Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Review - Doctor Who: The Eleventh Hour

I feel a little bit like I may have missed out on something. Looking at the various reviews and comments online, the general consensus seems to be that, in the newly re-launched series of Doctor Who, Matt Smith is fantastic as the new Doctor. Maybe I was watching a slightly different programme as I mainly seemed to see an underwhelming actor vaguely mimicking the last person to play the role. Anyway, here's my own personal two-penneth on last Saturday's episode to add to the rest of the internet opinion...

The Good:- Given that it had a daunting run from David Tennant to follow, this was an assured and confident debut story. Stephen Moffat is an accomplished writer and indications here are good that he's got what it takes to step up to show-runner. There was a nice sense of fun, energy and wonder along with his trademark creepiness (the whole looking-out-the-corner-of-the-eye thing) which is so much a part of Doctor Who in general. There was also a nice sense of the surreal to the episode - giant eyeballs, barking workmen. As usual, the companion is the focus of this introductory story and Karen Gillan proves to be an engaging actress with a nice backstory for the character - if there's one thing that Stephen Moffat is good at, it's utilising the time travel element of the show to good effect. The newly designed TARDIS is also a winner, proving a nice mix of the new and the old (nods to the original design in some of the features).

The Bad:- The new theme is an absolute disgrace - taking a memorable theme tune and turning into something that barely even registers in your attention - and is accompanied by a shoddy looking new CGI sequence. I doubt it's going to grow on me - just have to grin and bear it for the next 12 weeks. Also, while the episode does have some nice, fun moments, it once again proves that new Doctor Who struggles with comedy from time to time with the overlong and not particularly funny food tasting sequence. The plot itself wasn't overly much to write home about but you can forgive that in an episode like this where there's so much to establish (new Doctor, new companion, etc.)

The Too Soon To Call:- Matt Smith himself. He seems to won over plenty of people with much raving about him being completely the Doctor but I was personally underwhelmed by him. There was nothing particularly distinctive or new about him and I felt at times that he was trying just that little bit too hard to be zany. that said, it is only his first episode and I didn't dislike him so let's see if he can win me over in the next few weeks.

The Verdict:- So, a new production team is at the helm and it has freshened up a show that was becoming in need of some new ideas but it still feels very much like a continuation of the same show. I'm not wowed by the new Doctor but I'm willing to give him a chance and I'm definitely keen to see where it goes in the next twelve weeks. I mean, it's Doctor Who and I've eagerly looked forward to each new series since I was four. I'm hardly going to stop now, am I? (No, I'm not, in case you were wondering.)

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