Enjoying the new Doctor Who

Posted: September 3, 2014 in watching
Tags: , , , , , ,

What do you all think of the new Doctor Who?

Personally I’m really enjoying it so far. Capaldi has that intensity we’ve come to expect from the Doctor. The first couple of episodes have been wildly imaginative, and I’ll forgive them a lot for that. The new credits are a nice mix of steampunk stuff and references back to the classic credits. And Strax was in the first episode – I want him to be the next companion.

All in all I’m enjoying it.

But I find myself completely incapable of critically evaluating what the show’s currently doing. I fear that Moffat might get self-indulgent in following his favourite bits, like with the weeping angels and River Song, both of which lost their appeal the more he leaned on them to keep us interested. He’s a really clever writer but sometimes his plots get so tangled they lose their coherence. I’m not sure yet whether he’s got that stuff out of his system or whether there are danger signs showing.

So, what do you think? What’s been good so far? What’s been not so great? What are you looking forward to? What have I missed?

  1. Luke Marr says:

    I must admit I am disappointed. Clara seems to have a rushed back story in order to make her the Impossible Girl (since when did she go from babysitter to teacher?), and doing ANOTHER Dalek episode so soon just shows a lack of imagination. I agree that Strax should be a companion, but I also think they have dumbed him down recently.

    I’m glad you’re enjoying it though 🙂

  2. Karen Soutar says:

    Thought Capaldi nailed it in the Dalek episode. I like him as an actor anyway, but his reaction when the Dalek saw HATRED – awesome.

  3. Erin Drushel says:

    I’m enjoying Capaldi as the new Doctor. Though I had to watch the first episode twice to get a good feel for it, they were trying so hard to make the noobs okay with the new Doctor that it was very distracting. But all in all, I’m happy with Capaldi, definitely on par with the classic Who 🙂

    As for Moffat getting self-indulgent, too late. He’s good at one offs, but you’re absolutely right with your comments on incoherent tangled plots. Although, I will say I like how they are slowing the pace a bit. The episodes where getting far too manic.

  4. glenatron says:

    “Don’t be lasagna.”

    I like it- seems to me ( not having watched religiously for the last while ) that Clara has actually got a lot more rounded in a short time than she ever was before. She’s still very much Doctor’s-companion-as-playschool-presenter though, which is a shame because I much preferred playschool-presenter-as-Doctor’s-companion, historically speaking.

    I was unsure about the moral ambiguity in the first episode – what I like best about the Doctor is the way he uses brilliance to come up with oblique solutions. [Spoiler follows for episode 1] Either pushing a robot dude out of a thing or talking him into suicide is not a typically doctorish way of solving a problem. I did like the very clever Trigger’s Broom conversation though.

    A lot of the problems I have with it ( like the way everything has to be ridiculously telegraphed the whole time ) seem to be things that the Grand Moff is aware of and when they keep turning up I sometimes wonder whether it is more about orders from On High because it is a Flagship Show and must be easy for everyone. That was also the impression I got from Neil Gaiman writing about working on it.

    There is perhaps an interesting game of “suggest the writer you would like to see guesting a Doctor Who episode” to be played.

    • I think you’re right about the influence of it being a flagship show – and of course a family show as well. A lot of the complaints I see seem to forget that that’s the audience, and though I do want it to be smart I also want it accessible enough to keep getting this budget and level of skill in the production.

  5. I’m liking it so far, I think Capaldi’s doing a marvelous job. I like the direction of fixing past mistakes suggested in the first Capaldi episode, and I’m looking forward to see what they come up with.

    I’ve heard Clara may leave this season, but… Strax as companion?!? The Doctor already turned down one soldier, I don’t think he’d be good with Strax in tow! But the Dalek episode may provide a hint: Journey Blue asked to go with the Doctor, and maybe a trip as companion will come of that.

    I’m hoping we get a season or two of a more serious type of story… but it is Doctor Who, after all.

    • I hadn’t thought about Strax fitting badly because he’s a soldier. I have to admit I mostly just enjoy the comedy he brings, and have a love for exaggerated characters. But surely the Doctor has had soldier companions in the past – there was all that business with UNIT for starters.

      • I’d have to look, but I don’t think any of his past companions have been soldiers, except Leela, the warrior taken on as companion by the fourth Doctor. And yes, he did a lot of work for UNIT. But I think his reaction to soldiers is a recent thing, not necessarily linked to his reaction to soldiers in the past; I think the Doctor’s just recently decided soldiers and their “blindly follow orders” mentality are emblematic of the violence that he sees as part of the questionable actions of his past that he wants to rectify.

        • I think you’re right. It’s an interesting recent addition to the character, and one that might not fit so well with wandering around the universe with Strax. Though of course partnering him with a soldier could also let them explore that opinion of his.

  6. I think Capaldi is refreshing — and I was amused by the nods they made to how emotionally involved the previous Doctors got with their companions. The whole ‘boyfriend’ thing. Episodes are always pretty hit-or-miss with me, so I don’t judge on that, but I’m pleased so far by the relationship between the Doctor and Clara (constant bickering, yay!) and the new Doctor’s tics. Here’s hoping the plots live up to their potential.

    • I like the bickering too, especially now that it’s not go romantic undertones. There’s a background assumption there that romance on TV can only be between a pair of young pretty people, and that’s a little troubling, but I’ll accept it just to have the Doctor without sexual tension.

      • Well, you don’t so much want to go into that young-woman-older-man business either, which when it comes to semi-immortal types like the Doctor is kind of skeevy anyway. You’re hundreds of years old, dude…why are you getting romantic with 20-somethings? I guess it could be worse — he could be Edward Cullen hitting on teenagers. But still.

        • Urgh, yes, hadn’t thought about that. Suddenly the last few Doctors seem a bit icky.

          • I think my favorite Doctors were Troughton and Davison, for their adventurous shenanigans and occasional haplessness but also for their relationships with their companions — who weren’t all pretty young women, and who certainly didn’t hang on the Doctor’s every word. Hopefully we can move toward something like that again.

  7. Carl Barker says:

    Have to concur with you on Moffat’s scripts becoming more tangled. First episode was just a little too jumbled and busy for me, and I think he always works best when he’s partnering with someone, or when his scripts are edited by someone else (i.e. earlier series stuff). Dalek episode was like other brilliant recent Who in that it took something long established and forced you to look at it in a different way (ref: Doctor’s Wife etc). Looking forward to more.

    • Yes! That! Familiar things looked at differently – that’s what makes classics like the daleks still work. And how much more of a different view can you get than looking at it from the inside?

  8. Sheila Thomas says:

    The new interpretation of the Doctor is certainly promising, and takes me back at times to the original – glad to see the end of the “boyfriend” variety of Doctor. Agree wholeheartedly with the plot comments above; so often my enjoyment of the story is interrupted by asking “how did we get to this point?” – but I enioy it none the less.

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