I thoroughly enjoyed this.
Watched at the cinema and it came across very very well.
My thoughts are as below, I’m a fan of the show, but I’m not a purist and I may not have the depth of knowledge of some other bloggers on the show.
The Doctor (12)
A strong introduction for Peter Capaldi, he flexed his acting muscles with some superb dialogue and an interpretation of The Doctor that diverges from David Tennant and Matt Smith.
Less personable, less of a cheeky chap, more mature, possibly madder. A deliberate link back to what is known as the classic series.
To my mind, Capaldi might be a closer comparable to Sylvester McCoy and I think his study and playing of The Doctor is an effort to head towards the Doctors of the past.
I also think Capaldi has looked at the run of Christopher Eccleston in Series 1 and how the doctor was re-established as a character. I think there are tips and nods to the ‘Northern Doctor’.
The relationship between this Doctor and Clara seems more like the Ninth Doctor and Rose, the gap is age is re-emphasised and the effort to stress that ‘he’s not your boyfriend’.
Is it NuWho?
For the casual viewer, it’s all Doctor Who, for the purists on the message boards and the various fan websites; (I dabble, read but do not post) the revival of the show was ‘NuWho’ and indeed the series numbering from revival did not follow the ‘classic series’
For me, the show runner Steven Moffat has achieved the linkages he wanted between the old and new runs through some of the episodes before the introduction of Capaldi.
The Name of the Doctor, Night of the Doctor minisode, Time of the Doctor and Day of the Doctor all had a structural purpose.
The impossible girl was wrapped up, Clara’s mystery was unravelled, the end of the Eighth Doctor shown and through the War Doctor too, a linkage made from Classic to NuWho that wasn’t there before.
The Time War was explored and the fate of Gallifrey and the Time Lords too. The crack or ‘Amy’s Crack’ 😉 was explained and the regeneration and numbering issues all sorted out.
A New Direction?
So did that mean a clean slate for the Twelfth Doctor? I don’t think so, I think the mythology of the show is enhanced, I think there’s touchstones and a direction for The Doctor that wasn’t quite there previously.
I appreciated the Story Arc’s brought in by Russell T Davis and progressed by Moffat.
Difficulty for any British Television show is that the number of episodes in a series run don’t allow a story arc or arcs to develop in the same way a 22 or 24 episode American TV show can.
Bearing in mind the impact that NuWho has made on a new US and worldwide fan base, it may be time that the BBC considered how Doctor Who is produced and the time and resources required to place the Doctor as a quality sci-fi drama.
Can the ten episodes and Christmas special format continue or does there need to be an almost year round production cycle to creep up the number of episodes.
The split seventh series and associated specials took two years and the for all the length of Matt Smith’s time as Eleven, there wasn’t a heck of a number of episodes.
The Remainder of Series Eight?
Obviously episode two is an encounter with the Daleks which is expected and necessary for any doctor.
I expect Cybermen too, I expect a reference to the Time Lords again and I expect something that indicates a return of The Master, even if it is only a regeneration to a new actor for that part to be fleshed out in future.
For me, she’s now a companion, she’s not the enigma, not the ‘impossible girl’, but we think we know her fate, we think there’s them Daleks and there’s Clara. Will it be that obvious.
Jenna Coleman took Clara further and deeper, especially with her conversation with Vastra and her emotional face off with the bad droid in Deep Breath.
She will bring us into the world of The Doctor in this series and with the change of ‘Tone’ created by Moffat and the writers, I think that will be necessary.
If Jenna is leaving the show, I think the resolution of Clara’s story, ‘The Women in the shop’, ‘Soufflé Girl’ and other points will again wrap up loose ends that are from a few series.
How good is that character?
She’s necessary and vital support for The Doctor and Clara. I think the scenes between Clara and Vastra really helped establish this new Doctor and the progression of the show.
As recurring characters, I think the Patanoster Gang are necessary, although I believe that there should be more supporting good guys for the Doctor as the range of recurring villains tips a balance and if we are to have a flawed Doctor trying to sort what he has previously done, then he’ll need help.
The other obvious strong supporter of The Doctor is, of course, River Song and I think there’s an opportunity for the show to wrap up ‘the time travellers wife’ element of that tale.
Gosh. I never meant to write that much.
We’ll see the series progress, but an excellent start and much promise can come from it.