Friday, April 23, 2010

Doctor Who - "The Eleventh Hour"

I can't promise that I'm going to review every episode of the newest series, but I also can't promise I won't. That being said, I am going to take a look at the first episode of the Eleventh Doctor's era, and of Steven Moffat's first outing as show-runner.

In "The Eleventh Hour" the Doctor has regenerated and is still learning who he is. He crash lands the TARDIS in the backyard of a beautiful old house where a small girl is living seemingly alone. Her name is Amelia Pond and she takes the Doctor in and feeds him. He says he will take her on a voyage, in order to figure out what the scary crack in Amelia's wall might be, where a voice echoes that Prisoner Zero has escaped. However, the Doctor gets in the TARDIS and leaves for 15 years instead of 5 minutes. He then meets up with Amy Pond, and Prisoner Zero escapes. The Doctor and Amy must stop this mysterious creature, but the TARDIS is shut off due to self-repair and the sonic screwdriver. On top of that, Amy's anger at being left behind is making the Doctor's job even harder. It's all in a day's work for him.

Right from the start, the new series sets itself apart from the Davies era with a new visual style and a different sense of humour. Rather than focusing on what becomes of the humans the Doctor touches, Moffat chooses to focus on how the Doctor affects the people he meets. It's a subtle distinction, but important. Instead of showing Amy's life and what happens when she meets the Doctor, we watch the Doctor try to contend with the fallout of his actions when dealing with humans.

In terms of Matt Smith, the new Doctor, he is serviceable. He has the unfortunate and dubious honour of following one of the most popular Doctors ever. Instead of mimicking Tennant, Smith seems to play it as a mix between Tennant and the Second Doctor, Patrick Troughton, a madcap fun fellow. This is not the dreary mopey Ninth Doctor.

And of Karen Gillon, the new companion? She's certainly... um... feisty and flirty. I hope that her character doesn't just pout her lips through every scene. I hope, and I'm sure it will happen, but I hope she will develop and grow. It happened with Donna Noble, and she is my favourite companion of all time. If you give a character a decent and interesting arc, then viewers will emotionally invest.

The best bits of the episode were by far when the Doctor was doing his thing, making up plans, saying Doctor-esque technobabble. Essentially, when Doctor Who the show was having fun being Doctor Who the show.

I do have to note positively that this episode features some proper use of time travel, thanks to Moffat again. It seems he's the only writer of late to use time travel a fiction device in a clever and logical and fun manner. Need I remind my readers that he wrote "Blink", voted the second best Doctor Who story of all time?

I had a great time with "The Eleventh Hour" and I look forward to more fun with the Eleventh Doctor. He has some high expectations to fulfill of the audience, but I think he will do just fine. I'm eager to see more from him.

God I love Doctor Who.

No comments: