Those who either follow my Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook will have seen an out pouring of Doctor Who quotes, or general fandom in response to Saturday’s episode! Before going any further, this is a review, therefore there will be spoilers below. If you don’t want to see spoilers… why are you reading a review? Secondly, while I do think that the episode was great, there were faults with it too… this isn’t just going to be a one-sided blog.
That out the way! The story follows straight on from the ending of The End of Time which aired over Christmas. The newly regenerated Doctor, crash landing in a garden in the village of Leadworth, pulls himself out of the TARDIS to find Amelia Pond believing that Santa has answered her prayers; someone has appeared to do something about the scary crack in her wall. Using the sonic screwdriver the Doctor opens the crack to reveal a giant eyeball, an Atraxi, giving the Doctor the message ‘Prisoner Zero has escaped’. Before they can go any further a klaxon sounds from the TARDIS, the Doctor runs off telling Amelia that he will return in five minutes… only to reappear 12 years later.
The Doctor thinking it has only been a couple of minutes runs back into the house proceeds to get knocked out by a cricket bat. Amelia Pond, now Amy Pond, has grown up and refuses to believe that the Doctor is who he claims to be, it is only until he prompts her to see the door, hidden by a perception filter, and the alien inside that she begins to believe him. The following 45 minutes follow the Doctor and Amy as they run around the village trying to prevent the destruction of the world by revealing Prisoner Zero to the Atraxi, without the TARDIS or the sonic screwdriver, the Doctor remarks “I 've got 20 minutes to save the world, and I 've got a post office… and it 's shut”.
The first thing to critique has to be the performance by Matt Smith, and I was convinced! The script constantly refers to the line “I’m not done yet”, the Doctor is still mid-regeneration, so there are times when you feel a bit of David Tennant’s Doctor flowing through, several mannerisms and quotes, there is even a bit of Eccleston’s Doctor such as the catch phrase “Fantastic” being said. However there is a very new Doctor coming through all of this, a new quirky, more crazy and eccentric Doctor, but also a focused Doctor set on saving the day. Matt Smith just creates this role for himself and lives in it!
Amy Pond, played by Karen Gillan, is again very believable. Gillan, plays a very “fiesty girl with a wicked sense of humour and a sharp temper” (Doctor Who Wiki). The character has been brought up being told that the Doctor was just an imaginary friend, been through several shrinks, and then 12 years later the Doctor reappears in front of her. Karen Gillan gives a great performance, and throughout the episode you see her character grow as she believes more and more in the Doctor.
One thing I will be very interested to see is how many complaints the episode gets. Amy is revealed to be a kissogram; “I go to parties, and I kiss people… It’s fun”, and another of the sub characters is indirectly seen to be watching porn; “Jake! Get a girlfriend”. While the latter reference was fairly subtle, I wonder how many questions were had by small children - ‘Mummy, what is a kissogram?’. Where are the BBC drawing the line for ‘family entertainment’, personally I thought that the episode would of coped as family entertainment without those references. You can keep an eye on the BBC responding to complaints at bbc.co.uk.
One of the many things that Stephen Moffat did get right was the comedic element within the script, as mentioned above there were a couple of times where I thought the line was toed a little to tightly, however generally it was hilarious, references to children’s books (fish custard), quoting previous Doctor’s (wibbly wobbly timey wimey) and coming up with several original quotes (I’ve got a post office, and it’s shut). One of the things that makes a great television series, in my humble opinion, is that it needs to be quotable, if the rest of this series follows in the way of The Eleventh Hour, then it will certainly fit the bill there.
I think, however, the place where most people will agree on, is the title and credit sequence. I’m sure some people will like it, and artistically it does look good… but seriously? What is that supposed to be? The TARDIS going through a tunnel of thundering clouds… No. It didn’t work! Bring back the old one please! I do love the new logo and typography, that can stay, but the clouds trying to be the time vortex just looks silly. I’m still to make up my mind about the music for the whole thing, the remix of the theme tune has yet to grow on me… we shall see though! Despite that, I think that Murray Gold did a fantastic with the rest of the episodes sound track, perfectly fitted to the episode.
In conclusion, I liked it, yeah it had a couple of faults, I’m not convinced the kissogram will be forgiven quite yet, but the title sequence will be. The series has got itself set up with story arc - the cracks in the universe and “the silence will fall”, which seems to be interesting, and from what I’ve heard ‘The Smilers’ are one of the most scary enemies since the beginning of the 2005 series, which can’t be a bad thing! Exciting times!
The next episode, The Beast Below, will air next Saturday, where the Doctor takes Amy far into the future to find that the United Kingdom has been relocated… in space!