What an impossible job for Doctor Who head honcho and chief script-writer, Steven Moffat - launching a new series AND a new face for the Doctor (Peter Capaldi).
Interestingly, the hype on TV leading up to last night’s episode was relatively sparse (thank goodness!) in the shape of just a few short clips on TV and YouTube. So, how was it? Unusually, in our house when we replayed the episode, we had a good cross section of an audience - from the slightly obsessed (me!), someone who had seen every previous episode going (Lee), A new fan (Oliver), an objective fan (Roger), and another (Jane), and someone who just doesn’t ‘get it’ at all (Ann). A first for this series (and for Doctor Who episodes, as a whole), was that it ran for an hour and 25 minutes.
The episode began: Ann lasted 14 minutes before she was bored, and headed for the kitchen - and the lamb for our lunch. Lee dropped off to sleep after twenty minutes, Oliver dozed and towards the end, and Roger yawned and helped with the placing of the cutlery - leaving Jane and I ‘to keep the faith’. One thing you always know with Steven Moffatt’s stories is that they are going to be complex - and this one was no different. However, when Oliver said ‘I didn’t really understand it’ - that left me worried. Additionally, I felt overall, it lacked its characteristic ‘action’, plus it did seem to take a while to get going - but I suppose it needed the time to explain the back-story, introduce the new Doctor, and generally try and keep everyone happy with a well-structured storyline. Hhhhmmm, I think I might watch it again in the next few days.
There were some nice touches though - a flashback to Clara, on her first day as a Teacher, the Doctor opting NOT to wear a scarf when he was looking for clothes for the first time - but the most memorable bit was the short appearance by Matt Smith, the ‘old’ young Doctor, urging Clara to help the ‘new’ old Doctor (try and keep up at the back!). I like the new opening credits -there a major change to what’s gone before and seemed very appropriate. The theme music has been reworked slightly too.
We’re promised, a ‘darker’ Doctor, one who doesn’t care so much for humans - but there was only the smallest of hints of this during this first episode, and that, for me was disappointing. Still, I’m confident the episodes to follow will go from strength to strength - and I’m already looking forward to episode 2 next week.