Okay, who watched the Doctor Who premiere?

I will not provide direct spoilers in this post, but I assume that anyone commenting will be people who have watched DWs11e01, so consider this your spoiler warning for every single comment in this thread and also considered yourself hint-warned, if not spoiler-warned, for the rest of the body of this post.

Right. Allons-y!

I’m not quite sure how I feel about Whittaker. There’s a bit of the crazy that Tennant brought to the role, but it’s toned down a bit, so it’s not as if I’m looking forward to a Doctor with quite the same manic energy. On the other hand, adding more detail to the tinkerer/ inventor aspects of the Doctor seemed to be something within reach of the character, but perhaps not as emphasized in the past. That could be something unique brought to Whittaker’s Doctor. In the meantime, the Dramatic Monologue™ in the Big Dramatic Moment™ seemed a transparent restatement of what the creators of the new series hope to bring to the show. I also can’t decide putting those words in the Doctor’s mouth was really, really cool, or just too meta.

Grace is a complete delight. The train scene was fantastic, and obviously she has many qualities that make her someone to admire, respect, or just fantasize about being when you grow up.

I like Grandpa/Graham – they had to work a white guy into the show, and I’m pleased with this iteration. Of course, like all the characters, he still needs some fleshing out, but that’s fine. We’ve got a whole season (series for your Brits) ahead of us.

Yaz is my favorite new character, at least so far, even though I think that the producers seem to be expecting Ryan to be our empathetic entree into the world of the Doctor (I say that based on narration that occurred at the beginning & end of the episode).

Anyway, who else saw the episode, and what did you think?



  1. John Morales says

    I gave up on Dr. Who two-and-a-bit seasons ago, when Moffat wrecked it beyond repair.

    Once it was a silly, fun show I nostalgically watched — and its episodic nature was part of its charm, as was that it didn’t take itself seriously.


  2. says


    Would you be pulled back in if you discovered that there’s no season-long plot arc other than simply getting to know each of the characters better? It also appears that the new show runner isn’t going to be taking it too seriously. It may be turning in just the direction you would have liked.

    Not that you have any responsibility to come back to it, of course. Just that if you were interested, you might like to know that everything I’ve read about the season suggests that the new producer has similar critiques to yours of recent Doctor Who seasons.

  3. John Morales says

    My predilection is towards story-driven narratives, not character-driven ones, so that’s unfortunate.

    But yes, now that Moffat is out, I will wait until the series is over and see what people generally think about it. So, perhaps.

    My biggest problem is that the Doctor has been transformed into a mythic demigod; and even the reboot (before the Doctor was a mythic figure) bugged me, because the Doctor was not supposed to be an action hero IMO. I remember being shocked dismayed when the Ninth Doctor (Eccleston) deliberately murdered a baddie; that began the breaking of the spell, because that was not the Doctor, for me. And once the spell is broken, well.

    Gender-wise, I have no prob. The Doctor isn’t human, and the retconning even within the pre-reboot days was not that big a bugbear.

    (I also think sometimes modern TV is a bit too eager to be woke, to the detriment of the story. I really hope this is not that)

  4. sonofrojblake says

    modern TV is a bit too eager to be woke, to the detriment of the story. I really hope this is not that

    This season is already stretching so hard to be woke it’s almost funny. For evidence you need look no further than the post-credits “coming up” thing. Previously it’s been a carefully-edited teaser, painstakingly revealing titbits of story and spectacle from the upcoming season, with lines of dialogue out of context and usually ending on a stunning image to make you think “I *HAVE* to watch this”. This year it was just a sequence of headshots of actors. Literally that. No lines, no action, no scenery, no effects, no monsters. Helpfully, each one was captioned with their name, which was just as well, because I recognised about three of them (Alan Cumming! Yay!). Someone else in my house was able to tell me that this was because most of them were soap opera actors I’d never heard of. It wasn’t there to make you want to watch the show (or if it was, it failed). It was clearly there to say one thing – “Look how many BROWN people we got!”. You’d never guess from the lineup that the population of the UK is over 87% white. It did absolutely nothing to encourage me to be there next week.

    I mean – I will be there next week, obviously. Whitaker was great, the supporting cast were great. I did pretty much exactly what it needed to do – be a workaday episode of Who. There was one slightly preachy speech near the end, but I was expecting that and can forgive it, given the backlash Whitaker’s casting created from the horde of idiots on the net. I was a bit disappointed that Grace got fridged – it was so predictable. They really should have included the actress in the pre-season hype, like they did with Indira Varma on Torchwood. Her death would have then come as an actual shock, instead of wondering how and when it was going to come about the whole episode.

    Other than that, full marks for basically delivering “Alien vs. Predator” for kids in Sheffield on a BBC budget and making it better than “Alien vs. Predator”. One mark deducted for not showing me the TARDIS in the first episode.

    One should never judge a Doctor by their first episode, though. The only ones who’ve ever really nailed in their first story are Tom Baker and Christopher Eccleston. Every single other one has needed time to settle in. This one’s showing all good signs.

  5. treqindan says

    It kinda felt like they put the doctor on xanax. I get that they wanted to avoid the whole manic pixie thing, but it kinda felt like she was dazed at times.
    More broadly, it felt like the director didn’t know how to manage the pacing of it, or how to work the dialogue. Either that, or they were heavily inspired by plan 9 from outer space.

  6. jazzlet says

    Not read other comments because I didn’t see it, but I am considering watching it for the first time since early Tennant days. I grew up on Dr Who and I didn’t like season arcs, so what you say about them being gone tempts me, as do another couple of points from a spoiler free review that said the fun was back (always a part of original Who along with the terror) and that Whittaker isn’t SHOUTY both of which sound good.

    When I say I grew up with Who I really did, some of my earliest memories incude hiding behind the sofa during the scary bits while my older brothers watched and told me when it was safe to come out. Much later in my teens during the 70s, the Three Day Week and the associated power cuts, I was in the lucky area in Oxford that had power for most of Dr Who, the power cut off just before the end so we missed the cliff hanger which was strange. Monday morning at school I would catch up friends who had missed the bulk of the show and they woud tell me what the cliff hanger was.

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