Premiere Particulars: Doctor Who

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Any of you who know me even a little know that I had been anticipating last Saturday for some time. The reason? Everybody’s favorite Time Lord, the Doctor, was all set for the beginning of another season. But this wasn’t just any season premiere—this was the first adventure for a brand-spanking new Doctor. So does this new fella live up to all the hype? Let’s talk about the particulars of BBC’s Doctor Who premiere.

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What I liked:

  • The new opening sequence. I know some people have said they don’t really dig it, but I love all the clock parts and planets and that brief, glorious shot of Capaldi and those intense eyes. See what you think here.
  • Peter Capaldi as the new Doctor. There’s a lot about him that I like. He’s Scottish, which is a nice change for the character (I believe he’s only ever been English). He’s very funny, and some of his moments in this made me laugh a lot. I mean, the guy calls a T-Rex a “big, sexy woman” while also insisting he isn’t flirting with her. He’s very self-aware, too, taking the time to analyze his new face, (“These are attack eyebrows! You could pop bottle caps off with these!”), new accent (“I’m Scottish! I can complain about things!”), and advanced age. Speaking of his age…
  • How his age is handled. Madame Vastra (Neve McIntosh) and Clara (Jenna Coleman) take some time to talk about that, and Vastra has an interesting point: perhaps the Doctor kept regenerating young as a form of acceptance, but now that he trusts Clara, he doesn’t feel the need to keep up his youthful façade. In fact, at one point he even makes a point to say to her, “I’m not your boyfriend.” This Doctor may be a bit flirty when it comes to dinosaurs, but I think he might be done flirting with companions for a while. Frankly, it’s about time. He’s been a flirt for seven seasons, and the Doctor-companion romance thing often wore a little thin in the past.
  • The return of the Paternoster Gang! (Sidenote: why are they called that?!) Madame Vastra, her wife Jenny (Catrin Stewart), and their “butler” Strax (Dan Starkey) are a really fun, quirky trio. Vastra and Jenny are not only tough ladies, but they’re very interesting as an inter-species, same-sex couple—the only couple like that I’ve ever seen on TV. And Strax…he just cracks me up. He’s clueless and blunt and unintentionally hilarious. Having these three in this episode is, for the most part, great.
  • There’s a cameo toward the end that surprised and delighted the heck outta me. It’s perfect.

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What I didn’t like:

  • The whole dino bit. It’s funny for a while, but ultimately, I didn’t see the purpose other than for writer/producer Steven Moffat and co. to be able to say, “Look! We can make a CGI dinosaur!” Sorry guys, but Jurassic Park will always trump everyone else at that. Also, the people of Victorian London are surprisingly calm about the presence of a giant prehistoric beast.
  • Though I ultimately enjoy having Madame Vastra in the episode, I will say that she’s a pretty big jerk to Clara for a while, and that seems unnecessary. Clara struggles with the idea of regeneration and a new-yet-not-new Doctor, which I think is completely reasonable, yet Vastra looks down on her for it. Maybe Vastra holds Clara to a higher standard since she’s the Doctor’s companion, but she’s still harsh. Ease up, homegirl.
  • There’s a random flashback to Clara’s classroom that shows her struggling with some unruly students, and it’s just kind of dumb. I didn’t really see the purpose for it other than to show us more about Clara, but the scene is so brief that it’s hardly worth showing at all—which brings on the next point…
  • Did this episode need to be almost an hour-and-a-half long? Frankly, I think a lot of moments were stretched out too far. I think Moffat was milking this episode a bit—not enough to annoy me, but enough to make me a little impatient.
  • The Doctor. I know I said above that I like him, but there are certain things about him that make me somewhat uncertain. Don’t expect a lot of charm from this Doctor—he’s funny and clever, sure, but he’s also a bit scary and angry. He’s not charismatic or partial to hugs, and he can actually be kind of ruthless, pulling a stunt with Clara that leaves a lot of question marks regarding his character.

The Potential: Oh, there’s always potential with Doctor Who. But this will be an adjustment. This is not the kind of Doctor we’ve grown used to. I think the transition from David Tennant to Matt Smith was pretty smooth not only because they were kind of similar Doctors, but because Smith started out with, in my opinion, a really great episode. Capaldi’s premiere isn’t quite so strong, but I do like his Doctor for the most part, and I’m looking forward to seeing what Moffat does with an older, wiser, slightly less frantic leading man.

My Grade: B+

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26 thoughts on “Premiere Particulars: Doctor Who

  1. Cara Gale!!

    Excellent post! You know I wasn’t in love with this episode but I think I’ll like Capaldi. I prefer a much less running and jumping and soccer playing and horse riding Doctor….

    #probiesforever

    • Thanks, dude!! Yeah, this episode could’ve been better. I’m glad you like Capaldi, too! So far, he still doesn’t beat Tennant or Smith for me, but I have a feeling my love will grow.

      #doctorwhoprobiesarethebestprobies

  2. Personally, I am happy with this new Doctor. I wasn’t a huge fan of 11, and having been a massive fan of 4 when I was a kid, I am happy for a return to more of that personality. I’m not a hugger, either, so I can relate on that score.

    Like you, I thought there were some pretty random parts of this episode which made absolutely no sense and shouldn’t have been included. However, knowing Moffett, there are things that he puts in which actually have a purpose much later down the line. Of course, we’re expected to remember these weird bits of flotsam, so he sometimes does them in such a way that while irritating, we won’t readily forget them.

    There were holes in this episode, however, I think that Moffett really just wanted to focus on introducing this new Doctor as well as a creepy baddy who will probably be a prominent person this season. We shall see.

    • I do like Capaldi quite a bit, but I adored Tennant and Smith, so I’ll need to see more of him before I can decide if I like him just as well. There was definitely some randomness in this episode, although I do think you’re right–Moffat is setting up for something, particularly at the end of the episode. Not the best premiere, I don’t think, but not the worst either. 🙂

      • I liked Tennant quite a bit. Of the new series Doctors, he’s my favorite. I tolerated Smith.

        I am interested to see who the crazy creepy lady is. I really hope they do well in the rest of this series.

  3. See, I’m not a fan of Vastra, Jenny or Strax, so this was the biggest problem for me here. Imagine my irritation with Vastra, when even one of her fans, like yourself, was getting a bit fed up. As for Capaldi, he needs time to grow, but true fans of the show will give him more than one episode before truly judging him. The premiere wasn’t the strongest, but it did its job and that is all I needed from it.

    • Oh yeah if you’re not a Vastra fan I imagine you hated her guts here. Hahaha. I have faith in Capaldi–just throwing out a first impression. I think he’s going to be a refreshing change, actually. For the most part, I did enjoy this premiere. Sounds like you did, too!

  4. I love Strax. I want a whole spinoff of just Strax. I hate Clara though. Why couldn’t the dinosaur just eat her. I’m reserving judgement on the Doctor.

    • Oh man. Strax is the best. Like, I find everything he says hilarious. LOL! Wow, yeah you really don’t dig Clara, huh? She’s not my favorite, but I find her okay. The Ponds will always be my faves. So far, I like Capaldi pretty well. I don’t know if he’ll surpass my love for Tennant and Smith, but he’s off to a decent start.

  5. I enjoyed the episode but I do think the Capaldi was better than the material. I’m fairly confident he’ll be a success, however, as you say Cara, it will take some getting used to. I found the calmness of Victorian London when faced with a huge dinosaur quite hilarious, haha! Smith fo’ lyf.

    Adam.

    • Ah you’re a Smith Whovian, eh? I did end up loving him, but I think my heart will always belong to Tennant. I can’t wait to see more of Capaldi though! I have high hopes. 🙂

    • Y’know I’m not sure. Maybe not. But I just think making almost every companion have a crush on the Doctor is kind of dull, y’know? I was relieved when Donna came along in season four and stopped that for a while. Lol.

      • Yes! Oh – I’m way behind on comments. The Dalek one? Oh wait – maybe we’ve discussed that on Twitter by now. Lol – my old mind!!!!! Anyway – it was better than the first one but I’m still not really feeling it. Still need to watch last night’s….

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