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First Impressions of the 11th Doctor Who 379

Mirk writes "The first episode of Doctor Who's new series 5 has just aired on BBC1 in the UK. This is an important episode for the show because so much has changed: Matt Smith plays the new Doctor, replacing David Tennant, and Karen Gillan portrays a new companion, Amy Pond. Maybe most important, Russell T. Davies is replaced as showrunner by Stephen Moffat, who is known for acclaimed Doctor Who scripts including The Empty Child and Blink. Here is an early review of the new Doctor, companion, showrunner, and series."
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First Impressions of the 11th Doctor Who

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  • by King InuYasha ( 1159129 ) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @04:59PM (#31726940) Homepage
    The new Doctor is quite impressive! A little bit on the stranger side, but fans of Doctor Who are no strangers to strange Doctors!
    • by Goffee71 ( 628501 ) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @05:14PM (#31727050) Homepage
      Love the humour, love the pace but still a bit too much random running around. Cast and chrs are just the change of pace needed, quirky but loveable and with decent chemistry. Wonder who was responsible for the cracks in the universe?
      • by Mindcontrolled ( 1388007 ) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @05:19PM (#31727092)
        It's off to a good start, I agree. As for the cracks - the Doctor mentioned that the prisoner opened them, but I guess that might not be all behind it. Those cracks will be with us for a while, I suppose.
        • by click2005 ( 921437 ) * on Sunday April 04, 2010 @05:21PM (#31727104)

          The prisoner said it didn't create them. It teased the doctor because he didn't know who had.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            On reviewing that scene I stand corrected. Too late around here and too much beer... The conclusion stands, though - those cracks will probably make up the main storyline for this season.
            • by NoobixCube ( 1133473 ) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @06:21PM (#31727494) Journal

              I'm fairly certain the reason the multiform taunted the Doctor about it was because the Doctor, or at least the Timelords, are the root of the problem. I'm aware he's supposedly the last Timelord alive, but we've seen how thinking you're the last often turns out... Of course, they could pull the whole alternate reality thing again. The Doctor never was clear about how alternate realities come to be, just that they're meant to be sealed off. I'd say alternate realities are the convenient writers-block fixer: Out of enemies? Bring an ancient and long-since-defeated enemy back from another alternate reality! The damaged Cyberman in the preview says it's at least possible. What I'm most curious about is the English-flag-stamped Dalek; though it's probably just some military immitation, and not a true Dalek...

              • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

                by Anonymous Coward

                What I'm most curious about is the English-flag-stamped Dalek

                Me too but that's a Union glag, not an English flag. The English flag [] is a St George's cross, red on white. That's only a part of the Union flag [].

              • Misidenttified (Score:4, Informative)

                by Gonoff ( 88518 ) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @06:51PM (#31727694)
                The Dalek was not showing an English flag. It was in fact the British flag. England is no more the whole of this country than Texas is the whole of the USA. I agree that there are many Texans and English who may not fully appreciate the differences but people on /. are generally less parochial...
              • by bigstrat2003 ( 1058574 ) * on Sunday April 04, 2010 @07:24PM (#31727952)

                Honestly, I don't care what deus ex machina is required to bring the Time Lords back. I really wanted to see them again, and was kind of irritated that Russell T Davies wrote them as "The Time War turned them all evil", and then sealed them away "forever". I'd like to see the Time Lords as an actual civilization again, not something remembered in whispers.

                It's not just the Time Lords, though. As much as I loved RTD's writing for the series, he had the idiotic tendency to keep committing genocide towards the recurring villains. You know you're not going to leave them "all dead", so please stop pretending like you killed them once and for all. The tricks that you need to use to bring them back get less believable every time. As a result, I accept that Stephen Moffat is going to have to do some epic hand-waving for basically every recurring villain he wants to bring back, but hopefully after that he'll have the sense to not "kill them off" every time, and we can get past it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I don't mind the random running around. It's different. The usual American sci-fi series feature a lot of walking around in circles instead (stargate/trek/etc).
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Daswolfen ( 1277224 )

      I think the new Doctor will work out fine. He reminds me a bit of my favorite Doctor, Tom Baker (the 4th). And all through the new series with Eccleston and Tennant, there really wasn't a 'Fuck Yeah' moment (as far as I was concerned). This had that. I don't want to give anything away from those waiting for the BBC America showing, but you will know it when you see it.

  • The Companion (Score:5, Informative)

    by OverlordQ ( 264228 ) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @05:00PM (#31726948) Journal

    is hot.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by jo_ham ( 604554 )

      This is definitely +1 informative. She is indeed.

      I am also sold on Matt Smith now after being initially disappointed that it wasn't Simon Pegg.

      • "I am also sold on Matt Smith now after being initially disappointed that it wasn't Simon Pegg."

        Oh my word. That would have been awesome.

      • lol @ Pegg! Anyway, he was the editor... sorry, [ahem] The Editoorrr!

        When they were throwing around ideas for who the new Doctor would be, Paterson Joseph [] seemed the best choice to me, so I was a bit worried when they picked some 16 year old kid. But, having seen the first episode, I have to admit that Matt Smith was really, very very good.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by DrVxD ( 184537 )

        This is definitely +1 informative. She is indeed.

        More like "+0 stating the obvious". Followed by "She is, but not quite as hot as you think she is". Despite my fondness for redheads, I'd have preferred to see the return of Michelle Ryan []'s Lady Christina de Souza [] - but that wouldn't have worked with the (excellent) story.

        I am also sold on Matt Smith now after being initially disappointed that it wasn't Simon Pegg.

        I'm still undecided about Matt. When he was first announced, I was "oh no, that's the end of it" - but he admitted himself quite well on Saturday. I'll give him time to sink or swim before I make up my mind. This may (or may not) bode well

    • Re:The Companion (Score:5, Informative)

      by isorox ( 205688 ) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @05:10PM (#31727028) Homepage Journal

      is hot.

      Just a note to our cousins across the pond, British police officers *do not* look like that :(

      • I've watched enough Cops with Camera's to know that. However, she's not a police officer. She has a job befitting her good looks.
      • by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @05:40PM (#31727224)

        British police officers *do not* look like that :(

        That's OK, US viewers certainly understand it, after all, the British police boxes likewise don't look on the inside like that (I hope).

      • by bertok ( 226922 )

        is hot.

        Just a note to our cousins across the pond, British police officers *do not* look like that :(

        Aussie officers do though. For some reason, the law enforcement career path seems to attract a particular brand of perky blonde over here.

      • by Chas ( 5144 )

        Just a note to our cousins across the pond, British police officers *do not* look like that :(

        Damn! I could see myself getting arrested over and over (and over and over and over) again if they did.

        "I'm not going to be compliant ma'am...err officer. You're just going to have to wrestle me to the ground and handcuff me!"

        Note to the British Police Forces. SEND TO SCOTLAND FOR MORE SEXY REDHEADS!

    • PICs (Score:4, Informative)

      by leuk_he ( 194174 ) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @05:17PM (#31727076) Homepage Journal

      Pic 1 []
      She is not really a police officer [] or a nun nor a nurse. ;)

    • She is good but then it just seems like they've rolled all the past few companions into one.

      Day before her wedding (Catherine Tate), probably been a doctor (Martha Jones) and rescued from the
      'nice but boring' boyfriend (Rose & Mickey).

      I heard they weren't going to use any of the previous companions again. I guess they wont need to now.

      I just wish they'd kill off all the pathetic enemies once and for all. Please no more Daleks/Cybermen/Sontarans
      and all the stuff that got old 40 years ago.

      • I just wish they'd kill off all the pathetic enemies once and for all. Please no more Daleks/Cybermen/Sontarans
        and all the stuff that got old 40 years ago.

        Cybermen and Sontarans - I agree. Very boring. But the Daleks and their successive returns from oblivion never get old.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by forkazoo ( 138186 )

          Cybermen and Sontarans - I agree. Very boring. But the Daleks and their successive returns from oblivion never get old.

          The 9th Doctor episode "Dalek" kicked ass.

          Every appearance of the Daleks in the new run since has been worthless. Doubly so fr the appearances since the 9th Doctor left. Too much reliance on the fact that CGI allows the show to use far more Daleks on screen than they could in the old series. Absolutely no thought given to whether or not showing a million CGI Daleks actually substitutes f

    • But that's just small comfort to us given that the Doctor still isn't ginger. ;(
  • Still on? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by night_flyer ( 453866 )

    I haven't watched it since Tom Baker

  • The New Tardis (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Yvan256 ( 722131 ) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @05:18PM (#31727090) Homepage Journal

    While Matt Smith seems capable of playing the Doctor, the new TARDIS on the other hand really was disappointing.

    I'm sorry but a pinball plunger, an old typewriter and a decor that looks ripped from a kid TV show just doesn't suit the supposedly alien look of the inside of the TARDIS. Too many earth parts, levers and buttons too obvious. The new TARDIS is a pale joke compared to the previous one.

    • I'm sorry but a pinball plunger, an old typewriter and a decor that looks ripped from a kid TV show just doesn't suit the supposedly alien look of the inside of the TARDIS.

      I'm betting the 're-imaging' its getting is so it'll appeal to kids more.

    • by Manip ( 656104 )

      This I have to agree with. The controls and centre of the console look really silly (*even by Dr. Who standards). Plus the sonic screwdriver is no longer blue? Huh? Lore, people, lore?

    • Re:The New Tardis (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Josh04 ( 1596071 ) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @05:28PM (#31727162)
      It crashed, damaged, into an old garden shed, and repaired itself with parts therein :)
    • Re:The New Tardis (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Jezza ( 39441 ) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @05:33PM (#31727188)

      The Doctor and the Tardis influence each other, and the Doctor's fascination with Earth is well known, so a Tardis with lots of recognisably "Earth-tech" is hardly that much of a stretch. Anyway, the new Tardis is kinda SteamPunk, and I can't argue with that. Personally I like the new Tardis set, not sure about the "storm cloud tunnel" in the opening credits ... but I guess we'll get used to that.

      It all got a big thumbs up from me. Thanks Auntie Beeb, glad to see you spending my license fee on something I actually like!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      the new tardis appears to be a labout of love for a guy who posts on livejournal

      his name is douglas442 and he appears to have started work on the tardis around 18 months ago.

      "The steampunk console project"

      all kudos to him and it fucking shows how much hard dedicated work he has put in
      tremendous job :) []

    • Yeah, I kinda thought the same thing (hot and cold tap did it for me) but then I thought that, the tardis is meant to be 'sort of' alive, and is responsible for completely rebuilding itself, so why can't it go a bit eccentric in its old age?
    • by Ash-Fox ( 726320 )

      I'm sorry but a pinball plunger, an old typewriter and a decor that looks ripped from a kid TV show just doesn't suit the supposedly alien look of the inside of the TARDIS.

      I have to break it to you... But Doctor Who is a children's TV show.

  • Seriously? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by lattyware ( 934246 )
    How do people like it? All of the new episodes (never watched the old, so can't comment) just, to me at least, seem like dull, predictable, poorly-written, poorly-acted and overall not very good TV. I just don't get why people like it. I have caught an episode every now and then and it just seems so... poor.
    • The show was held back by the previous director/writer, Russel Davies. The only genuinely good episodes that you must have missed, were written by Steven Moffat, who has now taken over the series. It'll stop being a pathetic stereotypical pointlessly-camped-up shitly-written waste of a good concept and start being the good thing we occasionally saw shining through.

      • You must not have been watching Doctor Who, because I for one thought that Davies' writing was excellent (most of the time). Moffat's was excellent too (although I hope to God he eases up on the horror episodes), but Davies more than held his own.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Whilst I didn't like various of Russell T Davies work on Doctor Who, it is worth remembering that he brought it back from the dead, which was good. Whatever my personal feelings on who Also, I thought some of his scarier episodes (e.g. Midnight, Waters of Mars) were really very good at comparable to some of Moffat's stuff (hard to measure up to Blink, though).

  • by acehole ( 174372 ) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @05:30PM (#31727168) Homepage

    I think they went a bit too overboard with the "Tardis is dodgy" thing. Last tardis interior was a nice mix of steampunk and random bits. This one just seems to be random bits.

    Lets not even mention the Tardis Rotor (the thing that pumps up and down in the middle of the console) because it now looks like a giant glass time dildo.

    • by Aladrin ( 926209 )

      lol So I'm not the only one that thought 'Wow, that's pretty phallic' when that part was on, eh?

  • Exciting and interesting. I'm looking forward to the new series
  • I never watched Dr. Who before, but I would like to give it a try. What should I watch to start?

    • by Pop69 ( 700500 )
      Start with An Unearthly Child and work forward from there
    • by PCM2 ( 4486 )

      If I were you I'd skip the shows from the 80s and earlier (I can't imagine acquiring that taste today) and just rent a DVD of any of the recent episodes. Seasons have overall plot arcs that build up to a climax in the season closer, but it's not the kind of show that you have to watch from the beginning. Most episodes are essentially self-contained stories.

    • by Aladrin ( 926209 )

      Start with the 2005 season. Once you've had enough to get you hooked, go back and watch all the past episodes with the Daleks. Then keep watching from wherever you left off from the 2005 series.

      It's definitely worth it.

    • by EdgeyEdgey ( 1172665 ) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @06:21PM (#31727490)
      That's the one that got the current writer promoted so is a good prelude to the current series.
      Unfortunately they aren't all as good as that.
      • by $RANDOMLUSER ( 804576 ) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @06:34PM (#31727562)
        "The Girl in the Fireplace", which was also his, was so good, it was almost too good to be a Doctor Who episode.
        • by Hast ( 24833 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @01:48AM (#31730618)

          Moffat also did The empty child/The doctor dances in the first season and Silence in the library/Forest of the dead in season 4. Considering he consistently made awesome episodes in the past I was very pleased that he's now main producer of the show.

          Personally I consider both Blink and Girl in the fireplace to be extremely good. For me Blink wins out by a bit; but that's just me. What's fascinating is that Blink doesn't follow the normal Dr Who cast all that much, but he manages to introduce us to several new people and make us care more about them in 45 minutes than most shows manage for their standard cast in several seasons.

          For starting Doctor Who I'd recommend going with the 2005 reboot. Every season after that kind of builds on top of it, and while the episodes are largely separate there are a lot of continuing plots as well. If you want some of the backstory I recommend watching the "Doctor Who Confidential" episodes as well. There is one for every episode and it's as 1 hour per episode. These give a lot of information and flash backs into the vast Dr Who library as well as interviews with the cast and former cast of the show. It really is an impressive "behind the scenes" presentation.

  • Gawd (Score:3, Informative)

    by vague disclaimer ( 861154 ) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @05:51PM (#31727292)
    It is surprisingly difficult to take seriously a review from someone who described The Girl in The Fireplace as 'whimsical'. That big a "whoosh" should be a warning to everyone.

    Here is a rather more intelligent take: []

    (for me: someone shoot Murray Gold and put a call into to Christophe Beck to write decent music)

  • I think the new Doctor both looks and acts too goofy. If that doesn't somehow tie into the plot, I'm going to be very disappointed.

  • And it's in HD (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ranulf ( 182665 ) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @06:22PM (#31727506)
    That makes this significant because up until now, only specials were done in HD. The BBC had previously said it was too expensive to make Doctor Who in HD due to all the special effects, so obviously we've reached a turning point where the money made from selling overseas has made it viable in HD. Win.
  • Looks like the new season finally starts on April 17 at 9 eastern here in the States.

  • by Fantastic Lad ( 198284 ) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @08:44PM (#31728570)

    Doctor Who is my one weakness. Well, my big weakness, anyway.

    It's what makes me a NERD! -Not just some garden variety geek fanboy, but a full-on Nerd. My girlfriend looks at me funny and wonders where the other me went when Doctor Who comes up. I don't expose that part of myself to her very often, but I did make her watch a couple of episodes just to show her what I was all excited about. She liked "The Girl in the Fireplace", and I described the Rose arc to her. -Her reaction to that was the correct one, (no, she didn't walk out on me. She fell into story-listener mode and caught her breath at all the right parts as I described them. I tell stories fairly well and can sometimes even do decent voices. This was one of those times). And I made her watch the first twenty minutes of this new Matt Smith show. Figured she'd like the food-tasting scene. She did.

    Best two scenes in the episode. . .

    Amelia: "I'm not scared!"

    Doctor: "'Course your not, you're not scared of anything! - Box falls out of the sky, man falls out of the box, man eats fish custard... and look at you. Just sitting there. So you know what I think?"

    Amelia: "What?"

    Doctor: "Must be a helluva scary crack in your wall."

    And. . .

    Doctor: "Twelve years! I'm not six months late. I'm twelve years late."

    Amy: "He's coming!"

    Doctor: "You said six months. Why did you say six months?"

    Amy: "We've got to go!"

    Doctor: "This MATTERS. This is important! Why did you say six months?!"


    Wonderfully done! When big, important characters meet each other for the first time in a story, it's important to make it explosive or at least interesting. This was one of the reasons in the Phantom Menace, when Obi Wan and Anakin first met, it was stunningly stupid. (Remember how that went? It was a hand shake.) But this meeting was fantastic!

    Anyway, as I figured, it takes about three viewings to "click" with a new Doctor, assuming that the Doctor is worth clicking with. And I think he is; the production values, casting, writing and acting were all top-notch for Doctor Who, but the Newness of it all takes a bit getting used to and certainly colors a viewer's reactions. The first Tennant episode, for instance, left a sour taste in my mouth the first time I saw it. But after a season of Who, going back to it was a joy. This leads me to thinking that the enjoyment of a show or film is far, far more than the sum of its parts. This is where Joseph Campbell and his various theories regarding mythology come into play. By the third viewing, the characters become familiar and comfortable. Matt Smith was very well cast; he's confident enough to walk through a scene and own it, and the new girl is going to challenge him nicely. And I hope to see some of the people of that little town become semi-regulars in the future. (I really like the new idea that family and friends matter in the DW universe.)

    This is going to be a wonderful ride, I think! Hats off to everybody who put this together. -And thank goodness for 'pirate' distribution. The US broadcast version was cut down, I heard, to fit in more commercials. Lame.


  • Dr. Who on the Net? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by assertation ( 1255714 ) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @10:31PM (#31729370)

    I don't keep a television in my house. Is there anywhere on the net to watch Dr. Who streaming that anyone could recommend?

  • by ukemike ( 956477 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @03:44AM (#31731106) Homepage
    Several years back I let my son watch an old Tom Baker episode, Pirate Planet. He became obsessed. So after we exhausted what was available on dvd/netflix from his episodes, we started in on the new ones on Netflix Watchnow. We loved Christopher Eccelston and I was sure his replacement would be a disappointment. I couldn't have been more wrong. My son loved David Tenant's doctor so much, he has a pinstriped blazer, converse sneakers, and sideburns. He used to carry his toy sonic with him everywhere. He cried when the 10th doctor "died." This morning I downloaded the new episode and Matt Smith officially has the full blown endorsement of at least one American 6 year old boy (and his dad). Though I hope he manages to interpret the doctor in his own way. He had a bit too much of the DT manic goofiness going.

    Oh and where the !@#$%! do I order up a kissogram!!!??!
  • Why can't (Score:4, Interesting)

    by azgard ( 461476 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @03:55AM (#31731148)

    ..Hugh Laurie be a Doctor? That would be interesting.

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun