Doctor Who: Matt Smith’s eleventh hour save

By now we should all have seen Matt Smith’s first full episode as the notorious Gallifreyan. All expectations for the new series of Doctor Who have been running high for the last week. Believe it or not, my son and I sat for the last hour before airtime watching classic Who episodes on Sci-Fi.

Where to begin? All of what we’ve heard is true. [[Matt Smith]] owns the role of The Doctor from the very outset of [[The Eleventh Hour (Doctor Who episode)|The Eleventh Hour]]. Yes, he’s vaguely reminiscent of David Tennant. But by the end of the episode, he’s carved his identity as the eleventh Doctor – when the Atraxi ship flies away from Earth, Smith’s quirky, angular face looks utterly alien. Even his eyes seem to be brimming with excitement at seeing the universe anew in this new incarnation.

And the [[Amy Pond]] connection. I’d been building up a picture in my head of how The Doctor and Amy would meet. Kind of a Time Traveler’s Wife vibe – meets her when she’s a kid, then catches up with her later in life. But there’s craziness with Amy Pond. A delicious, obsessive craziness – she’s fantastised about a life with The Doctor. Even in adult life, her bedroom is strewn with figures and effigies of her and the Time Lord. We find out that as a child she pressed her future fiancee into pretending to be The Doctor.

At the end of the episode, we see the wedding dress and realise that Amy was about to get married. With The Doctor’s recent history of not being able to land the TARDIS at a precise point, there’s not much hope for Amy returning in time to walk down the aisle. This has the makings of a complex, strange and infinitely intriguing dynamic between Doctor and companion.

High points

  • The opening scenes with the TARDIS flying across London, with The Doctor hanging from the craft by his fingers, narrowly missing Big Ben. Spectacular piece of CGI, and a thrilling start to the episode.
  • The Doctor rejecting every piece of food young Amy gave him – spitting out apples, yogurt, and the brilliant line: “You’re Scottish, fry something!”
  • Some nice nostaligic throwbacks to the David Tennant era and even the classic series. Smith’s Doctor quotes his previous incarnation with “Timey-wimey” and the line “You’ve had some cowboys in here..” which Tennant’s Doctor said to Mademoiselle de Pompadour in The Girl In The Fireplace, which was written by…Steven Moffat.
  • “I’m the Doctor. Do everything I tell you, don’t ask stupid questions and don’t wander off.”
  • After The Doctor discovers that he’s been gone for 12 years and not five minutes, Amy snaps: “12 years and 4 psychiatrists.” Brilliant!

Low points

  • The new opening credits and theme tune. Resoundingly hated on Twitter from what I could see. Someone described it as “the TARDIS taking a journey through someone’s lower intestine” and the theme sounds like you’re listening to it with your head under water. This was one thing that wasn’t broken and didn’t need fixed.
  • The alien threat part of the story didn’t particularly grab me. An extra-terrestrial law enforcer chasing down an alien fugitive? Why, that’s the episode where the Judoon stole a hospital from London and stuck it on the Moon.
  • I’d have loved to see the regeneration of the TARDIS. Now, maybe they’d blown the budget on those special FX in the opening of the episode, but wouldn’t it have been cool to see The Doctor trigger a regeneration sequence from the inside?

My overall impression is…adequate. But I’ll qualify that opinion by saying that we had perhaps unrealistically high expectations for this episode.

Series 5 Story Arc?

The first hints of a story arc came from Prisoner Zero, who was taunting The Doctor about cracks in the universe. The alien fugitive said, “Cracks in the skin of the universe. Where did they come from? The Pandoric will open. Silence will fall.” At this stage, who knows what that all means…

Also, I’d like to point out the stylised “MYTH” on Jeff’s laptop. That’s gotta be a logo of some kind. Right?

Wiki time

I’ve just updated the plot summary on the “[[The Eleventh Hour (Doctor Who episode)|The Eleventh Hour]]” wiki page. I’ve also added some important/funny quotes from the episode.

If you’re a fan and you want to get involved with our Doctor Who wiki pages, please help flesh out some of these pages:

  • [[Matt Smith]] and [[Karen Gillan]]
  • [[The Doctor (Doctor Who)|The Doctor]] and [[Amy Pond]]
  • Also check out our [[Doctor Who Series 5]] wiki page for an overview of the series.

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1 Comment

  1. Little Ginni

    We actually liked the new theme tune.  Though I liked the old one as well so it didnt need changing.   But what a start to a new series………

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