Watched it. Loved it. Bring me more!
Oh, you want a bit more detail than that? Oh, all right then.
The BBC have been marketing this one for years, ever since Peter Capaldi was announced on a live broadcast as the twelfth incarnation of the Doctor in 2013. The whole world has been reaching fever pitch, as with each new regeneration, the world finds more to love in this stalwart of British science fiction television. You only have to look at the recent launch tours and Auntie’s clever little teaser spots flocking on between other shows, to feel the excitement is tangible. Everyone wants to know: will Capaldi be as good a Doctor as his predecessors?
The answer is a resounding “yes.”
The theme music takes us right back to the original theme in the 60s, sounding decidedly alien and otherworldly, unlike anything you’ve heard before. The accompanying visuals of various clockwork elements (cogs and gears, clock face numerals) all ground this as a time travel show, and get us away from the turbulent time vortex of previous series. This an all new Who from the outset. Again. It also helps to keep Doctor Who as a decidedly steampunk show. This has been seen before, from alien clockwork dolls, to a clockwork weather destroying bomb, the show is probably the most significantly steampunk production around, without ever really being marketed as such.
That is why it works so well as steampunk, as most steampunk a will tell you: steampunk works well when it isn’t at first obvious. It’s not all goggles and gears, it’s the Victorian explorer ethic of adventure and weird machinery that pushes the boundaries. How more steampunk can you get than the TARDIS?
The episode trundles along nicely, with good pacing, but not as frenetic as the Matt Smith or David Tennant years. This Doctor has a more grounded coolness to him, he’s a thinker as well as a doer. And it serves him well.
We also see a little more of that moral ambiguity from the likes of the Sixth and (my personal favourite) Seventh Doctors: did the Half-face Man fall to his death, or did the Doctor push him? As the Doctor himself says, one of them is lying about their moral programming. We know Seven thought nothing of using his young companion Ace in order to control an entire situation, he was always aware of the bigger picture. Is Twelve of that same ilk, willing to make bigger sacrifices for the greater good? Only time will tell.
I can happily say this looks set to be a fantastic series. While some people felt that the last series lost something after a while, this new refresh looks to have made a strong leap forward. Yes, there are still many Moffat-isms we have to overlook, but I’m not going to get into them here. Doctor Who isn’t the only show with problems, other shows have many more. It’s entertainment: don’t like it? Swap channels. There’s plenty of them these days, it’s not like the 60s when you only had three to choose from.
Can’t wait for next week!