As the Fifth series of the revitalised and resurrected Doctor Who begins it’s two part finale next week, it became apparent to me that I’ve neglected largely in sharing my views about it; and what better way to share these views than with another venue I’ve recently neglected due to impending exams and other niceties. Needless to say, I will be doing a lot more of these, although there is a large possibility they won’t come in large amounts until after my exams which end on June 28th. Incidentally, two days before my band is playing our official EP launch at The Maze, on Mansfield Road, Nottingham, so anyone in the area should come down and check us out, it’s very cheap to get in, and after a few beers you may even consider buying our £2 EP which is available from merch stands at current and future gigs, but I digress, I could talk about my band all day alas, that’s not what I made this blog for. I shall begin with the first episode of the series and venture on in my next blog to the second. You get the idea.
Episode 1 – The Eleventh Hour
Introducing Matt Smith; unfortunately for the ladies he’s not David Tennant, but this is a breath of fresh air for nerds like me who want The Doctor to act alien; to be strange and quirky in the way that Tom Baker was as the fourth; something that didn’t quite come to fruition in the Russel T Davies years; focusing more on The Doctor’s human-like qualities. Going into this I must also add that ever since ‘The Empty Child’ Steven Moffat has been my favourite writer on Doctor Who, and though I adored the final David Tennant story and thought Davies did an amazing job with the script I was glad to see Steven Moffat step up to the head writer position, confident that the show would be slightly darker and free of the pointless story directions and deus ex machina endings that plagues series 3 and series 4 finales, leaving a bad taste in my mouth because the previous episode has been so exciting but yet again I digress.
Many people voiced their opinions of Matt Smith before seeing him on screen, judging mostly based on appearance, and that would usually be wrong but due to the fact that he is very young I can see where some are coming from, after all, most of the doctor’s incarnations have been a great deal older, but the parallels with Tom Baker return, both were young and relatively unknown actors and pulled away from sceptics by exerting a great deal of character; Matt Smith, as with Tom Baker delivers so many more dimensions to The Doctor than David Tennant had in his run, and became instantly likeable as quickly as his first dialogue.
This of course is the anchor for the rest of the episode as the audience’s introduction to the eleventh doctor. In past regenerations, the audience gets to know the new doctor alongside the companion. The companion as the audience’s proxy, begins uneasy about their friend’s new body but grows to accept the changes and love him as a different, yet the same person. Due to the lack of recurring companions and the death-like nature of David Tennant’s last episode; ‘The Eleventh Hour’ replaced the realisation; acting almost as a television pilot, everything from the logo down to the TARDIS has changed and throughout the episode Matt Smith does a fantastic job at convincing us that he IS The Doctor. A battle with the audience of which he won thoroughly.
However, I did think watching this episode that the pace was rather slow, Rory seemed like a pointless character to establish purely for one episode, but as the wedding dress came into focus I was relieved to see he was going to be returning which justified his presence in the episode. Prisoner Zero wasn’t exactly an engaging villain but the promise of this was the introduction to the ‘crack in time’ storyline to be used throughout the series leading up to next weeks ‘The Pandorica Opens’ and its other half ‘The Big Bang’. The villain of the story may have seemed less than thrilling but this episode was purely about introducing the two main characters of the eleventh doctor and Amy Pond. Prisoner Zero was a narrative device created for the sole purpose of uniting these characters in purpose and investing the audience in their story with the ‘crack in time’ device as the manifestation of the importance in the connection between the two characters, a way to justify the doctor taking Amy as a companion as well as introducing the key mystery of the series.
To finish I will have to talk about the ending because not only was it fantastic, it was so simple. A plot twist that shouldn’t have been a plot twist and it worked brilliantly; in fact saving the episode for those who would feel the slow pace as the shape of things to come. The addition of cliffhangers to the end of a contained Doctor Who story is really something that I admire and revel in, probably because I’m such a huge LOST fan, but also because the mid-story cliffhangers never really hold any weight, especially knowing all the characters will survive to the next episode. Maybe if they killed off a main character at the end of a part one I’d change my mind about that, but that would be too tragic not to happen at the end of an episode I guess. Still I’d love to write for Doctor Who, I don’t believe I could contribute to the quality that the current writers do but I believe I’d have a few ideas that could work well for the series, but alas, BBC writersroom would never let me apply for anything already running that’s not a soap.
More Soon xxxx