After months of hype, the eleventh season of 'Doctor Who' finally premiered on Sunday, 7th October. There’s a new doctor and a new production crew headed by 'Broadchurch' creator Chris Chibnall, all of whom are promising this to be an excellent jumping off point. Long-time fans and newcomers are sure to be impressed!
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room; Jodie Whittaker as the new Doctor. Her being a woman in a traditionally male role is a can of worms that has been discussed ever since she was announced over a year ago. However, from the minute she (quite literally) falls into the story all the way to the end, there is no denying that Whittaker IS the Doctor.
She brings an energy and a goofiness to the role, the likes of which remind the audience of David Tennant or Patrick Troughton in the best possible way. Seeing her getting to grips with her new self is one of the highlights of the episode, as any story featuring a new Doctor should do. From reminiscing on how reliable her nose is to forgetting that she’s now a woman, Whittaker is simply a joy to watch.
In the age of Netflix providing audiences with high-quality programming with great production values, there has been a need for shows on traditional platforms to compete. The people behind the scene of this new version of Doctor Who clearly understood as this episode looks beautiful. From the lighting to the dynamic shot composition, director Jamie Childs has brought a cinematic flair that is very much welcomed.
The monster is also symbolic of the new direction. Both Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi’s Doctors faced against foes who were incredibly gimmicky and required the heroes to do one simple thing to thwart (don’t blink, don’t breath, don’t think, stay happy, etc). Without giving too much away, this monster is a simple alien warlord who the Doctor needs to stop. Though not the most original or compelling adversary, the blatant lack of any gimmick is highly refreshing and he is still sure to give children nightmares.
As mentioned this episode is highly energetic and seems to whiz by, however, it is this brisk pace that can be this episode’s shortcoming. At various points, some characters are greatly underused with them just standing in the background as the Doctor monologues. The worst affected by this is sadly Bradley Walsh, possibly the most high profile of the new companions. A particularly large exposition dump in the second act doesn’t help to smooth proceedings over either.
Everything considered this was a very good first impression for the Thirteenth Doctor that is sure to convert all nay-sayers to this fresh and exciting new era of the show!.