Television Review – Doctor Who – “The Eleventh Hour”

So I have seen the first episode of Matt Smith’s tenure as the 11th Doctor. I have seen it, and I have, thankfully, enjoyed it. It appears to junk most, if not quite all, of the crap that was picked up during the Davies era while keeping what was good about the old show and the new.

The story is fairly mediocre, but that’s to be expected of new Doctor stories. This one isn’t as good as my personal favorites (“Spearhead from Space” and “Castrovalva” as well as the Doctor attacking Peri in “The Twin Dilemma”), but is better than the worst of the bunch (“Robot” and “Time and the Rani”).

Said story focuses on the Doctor running into a little girl who has a crack in her bedroom. Said crack appears to be in the universe as opposed to her bedroom, and through it someone named Prisoner Zero has escaped. He seals the crack, tells the girl he’ll be back for her in five minutes, and then disappears only to show up twelve years later. The girl is grown, the prisoner is out, and Earth is being menaced. Again.

Smith brings a delightful energy to the role. He has said he based his performance of Patrick Troughton, who played the Second Doctor. It shows, both in his mannerisms and in the outfit he picked. Darken the jacket slightly and it’s be quite a bit like the 2nd Doctor’s.

New companion Amy Pond (Karen Gillan), seems well-suited to be the Doctor’s side kick and, thankfully, appears to have a love interest, so perhaps we’ll go an entire series without someone falling in love with the Doctor. It also helps that the apparent love-interest, one Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill), is set to become the first real male companion since Turlough’s days with the 5th Doctor.

There’s a lot of potential with this Doctor and with Amy and Rory. I look very forward to the rest of the series and seeing things like the Daleks, the Vampires, the Cybermen and the Silurians, as well as whatever newness the shows throws at us. I could do without what’s likely to be a series-long arc centering around something that could Doom the Universe (again), but otherwise I feel some confidence about this series and this Doctor. Let’s see what happens next!

“The Eleventh Hour” has its American premier on BBC America on April the 17th (one day before my birthday!), so for those of you who haven’t’ yet downloaded it, that’ll be your chance to watch it.


5 Responses to “Television Review – Doctor Who – “The Eleventh Hour””

  1. Chris Says:

    Oh, yes. Forgot to mention. When Amy is on screen there’s a couple moments where the background music puts me in mind of Rose’s theme. Please, please, please, Mr Moffat, don’t remind us of Rose!

  2. nick brown Says:

    I love Matt Smith & Karen Gillan; I think they have great chemistry and any woman in a police uniform brandishing handcuffs will always get my vote. I also though she had good comic timing.

    The poignant set-up of the little girl who has waited 14 years is pregnant with possibilities. I’m not surprised she went through 4 psychiatrists. It reminds me of another Steven Moffatt episode; The Girl In The Fireplace, where the same scenario occurs and The Doctor gets his times wrong (by decades).

    I thought The Atraxi, though, were poor. I couldn’t help thinking Moffatt was channelling The Vogon Constructor Fleet. I half-expected them to start quoting torture poetry. I also thought Prisoner Zero was weakly realised in CGI; like a steroid-pumped centipede with attitude. Of course, it was all a set-up to introduce the new characters/actors but they could have done better, and as such, the story line was the weakest that Moffatt has come up with (given he has written the scariest Who episodes in the modern age (such as Blink).

    Overall, I am really encouraged. Matt Smith could be the quintessential Who; quirky, eccentric, donnish, funny, very English in a tweedy 50’s sort’ve way.

    I’m glad they revamped the Tardis, if only to explain why the interior has changed so radically over the years. I have always clamoured for an episode located entirely in the Tardis. I see it as a huge expanse, possibly with rivers, mountains, shores, skyline and clouds. Imagine The Doctor wakes up on a sandy beach not knowing how he got there, finding deserted buildings, perhaps a derelict church, an abandoned village, and all the while, unbeknown to him, he is in The Tardis. I’m sure The Doctor has had little time to think about what goes on in the great expanse of his vessel, and regenerations have rendered him a tourist without a map in his own backyard.

    They should have done the Atraxi voice as a dominatraix – that would have worked (for me, at least).

    • Chris Says:

      Yes! The Vogons! I’d totally planned to mention them in the review and forgot to. Well done! 🙂 They were quite similar in many ways and I couldn’t stop thinking about them while watching the episode.

      Also, yeah, the CGI snakey thingy was pretty poor. It might’ve worked better if they’d darkened the color or just used a practical prop.

  3. Kristian Says:

    Yes, perfectly bearable. (I wonder which mandated rewrite changed ‘strippogram’ to ‘kissogram’ …)

    I’ll miss the WWII one I think.


    agreed about the Atraxi. Looked like something the props department got from the ‘Blue Peter’ archives.

    • Chris Says:

      I’m willing to bet Strip-o-gram is probably trademarked or something. And I’ll be watching the WWII one, “Victory of the Daleks”. I’m really rather tired of the Daleks but maybe this will be a good use for them.

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