So I guess since I’m a huge Doctor Who fan, I have to take the time on my blog to address the debut of the new series last night here in America. I’ve avoided spoilers and information for months and finally last night got to watch the new show with a mostly uninformed slate. I did speak to a few fans in the past week or so, all of whom told me how great the 11th Doctor and how he’s exactly like Patrick Troughton was and how the debut episode was better than anything RTD had ever done.

Sadly, most of that is rubbish. While one episode is not nearly enough time to judge a Doctor, I can assure you that if anything Smith is doing a Tennant impersonation with his Doctor. I didn’t get a Troughton vibe at all. I keep hearing how he’s like Troughton, but I’m starting to think people are confusing wearing a bow-tie with acting like someone. Thus far that’s the only thing the second and eleventh Doctors seem to have in common. Smith ran around frantic most of the episode in Tennant’s old clothes, spouting lines of dialogue that seem like they were written for Tennant and spoke them in his best Tennant rapid delivery.

The inside of the Tardis seems junky. In the episode the Tardis rebuilds itself, but for some reason is rebuilt with old transistor radios and typewriters as part of the controls. I actually like the idea of the Tardis console having scraps of junk in it, but these would be better served if it was the Doctor himself who put them there, not that the machine repaired itself to look like a scrap heap.

Finally we come to the writing. Better than anything Russell T. Davies ever did? Hardly. In fact the episode seemed like it was written by RTD. Did you hate those episodes where RTD had the entire Earth about to be destroyed and everyone on the planet gets informed of the aliens as well as the Doctor’s existence? Well… This had that. Except where RTD usually made it some epic spectacle, this was just a throwaway plot device.

Regeneration episodes are never very good. I hated Tennant’s regeneration episode. Amy seems like a decent sidekick, although I’d love to see how the Rose haters are going to say she’s any better than Rose when she left her man at the altar to run off with the Doctor. The new theme isn’t very good but maybe it’ll grow on me.

I could go on and on with little things that annoyed me, but there were some charming parts like the brief glimpses of all the other Doctors. Of course the scene that it happened was practically ripped verbatim from an old Tennant episode, but this whole thing was rehash. This was the first time we’ve had a completely new cast since the 9th Doctor’s first episode and I’d easily rate the 9th Doctor’s introduction over this one.

All in all, I didn’t hate the episode, contrary to what it may appear here. In fact I’m elated that new Doctor Who is finally here. This just felt like reheated leftovers, though. Same old story, same problems with that story, same Doctor but in a new outfit, etc. Hopefully this was a one off story and the rest of the season can pick up and give this 11th Doctor a personality of his own and improve upon all the things that needed to be improved upon. A few bumps in the beginning, but it wasn’t all bad. I have high hopes for the future.

4 Responses to Doctor Who Debuts on BBC America

  • Lee says:

    I miss the old "Doctor Who" (Doctors 1-8). The new series has fun moments, but it's pretty shallow, and it's hard to get excited about it.

  • - Beth, the GF says:

    You obviously know how I feel about the changing of Doctors. I understand and accept the concept of the regeneration, but it just sucks to get attached to one only to have another come and take over and it is supposed to "be the same". I was quite fond of the last two Doctors, particularly, and have grown to like some others as well with us having gone through all the newer episodes so fast and watching some of the other Doctors.

    I didn't think this was horrible and am looking forward to seeing if I can get into the series, but you are certainly correct, regeneration episodes are just crap.

    But, I'm certainly no "Doctor Who" expert, so take that for what it's worth.

  • Lt. Clutch says:

    The thing that bugs me the most about regeneration episodes is how the Doctor always has to go completely nuts, yet still manages to save the day. It's almost like having your cake and eating it, too: Producers seem to be saying that the old guy is gone but yet also still there because he's merely acting heroic. So they give him a new quirk such as fancying fish sticks and custard while still using some of his predecessor's catch phrases. I think the only Doctors who avoided this trap were Pertwee and Eccleston because the program was basically being relaunched in both instances. We didn't actually see the regenerations happen on-screen. Pertwee, in particular, made the coolest entrance by doing things his own way. When he left, he literally gave us a death scene so that viewers knew he was bowing out and the Third Doctor was history.

  • Excellent points everyone.

    Clutch you have a great point as well. I think the only time the whole "I'm going crazy after my Regeneration" that worked was Tom Baker's 4th Doctor. I think largely in part, because Baker played the insane card so well.

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