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Finally, after David Tennett’s long goodbye as one of the most iconic British television characters we finally get to see Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor. This is a milestone for the series, having losing one of the most popular Doctor’s ever. Russell T. Davies, the man responsible for the new Doctor Who is also leaving as the show runner, and been replaced by Steven Moffat. The BBC saw fit to give the series a mini-reboot and starts the fifth series with a fast-paced episode.
The Doctor has just regenerate and in the Tardis ends up flying across England. He lands in a small village where a seven-year-old Scottish girl Amelia Pond (
Caitlin Blackwood) is praying for someone to fit a strange crack in her wall. The Doctor, still trying to overcome his regeneration discovers that crack had been used by an alien prisoner to escape to Earth.
With his Tardis and Sonic Screwdriver acting up The Doctor leaves aiming to come back in five minutes, but overshoots badly: coming back twelve years later. Amelia is now a young woman and prefers to be called Amy (Karen Gillan). She had obsessed about the Doctor since that night.
But before the reunion can be completed, the aliens demand that Prisoner Zero needs to surrender or the whole world would be incinerated. The Doctor is left with twenty minutes to save the world and do it without the Tardis or his Sonic Screwdriver.
Despite the mini-reboot, Steven Moffat is a seasoned veteran of the Doctor Who writing staff, and wrote one of the best Doctor Who episodes, Blink. The series should be in good hands with him, and it is clear like under Russell T. Davies he will keep a large season long arc throughout.
What made David Tennett such a great Doctor was because he was a talented actor and was able to mix being psychologically tortured with more fun comic elements to balance out his character. He was the best all round actor for the role. Matt Smith saw no need to change that route, being very comic himself in his first episode, but also a man of action.
This mini-reboot for the show gives Doctor Who a new title sequence and logo design, for the Tardis and Sonic Screwdriver. The cast includes younger actors, Matt Smith is the youngest actor to be cast as the Doctor, and the BBC have turn to a newcomer with Karen Gillan, who was solid in her first outing as the Doctor’s companion. This Doctor is not as aggressive or a loner as David Tennett was, and Matt Smith is shown to be more light hearted in his approach. But overall Matt Smith is a younger version of David Tennett.
The CGI has also improved, and looks very effective. Prisoner Zero is an fine design and brought to screen well. The
Atraxi are shown to be a very creepy looking eyeball, a nice moment of horror to anyone suffering from ommetaphobia.
The BBC are aiming for a younger audience, trying to make the show a little more action packed with younger stars, but these changes are minor and the tone of the show reminds the same. The BBC are telling the long established fan-base don’t worry, we’re not going to kill our golden goose. But they properly will take more risks in later episodes.
Review by Kieran Freemantle