Sunday, April 04, 2010

Doctor Who: The Eleventh Hour

Normally, I take a quick look at Twitter after watching and enjoying an episode of Doctor Who, only to end up utterly deflated by a flood of "full of holes!" "RTD suckses!" and "boooooooooooooooooorings!"

Doesn't stop me though, and I did exactly the same last night, but this time... things were different. The tweets I saw were uniformly positive! Matt Smith? "Fun and adventurous!" Amy Pond? "Cool and the hottest since Romana!" Story? "Good, silly timey-wimey stuff!" Direction? "Genuinely interesting!" I mean, everyone disliked the theme tune (rightly, bloody awful), and I've read that the haters were out in force on the forums but let's face it, the first problem we should just get over, and the second isn't ever going to change - those people just don't like Doctor Who any more.

For the rest of us, there was such a lot to get excited about - Matt Smith in particular. David Tennant was such an ambassador for the show (and so overall ace) that he was always going to leave quite a void; so for Matt to make it so that we feel utterly comfortable with him in the role within one episode - minutes, in fact - was pretty darn impressive. Personality-wise, it's not nearly so big a leap as from grumpy Nine to bouncy Ten - Eleven is buzzing with ideas and talks ten-to-the-dozen much like DT's Doctor, but it's great to see he's such a geek. As Stuart says over on Behind The Sofa you can't imagine gangly, nutty professor-esque Eleven's got much of a "fightin' hand"... but then there is that gun...

And as for Amy Pond, well she's patently as screwy as he is, so they make quite the pair. Quite how their relationship will work, though, will be very interesting - she doesn't seem to be the sort to play Donna's 'reining in' role, that's for sure. In terms of Karen Gillan, she's instantly engaging and clearly has real comic skill; there wasn't much scope for deep emotion here, but her sense of wonder was clear.

The storyline wasn't overly interesting (and precisely the sort that the RTD-detractors would have rolled their eyes at had he written it), but I DID like the massive eye - obviously - and in any case, the sci-fi aspect of the first episode of a new Doctor or assistant's tenure is secondary to the introductions. Overall, I am certainly a very happy (Easter) bunny.

(Definitely catch Lisa's post, by the way!)


howlie, said...

Swimming pool in the library.
(I still have massive amounts of glee for that)

You kind of get the impression she'd be more likely to tell him where to stick it than to rein him in. Should be interesting.

Anna Lowman (annawaits) said...

Ha yes, I totally can imagine her saying that...

Dean said...

Agreed almost entirely, except I liked the theme tune.


The RTD-detractors wouldn't have rolled their eyes at the plot. Okay, it wasn't the driving force of the episode and it was fairly light-weight, but it had a couple of decent twists in and, most of all, those twists made sense.

I was able to see a couple of things coming before they were made explicit: that the little girl was the same one as the older one, just further in the past (though anyone who'd seen a promo would know that), that the "earth-residence" was the planet, not the house... and the last bit with the virus and the zeros I didn't see coming but made absolute sense.

Were it an RTD episode, there'd have just been some nonsense explanation for that last bit. Because it wasn't important or wasn't the point of the episode.

It's always been a show to play fast and loose with the 'science' part of 'science-fiction', but Moffat seems to at least have a greater respect for staying true to some sort of internal logic. And that's what really made it work for me.

Stuart Ian Burns said...

Thanks for the link!

I'm still having a conversation with myself about what exactly the storyline was in the episode. If you take it purely on Doctor Who & RTD terms it was the alien invasion as ever.

But really, if you look at it from a non-franchise POV and treat it like all other fiction, the storyline was about a little girl growing up and finding out her imaginary friend is real.

Anonymous said...

I think the best thing was that neither Matt Smith nor Amy Pond tried too hard (almost, dare I say it, a relief after David Tennant). Amy Pond in particular seemed a much more convincing actress than recent Who foils. I think she may hold her own pretty easily.

Kev said...

It had a lot to accomplish in an hour and did so brilliantly. I agree with Stuart (I usually do), but the story was about the "Raggedy Doctor" made real. To give Amy a 14 year relationship with the Doctor after just an hour of TV was sensational.

lex said...

Agreed agreed agreed.

I like that SF got a chance to develop the imaginary-friend-turns-out-to-be-real,-years-later thing.
Shades of 'Girl in the Fireplace' with rather more conducive circs. I love the idea of one person taking the slow path - some sort of poignance-craving masochism I suppose *wipes solitary tear*.

Overall, charming, balanced, and in the right spirit, which I think is the most important thing. Was slightly discomfited by the credits at first, but I love the eerie instrument that whips out the hook. Taken from old samples? Who knows. Lovely though.

PS. Did I hear thet RTD is doing a US Torchwood? May Thor help us all...