron Gillen, but I’d wager she’s cuter! (Sorry, Kieron.) She is the only part of the show that I feel has to grow on me a bit more (outside of her obvious attractive looks) since she didn’t really develop as much as other characters throughout. Generally, she spent a good part of the episode simply mad at Smith, and also revealed she’s kind of a whore (a Kiss-A-Gram? What? Is that sort of thing common overseas, or am I just going to the wrong parties?). I feel like she’ll work well with Smith, but she’s fairly underdeveloped at the moment. The final second of the episode did give an interesting tease at where her character would be going in the future of the show, and considering what usually develops between the Doctor and his companions, it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out through the season.
Now let’s look at Moffat – Moffat inherited the show from previous show runner Russel T Davies, but he had worked as Davies’ number 2 man on the show, so I’m not overly worried about the direction of the show. Moffat is also the writer of my favorite episode of Doctor Who. After tonight’s episode, I’d say my worries are long gone. I absolutely loved the formula of the episode. It had all the classic things I’ve loved about Doctor Who so far, with a comedic overtone which I can’t honestly complain about. I was a little worried at first when a scene about food dragged on to about five minutes, but considering the episode ran a bit over time anyway, I’m not too annoyed. The episode kept it’s pace up throughout, and I found myself just as captivated by this episode as I have any other (and need I remind you, Doctor Who is the kind of show that can make water a believable antagonist).
Needless to say, with this quick look into the future of Doctor Who, I am very excited. Now would be the perfect time to hop on for new fans looking to get into the show, as the change of scenery is definitely a great place to start. There might be some confusing elements down the road (i.e. the Blink aliens, Daaleks, and Cybermen), but it should all flow reasonably well. The new Doctor Who has my full support, 100%, and I can’t wait to see what happens.