Doctor Who: The Eleventh Hour
Airdate: April 3rd 2010. UK. BBC1
So... eleventh Doctor... Eleventh Hour and... yeah, this opening episode is also extended to an hour in length.
Watched this when it was aired (switched my mobile phone off and then forgot to switch it back on until this morning).
Not sure how I feel about this. I have a great respect for Steven Moffat’s writing in Doctor Who and he did some nice stuff in this one. The episode was certainly not a terrible episode... that’s for sure. But it wasn’t exactly a great episode either. It did drag in places... which would be okay... although it sent my mother to sleep so that’s not necessarily a good thing.
I think my problem with it was that all of the character stuff and the chemistry between the new Doctor and his new companion Amelia Pond was really great. Loved the fact that he meets his companion as a little girl and then comes back “in five minutes” which lasts fourteen years for her. All that was good... as were all the characters in this episode. I think where the episode felt draggy... and why I might myself have lopped a good ten minutes or so off the running time... was the actual “let’s defeat an alien invasion” stuff. Tired old running around and saving the planet story. Possibly to give the new guy room to breathe? I don’t know. Bit humdrum I thought.
Then there were the new prophecy references about the Doctor having caused the “crack in time” and tearing bits of the universe asunder which seem to point to being addressed at a later point in the series. Yeah, ok. That kind of stuff worked well with the previous four seasons and the specials but... it’s getting a little tired now. I’m kind of hoping that all that stuff is just Steven Moffat playing with the formula and living up to the audiences expectations so that he can somehow do an “about face”on it later on and ditch it all and surprise us. Probably he won’t do that... but you never know.
Matt Smith's Doctor is... okay so far. Not terrible and it’s not fair to pass judgement yet. The only Doctor I’ve never really liked was Colin Baker. Don’t know why and it certainly wasn’t his fault. Matt Smith seems to be committed to the role and that’s always a good thing.
Karen Gillan, however, is really great. What a fantastic new companion he’s picked up! She’s better than the Doctor. That red hair is so good to give the frame a vibrant shot of colour too. Bit shame they toned her down to “kissogram girl” when they had obvious references to internet pornography later on in the episode. Maybe kissogram girl was supposed to be a euphamism (it’s hinted that aside from her police uniform she also does nurse, french maid and nun)... I’d like to think so. It would be nice for the Doctor to have a sex worker as a companion and give people in that kind of profession the respect they deserve in a popular TV show. Probably won’t happen though.
There were some nice visual references to previous episodes of the show. Good to see a brief glimpse of a Sea Devil again!
There were some nice surprises. The new TARDIS interior works better in the context of the show with a camera moving about it than in the dreadful “still” photographs that were released of it previously. Nice colours. Wish there were more of the old circles in there... hope this doesn’t mean we’ve lost those for good.
The new logo is good (frankly anything would have been an improvement on that last one, which was the worst one in the show’s long history) and the title sequence... well that might take a little more getting used to.
There were some nasty surprises also. What were they thinking. It’s okay to rearrange Ron Grainers original theme... it’s really hard to do that any harm if treated sensitively. Now I loved the music for this episode but that main theme variant was awful! They managed to totally destroy it! Would humbly suggest they go for a less “augmented” arrangement of that real soon. This is not good and really upset me!
Ok... so all I can do is wait and see what the next episode brings. Timewise it looks like they’re going to continue to do some interesting things with the way the Doctor and his new companion interact. Looking forward to it.